WASHINGTON (Online) - A secret operation halted last month by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director planned assassinations of Al-Qaeda targets, a newspaper reported Monday. The activities of the highly classified US operation were not clear, and the agency refused to comment, but some officials said it followed a 2001 presidential directive to capture or kill Al-Qaeda operatives, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing intelligence officials. It quoted current and former officials as saying the agency spent money on planning and training but the initiative was reportedly not fully operational when CIA Director Leon Panetta ended it in June. Some members of the Congress accused the CIA and former president George W Bushs administration of deceiving lawmakers and deliberately failing to inform them of programme activities as required by law. Panetta acknowledged that it had not been properly vetted with the Congress. The new director under President Barack Obama said he only learned about it on June 23 and ordered it to end immediately. Officials quoted by The Wall Street Journal said the projects proponents were seeking to build teams of CIA and military Special Forces commandos to emulate what the Israelis did after the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attacks. It was straight out of the movies, the Paper quoted one former intelligence official as saying. It was like: Lets kill them all. The administration of then president Gerald Ford banned political assassinations by the CIA in response to investigations into intelligence abuses in the 1970s. After the 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil, Bush issued a directive authorising the agency to capture and kill Al-Qaeda members, the report said. Also in September 2001, as CIA operatives were preparing for an offensive in Afghanistan, officials drafted cables that would have authorised assassinations of specified targets on the spot, the newspaper said. Our Monitoring Desk adds: CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said the agency has not commented on the substance of the effort. He added that a candid dialogue with Congress is very important to this director and this agency. One former senior intelligence official said the programme was an attempt to achieve a capacity to carry out something that was directed in the finding, meaning it was looking for ways to capture or kill Al-Qaeda chieftains. The official noted that Congress had long been briefed on the finding, and that the CIA effort was not so much a programme as many ideas suggested over the course of years. It hadnt come close to fruition, he added. Amid the high alert following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, a small CIA unit examined the potential for targeted assassinations of Al-Qaeda operatives, according to the three former officials.