Cheney's Secret Death Squad
by fogiv, Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:27:43 PM EDT
Cross-posted from the irreverent Motley Moose.
Remember when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had the temerity to suggest that the CIA had lied to her in briefings regarding the use of enhanced interrogation techniques?
Was the CIA also masking the truth about the "Executive Assassination Ring" directed by
former Vice President Darth Cheney, the same one Seymour Hersh talked about back in March of this year?
"It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently," Hersh said. "They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...
"Congress has no oversight of it," he added. "It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths. Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That's been going on, in the name of all of us."
One theory floating around Capitol Hill seems to suggest that this is indeed the case.
In response to Pelosi's original claim, CIA Director Leon Panetta issued a non-rebuttal rebuttal in a message to agency employees. It read (in part):
Let me be clear. It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values.
Now, I don't have an official policy in place for eating grilled cheese sandwiches, but I still do it on a better than regular basis. Translated from Bureaucratese to standard English, Panetta's statement means essentially this:
The CIA isn't supposed to lie to Congress, but we do anyway.
On cue, the GOP went all Oh Noes, She Di - Int:
"I think her accusations against our terror-fighters are irresponsible and, according to the CIA's record, Speaker Pelosi was briefed on what had been done," said Sen. Kit Bond, the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. "It's outrageous that a member of Congress would call our terror-fighters liars."
Let's just take a moment to revel in the phrase "Terror Fighters" for a moment. Oh, I get it now. Pelosi hates America. Thanks for setting that straight, Senator Douchebag. This Holier-Than-Thou rant is even funnier now that the CIA has admitted that it concealed "significant actions" from Congress from 2001 until late last month. Recently, other Democrats have chimed in on the topic.
In a June 26 letter to Mr. Panetta discussing his testimony, Democrats said that the agency had "misled members" of Congress for eight years about the classified matters, which the letter did not disclose. "This is similar to other deceptions of which we are aware from other recent periods," said the letter, made public late Wednesday by Representative Rush D. Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, one of the signers.
In an interview, Mr. Holt declined to reveal the nature of the C.I.A.'s alleged deceptions, but he said, "We wouldn't be doing this over a trivial matter."
Similar to other deceptions of which we are aware from other recent periods? Wait a second, this isn't just about the torture stuff is it? One has to wonder if the letter was drafted as a result of Cheney's little assassination program. Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-CA), a signatory to the June 26 letter, has said that Panetta "stopped the program the day after he was informed." Right, this isn't about the torture. It can't be, as waterboarding was ended as a practice during the Bush years (and was officially banned by President Obama in January).
Asked if this was the basis of her letter to Panetta, Eshoo said she could not discuss what was a "highly classified program." She did, however, note that when Panetta told House Intelligence Committee members what it was that had been kept secret, "the whole committee was stunned, even Republicans."
Panetta himself was kept in the dark about the program -- whatever it was -- having only been told about the classified activity on June 23. "His own top leadership didn't even brief him that this program existed," said Eshoo.
So, is this about a secret Cheney death squad, or some new form of pure evil to come from the Bush years? Either way, here's to hoping it's fully exposed, and those responsible for any legal transgressions are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.