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CIA Program Too Good to Be True?
Posted on Jul 13, 2009
What is so controversial about killing al-Qaida bigwigs and avoiding civilian casualties that the CIA would have to conceal such things from Congress? The usual anonymous officials have emerged to explain the secret CIA program Dick Cheney and the agency are supposed to have hidden, and something smells awfully fishy.
Here’s how the AP, relying on anonymous sources, describes the program:
First of all, since when has collateral damage been high on Dick Cheney’s priority list?
And what politician is going to object to either (a) killing al-Qaida leaders or (b) not killing civilians?
It’s not even clear that the program broke the law. One well-placed source told Associated Press that CIA Director Leon Panetta, a Democrat appointed by President Obama, had told congressional committees “there was no indication that there was anything illegal or inappropriate about the effort itself.”
And this from a CNN Internet item from 2002 titled “U.S. policy on assassinations”:
It has been widely publicized that the United States has either killed or tried to kill al-Qaida leaders with attacks from conventional aircraft or aerial drones. These air raids—which sadly have claimed many innocent victims—have occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.
According to the anonymous officials, the “embryonic” CIA program never got under way.
Apparently Intelligence Committee Democrats in both chambers of Congress are flipping out over a program that was, we are told, appealing, uncontroversial and nonexistent. Either the Democrats are upset for no good reason or Dick Cheney has friends in the leak business who are painting some rightly enraged legislators as wing nuts.
Could this program be the fabled Cheney hit squad Seymour Hersh once alluded to?
As with all secret programs, we are left guessing at shadows, wondering what our government has done in our name.
Related: Former CIA Director Michael Hayden tells NPR that Cheney never told him to keep details from Congress.
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