Is This It? [Updated]

There are still classified unknowns about this NY Times story about former Vice President Dick Cheney's involvement in covert intelligence programs in the CIA to either detain or kill suspected al-Qaeda operatives. There's speculation that it could be this Sy Hersh statement that global black ops took place, from Yemen to South America, presumably killing suspected al-Qaeda members, bypassing procedural requirements agreed upon by the UN and embassies in each country. All of this occurred without congressional or judicial oversight.

One hates speculating in times like these, but this requires a full investigation with an independent prosecutor. Yes, it may cost the Obama administration political capital or worse, but the truth most be revealed.

[Update]: The NY Times has a new story out today stating that the program Panetta cancelled was in fact an assassination operation. Where or when the assassinations took place, or if they did at all, remains unclear. The article reaffirms Cheney's closeness to this program and hints at the CIA's distance from it.

In addition, the article linked above by Sy Hersh apparently was a program run out of the Pentagon and not the CIA. It's unclear if these were separate or the same programs.

Further reading (and perhaps greater in detail than the Times article) from The Guardian.


Madison Brookshire said...

Of course, so far everyone credible is saying that the program never went operational, although the Guardian reports that many are speculating 8 years is too long for a thing this to just sit and simmer. And then there's the bizarre twist that anyone informed of the program had to be vetted by Addington. Then again, Cheney successfully fought to protect the identities of the people on his energy task force... The fears we have could be far worse than whatever the reality is. But there's always the possibility that this is the second coming of the Pheonix Program.

Michael Lieberman said...

Speaking of Addington and Cheney, apparently experts in the Pentagon were shut out of this as well.

If this was never operational, why would Panetta need to shut it down? Wouldn't have been defunct as is? This doesn't add up at all.

Madison Brookshire said...

From the guardian article you link to: "Peter Bergen, a senior security analyst at the New America Foundation, said that the secret operation must have gone further than that to have created such a backlash in Congress: 'If it's an assassination programme of al-Qaida leaders that is hardly surprising. Clinton had an assassination programme against bin Laden. There have been 27 drone missile strikes against al-Qaida alone this year.'"

Michael Lieberman said...

I caught that too. I have a terrible feeling that this was in fact implemented and as Hersh stated, there may have been "collateral damage" done in the process. Horrifying.