Supposedly, the program Vice President Dick Cheney wanted to keep secret from Congress involved establishing an assassination squad to take out al Qaeda leaders. Even though since 1989, we have established in law that there is no prohibition from taking out even “leaders of state” in a time of war, and these folks are terrorist leaders, not leaders of state.
Also, the current administration has no problem with killing suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the senior al Qaeda leadership are supposedly sitting in caves planning to bring western civilization to an end. Why wouldn't sending in paramilitary units in the Bush-Cheney administration make sense?
What we're getting doesn't smell right. The press is offering us un-named former CIA sources saying stuff like: “People look at killing terrorists with drones differently than they do with an assassin's bullet... Well, the al Qaeda leadership is all over the world, in different countries, and how do to you effectively coordinate this covert activity with their governments? What if our operatives get caught?” "It sounds practical, but when you look at it, it isn't."
These excuses are terribly thin. Let's look at this in the context of what we already know.
Other countries are already involved in our covert activities, and in some cases neither our government nor the CIA informed their governments. Extraordinary Rendition was practiced by the CIA, which involved kidnapping innocent people in Italy, Germany, Canada. It supposedly has also netted some not so nice people. In addition, the CIA sent them off to secret Black Prisons located in other foreign countries. In some cases we know the countries were aware of the existence of existence of these prisons, but we still don't know the full story.
BTW: These secret prisons are still in operation, as a key al Qaeda source, who was tortured months before the White Legal Counsel and the Department of Justice rewrote the definition of torture to make it “legal,” died under suspicious circumstances in a Libyan prison a couple of months ago. He was the sole source used by the Bush-Cheney White House to “fix the intelligence to the policy” through his testimony there was a link between al Qaeda and Iraq. One of several falsehoods perpetrated by this administration to invade a harmless country.
CIA operatives have been caught. There is an extraordinary rendition case moving very slowly in the Italian courts involving several CIA operatives.
The record of the Bush-Cheney White House informing Congressional Committees within the law is already shady. An example is the problem of when and how it informed Congress that torture was being used in interrogations. Torture is a war crime. This was a secret kept until images started showing up, and as noted much is still secret. There is movement toward an investigation, but it is being stymied. See today's Washington Post.
CIA has already been accused misinforming members of Congress. An investigation is considered because there are apparently differences in the stories the CIA told the members of the “Gang of Eight” regarding its enhanced interrogation techniques. This is likely because members were either individually briefed or with only a couple of other members present. Under such circumstances the chances of the “Gang of Eight” having gotten a complete record are almost nil. This is hardly fulfilling the obligation of keeping the Intelligence Committees fully informed of covert activities. They still aren't informed. We haven't been informed.
Common Sense. It doesn't make sense that an assassination program wasn't operational. As Senator Bond in today's papers said, a targeted assassination program is exactly what we'd expect our CIA to be involved in. The key targets are supposedly in countries that have our permission to target and kill suspected Taliban, no less al Qaeda leadership, so again, what's the secret that had to be kept from Congress?
The question it really boils down to is why would Vice President Dick Cheney tell the CIA it didn't want Congress to know about a common sense program that would be legal, unlike other programs undertaken by the CIA in secret and with at least partial, if not full knowledge of the Gang of Eight, and with or without the consent the other countries?
There can be only a one plausible explanation, this isn't the program that is being kept secret. This is a cover up. Right now, the press is playing along. They are carrying the same story with the same weak sound bites. I wonder what entertainment news is going to make us, Congress and the DoJ forget all about this?
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