The horror! Is this really a road the Democrats want to go down? Shrieking over a plan designed to take out top Al Qaeda terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks isn’t going to score them any points in the “strong on national security” category. You can tell when a Democrat is losing an argument – they bring up Bush or Cheney. This is clearly an attempt to vindicate Queen Nancy after her statement that the CIA lies “all the time” when it was revealed that she had been briefed on the very techniques she had publicly condemned. Nancy and Co. lost round one to Dick Cheney. My money is on Cheney in round two and beyond.
WASHINGTON — Since 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency has developed plans to dispatch small teams overseas to kill senior Qaeda terrorists, according to current and former government officials.
The plans remained vague and were never carried out, the officials said, and Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, canceled the program last month.
Officials at the spy agency over the years ran into myriad logistical, legal and diplomatic obstacles. How could the role of the United States be masked? Should allies be informed and might they block the access of the C.I.A. teams to their targets? What if American officers or their foreign surrogates were caught in the midst of an operation? Would such activities violate international law or American restrictions on assassinations overseas?
Yet year after year, according to officials briefed on the program, the plans were never completely shelved because the Bush administration sought an alternative to killing terror suspects with missiles fired from drone aircraft or seizing them overseas and imprisoning them in secret C.I.A. jails.
Mr. Panetta scuttled the program, which would have relied on paramilitary teams, shortly after the C.I.A.’s counterterrorism center recently informed him of its existence. The next day, June 24, he told the two Congressional Intelligence Committees that the plan had been hidden from lawmakers, initially at the instruction of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Note that it takes the NYT five paragraphs to mention the alleged Cheney connection. The CIA is not bound to inform Congress of programs that are in the planning stages. Who can blame Cheney? Loose lips sink ships. Just ask Patrick Lahey.