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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Cheney's Secret Death Squad

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.

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  1. fogiv

    CIA officals could face charges:

    Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), chair of a key intelligence subcommittee, called for an investigation Friday to determine if the CIA lied to the Congress, citing “systematic deception by the CIA.”

    In a letter to Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Schakowsky says that such deception amounts to “a possible violation of the National Security Act and, at a minimum, a blatant disregard of this committee’s oversight authority.”

    In an interview with the Huffington Post, Schakowsky added that the investigation could lead to charges against CIA officials being forwarded to the Department of Justice.

  2. spacemanspiff

    “Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call ‘society’. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”

    – Glen Bateman, The Stand

  3. HappyinVT

    and if we were talking about anyone other than Dick Cheney I wouldn’t believe it.

    What I find interesting is that all of this is coming to light now.  Someone is going to have to remind me how all of this started.  Was it with the release of the CIA torture memos?

    Also, there needs to be some heads rolling at CIA.  I’ve always been queasy with the notion of not prosecuting agents for “just following orders.”  Ironic given that shortly after Obama and Holder made that announcement we extradicted the Nazi guard back to face charges (I’m too lazy to look up how to spell his name).  Anyway, now, presumably, some of these same people are still working at the CIA and still lying to Congress.  I’m not sure if Panetta knows who he can trust or how long it will take to weed out the ones who need to go.

    It also disturbs me on one hand that we may be distracted by all of this.  The economy, two wars, North Korea, Iran, Honduras, Israel/Palestine, climate change, healthcare…the list goes on and on.  On the other hand, in a purely political I-want-it-all moment, any way this helps Dems works for me.  If Cheney, Boehner, Hoesktra, Bond and whomever else want to side with the CIA in all of this, go ahead.

  4. Benito Malito

    I am honestly baffled by the talking point. “The CIA misled Congress?!?!?” As if that is a controversial statement. And the newsflash that it lead to Cheney; What a shocker!

    Pelosi handled the press conferences terribly and took some awful abuse over this thing. I’m no fan of hers but that was so unfair and nobody reads the retractions.

    The real question is “What to do?”. There are so many Bush/Cheney/Rove rabbit-holes to dig up and Obama is really chasing a lot of stars. Do we waste capital and time setting the record straight with a tone deaf American public? Congress has 7 weeks until we are in the mid-term election cycle. I say push best healthcare option through and we probably need another stimulus.

    Hopefully Cheney will stfu. I miss the old days when he didnt book interviews.    

  5. Benito Malito

    as a fellow bone-licker. The burned bone sticks to your tongue much more. A little nugget of knowledge archaeologists and serial-killers share.  

  6. alyssa chaos

    Is it really a big shock that the CIA carries out crazy secret missions without telling congress.

    Not to say that its right, but hasn’t there always been a big disconnect between the CIA and congress and the law?

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