Patterico's Pontifications


Democrats to investigate “secret” program reported by NYT in 2002

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:59 am

[Posted by Karl]

Via The Hill:

With their Speaker behind them, House Democrats are pushing ahead with plans to hold a series of hearings investigating instances in which intelligence officials may have misled members of Congress.

Senior Democratic aides said that a major announcement could come by the end of week, but it was already clear on Monday that House Democrats are seizing on weekend news reports that former Vice President Dick Cheney hid information from Congress.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the CIA, under the direction of Cheney, developed a secret counterterrorism program and then was directed by the vice president to conceal it from Congress.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the program was a classified initiative to kill or capture al Qaeda operatives.

Unfortunately for Democratic witch-hunters, their pals at the national security-defying New York Times apparently blew this secret back in December 2002:

The Bush administration has prepared a list of terrorist leaders the Central Intelligence Agency is authorized to kill, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be minimized, senior military and intelligence officials said.

The previously undisclosed C.I.A. list includes key Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as other principal figures from Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, the officials said. The names of about two dozen terrorist leaders have recently been on the lethal-force list, officials said. “It’s the worst of the worst,” an official said.

President Bush has provided written legal authority to the C.I.A. to hunt down and kill the terrorists without seeking further approval each time the agency is about to stage an operation. Some officials said the terrorist list was known as the “high-value target list.” A spokesman for the White House declined to discuss the list or issues involving the use of lethal force against terrorists. A spokesman for the C.I.A. also declined to comment on the list.

Despite the authority given to the agency, Mr. Bush has not waived the executive order banning assassinations, officials said. The presidential authority to kill terrorists defines operatives of Al Qaeda as enemy combatants and thus legitimate targets for lethal force.

Could it be that CIA Director Panetta does not have a good grip on the history of his agency’s post-9/11 efforts? Could it be that his Democratic colleagues have such a knee-jerk hostility to the CIA that they would jump on bad info to attack the CIA and Fmr. Vice-Pres. Cheney as a modified limited defense of Speaker Pelosi’s prior bogus attacks on the CIA regarding briefings on interrogation tactics? Could it be that the geniuses of the NYT forgot they already blew the program?

(Hint: Yes, Yes and Yes.)

(Credit to Andrew Breitbart and Guy P. Benson for the links.)

Update: Here’s Guy’s take at NRO.


30 Responses to “Democrats to investigate “secret” program reported by NYT in 2002”

  1. I want them to do this. Please.

    JD (1206f2)

  2. Now we know why the Democrats don’t read bills – they can’t read.

    cedarhill (d938ca)

  3. Karl,

    I’m sure that all Americans are shocked, Shocked!, to learn that the CIA was looking into eliminating top Al Queda leaders, specially in the wake of 9/11…

    BUT CHENEY KEPT IT FROM US!1!!1!eleventy

    Sure, he kept it secret from everybody; except, you know, those blabbermouths at the NYTimes; the paper where liberal Democrats went daily to get their talking points straight in the days before Kos’ “townhouse” cabal or “journo-list”…

    Anyone who stops for just a moment and thinks will realize that this is simply another Democratic vehicle for distraction and obfuscation…

    Speaker under fire for being causght lying? The previously hailed economic miracle that is the spendulus actually a bust?

    I know, let’s find a way to put Darth Cheney and eeeeeevolll Booooosh! back in the crosshairs and bail out Pelosi too at the same time!

    Democrats better tread lightly on this. I mean, O!&Co hasen’t exactly enjoyed a string of foreign policy successes. And, the left are already seen by the public as weak on national security, do they really want to dig the hole deeper? Not to mention, the entire premise being bogus in that a program doesn’t have to be cleared wit Congress until it, you know, actually becomes operational. Add this Pelosi’s already low, and falling, public approval and that the CIA doesn’t usually roll over when under assault by preening politicians…

    Seems to me like a recipe for political disaster…

    I guess I’d better stock up on popcorn!

    Nice pull Karl, and an excellent post as usual…

    Bob (99fc1b)

  4. Nice Post and I agree with everyone above. The Dems are desperate to try to save Queen Nancy. I just can’t wait for the CIA to dish out a little pay-back at Queen Pelosi. THAT will be interesting. There are certain people you just don’t mess with and an easy one to remember off the top of my head is: don’t piss off the CI fricken A! She’ll be looking over her shoulder for sure waiting for the shoe to drop.

    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  5. This sort of thing is so depressing. Unless you have read about Parliament in the late 1930s trying to pretend that Hitler was benign, you have no frame of reference for this sort of mendacity. British civil servants were taking secret papers from the PM’s office to give to Churchill to try to prepare for the inevitable war. Ralph Wigram killed himself in despair. Today, we see the entire Democratic Party duplicating this fiasco.

    Maybe we don’t deserve to survive given this level of frivolous voting. Hope and Change.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  6. Consistency has never been the strong-suit of the Left; in that, they accuse Cheney of directing the CIA to not reveal this program to Congress, but other sources have stated that this assassination program was not looked upon favorably by either the President (GWB) or Vice-President (RC).

    Which is it?
    Did Cheney tell the CIA not to brief Congress on a program CIA career personnel were developing that both he and the President had reservations about?
    To what end?

    And, if the NYT spilled this back in Dec-02:
    Where’s the beef?

    AD - RtR/OS! (1699eb)

  7. Mike K, while you certainly bring insightful historical perspective and lend context, I find myself reflexively reacting to this in frustration as it would seem this is but another strident move to distract the masses from the impending disasters of Cap and Trade, Health Care reform, and another mega-zillion dollar Stimulus Package. Even their desperation to distract from Pelosi is secondary to their making sure their reforms/ bills are met with success.

    Dana (57e332)

  8. If you think the prestidigitation going on in the House is bad now, just wait until Murtha and others are indicted for pulling a Cunningham – there will be a full-blown civil-war on that side of the Hill between the forces of Pelosi and Hoyer, with the GOP offering to hold suit-coats to keep themselves from doubling over with laughter.

    AD - RtR/OS! (1699eb)

  9. Focus people focus. This is just a distraction to divert attention away from cap & trade, government healthcare and Obama’s blackhole of social spending.

    This is a non issue except for the leftwingnuts.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  10. Say, couldn’t George W. Bush retroactively appoint Dick Cheney his “Terrorist Assassinations Czar”?

    This would circumvent the need for any participation or oversight by any other branch of government.

    Walsingham (0f0f46)

  11. Basically, the more you see the more you realize your initial instincts were right, Democrats do not have rational functioning brains.

    They hope for a Valeri Plame replay.

    bill-tb (365bd9)

  12. I hope against hope that they go through with this – what citizen is going to agree with the Dem’s premise that the evil Booshies and CIA drones were doing something terrible in trying to assassinate the top AQ leaders in order to prevent future 9/11’s? What are they going to accuse them of, trying to do their jobs?

    If they think this will be another awesome distraction, they’re correct – but not in the way they think it will be. It will only re – enforce many folk’s belief that the Dems care not a whit about protecting the country from future terrorist attacks, they only care about aggregating power.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  13. To second AD’s post, any attempt to discredit the CIA/NSA Intelligence Borg in this manner will bring a backlash of unimaginable proportions. They’ve opened the Pandora’s box, they’re going to reap the dividends.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  14. This is to Democrats what immigration is to the GOP: the core demands action, yet it’s poison among swing voters.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  15. Walsingham: “Say, couldn’t George W. Bush retroactively appoint Dick Cheney his “Terrorist Assassinations Czar”?”

    Ohhhh, you’re good!

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  16. I’ve got to say, I expected better push back than “the NY Times reported something similar 7 years ago.”

    Doesn’t answer the material question about misleading Congress nor being explicitly told TO mislead Congress, but what’s a little muddy water, eh?

    Karl, IF the Vice President of the United States expressly told the CIA to NOT inform Congress of a program requiring oversight, THEN he was in violation of the National Security Act. Seems like a damn hard thing to prove to me. Also seems like something you’d have an actual defense of, instead of “this program sounds similar and might be the ones Dems are mad about, so the CIA can legally inform Congress through leaks to the NY Times” balderdash you brought up here.

    I expect better politicization and better muddying come round 2 of this fiasco.

    Frankly, I’m surprised. This is an easy sell to Malkin’s rejects and the Patterico crowd, but surely the powers that be aren’t fooled that this will hamstring the press or Congress. Just a weak attempt.

    timb (54f935)

  17. GM,

    I appreciated Walsingham’s great comment, too, and I think he’s a fellow Texan.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  18. Karl, you left out the money quote from Risen and Johnson’s linked 12/15/02 NYT article.

    “The administration must notify Congressional leaders of any covert action finding signed by the president. In the case of the presidential finding authorizing the use of lethal force against members of Al Qaeda, Congressional leaders have been notified as required, the officials said.”

    Risen and Johnson cite as their sources, “senior military and intelligence officials.”

    Ropelight (bb3af5)

  19. timb,
    The executive must notify and inform Congress of covert actions and oprations, not ones that are being thinktanked and prepared for…

    Just aniother Democrat obfuscation…

    The stimulus isn’t doing Jack, and they’re deperate to neak cap-n-trade and Obamacare under the radar so they resort to the, “Look Bunnies!” approach…

    The most ethical party contraolling the most transparent and ethical congress and administration-EVAH!

    Sure, If you maintain that’s the truth, you may also be interested in this bridge I have here in Brooklyn; it’s for sale-CHEAP!

    Bob (99fc1b)

  20. When the 2010 prospects look especially grim for the Dems, that’s when the show trials will start.

    Techie (482700)

  21. […] that’s just pathetic Apparently the Democrats can’t even remember which secret programs the NYT has alread blown the cover […]

    Now that’s just pathetic « Something should go here, maybe later. (45e6e8)

  22. It is rather special Congress would be outraged about a program that never made it past the beauracracy’s planning stage yet as soon as they are informed of a program they leak it tot he NYT.

    It would be like Eisenhower disclosing his plans to Der Speigel so Adolph could sleep better at night.

    HeavenSent (641cde)

  23. Its getting more clear that this is a fake controversy to attempt to rehabilitate Pelosi.

    Striking, isn’t it, that rehabilitating an incompetent Speaker of the House is the most important task that the head of the CIA can find to entertain himself with …

    SPQR (2304cc)

  24. Its getting more clear that this is a fake controversy to attempt to rehabilitate Pelosi.

    This has what to do with the 2002 torture briefings she claimed she never got?

    Panetta discounted her storyline in May. This past week, his spokesman said: “Director Panetta stands by his May 15 statement.”

    steve (fe7d9a)

  25. I believe that even the President knows that such an investigation is a horrible idea.

    So, it’s going to come down to Rahm and Pelosi. Who will win? I don’t know.

    However, the Dems do need a distraction from the economy and international failures. Also, Pelosi needs cover.

    It will be interesting to see how this is parsed and presented with the media leading the way.

    The public, though, is not this easily mislead. If an investigation occurs, it could blow up in the Dem’s faces. After all, is there anything wrong with killing terrorists whether Congress knows it or not?

    Ag80 (a5a12b)

  26. “This has what to do with the 2002 torture briefings she claimed she never got?”

    steve – It has nothing to do with the torture briefs. It is supposed to substantiate Pelosi’s claim that the CIA lies in briefing Congress all the time. Get with the program.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  27. Daley, you should treat Tim with more respect. Remember that he is 40 years old, no matter that is doesn’t sound that way from his comments.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  28. Any 40 year old not named Snoop Dogg, that adds dizzle on the end of a name should be mocked, mercilessly.

    JD (49fac5)

  29. Mike K – It was steve, not timb. I thought steve was still stuck on stupid in Honduras but here he’s stuck on stupid on something else at least.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  30. Karl, IF the Vice President of the United States expressly told the CIA to NOT inform Congress of a program requiring oversight, THEN he was in violation of the National Security Act.

    Comment by timb — 7/14/2009 @ 1:14 pm

    So far there is no proof that Cheney told anyone to lie to Congress or force anyone into silence.

    Hayden himself has said the exact opposite:

    Former CIA Director: No One Told Me Not To Tell Congress

    The man who ran the CIA from 2006 through January says he wasn’t told by then-vice president Dick Cheney not to brief Congress about a covert program aimed at members of al-Qaida, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly reports.

    What would be nice is for the “most transparent” administration EVAAAAAAAAA to release the memo’s regarding the success of the enhanced interrogation program and where Pelosi along with other democrats were fully briefed on these practices.
    But apparently the “hope and change” crowd only considers getting to the truth to apply to releasing classified information/programs to newspapers and selectively releasing documents that help their made up scandals.


    This is the same lame,pathetic line that liberals used in regards to pre-war intel on Iraq.

    Since there was no proof what-so-ever that Bush or anyone in his administration lied about pre-war intel and the democrats were saying the same things about Saddam even before Bush was President,they had to trot out the “Bush/Cheney “manipulated” intel and “pressured” the CIA to fit the intelligence around there desire to take out Saddam.
    The 9/11 commission,2004 Senate intelligence report,Butler report,2008 Senate intelligence report (democrats in the majority) all found that Bush did not lie nor did his administration “manipulate” intelligence or “intimidate” CIA officials into manipulating the pre-war intel.

    The same type of conclusions will come from this bogus,manufactured scandal by the democrats to distract from the failures of their policies.

    The liberal sheep have been reduced to getting outraged about a program that targeted al-qaeda leaders,that was revealed in the NY Times in 2002,Congress was briefed on it,and it never reached operational level.

    But keep on spitting in the wind timmy,it is what
    I would expect from pathetic liberals who get their “facts” from jon stewart and olberman.

    Baxter Greene (8035ae)

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