Monday, July 13, 2009

Cheney 'ordered CIA to hide plan'.

There are some things which elicit almost no surprise:

The head of the CIA has accused former US Vice-President Dick Cheney of concealing an intelligence programme from Congress, a top US senator says.

The existence of the programme, set up after 9/11, was hidden for eight years and even now its nature is not known.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein confirmed CIA chief Leon Panetta told Congressional committees he had abandoned the project on hearing of it.

He said that Mr Cheney was behind the secrecy, Sen Feinstein said.

There has been no comment from Mr Cheney.

Dianne Feinstein is not what I would call a firebrand. Indeed, she is the kind of Democrat that I think gives the Democratic party a bad name, so keen is she to always give credence to Republican talking points.
Make no mistake, Dianne Feinstein defines Blue Dog, there isn’t a Republican or conservative issue out there that doesn’t have her backing. She voted for the wars, she voted for the tax cuts, she voted for the Patriot Act, the list goes on and on, looking at the record without a name attached she would have to be a solid Republican.
So, when she says that she is shocked by the behaviour of a Republican Vice President, we should pay attention. This is not a lady known to attack the other party along purely partisan lines.

And yet even she is shocked by what Cheney has done.

The Bush administration may have broken the law, Sen Feinstein said, adding that Congress should never be kept in the dark, even though the country was still in shock after the 9/11 attacks.

"This is a big problem," she said.

"I understand the need of the day... but I think you weaken your case when you go outside the law."

The fact that Feinstein is shocked to discover the fact that the Bush administration might have strayed outside the law is further proof of her blue dog status. The rest of us have simply accepted that this is what the Bush administration did.

Cheney, who witnessed what happened to Nixon first hand, believed that the presidency needed to be reclaimed and that too much power had been taken away from the executive. To that end, he treated Congress with contempt. And I think he was able to do so because Democrats like Fienstein bowed before the Cheney doctrine of executive power and the need to give the president whatever powers he claimed to have in order that he could "keep us safe".

So, it's not a small matter when someone like Feinstein says that Cheney has broken the law.

Of course, we still don't have a clue as to what this illegal programme actually did.

Details of the newly-revealed secret programme have still not been divulged, but sources say it did not relate to the CIA's rendition programme, interrogation methods or a controversial domestic surveillance project.

Officials quoted by the New York Times say the programme was launched by anti-terror operatives at the CIA soon after the 2001 attacks, and involved planning and training but never became fully operational.

Another unnamed official told AP it was an embryonic intelligence-gathering effort, aimed at yielding intelligence that would be used to conduct covert operations abroad.

But the BBC's Kim Ghattas, in Washington, says there is some debate in the intelligence world about how significant the programme actually was.

I am slightly sceptical when I am told that this programme was not "significant". It was certainly significant enough for Cheney to want to keep it secret and significant enough for Panetta to cancel it the very second that he became aware of it.

What it entails we might never know. But the very fact that Dianne Feinstein is shocked by it's illegality is enough to make me sit up and pay attention.

How many more acts of Cheney's illegality have to come to light before the Obama administration finally prosecute the old reprobate?

Or are we going to uphold the Nixon theory of executive power and say that, "it is not illegal if the president does it"?


Let me be clear that I, like everyone else, have no bloody idea what this programme entails. However, Seymour Hersh as hinted earlier in the year as to what he has discovered:

In March, the respected investigative reporter Seymour Hersh revealed that he had uncovered evidence during research for an as-yet unpublished book that Cheney oversaw an "executive assassination ring" for years.

"It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. ... Congress has no oversight of it," he said at the time.

"It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on. 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."

Whether or not the secret programme involved assassination, an insight in to how radical it might have been was offered by Peter Hoekstra, a leading Republican on the House of Representatives intelligence committee. He told the New York Times that he believed Congress would have approved it in the days immediately after the 9/11 attacks but would have backed away after that.

I feel quite sure that we will eventually learn what this programme actually entailed.


Here is Feinstein talking about this. Notice how she seeks to put this in the light of 9-11. The fact that she is shocked gives some hint as to how bad this programme was.

Click title for full article.


nunya said...

"Di-Fei" shocked?

Baloney. She's been called "Nixon in a Wig."

Her husband was a war profiteer.

She knows how nasty politics are. She spoke to the press when Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk were shot in 1978.

Kel said...


The fact that she is shocked tells me that Cheney is operating way outside of the law, even for Feinstein.

And I love the phrase, "Nixon in a wig!"

nunya said...


The CIA has always lied. They have always operated outside the laws of everything (including human decency) for the benefit of the rich in this country. The only thing they do for the American people is collect information and display it online for every country on the earth. It's considered a legitimate source of information for school purposes.

Kel said...

I find that really shocking. They are blatantly ignoring what should be the political process in your country.