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July 14, 2009

Why would Cheney hide proposed Al Qaeda hit squads from congress?

The New York Times is reporting that the super-secret program Dick Cheney ordered the CIA to conceal from Congress involved a plan to send teams of hit men to hunt down suspected al Qaeda operatives. 

We're told that job was ultimately left to killer drones because death squads proved impractical.

But if that was it, why would Dick Cheney order the CIA deny the program? The U.S. declared war on AQ after 9/11. The CIA has been operating against AQ ever since. You don't have to be a high-ranking intel committee member to know about the drone strikes, you just have to read a newspaper once in a while. Of course, Cheney is notoriously paranoid and secretive. But the administration even sends out press releases about its shiny killer drones.

A former CIA counterterrorism official told TPM Muckraker that there's no legal difference between killing with a drone and shooting or stabbing the victim.

So, it seems safe to assume that the program involved something more than a vague plan to send CIA agents to hunt down suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, or even Pakistan.


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I regret that 8 years of the Bush administration has left me a bit of a conspiracy theorist. Unfortunately, the tin foil hat position seems to have borne out more often than not in recent memory. That said...

My hypothesis is that the assassination operation wasn't targeted at "al Qaeda" but members of foreign governments that someone might want to attach an "al Qaeda enabler/sympathizer/supporter" label to. This would allow them to float the current fishy story with an element of truth without admitting that they were plotting to knock off people from are ostensible allies governments. (read: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, perhaps Egypt)

Kudos to Lindsay for headlining this obvious question.

The Frank Olson case also has Cheney on the scene of an allegedly false CIA explanation.

Good 'ol Dick lied to us about so many other things, why not just one more for the list?


Maybe they tried a mission, and it went really badly (as in, all our guys end up dead, badly). People like to keep screwups secret, too. AQ wouldn't keep quiet about that, though.

the rank hypocrisy of the republicans is on full and arrogant display in this area, far more than any other.

clinton fires folks in the white house travel office: special prosecutor
clinton participates in a shady lad deal: special prosecutor
clinton has improper relationship with an intern: impeach the bastard

cheney/bush/gonzales/etc. lie to begin a war that causes the deaths of over 100,000 people, for reasons that are still unclear. form teams of roving assainins to travel the world and kill folks on the orders of the white house. they spy on americans. they routinely do things that are blatantly illegial and in direct opposition to the constitution.

let's not jump to conclusions.

my head reels.

fuck this. the tuna are biting off of rosarito i'm outta here.

Benazir Bhutto?

Because Sen. Leahy would want OJ Trials for the Al Queda leadership beforehand.

kidnapping, detaining, torturing, and extra judicial killing in allied territory.

It's the very definition of TERRORISM.

with this, if China, Russia, or Iran feels US is protecting "terrorits" aka, Bush version of human right activists.

Then they can enter european, US or any other territory in the world, kidnap the person and eliminate him.

(Actually, china already exercise that action without any complain from australia and US. They nab suspected 'criminals' who tries to run into US/australian territory)

Now, US can't complain jacked about "things that happens in Iran" (unless of course US will argue, my kdinapping and torturing is better than yours. and your law is illegal in your own land.)

In the end, this will make everybody's life that much more dangerous.

Get ready for nabbing US diplomats and troops all over the world.

Remember, that thousands of Sunnis were found murdered, floating in the river, and by the side of the road in and around Bagdad. This happened over a period of 2 or 3 months. To stop the road side bombings and suicide bombings, Dick Cheney hired ex Saddam Sunni hit squads to kill Sunnis. It worked. Just after these assassinations, the bombings stopped. Sunnis fled Bagdad. It was all blamed on Shiite militia.

Thousands of innocent Sunnis were murdered.

Why would Cheney hide proposed Al Qaeda hit squads from congress?

Because it's more than just hit squads.

What is it you people don't understand about the terms 'confidential','top secret',and 'classified'? You could not find one congressman in a thousand who actually knows how to keep his mouth shut.

>>why would Dick Cheney order the CIA deny the program?

Explain to me, please, how Cheney was in a position to order anybody to do anything. As vice-President, Cheney had zero executive authority. Outside of his office staff, nobody was commanded to follow a single order he issued. Not one. His writ of authority extended no further than presiding over the Senate and sitting on a few government bureaucracy boards. If there are indictable offenses and some government or military official makes the claim that he commanded such offense because he was ordered to by Cheney, well, such official bears the entire responsibility for the offense. The official was not to follow orders by someone who had no command to issue orders. He will and should swing alone from the gallows.

All this talk about Cheney is just a lot of hot air. The man had no command. He had no more command than you or I. Nobody should have followed a single "order" he gave because he had no lawful capacity to give orders. If they did do so, that is their problem.

Cheney didn't have the legal authority to order the CIA to lie to Congress. Nobody does!

D. Rosenthal, just because a program is classified doesn't give the CIA a license to lie about it. The intelligence committees hear about classified programs all the time.

Because Sen. Leahy would want OJ Trials for the Al Queda leadership beforehand.

Phantom, are you suggesting that you think the Al Queda leadership should be executed without trial?

And are you still comfortable with that if--oh, let's say, Al Sharpton--gets to decide who the leadership of Al Queda is?

Sometimes the rule of law is a useful thing to have.

why would cheney hide hit sqauds? duh i dont know ask nancy p she sure can keep a secret

Cheney is a branch of government onto itself, yo!

The fourth branch. And he still is. (notice he was all over TV few weeks back, Liz, and porter goss too.)

(even today, none of his crimes and illegal activities are investigated at all.)

>>Cheney didn't have the legal authority to order the CIA to lie to Congress. Nobody does!

Precisely. So where is the crime or offense? Cheney had no command under law. If some bureaucrat obeyed an "order" from Cheney then the fault and offense is with the bureaucrat entirely, not with Cheney, because Cheney had no conceivable power to effect an "order", nor any expectation that such an "order" would be obeyed.

You got a problem with what was done by the CIA then go after the CIA bureaucrats or Bush himself, if he gave illegal orders, but leave Cheney alone. He is constitutionally incapable of giving an illegal order.

Just a lot of hot air by the left. They always need some evil adversary to point at.

D. Rosenthal

Correct. The Congress is an assemblage of loose-lipped criminals.


Killing the leadership of Al Queda is the general idea, yes. I'm entirely in favor of that. When Obama sends a missile into the NW Frontier Province, those on the receiving end don't get an OJ Trial

Targeted killings would be a more humane method, with less chance of collateral damage.

investigating Bush?

executive privilege. taaa daaa.

(national security, la la la.)

Suborning perjury is still a crime if the vice president does it, Daniel. Who even cares whether Cheney broke the law this time? History will remember him as a megalomaniac who overstepped his authority and subverted democracy.

Targeted killings would be a more humane method, with less chance of collateral damage.

You've managed to sidestep the question, which is "who defines the target?"

You've suggested that you're satisfied if it's the president, whether it's one you voted for or not. How about the vice president? Secretary of State? Secretary of Defense? Head of the joint chiefs?

Who defines the target for a hellfire missile?

The Commander in Chief or the military at his direction are fine by me.

Phantom, the U.S. has been at war with AQ and the Taliban since 2001. So, there's no legal barrier to killing AQ targets in Afghanistan with drones or hitmen or whatever. Congress and the American people already know about that. The secret program has to be something else.

It's not okay for the US to swoop into friendly countries and kidnap people. It's one thing to operate on the battlefield, it's quite another to declare the entire globe a free-fire zone.

You've all missed the point and bought this smoke about hit squads..this is all BS

Conveniently happening to push the real story--the IG report on surveillance out of the picture.

This hit squad stuff gives a pseudo patriotic spin that is quite intentional.

Why would Panetta rush to congress to tell about a program that never happened?

Why would a non functional program exist for 7 years?

Why did all this happen now--just days after a report describing data mining of email, credit card info, bank records, phone records, internet usage--all said to have accomplished little or nothing against a terror threat. This conclusion by 5 Bush appointed IGs for all intelligence departments.

Somebody wanted to ring the Cheney bell and like Pavlovs dogs the media and you all ran to the BS food dish and are slurping up the misdirection.

There's way more involved than hit squads. Take a deep breath and step back. The view is always more encompassing with a wider lens.

You know, jeff, that's an excellent point.

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