What CIA Program Was Cheney Trying To Hide From Congress, You Ask?

[media id=8998] CSPANjunkie's video highlights the outrage members of Congress felt after learning what Dick Cheney was up to with the CIA. And ther

CSPANjunkie's video highlights the outrage members of Congress felt after learning what Dick Cheney was up to with the CIA.

And there's a lot of speculation going on about what possible CIA program Dick Cheney was trying to hide from Congress. Trusting the WSJ when it comes to the Bush administration is like trusting the Yanks to win against the Angels in Anaheim. (I was due for a bad baseball analogy.)

TIME magazine has a few sources that make a case that's a bit more believable.

It is the biggest mystery in Washington at the moment. Here's what our colleague Bobby Ghosh says his sources are telling him:

Speculation abounds about the nature of the secret program Dick Cheney asked the CIA to keep from the Congressional oversight committees. The most sensational reports suggest it was plan to find and kill top Al Qaeda leaders – like the covert Israeli campaign to take out the perpetrators of the Munich killings.

But two former ranking CIA officials have told TIME that there's another equally plausible possibility: The program could have required the Agency to spy on Americans. Domestic surveillance is outside the CIA's purview -– it's usually the FBI's job – and it's easy to see why Cheney would have wanted to keep it from Congress.

Both officials say they were never told what was in the program, and that they're only making calculated guesses. But their theory gibes with other reports, quoting ex-CIA officials, that say the program had to do with intelligence collection, not assassinations.

“People may want this to be about hit squads bumping off shady Saudis in Geneva, but that's very unlikely,” says one official. “More likely, it was a plan to spy on some suspicious American citizens or organizations, without telling the FBI.”

A third CIA official who is familiar with details of the program says it was deemed unworkable and cancelled in 2004.

With Cheney's love of spying, this makes perfect sense since catching and killing terrorists just like Jack Bauer is something that any member of Congress would have signed off on in a heart beat. Spying and keeping secrets is Darth Cheney's MO and when he sends his daughter out to defend him only sends up more red flags.

Digby writes:

This is something so far off the charts that even the wingnuttiest wingnuts distanced themselves from it:

Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, said last week that he believed Congress would have approved of the program only in the angry and panicky days after 9/11, on 9/12, he said, but not later, after fears and tempers had begun to cool.

Does that sound like something about killing Al Qaeda or spying on Muslims in America? They did that anyway. This is something else.

In other words, the only way possible a program like this might have been contemplated was when Americans were utterly terrified. You can count on Cheney to be consistent when it comes to playing the fear card.

About John Amato

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.