12 July 2009

Drip. Drip. Drip.

It's getting interesting now.

The New York Times is reporting that former Vice President Cheney ordered the CIA to withhold information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years. (In situations involving Cheney, it's often wise to use the term 'counterterrorism' advisedly.)

What was it?

Could it have been the secret "'executive assassination ring' that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney?" Can you say "Blackwater"? No, now you have to say Xe—which is basically unpronounceable. And do the names Wellstone and Benazir Bhutto ring a bell? How about Mel Carnahan or Bruce Ivins? Ever hear of a guy named Gus Boulis or Ken Lay? How about David Kelly?

Could it have had anything to do with Cheney's limited admission of his personal authorization of the use of torture of at least one suspected terrorist at Guantanamo Bay? Cheney stated he "was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it." If he's admitting to this much, you just know there's more there that he's hiding.

Could it have been the collection by AT&T (and other telecoms) and its turning over of "tens of millions of telephone and Internet records to the NSA in what it calls a "massive and illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications."

Could it have been the authorization and use of the so-called "Pinwale e-mail database" that improperly accessed the emails of millions of Americans, including former President Bill Clinton. And could this program, which was at the heart of the crisis at the hospital bedside of John Ashcroft in 2004, have been extended to spy on, let's say, domestic political challengers such as, e.g., Democratic members of Congress or the Senate or national presidential candidates, or Republican rivals of the Bush administration who were wobbly on Cheney's ambitious plans? Who knows who all Cheney was keeping tabs on? Remember, Rumsfeld (who was particularly tight with Cheney) practically set up his own in-house intelligence office—the Office of Special Plans—in order to stovepipe intel directly to the warmongers in the White House. Was there an ops side to this as well?

Could it have had anything to do with the illicit program of spying on U.N. delegations in the run-up to the U.N. Security Council's "vote" on Bush's plan to invade of Iraq? Or the Bush administration's "fixing the intelligence" referred to in the so-called "Downing Street Memo"?

Cheney has been the master of the use of classified information as both a sword and a shield. He has used it to advance his political aims, e.g., to destroy political enemies (Valerie Plame, anyone?) and he has hidden behind it and lied about its contents when it suited his purpose and he knew no one could challenge his lies without revealing classified information (does the name Rockefeller ring a bell).

Frankly, it's all speculation at this point. We just don't know now. But somebody does. Do you think this had anything to do with it: "Obama extends Cheney's Secret Service Protection? Bear in mind, the Secret Service not only guards and protects their charges, but they also 'keep an eye on'. Could Cheney be under some sort of super-secret house arrest at this point?

Interesting times.

Who's bringing the popcorn?

1 comment:

Steven Augustine said...

Thanks for mentioning Wellstone, Jim! In the end, as it turns out, Richard M. Nixon just didn't have the balls, eh... ?