or cover up from Congress the existence of a secret program designed to capture or kill
Al Qaeda operatives in the world. Senator Diane Feinstein confirmed the report after a
briefing she received from CIA director Leon Panetta, who has now cancelled the program.
The Wall Street Journal reports that there were funds appropriated and some training done,
but the operation was never implemented.
The merits of creating a government version of Murder Inc. can be debated at
another time. Needless to say, we would condemn anyone who created an organization
the purpose of which was to kill American officials. Oh wait, we already do condemn
Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and Iran for doing that, don't we?
The really stunning revelation here is that the Vice President of the United States
ordered an executive agency to lie to Congress. The lying part isn't even the interesting
part. The CIA lies to Congress all the time. The interesting part is that the Vice President
ordered, and they obeyed. You remember the Vice Presidency, don't you? John Gardner
once described it being worth less than a "bucket of warm spit". The Vice President has
no executive line of authority over any branch of the government. He is powerless. The
only power he possesses is as President of the Senate, where he can break a tie vote. This
raises the question as to how Cheney could order the CIA to do anything; and why would
they obey him? This new revelation is not small potatoes. The Constitution places no
power in the Vice Presidency. He has no authority. Any authority the Vice President has
he gets through the President. He can't even attend cabinet meetings unless the President
wishes him to be in attendance. So how was Cheney able to order the CIA to lie?
The constitutional and legal questions this raises boggle the mind. Did a coup
occur and was Cheney the de facto President during the Bush years? This is an accusation
that was made by many observing this administration. It was dismissed as the rantings of
partisan enemies of Bush; but now that idea cannot be so easily waved away. Where else
was Cheney giving orders? Did Cheney order the White House counsel and the Justice
Department lawyers to write legal opinions authorizing torture? (which Cheney still defends
as legal) Did Cheney order the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys? What role did Cheney play in
the NSA decision to illegally wire tap and data mine e-mails and internet traffic? Cheney
held secret meetings with oil, gas, and coal officials prior to new Bush regulations easing
restrictions on those industries. Did Cheney order these new rules? CIA analysts said that
Cheney made numerous trips to Langley, VA to pressure them into "cooking the books"
on Iraq. Under whose authority did he do that? When President Bush was out in public,
Cheney was in a secret location totally protected. Who was really the President? These
questions could appear frivolous, except that they go to the core of our constitutional
republican form of government. Was there a power in Washington that the people didn't
know about? Could Cheney have been elected President all on his own?
We need answers to these questions. Do you understand the implications of what
this could mean to our form of government? What role did Bush play in all of this? Did
the President know? Did Bush turn the Presidency over to Cheney? President Clinton
elevated the FEMA director to a cabinet role, a decision that Cheney and his ilk disagreed
with. Did Cheney reduce FEMA's role and influence; and is that how we got "Brownie",
and is that why the federal response to Katrina was so poor? Haven't you ever wondered
how it was that the musings of the Vice President caused the CIA to task a mission to Niger,
assign Ambassador Wilson to go, and then report back to the Vice President what he found?
Then, when his findings disagreed with the Vice President's contentions about Saddam
Hussein and nuclear weapons, a Cheney protege put 18 words into the President's State
of the Union speech which were not true and that the President had to eventually disavow.
Who was President of the United States from 2001-2008? It's not a crazy question
anymore. President Obama cannot dither and tap dance anymore. The American people
need to know if their government was hijacked in a bloodless (unless you count almost
5000 dead American soldiers, 50-100 thousand wounded, and as many as one million dead
Iraqis) coup? There needs to be a thorough investigation by an independent source.
Attorney General Eric Holder is said to be leaning towards investigating "rogue" CIA
agents who may have engaged in torture. President Obama is on the record as saying that
what Holder wants to do is Holder's decision alone. That isn't enough in this case. We know
that Cheney was selectively declassifying secret documents to be leaked to reporters in
the outing of covert CIA analyst Valerie Plame Wilson. Where did he get that authority?
Was he doing it on his own? Did he have to ask for permission? What did President Bush
know, and when did he know it?
This isn't about lying over an affair with an intern (which led to an impeachment
trial). This is a possible coup. This is a possible usurpation of the Constitution on an
epic scale. This is the grandaddy of constitutional crisises that would make Watergate
look like a walk in the park. There must be a full blown investigation. No stone can be
left unturned. Bush administration officials have to be under oath; including the President,
the Vice President, Rice, Rumsfeld, Addington, Libby, Bolton, et al.
The movie "Seven Days in May" is one of my favorite movies. In it, the military
attempts a coup to remove the President because they disagree with him on foreign policy.
It is a scary movie and raises questions about the nature of democracy and elections and
power, and how it is wielded in this country. It is a work of fiction, but disturbing none
the less. Questions about Cheney are not fiction. Who was running this country? President
Obama has to announce a full scale investigation, no matter where the chips fall. The
American people have the right to know what happened, and how to prevent it from ever
happening again. It wasn't "Seven Days in May", but it might have been eight years in
Washington. What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please send
them to lionoftheleft @gmail.com