Posts Tagged ‘threshold’

Democrats New Attack Of Cheney And CIA Is Same Old Demagoguery

July 13, 2009

“Aha!” Democrats are out in droves telling everyone who will listen (which of course includes the entire mainstream media propaganda machine).  “The CIA really DOES lie to Congress!  And we have the smoking gun!”

They are referring to a “secret CIA program” that was not disclosed to Congress for nearly 8 years.

And they argue that it proves Nancy Pelosi, rather than being a lying demagogue who tries to cover her own lies by claiming that other everyone else are the actual liars.

Of this “secret CIA program” the generally reliably liberal Washington Post says:

In an interview last night with The Washington Post, an intelligence official said it was “generally known” from the beginning that Cheney had requested that the program be kept from Congress. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it was unclear whether the agency was obligated to brief Congress.

During the second half of the Bush administration, CIA officials did not consult with the administration about the program or take orders from Cheney to keep it secret, according to former agency officials who held senior posts at the time.

“We never briefed the vice president, the president or the Cabinet,” said a former senior intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the program remains highly secret. He said the program remained in the planning stages and never crossed the agency’s threshold for reporting to the administration and congressional overseers.

Congress and the CIA have jousted for decades over the interpretation of the 1947 law creating the agency, which included a provision mandating that the committees be kept “fully and currently informed” of intelligence issues. Even for covert actions, lawmakers on the committees generally must be notified.

But the law also says such briefings should be done “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”

So two things come out of an actual examination of the facts:

1) “The program remained in the planning stages and never crossed the agency’s threshold for reporting to the administration and congressional overseers.”

2) The current flap is nothing more than the continuation of an debate that has been going on for 62 years as to just what “fully and currently informed” means in relation to the fact that such briefings only be conducted “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”

It doesn’t really sound like much of an issue for the Democrats to hang their hats on – and it certainly doesn’t sound like they have any legitimate issue to hang Dick Cheney by the neck until dead over.

Not that a lack of facts or evidence has ever stopped Demagogues before.

Democrats claim that the really evil thing about all of this is that Dick Cheney ordered the program kept secret, even as they argue that this evidence of the CIA’s failure to disclose information about programs somehow vindicates Nancy Pelosi.

A couple more things should come out:

First of all, there’s the letter that seven Democrats released following a classified briefing to Congress by CIA Director Panetta disclosing the “secret programs.”  They couldn’t wait to run and tell.  They just couldn’t wait to undermine secrecy for the sake of political demagoguery.  And if that doesn’t serve as a proof of the wisdom of Dick Cheney in wanting the CIA program kept secret, I don’t know what is.  If Senators and Representatives can’t keep their mouths shut about classified briefings, it’s better that they just be kept in the dark – just as the 1947 law provides.

Second of all, to whatever extent Leon Panetta’s briefing actually hurts Dick Cheney, just realize that this isn’t the first time that Leon Panetta has displayed the giant partisan chip on his shoulder regarding one Dick Cheney.

Another not-so-little issue is this: Nancy Pelosi didn’t just say that the CIA didn’t always fully inform: she said they repeatedly lied.  And in spite of all the Democrats own lies, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that Nancy Pelosi was right in her accusations, or even that the CIA failed to do anything they were required to do.

This is now the third time that Democrats have tried to dredge up the demonization of Bush officials and CIA professionals for the sake of political gamesmanship.  It is a frankly evil endeavor.

The biggest risk is that the CIA will become more bitter and defensive than they are already.  The biggest risk to our national security is that our intelligence professionals – who need to take risks and bold actions in order to be successful at what they do – will begin to refuse to take risks, and engage in the repetitive dotting of every ‘i’ and the crossing of every ‘t’.  It’s a process known as “slow rolling.”  CIA professionals will increasingly start sending avalanches of paperwork to cover their backsides rather than doing anything that might even possibly risk their pensions.  And you can count that it’s going on in an agency whose morale has been recently describe as sullen, depressed, and enraged.  That’s the “change” Obama and Democrats have brought to the CIA.