Good Advice From the Right

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Bush Administration, Dick Cheney, Obama Administration

Scott Shane writes in the New York Times:

The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

Righties are leaping on the word of several people quoted in the article that the program was never “fully operational.” As far as they’re concerned, that means the whole thing is a non-issue. But of course, they lack the moral courage to face the issue.

The issue is that in the days after 9/11, the unidentified program was devised, and Cheney made the decision to conceal it from Congress, in violation of the law. Planning and training for the program began in 2001 and continued until this year, presumably when Panetta found out about it and shut it down. All we know about the program is that it did not involve domestic surveillance or interrogations. Even if the program was never fully operational, it was an ongoing activity that should have been reported at least to the “Gang of Eight” per the National Security Act of 1947, says Jonathan Turley.

Scott Shane continues,

In the eight years of his vice presidency, Mr. Cheney was the Bush administration’s most vehement defender of the secrecy of government activities, particularly in the intelligence arena. He went to the Supreme Court to keep secret the advisers to his task force on energy, and won.

A report released on Friday by the inspectors general of five agencies about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program makes clear that Mr. Cheney’s legal adviser, David S. Addington, had to approve personally every government official who was told about the program. The report said “the exceptionally compartmented nature of the program” frustrated F.B.I. agents who were assigned to follow up on tips it had turned up.

Etc.

Then, of course, there was the role played by that other guy in the Cheney Administration:

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Reports are that President Obama doesn’t want to “look back” at the crimes of the Bush Administration, because this would distract from the enormous domestic agenda he is trying to push through. There are reports that Attorney General Eric Holder may appoint a prosecutor to investigate torture ordered by the Bush Administration. I hope so, but I’m not going to hold my breath until he does.

So what is the “good advice from the Right,” per the title? I give you Reliapundit from THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS, a “global group blog” for people with damaged keyboards stuck in caps lock. Anyway, Mr. R says,

THIS ATTACK ON BUSH-CHENEY IS AN ATTEMPT BY THE LEFT TO DISTRACT THE PUBLIC – ESPECIALLY THE INDEPENDENTS – AND KEEP THEM FROM MOVING RIGHT AND TOWARD THE GOP ON FISCAL, SPENDING, REGULATORY AND TAX ISSUES.

THE LEFT DOESN’T WANT THE PUBLIC TO HONE IN ON THE ULTRA-LEFT CAP & TRADE AND OBAMACARE PROPOSALS.

What we’re really dealing with is a steady drip of disinformation from the far-right “think tanks,” astroturf organizations and the various wingnut mouthpieces, scattering scare stories and lies about “socialized medicine” to frighten Congress and the American people from doing what needs to be done. I want the American people to know the truth about President Obama’s health care and energy proposals, but since it’s just about impossible to get the truth out over the screams and lies of the Right, maybe we should go the other way — pull a Karl Rove, as it were — and use investigations of the crimes of the Bush Administration to keep the Right busy so that actual work can get done. Kill two birds with one stone, as it were.

Related: In an absoluely stunning display of cognitive dissonance, one rightie proclaims “Dems Leak Secrets To Cover Pelosi’s Lies.” You can’t make this up.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Conrad Strong  •  Jul 12, 2009 @2:25 pm

    It’s unbelievable that we allowed these people to govern for eight years and now it’s stunning that we are just going to sweep their crimes under the rug in the name of pragmatic politics. I hope for the sake of history and for the sake of upholding the rule of law that Cheney and his gang are held accountable for their lawlessness.

  2. Swami  •  Jul 12, 2009 @2:28 pm

    I hope that Holder decides to appoint a prosecutor. Given the statements that he’s already made in public I don’t see how he cannot go forward with an investigation. He’s already framed it as a personal desire not to gum up Obama’s agenda against his duty to the law. And I don’t think he’ll be happy with himself if he stands in the tradition of Alberto Gonzales.

    My inkling is that Obama really wants to go forward with a wink wink. Because any exposing of Bush and Cheney’s criminal activities will only serve to make Obama appear as a more honorable man who cherishes our Constitution and the rule of law.

  3. Bonnie  •  Jul 12, 2009 @3:37 pm

    Everything I have heard about Cheney after 9/11 has shown him to be nothing but scared, cowardly, mean little old man. Nothing he did was for the country; it was to protect his cowardly fat a**.

  4. erinyes  •  Jul 12, 2009 @5:15 pm

    Right you are, Ms. Maha

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 12, 2009 @7:03 pm

    THIS ATACK IS IN CAPITOL LETERS NOT BECAUSE IM DEF AND DUM
    IM CAN SPEEK
    I JUST D-U M-B ASS N STOOPID.
    I FIGURE IF I CAPITOLIZ EVRY WORD ILL MAKE THEM MORE IMPORTENT AND MAKE ME SEEM MORE SMARTOR.
    I DONT KARE WATT THEY SAY, TRUMANS WIFE WAS GRATE, BUT BUSH WAZ THE BESS!

    This is not difficult. Investigate, and if guilty, incarcerate. Just like in every day life you do for every every day crimes. That these were extraordinary crimes makes it more important to do so.
    Don’t make a big deal out of anything unless you can prove it! We all know that this was the most criminal adminstration in history. Now, prove it! Without pissing off the usual right-wing boo-hoo chorus.
    Follow the law to follow the money and power!!!

  6. Dave S  •  Jul 12, 2009 @7:13 pm

    Spot on, Bonnie. The whole point to terror is to terrorize, and it worked beautifully on Bush and Cheney. They spent 8 years sh**ting their pants, hiding behind the military that they eschewed long ago. They had a brief opportunity to be bold and change the world after 9/11, and instead they invaded an innocent country and installed a police state. Cowards.

  7. Swami  •  Jul 12, 2009 @9:51 pm

    Hitler’s death camps were never fully operational either! From what I understand there was a backlog on the production of ovens and severe shortages of Zyklon B that hindered a full operation of the final solution.

    I shouldn’t criticize Cheney for being incompetent because I’m sure it’s no easy task to get a fully functional death squad up and running. I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I had to form a death squad,except that I’d know intuitively that I would have to hide it from the law…Just like Cheney did

  8. Will Pote  •  Jul 12, 2009 @10:35 pm

    [Deleted. No “truthism” allowed. See comment policy. — maha]

  9. gypsy howell  •  Jul 13, 2009 @8:20 am

    Honestly, I just assumed that death squads and assassination plots were part of the everyday activities of the CIA, and have been since 1947. As for it being directed at Al Qaeda – that seems ridiculous on the face of it. Our government’s been crowing about killing Number Three and Number Two every few months since 2001.

    No, it must be something “worse” in the eyes of Leon Panetta, although I can’t imagine what that is, now that our government has openly admitted to torturing people, overthrowing democratically elected governments (see ‘Iran’), sweeping surveillance on us (see ‘telecom immunity’) and more.

    Really, what’s left? Wellstone? Anthrax attacks on Democrats? I doubt if I’m being imaginative enough.

  10. Vigilante  •  Jul 13, 2009 @11:33 am

    Cheney was out of control. Nothing he did as VPOTUS should escape scrutiny. That said, I think this super secret program was not unlawful surveillance of Americans, but (planning) assassinations of Al-Qaeda targets

    If this is what it turns out to be, I don’t think this story packs much of a wallop and Progressives do not serve our cause well in lending it legs. In the wake of 911, getting al Qaeda leaders dead or alive (later vacated by Bush!) was of paramount importance and legitimacy. It was much, much, much more appropriate than invading and occupying Iraq. As far as who in Congress is entitled to information like this, that’s pretty much of a slippery slope. (Loose lips and loosely-bound minds.)

  11. Dave S  •  Jul 13, 2009 @12:25 pm

    Gypsey Howell: “Honestly, I just assumed that death squads and assassination plots were part of the everyday activities of the CIA, and have been since 1947” and Vigilante: “If this is what it turns out to be, I don’t think this story packs much of a wallop

    I believe “hit squads” are blatantly illegal, according to both US law and international law. We can kill ’em on the battlefield, but not otherwise, as I understand it. (How those unmanned drone attacks fit into this, I have no idea.) The CIA is supposed to gather and analyze information. Every time they’ve played hit squad (think Bay of Pigs), it’s gone Way Wrong.

    I think the bigger problem, though, is that whatever it is, congress hasn’t been briefed, and that is also against the law. No matter how you look at this program, it’s just wrong.

  12. felicity  •  Jul 13, 2009 @12:49 pm

    “…pull a Karl Rove…” is absolutely what congressional dems should do. To cover up a tanking economy, an uncaptured bin Laden and other political liabilities engendered by the Bush Adminstration, 2001-2003, Rove came up with the rationale for, build-up to and eventual invasion of Iraq.

    It’s an old ploy – there’s no better way to cover up a hot news story than to ‘manufacture’ a hotter one. (Which reminds me, wasn’t Cuomo going to investigate the financial dealings of the money men who brought us to this sorry economic state? Wonder what consigned that to page 23.)

  13. gypsy howell  •  Jul 13, 2009 @2:39 pm

    Dave S – sure they might be illegal, but I doubt if that’s ever stopped the CIA from engaging in them. Further, I have to believe that the CIA Director and the Gang of Eight were aware of those kinds of activities in the past (whether they’d ever admit them or not is another question – much too important and top secret for us mere citizens, who are paying for this crap, to know about) As for obfuscating and lying to Congress – apparently that’s the modus operandum for nearly everyone called in front of Congress these days. Congress might as well rescind that law, as they don’t seem to have the desire to ever enforce it.

    I find it rich that Congress is suddenly all up in arms about not being kept apprised of these things. “I’m shocked…shocked to find out that people have been breaking the law and lying about it to us” say our mewling congresscritters. They’ve shown no interest in our executive branch, CIA, military and paramilitary forces following the rule of law up to now. What did they expect?

  14. anon  •  Jul 14, 2009 @12:44 pm

    “THIS ATACK IS IN CAPITOL LETERS NOT BECAUSE IM DEF AND DUM
    IM CAN SPEEK”

    Note. Humor attempt: Fail.

  15. Swami  •  Jul 14, 2009 @12:59 pm

    Note. Humor attempt: Fail.

    Note..Attempt to interact with others with a modicum of intelligence or social graces: Failed

  16. anon  •  Jul 14, 2009 @1:32 pm

    Note. Making fun of one stereotype in order to make one’s point: Fail.



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