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 agencyâ€™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 administrationâ€™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 Agencyâ€™s domestic surveillance program makes clear that Mr. Cheneyâ€™s legal adviser, David S. Addington, had to approve personally every government official who was told about the program. The report said â€œthe exceptionally compartmented nature of the programâ€ frustrated F.B.I. agents who were assigned to follow up on tips it had turned up.
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 Pelosiâ€™s Lies.” You can’t make this up.