A few weeks ago, our friends in congress had a major fit about a secret Bush-era program that was revealed to them my CIA Director Leon Panetta:
Congress originally authorized the CIA to develop the secret counterterrorism program that is now drawing fierce criticism from House Democrats who say they were kept in the dark all along, a former senior intelligence official told FOX News on Monday.
The program, which sources told FOX News was a plan to capture or kill Al Qaeda operatives, also never came close to being operational, the intelligence official said.
“This was not a program. It never began,” the former official said. “The authority was given by Congress to develop this idea. … There was no need to brief it. It wasn’t a reality.”
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According to reports, the secret CIA program halted last month by Director Leon Panetta involved establishing elite paramilitary teams that could be inserted into Pakistan or other locations to capture or kill top leaders of the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
The program — launched in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — was never operational. But officials said that as recently as a year ago CIA executives discussed plans to deploy teams to test basic capabilities, including whether they could enter hostile territory and maneuver undetected, as well as gather intelligence and track high-value targets.
“You always want to have capacity because you cannot predict opportunities,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with extensive knowledge of the program. So THAT’S what the craziness is about ? .
While everyone was freaking out, truth is, it was never implemented !! Unfortunately not ONE al Qaeda terrorist was kidnapped or killed. And it gets worse, Panetta had the program ALL WRONG, the Daily Beast is reporting that the program was even more benign than originally reported, and Panetta should never of even discussed it with Congress. After his congressional testimony, Panetta spoke with his three predecessors and learned that this secret “program” wasn’t much more than a PowerPoint presentation and a task force assigned to think it through.
…according to a half-dozen sources, including several very senior, recently retired CIA officials, clandestine-service officers, and Cabinet-level officials from the Bush administration, the real story is at once more innocent—Panetta was mistaken; no law was broken—and far more troubling: an inexperienced CIA director, unfamiliar with how his vast, complicated agency works, unable to trust senior officials within his own agency, and desperate to keep his hands clean, screwed up.
The Daily Beast has learned that shortly after his electrifying June 24 disclosure, Panetta spoke personally with each of his three predecessors—George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden—and only then realized the mistake he’d made about the program. An innocent mistake, but the consequences of his gaffe, which he’s unable to admit without damaging his own reputation further, will likely subject U.S. intelligence capabilities to unnecessary and intrusive oversight for years to come.
…On June 23, in the course of a routine briefing by the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, Panetta first learned about the assassination squads. Alarmed, he terminated the program at once and called the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX). He told Reyes he’d discovered something of grave concern, and requested an urgent briefing for the House and Senate intelligence committees as soon as possible. Less than 24 hours later, he was on the Hill, “with his hair on fire,” as a Republican member of the House committee put it. “The whole committee was stunned,” said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA).
Afterward, seven Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee sent Panetta an indignant letter: “Recently you testified that you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all members of Congress, and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote. They demanded he “correct” his statement back in May that the CIA does not mislead Congress.
..Panetta had set in motion a chain reaction of atomic proportions. “It was like shoving a rod into that nuclear mass,” a veteran senior CIA officer told me. A lot of Democrats had been waiting for this moment: an opportunity to shine daylight on the abuses of intelligence during the Bush-Cheney years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an object of controversy, even ridicule, after charging that the CIA had lied to her about waterboarding, now felt vindicated. The CIA, trapped at last in its tangled web of lies, owed her an apology!
..But once Panetta had spoken with Tenet, Goss, and Hayden, he learned that this secret “program” wasn’t much more than a PowerPoint presentation and a task force assigned to think it through. “Sensitive information” had been collected in a single foreign country, my sources tell me. That’s about it. It wasn’t really a coherent program at all so much as a collection of schemes, each attempting to achieve the same objective: to kill terrorists. This was one of perhaps dozens of ideas that had been kicked around at Langley since September 2001, when George W. Bush issued a presidential “finding” authorizing the agency to use deadly force against Osama bin Laden or other terrorists.
When the POTUS chose Leon Panetta for CIA Chief, the scuttlebutt was that he was an able administrator but he simply did not have the understanding of the “spy business” to run the CIA. This incident sentenced the people at Langley to strict congressional interference for years to come. It seems that “scuttlebutt” has become fact.
If you would like to read the full article at the Daily Beast Click Here