Big Cheney news this weekend [NYT]:
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.
The article goes on to explain that Cheney specifically blocked the CIA from informing members of Congress about the mysterious program, despite legal obligations for at least the eight big leaders to be informed. This certainly lends weight to Democratic complaints (yes, I mean Nancy Pelosi) that the CIA, with an assist from the Bush administration, has been picking and choosing
what to tell Congress for years.
No one (well, except Cheney and his CIA buddies, and now a few Congresspeople) seems to actually know what this program was. There's speculation
that it might have been the super-frightening assassin squad that Sy Hersh has alluded to; my vote, right now, is for some kind of Death Ray powered on the souls of helpless, adorable puppies.
What's more disturbing, that the VP held back information from Congress, or that we still don't know
what this secret program entailed? I actually vote for the first, because the second is just a symptom of that. It's nice to see the Democrats screaming bloody murder about all of this, even though it would have been much, much nicer to see them screaming it four years ago. One must hope that, having discovered what a spine feels like, they'll keep it around long enough to do battle with the current administration over changing the law to make sure Congress gets better informed in the future.