Jonathan Tobin on the ultra-ultra-secret CIA plan that Dick Cheney “hid” from Congress:
…alas for the Left, today’s Wall Street Journal eliminates some of the mystery behind [the New York Times’ stories about a secret CIA operation not revealed to Congress]. It turns out the super secret program wasn’t so controversial after all. That is, not controversial if you thought the 9/11 attacks were bad. The “secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter.”
A plan to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, you say? Wasn’t this what the CIA and the rest of the government were supposed to be doing? And if they weren’t pursuing such a project, the apt question here would be why not?
Reading further into the story we discover that what this particular idea consisted of was putting together some sort of combined commando team that would hunt down 9/11 plotters much in the same manner that Israel is believed to have pursued the perpetrators of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre. But as it turned out, little if anything was done to push the plan along. According to Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, only around $1 million was spent exploring this option, which by Washington’s standards might mean that the idea was discussed over a few catered lunches. As to whether an idea that was never actually put into motion and for which little planning was done ought to have been reported to Congress, I don’t know. But I doubt this amounts to much.
As for the project itself, I suppose such a “revenge” scenario might offend the sensibilities of some Americans — Steven Spielberg’s cinematic atrocity “Munich,” which sought to discredit Israeli counter-terrorism, represented that point of view — but I doubt it would bother most of us even today long after the shock about 9/11 has worn off. After all, hasn’t the failure to capture bin Laden been a source of continuing embarrassment for the Bush team? But even if you thought this project was daft, how does any of this constitute a blow to our liberties?
While this particular dog certainly won’t hunt, the Times and its cohorts on the Left must hope that the accumulated weight of accusations will ultimately lead to the appointment of special prosecutors to settle these partisan scores. The real villain here isn’t Cheney or others thinking about stopping al Qaeda; it is a partisan press that seeks to criminalize the efforts of those who were trying to protect us from our enemies.
The real scandal is that, in the many years after 9/11, the Bush administration hadn’t actually come up with a viable plan to capture or kill bin Laden and company, not that nobody told Pelosi about it. And why did Panetta terminate it?
I hope the Democrats are foolish enough to promote this “scandal.”
And Liz Cheney on the Brilliant One’s shaky grasp of history:
There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week.
Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: “The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.”
The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not “competition in astrophysics and athletics.” It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet “sphere of influence” was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism.
It is irresponsible for an American president to go to Moscow and tell a room full of young Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended. One wonders whether this was just an attempt to push “reset” — or maybe to curry favor. Perhaps, most concerning of all, Mr. Obama believes what he said…