Last week it was reported that former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the C.I.A. not to report a Top Secret program to Congress, apparently in violation of the National Security Act of 1947.
Defenders say that the activities of the program did not rise to the level required to inform Congress. If that’s the case why did Cheney order them not to report it to Congress?
Defenders also say that there are exceptions in the act, citing “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.” While this may be a lame argument (there are members of Congress who have or could be granted the necessary clearances), again if this was the case, why did Cheney feel the necessity to order the C.I.A. not to report it to Congress?
Finally, defenders say that Eric Holder will threaten the security of the U.S. by putting C.I.A. agents in fear for their actions. This is a straw man. The issue is not about the C.I.A., it’s about if Cheney broke the law.
These defenses don’t pass the smell test.
The Obama administration doesn’t want to deal with this. They understand this would cause a media frenzy, and Congress — always wanting to get in front of a TV camera — will be distracted from dealing with major issues like the economy, health care and climate change.
Hence the conundrum.
Epilogue. The Associated Press reports that this was a secret program to kill Al-Qaeda leaders. The say the program has been in the planning stage since 2001 and cost over a million dollars. Eight years! What the hell was the plan? Wait for the Al-Qaeda leaders to die of old age?