The new CIA director, Leon Panetta, has just informed the US Congress he canceled a secret operation to assassinate al-Qaida leaders. Panetta said the campaign was authorized soon after 9/11 by the Bush White House, but had not yet become operational in 2009.
I respect Panetta, but his claim is not credible. The US has been trying to kill al-Qaida personnel (real and imagined) since the Clinton administration. These efforts continue today under President Barack Obama.
Does Panetta mean that CIA and its masters in the White House sat on their hands and delayed this CIA project to kill senior al-Qaida cadres for eight long years? Sounds unbelievable. It also sounds illegal.
Claims by outraged Congressional Democrats that VP Dick Cheney hid from them details of CIA’s proposed assassination campaign also ring hollow. Either they were blind, deaf and dumb, or hopelessly incompetent. More likely, the legislators did not want to see what was in front of their noses.