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Connecting the Dots

scarshapedstar's picture

I'm sure you all recall the early days of the NSA Hoovering up all domestic data warrantless wiretapping scandal, when they referred to it as the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" and assured us that they were only targeting Al-Qaeda operatives.

Naturally, this turned out to be a lie enhanced duplicity technique, because it turns out they were spying on all of us everyday American citizens. Nobody was off the target list, and we were all potential Al-Qaeda operatives.

Now, there's a big hubbub about some sketchy CIA assassination ring, apparently answering to Cheney himself. Nobody's willing to talk about the nitty-gritty details, but it's enough to have even Nancy "off the table" Pelosi spooked or pissed off enough to start publicly discussing how fucked-up it was, whatever "it" was.

The public justification for this shadowy, super-classified, apparently reprehensible death squad?

They were only targeting Al-Qaeda operatives.

Yeah, okay, I'm gonna go ahead and call bullshit. Does anyone seriously doubt that what we'll eventually learn is that they formed a group to assassinate American citizens in the National Interest? Consider this, via TPM:

Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, told TPMmuckraker that because we've been in a state of war against al Qaeda since just after September 11, there would have been no need for a secret CIA program that received special legal authorization...

As for what the program did involve, Cannistraro suggested that it involved Americans as targets, and that it went beyond surveillance, but declined to elaborate. He added that, though Cheney may have directly ordered the CIA to keep Congress in the dark, the veep wasn't acting alone. "The approval was from the president," said Cannistraro.

Hmm, I wonder...

What I'm more curious about, though, is when if they struck.

It certainly wouldn't surprise me.

(And what about that woman shot to death as she walked out the door? I feel like she worked for a government agency and this happened in DC... wasn't she a whistleblower or a witness? Can't find this story. Readers?)

Update: Via the comments on this Digby post on the subject (read the whole thing!):

Paul David Wellstone (July 21, 1944 - October 25, 2002)

Too foily?

No votes yet


Submitted by Randall Kohn on

Cheney. Assassinations. Leahy. Daschle. Wellstone.

The primary targets were always domestic.

Always Democrats, too.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I wish I could say "yes", but every time you think that Cheney was apart of the worst thing ever, he one-ups himself. Assassionation rings, warrantless spying, human-sized safes in his office...this is the stuff of Hollywood motion pictures and Japenese anime. Cheney is quite possibly, the most u/inhuman entity to ever grace higher office in American history, and that's far from an exaggeration.

Submitted by lambert on

I did a lot of posting on surveillance back in the day, and then figured it was bad as it can possibly be.... And then Cheney tops himself.

With regard to the "secret scandal" that Congress was shocked to discover -- I can well believe that there are several, say assassination and surveillance both, and they'll expose only one of them. The trial balloons now are to figure out which one lets the perps get away with the most.

Nixon called this "the modified limit hangout" strategy, IIRC.

Submitted by ralphb on

Was this part of the assasination squads that Gen Stanley McChrystal was running? In stories I read there was CIA involvement but the majority was military. DOD is much easier to keep a secret. I know he did this sort of thing in Iraq and now he's Obama's commander in Afghanistan.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

McChrystal headed up Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) which is under United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from the start of the war (Iraq) until 2006. How this relates to any of this recent news, I've not followed this enough to know.

Submitted by lambert on

... Odd, that one. I forget whether it was "solved," or whether the chief suspect died and then nothing was conveniently brought to court, or what.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

WKJM lost a most of my trust.

As I said when defending the truth, er, "defending Palin" (and continue to say), when all you have is BS coming from all directions, it gets harder and harder to know what *isn't* BS. Kant 101.

Just because it sounds and feels right doesn't make it so. Especially coming from dubious sources. And WKJM hasn't won back my trust since they've become a Dem shill instead of just being shrill.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Lest we forget, by Rumsfeld and Nixon's crew...

Very nice post, scarshapedstar.

Now, the foil starts to really buzz. Recall who knocked Dick Nixon out of the White House in 1960, and who repeatedly irritated the CIA (Bay of Pigs) and the Pentagon (Cuban missile crisis).

This runs deep and may have gone on in one way or the other for generations.

Anyone who thinks this is all over, and not just a jab at Cheney by a different faction of the Company, is engaged in wishful thinking.

Although one hesitates to predict what the response of Cheney's supporters will be. It could get messy...

Submitted by lambert on

1. It's not a "wiretapping" program. That was the initial modified limited hangout. Corrente, in fact, was very, very early, may in fact have been the first, to say that the program was about all electronic data. Since wiretapping and (say) email are very different both technically and legally, calling the program a "wiretapping" program is one of the markers of superficiality or complicity that I look for. You will note that neither Greenwald nor the recent IG report use the word "wiretapping." That's because it doesn't apply.

2. IIRC, Bush's warrantless surveillance program wasn't called the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" in the "early days" (assuming by early days we mean in the months after the Risen article revealed the program in the Times). They came up with that locution only when people other than hippies started raising concerns.

3. As for the Republican IT figure, as well as Wellstone -- this is Vince Foster-style reasoning from "our" side. Because something "has to be true" doesn't make it true, absent at least some connection to an over-arching analytical framework (and gawd knows there are enough of those about).

Cue the "I don't have to provide links" brigade....

Submitted by lambert on

Don't play head games with the admin. But thanks for the substantive response.