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Jewish World Review
July 22, 2009
/ 1 Menachem-Av 5769
Dems still trying to resurrect dead assassination plan
You may recall House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) got into hot water this
Spring when she asserted the CIA "misleads Congress all the time."
Ms. Pelosi made that statement after claiming the CIA had never briefed
her in 2002-2003 on the waterboarding of some high level al Qaida
captives. Her statement was challenged by current CIA Director Leon
Panetta, former CIA Directors Gen. Michael Hayden, Porter Goss and
George Tenet, and by the then chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich).
You may not recall this, because the Democrats, who have a comfortable
majority in the House, were able quickly to quash Republican efforts to
have a formal investigation of Ms. Pelosi's charge. The story died
For Democrats generally, and Ms. Pelosi in particular, this was a good
thing. According to a Rasmussen poll in May, 63 percent of Americans
had a favorable view of the CIA, just 35 percent had a favorable view of
So it was a puzzlement to many when the House Intelligence Committee
leaked a letter written June 26 to Mr. Panetta from Silvestre Reyes
(D-Tex), the current chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and
six other Democrats (of 13) on the committee charging the CIA "concealed
significant actions from the members of Congress, and misled members for
a number of years from 2001 to this week."
The letter made no mention of what those "significant actions" were, but
subsequent leaks indicated it was a plan to assassinate al Qaida
leaders. According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Ca), chairman of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Panetta had told lawmakers Vice
President Dick Cheney ordered the CIA not to tell Congress about the
There were two problems with Ms. Feinstein's story.
The first is that the assassination plan never got off the drawing
board, so there was no program on which to brief members of Congress.
The second is that former CIA Director Hayden flatly denied Mr. Cheney
had ordered him not to tell Congress about the plan which never got off
the ground, and Mr. Panetta's boss, Admiral Dennis Blair, the Director
of National Intelligence, wouldn't back up what Mr. Panetta is alleged
to have said. Mr. Panetta himself has kept a discreet silence since the
flap went public.
The leakers initially got the headlines they wanted, but as the facts
come out, the story cannot end well for Democrats. Few Americans are
outraged the CIA contemplated killing our enemies during a time of war.
We're doing precisely that right now with drone missile attacks on al
Qaida and Taliban leaders in Pakistan.
Swing voters are already uncomfortable about the attacks on the CIA, and
-- should there be another terrorist attack on the U.S. -- the downside
risk for Democrats is enormous. So why wouldn't they let this sleeping
Perhaps because Mr. Reyes is a dimwit. Ms. Pelosi chose him for
chairman over the far better qualified Rep. Jane Harman (D-Ca), who'd
been the ranking Democrat when the GOP controlled Congress, because of
her personal animosity to Ms. Harman. At the time of his elevation, Mr.
Reyes didn't know the difference between Sunnis and Shia, an appalling
failing in a member of the Intelligence Committee.
Another theory is that because President Obama's poll numbers have been
dropping, something must be done to distract attention from the economy
and to fire up the moonbat base.
In any event, Democrats are clamoring yet again for an investigation of
the warfighting policies of President Bush which cannot end well for
them or for America.
"The incredible amount of partisanship Democrats have introduced into
intelligence matters is demoralizing the U.S. intelligence community,
causing sensitive information to be disclosed and encouraging our
enemies," Mr. Hoekstra said in an op-ed in the New York Post Monday
The politicization of intelligence is especially harmful at this time
because the CIA is in need of adult oversight. Apparently the
assassination plan (which would have avoided the "collateral damage" of
the Predator strikes) never became operational because the CIA didn't
think it could pull it off.
"It's bad enough that our intelligence operatives haven't been able to
kill our enemies," said columnist Jonah Goldberg. "But it compounds the
outrage when you broadcast that fact to the world."
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.
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