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The president said, he wanted a look forward not backward but top CIA officials came forward and told CIA Director Leon Panetta of a secret plan to assassinate Al Qaeda leaders. Leon Panetta, immediately shut down the program and informed Congress. On its face, the entire country would say go for it, but former vice president Dick Cheney instructed the CIA not to reveal the program to Congress. The vice president does not have the authorization to issue such an order because the constitution limits his powers to casting the deciding vote in case of a tie in the senate and to inquire daily; about the health of the president. Did the president relinquish his “decider” title during that period of time?

Since 2001 the CIA had plans to dispatch small teams overseas to kill senior Al Qaeda but the plans remained vague. Our congressional leaders seem surprised but I remember (about six months ago) having an online discussion with another poster about Cheney's assassination teams. I remember a poster telling me that Seymour Hersh (my source) was exaggerating, just to sell his book. Mr. Hersh said Cheney wanted a paramilitary team, much like Israel's Mossad, to hunt down and kill Al Qaeda leaders without informing anyone. The CIA was afraid that our Allies might block access or hinder their targets. This plan would have violated international law. Although the CIA is claiming that the program never materialized, could it be part of the secret prisons, rendition, and the drone missions, the Obama Administration is using today in Pakistan?

As usual, when the story hit the news wires, the republicans went into spin mode, calling it political cover for Nancy Pelosi. Mary Matalin took a step further telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer that every time Obama's poll numbers start to fade, the administration drags out something to divert the nation's attention. Liz Cheney is saying that the Democrats were not up to handling National Security but when she was questioned about her father's role, she claimed she did not know anything about the secret program or whether he told the CIA not to inform Congress. Liz Cheney's interview on “Good morning Joe” amounted to “the Bush administration kept you safe. “ Well, the fact we have not been attacked since I bought my 2007 Toyota Prius, makes about as much sense.

The CIA already had broad authorities after September 11, 2001, so is it is not clear whether the former CIA directors thought that they did not need to report a plan that was not operational or that they were ordered not to report to Congress. Explaining the latter might be a problem, because it might have conflicted with international law, President Gerald Ford's 1976 executive order banning assassinations, and a 1947 Act requiring his CIA to inform Congress about active and inactive programs.

We need an investigation because the previous administration is not known for the truth; at first it was the Bush administration did not torture, then it was OK, but only three times and on and on. It could be a behind the doors, under oath, investigation but we need to get this behind us. The “end justifies the means" just won't get it.