On June 24th Panetta met with the CIA’s Congressional oversight committee to tell them something that the CIA has been doing something and not informing Congress about it.
What it was they weren’t telling Congress about no one is saying. Mainly because, unlike Karl Rove, these committee members don’t reveal secrets entrusted to them.
All we know is that it was stunning news.
And that can’t be good.
One of the committee members, Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-Calif.), did have these things to say to the Huffington Post that reveals how alarmingly appalling the activity must be:
“Asked if this was the basis of her letter to Panetta, Eshoo said she could not discuss what was a ‘highly classified program.’ She did, however, note that when Panetta told House Intelligence Committee members what it was that had been kept secret, ‘the whole committee was stunned, even Republicans.’ A Republican committee member told Who Runs Gov's Greg Sargent it was something they hadn't heard before.”
Today, this has fueled the speculation that the activity was none other than the one reported on by Seymour Hersh back in March.
That the CIA ran an assassination squad that answered directly to Dick Cheney.
Wait. I read that novel. I did, I really did. It was called First Team. It was written by Larry Bond.
“Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination wing, essentially. And it’s been going on and on and on. And just today in the Times there was a story saying that its leader, a three-star admiral named McRaven, ordered a stop to certain activities because there were so many collateral deaths. It’s been going in—under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.”
Now I remember when all of this was discussed and I gave it little credence because, as I said, I had already read about this in a book of fiction. It seemed fictitious to me.
The 3-star’s name, McRaven, was just too good to be true. This is the perfect name for the commander of a covert CIA hit squad.
But now I just don’t know anymore. If you reveal covert activities to the oversight committee, and even the Republicans on the committee are stunned, it has to be as bad as the Hersh story.
Or maybe even worse.