Crossroads For The Rule Of Law – Cheney Hit Squads

For those of us who are really concerned (obsessed) with the rule of law the revelations of the Cheney sponsored CIA Death Squads are the kind of thing which makes you want to curl up and rock back and forth while thinking of our happy place. It might be going a little under-thought about by most of the nation right now as we are focused on the Health Care bills and the ever diverting “Great Republican Melt Down” with Americas three current favorite clowns, Governor’s Palin and Sanford, and Sen. Ensign (The Family, NV) taking up all the oxygen but this is serious stuff we should be really concerned about.

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Think about the facts we know for just a minute; first off, when CIA Director Panetta found out about this program, it was already 4 months after he had taken over the CIA. It was so shocking and so bad, that his first act was to cancel it then and there. Next he went to Congress to tell the intelligence committee, in closed session, that they had not been informed about this program for seven whole years. They were so shocked and freaked out by what they heard that seven Democrat’s decided they needed to get Director Panetta on record saying the CIA had either deceived them or not told them something they needed to know.

This part is pretty obviously an attempt to cover the Intel committee’s collective asses, as they knew sooner or later this program was going to come into the light of day and they would have some serious explaining to do if the CIA claimed they had indeed briefed them about it. If what the Washington Post is reporting today is true, they had really, really good reason to be freaked out. You can find the whole article here, but the thing which probably had the Representatives nearly wetting themselves comes from the Presidential finding;

The finding imposed no geographical limitations on the agency’s actions, and intelligence officials have said that they were not obliged to notify Congress of each operation envisaged under the directive.

Taken in its broadest reading the above means that these Death Squads could go after people in any allied country and even the US! Worse, they did were told they did not have to brief the Congress on each individual operation. As a practical matter this means that CIA trained and paid killers could assassinate a US citizen here in the States and they would not have to inform Congress of it.

Is there anyone reading this who doubts the criminal Bush Administration would have done exactly that, if they felt the need? The Dog does not in the least. This is an Administration who outted a CIA field operative who was living undercover. It is good news they conceived this as an Al Qaeda only program, as there is little doubt they would have used it on some citizen somewhere if they hand not.

If there were not enough to start to investigate the illegal actions of the lawless Bush Administration, this is the reason. We can not allow this kind of thing to stand, it is yet another corrosive little time bomb from the fetid swamp-like mind of VP Cheney and his consigliore David Addington. We can not have an agency as shrouded in secrecy as the CIA being detailed to kill people around the world, perhaps in our own nation, without oversight. There can be a discussion on when it is appropriate to have squads of assassins running around the world, as there are problems with asymmetrical war fare that lead to this being, perhaps, a needed tactic. However it can not be at the sole discretion of the Executive Branch with no oversight.

Actually that last sentence is not true, Presidents who take on that responsibility can have it, as long as they recognize that when it is found out they are going to have to face the Justice system of the United States of America. This is why we must have investigations and if there are crimes (we know there are many) then every single person involved in those crimes must stand before the bar and face the consequences. If their argument is they had the power and responsibility to do so under the Constitution, and then let them test that theory in court.

The Dog knows everyone knows this but it is worth saying again, if we do not do something about these very clear violations of many laws at the behest of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Branch in general, then we are going to see them again and again and again. This is one of the many ways that democracies die, when the rule of law is completely flouted and the civil society which supports the law does not act.

There are many important issues in front of the Congress right now, but we can not allow them to be totally consumed by them at the risk of something worse happening to our nation. It is not acceptable to have this kind of lawlessness in the CIA; they can do too much with too little scrutiny to allow it. The desire not to alienate the intelligence community is a good one, but it must be second to the need to have these agencies stay within the letter and intent of the law. It becomes clearer on a daily basis that the Bush Administration did not believe this and let slip the dogs of war. It is better to have broken intelligence agency than to have one that acts in ways that will surely over time undermine and destroy the very nation it purports to protect.

We have come to a dangerous crossroads, fellow citizens; we are quickly going to have to choose if we are truly a nation of laws or if we are not. The current bias is against our 233 year old Republic, but it is not too late, not just yet. Do not let this pass by though apathy or distraction. You are the United States of America and if you value that, then you must act, speak and write for action on the crimes of the Bush Administration.

The floor is yours.

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