Author Archives: nolo

More Transparent Lies, Direct From Dick Cheney’s Handwriting. . .


First, note that the image, at right — of Dick Cheney’s forehead — contains his own handwritten notes, about U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, made in the margins of a July 6, 2003 New York Times opinion piece he read on his way back from Jackson Hole, Wyoming — to Washington, DC. The opinion explained — in detail — what Ambassador Wilson didn’t find while looking for evidence of any Nigerian-to-Iraqi yellowcake trading. Here it is, in context:

Now click the image below:

So, when asked about all of this, by the FBI Special Agent, a little less than one year later — Dick Cheney could not at first recall whether he and Scooter Libby had ever discussed Joe Wilson’s trip as “a junket“. All sources put Scooter Libby with Dick Cheney, in Jackson Hole on that July 4 weekend. What are the odds that — if Dick Cheney took the time to make a note — in his own hand, thus: “Did his wife [Valerie Plame] send him [Wilson] on a junket?“, on the plane back to DC, that day, that he didn’t already know Plame was CIA, and that Joe Wilson had “outed” one of the central lies embedded in the 16 words? [Later, perhaps recalling his handwritten notes, Cheney allows that it is “possible” he and Scooter discussed the trip, as a junket or boondoggle.]

It seems unfathomable, that such a sharp political mind as Mr. Cheney is reputed to possess, would have made an entirely trivial note on Air Force Two, then done nothing about it — and in fact, forgotten it entirely, for almost a year. But, in order to decide that Mr. Cheney was not at least winking and nodding in the director of Scooter Libby, about Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson — we must assume just that unlikely set of occurences. That he wrote the note for no reason, watched the ensuing debacle unfold — about the falsity of the 16 words. . . and never pursued any method to blunt the impact of these highly-damaging revelations. Go figure.

Moreover, what are the odds that he would not have tasked Scooter Libby with throwing up a fog of disinformation, to cover the Veep’s (and, potentially, the President’s) tracks — about the clear-falsity of the 16 words in the President’s State of the Union address — words used to begin the war in Iraq?

Slim to none. Slim — to none. Let’s talk to Eric Holder about a special prosecutor, again. Related: Do go read the Atlantic Wire blog piece — on these developments.

UPDATED: Read Marcy Wheeler’s latest, thus:

. . .Cheney was publicly implying that he would have had the authority to declassify Plame’s identity. Perhaps this was just an attempt to make people ignore inquiries like mine. But it’s just as likely that when Cheney realized that Libby had testified he had ordered Libby to leak stuff to Judy Miller (this happened the same weekend Cheney shot an old man in the face!), he wanted to give Libby the impression that his own testimony protected Libby from an IIPA violation.

But it didn’t. Judy’s unreliable testimony saved Libby. But without that, Cheney’s own testimony would have been the evidence Fitzgerald would have needed to charge Libby with deliberately outing a CIA spy. . .

Will Someone Indict This Lothario, Already, Pleeeeze?


First, go read Marcy Wheeler on this topic. Now, here is my little twist:

From the FBI’s May 2004 Inteview Notes, regarding an interview of Dick Cheney, then-sitting Vice President of the United States [click image to enlarge]:

Note that these “lack of recollections” are at variance with every other piece of evidence gathered, and then presented to the jury — in Scooter Libby’s perjury and obstruction of justice trial.

It is time to indict this man. There is little doubt that the above passage reflects a very carefully-couched set of lies — about when and how Dick Cheney first learned of Valerie Plame’s role at CIA; and thus covers his likely hand in having her outed — in retribution for Joe Wilson’s work debunking Niger yellowcake to Iraq stories as fabrications. Of course, those fabricated stories were a large part of the justification offered, by this Vice President, and Bush43, for our military engagment in Iraq.

“these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”


a “star wars” line — put to perfect use.

just go read marcy wheeler, on it.

now.

The Guardian UK Claims “Embarrassing” Kenyan Assassination — Like Cheney’s Program


Per EW’s able direction, we learn that the best of today’s print came from across the pond — The Guardian (UK) claims that

. . .One of the most sensitive areas has been what we do in friendly countries that don’t want to co-operate or maybe we don’t have enough confidence to entrust them with information. If you have an al-Qaida guy wandering around certain bits of the world we might decide that we need to deal with that ourselves, directly, without making a lot of noise,” he said. “There was a plan to deal with that. It was much talked about in the CIA and the military had its own operation.”

Another former senior intelligence official responsible for dealing with al-Qaida said that assassination plans were reined in after similar covert operations by the military were botched and proved to be embarrassing, particularly the killing in Kenya. He did not give details of the operation. . .

There appears to be common agreement among knowledgeable former intelligence officials that the controversy goes beyond the immediate question of assassination and capture of al-Qaida operatives. . .

Quick — who did we kill, and badly, in Kenya? Any guesses? A two second Google search turns up this coverage, in The New York Times:

. . .Neither of the opposition lawmakers killed this week [February 1, 2008] was especially prominent. Both were just weeks into their new jobs as national politicians. Opposition leaders, however, say that is not the point. The opposition holds a slight edge in Parliament, and its leaders contend that the government is trying to reduce their numbers, an accusation it denies.

On Tuesday, Melitus Mugabe Were, a lawmaker and businessman who grew up in a slum, was shot to death in his driveway by two gunmen. The police are closely investigating the killing, but Mr. Were’s friends and family say he was not robbed and that the killing was a professional hit. . .

As ever, there will be more, on this — and that, as it is now reported, by Scott Shane, that then-CIA Director Hayden ordered the secret program scaled back, after he first learned of it, in the Spring of 2008.

That would be only several weeks after this “professioanl hit” — in Kenya.

By the way, neither of the dead Kenyan legislators had any known ties to Al Qaeda. [Which, sadly again, echos a sub-plot of the first installment of the Bourne trilogy — the (first-failed, then ultimately completed) killing of a Sub-Sarahan African reformer, named Nykwana Wombosi (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). I do not mean to trivialize this, but it is possible that Cheney’s evil is just this banal — to follow, and closely, some impluasible movie script.]

Shane’s Latest: “It Sounds Great in the Movies, BUT. . .”


Scott Shane (about 20 minutes ago) at The New York Times has filled in much more detail, here, going well-beyond what was learned from The Wall Street Journal, overnight — do go read all of this meaty new article:


. . .The program was designed in the frantic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks when President Bush signed a secret order authorizing the C.I.A. to capture or kill Qaeda operatives around the world. To be able to kill Osama bin Laden or his top deputies wherever they might be — even in cities or countries far from a war zone — struck top officials as an urgent goal, according to people involved in the discussions.

But in practice, creating and training the teams proved to be difficult.

“It sounds great in the movies, but when you try to do it it’s not that easy,” said one former intelligence official. “Where do you base them? What do they look like? Are they going to be sitting around at headquarters on 24-hour alert waiting to be called?”. . .

But Congressional Democrats were furious that the program had not been shared with the committees. The Senate and House oversight committees had been created by law in the 1970s as a direct response to disclosures of C.I.A. abuses, notably including assassination plots against Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, Fidel Castro in Cuba, and other foreign politicians. In addition, President Gerald Ford in 1976 issued an executive order banning assassinations.

But the ban does not apply to the killing of enemies in a war. . . [And, apparently, Bush took that position.]

Hina Shamsi, an adviser to the Project on Extrajudicial Execution at New York University, said such a calculation about inserting a kill team would include the violation of the sovereignty of the country where the killing occurred; the different legal status of the C.I.A. by comparison with the uniformed military; and whether the killing would be covered by the law of war.

“The issue is a complex one under international law, and it encompasses all of the contentious issues of the years since 2001,” Ms. Shamsi said. . .

Wow. I hate being right, all the time — about the Dick. I really do.

Looking More and More Like A “Bourne”* Redux. . .


The Capitalists’ Paper of Record, the Wall Street Journal, is reporting (as of about 10 minutes ago!) that the “unspecified” CIA program Cheney ordered the agency to withhold from legally-required Congressional intel briefings, and the Gang of Eight, more precisely, was a “covert capture or kill”* operation.

. . .capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter. . .

[However:]

. . .In 2001, the CIA also examined the subject of targeted assassinations of al Qaeda leaders, according to three former intelligence officials. It appears that those discussions tapered off within six months. It isn’t clear whether they were an early part of the CIA initiative that Mr. Panetta stopped. . .

So, the Republican defense tactic here, will be to “dress it up” — as a program to carry out a presidential directive.

One would think that CIA Director Panetta would have asked whether the program was pursuant to a presidential order, or finding, before briefing Congress, in late June.

So — I suspect — the actual “Blackbriar/Treadstone” project Cheney kept under wraps for eight years, will turn out to be something else. Something broader, or more specific — but not something that Bush had ordered be carried out, with specificity.

That’s my guess.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* In this scene from the second installment of the “Bourne” trilogy — depicted, above (click to enlarge) — Jason Bourne (armed with nothing but a tape recorder) extracts a confession (about unauthorized assassinations of international political leaders), from his CIA branch chief.

The New York Times’ Scott Shane sez arguable felonies committed by dick cheney. . .


Per the NYT’s Scott Shane, today:

. . .The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday. . .

The law requires the president to make sure the intelligence committees “are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity.” But the language of the statute, the amended National Security Act of 1947, leaves some leeway for judgment, saying such briefings should be done “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”

In addition, for covert action programs, a particularly secret category in which the role of the United States is hidden, the law says that briefings can be limited to the so-called Gang of Eight, consisting of the Republican and Democratic leaders of both houses of Congress and of their intelligence committees.

The disclosure about Mr. Cheney’s role in the unidentified C.I.A. program comes a day after an inspector general’s report underscored the central role of the former vice president’s office in restricting to a small circle of officials knowledge of the National Security Agency’s program of eavesdropping without warrants, a degree of secrecy that the report concluded hurt the effectiveness of the counterterrorism surveillance effort. . .

A report released on Friday . . . makes clear that Mr. Cheney’s legal adviser, David S. Addington, had to personally approve every government official who was told about the program. The report said “the exceptionally compartmented nature of the program” frustrated F.B.I. agents who were assigned to follow up on tips it turned up.

High-level N.S.A. officials who were responsible for ensuring that the surveillance program was legal, including the agency’s inspector general and general counsel, were not permitted by Mr. Cheney’s office to read the Justice Department opinion that found the eavesdropping legal, several officials said. . .

I am truly hopeful, again, that Eric Holder will take aim directly at Dick Cheney’s lawlessness.

This article reads almost like a Bourne movie “BlackBriar Project” file (click at right to enlarge image).

Disgusting. But nothing we didn’t already know — at least those of us who’ve followed it closely for the last four-plus years.

UPDATED @ 11:00 PM EDT:

The Los Angeles Times is running CIA quotes calling agency proponents would-be “Jason Bourne” types:

. . .Some former high-level CIA officials said they remained puzzled about which program could be at the center of the budding controversy.

“A lot of people thought they were Jason Bourne and came up with ideas,” said a former senior CIA officer, referring to the fictional super-spy. “There were programs that were kind of wild that were considered in 2001. . .”

It would all be rather droll, if we hadn’t tortured people over stuff like this; and lied our way into a quagmire in Iraq over it, as well.