Saturday, January 16, 2010

Are Presidents Afraid of the CIA?

By Ray McGovern in
In the past, I have alluded to Panetta and the Seven Dwarfs.The reference is to CIA Director Leon Panetta and seven of his moral-dwarf predecessors — the ones who sent President Barack Obama a letter on Sept. 18 asking him to “reverse Attorney General Holder’s Aug. 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations.” Panetta reportedly was also dead set against reopening the investigation — as he was against release of the Justice Department’s “torture memoranda” of 2002, as he has been against releasing pretty much anything at all — the President’s pledges of a new era of openness, notwithstanding. [See’s “CIA Torturers Running Scared.”]
Panetta is even older than I, and hearing is among the first faculties to fail. Perhaps he heard “error” when the President said “era.” As for the benighted seven, they are more to be pitied than scorned. No longer able to avail themselves of the services of clever Agency lawyers and wordsmiths, they put their names to a letter that reeked of self-interest — not to mention the inappropriateness of asking a President to interfere with an
investigation already ordered by the Attorney General. Three of the seven — George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden — were themselves involved, in one way or another, in planning, conducting or covering up all manner of illegal actions, including torture, assassination and illegal eavesdropping.
In this light, the most transparent part of the letter may be the sentence in which they worry: “There is no reason to expect that the re-opened criminal investigation will remain narrowly focused.”
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