Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NO GEOGRAPHICAL LIMITS ON CIA ASSASSINATION PLAN

Stephen Webster, Raw Story - The Central Intelligence Agency's secret assassination squad was allowed to operate anywhere in the world, including the United States, according to a report in The Washington Post.

"The plan to deploy small teams of assassins grew out of the CIA's early efforts to battle al-Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," the paper reported. "A secret document known as a 'presidential finding' was signed by President George W. Bush that same month, granting the agency broad authority to use deadly force against bin Laden as well as other senior members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups."

Reporter Joby Warrick added: "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."

This revelation, buried in paragraph 12 of the Post's report, was highlighted by Talking Points Memo's Zachary Roth later in the afternoon.

"'No geographical limitations' presumably means that operations could potentially be carried out in countries, friendly or unfriendly, that are far from any war zone - including even the US itself," he opined. "And it seems likely that they would be carried out without notifying the foreign country in question.". . .

According to historian Christopher Andrew, under questioning by New York Times reporters and editors in 1975, President Gerald Ford explained that U.S. intelligence documents must not be revealed to the public because the revelations would "blacken the reputation of every President since Truman."

"Like what?" he was asked.

"Like assassinations!" replied Ford, who later insisted the comment be kept "off the record."

The discussion was held following Ford's recent receipt of the CIA inspector general's now-infamous report informally known as the "Family Jewels." It revealed hundreds of CIA indiscretions ranging from experimenting on soldiers and prisoners with illegal, hallucinogenic drugs to assassination plots against South American leftists.

"The Times group returned to their bureau for a spirited argument about whether they could pass up a story potentially so explosive," noted reporter Daniel Schorr. "Managing Editor E. C. Daniel called the White House in the hope of getting Nessen to ease the restriction from 'off-the-record' to 'deep background.' Nessen was more adamant than ever that the national interest dictated that the president's unfortunate slip be forgotten. Finally, Sulzberger cut short the debate, saying that, as the publisher, he would decide, and he had decided against the use of the incendiary information."

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