July 16th, 2009
12:09 PM ET

The CIA Is Keeping Secrets. Hello?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/09/cia.congress/art.cia.gi.jpg]

Robert Baer

On June 24, CIA Director Leon Panetta made a confession. For the past eight years, the agency has been running a top-secret unit to assassinate or grab members of al-Qaeda. The program was deliberately kept from Congress — supposedly on former Vice President Dick Cheney's orders — and Panetta stopped it as soon as he heard about it.

Sounds alarming. But like many of these stories, there's less to it than meets the eye. The unit conducted no assassinations or grabs. A former CIA officer involved in the program told me that no targets were picked, no weapons issued and no one sent overseas to carry out anything.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Dick Cheney
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Ruth Fitzpatrick, Montclair, CA

    The CIA should keep secrets...even from Congress. There is not one congressperson that I trust. We all know that these people are human (I think) and can easily be bribed. What they don't know won't hurt us.

    July 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  2. Rick

    That's whats good about having the CIA, If something gets out that someone is doing something that not with in international law or US laws. You can always blame the CIA.They take the heat off everyone.It doesnt make sense but then again it does.

    July 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  3. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    A. The program never got beyond a powerpoint presentation, so what do your 'report' to congress?
    B. The program was to capture or kill al Queda leadership. These people killed 3000 Americans on 9/11 so is there anyone in America not in favor of that? If so, please leave.
    C. Even if the program got going for real, do you think we could rely on those morons in Congress to keep it secret?

    July 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Joanne Pacicca

    People trust Congress? Honestly, I have long wondered, "where is the Mission Impossible team?"

    July 16, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  5. Deneshia, in AR

    I've been knowing this quite some time now, there is research everywhere about the CIA. They've kept secrets even from the Congress. Sometimes, if they do tell the Congress, it's not like they're going to tell the American people. So that's just point blank. I'm just sadden at how USA is turning into turmoil instead of a place where we can actually be satisfied and live our lives freely and safe.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  6. Sabrina in Las Vegas

    Oh my (fain shock here) really?!

    I know they keep secrets, that is part of the top secret clearance and keeping us safe.

    They shouldn't be doing it to harm us though.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  7. Angi Sutton

    If the DEA were to announce every raid before they raided – there would be no drugs or dealers to grab and nab. They'd be gone before they got there. Same situtaion with the CIA and Al-Qaeda. We are so concerned about what is being kept from us, often to our detriment. Be realistic! There is so much we will NEVER know and likely wouldn't want to . . . tell Congress? Now really. The same Congress who agreed we should go to war and then is now trying to prosecute the former administration for how they did it? Fickle group, I'd say. CIA . . . do whatcha' gotta do. Try to do it with integrity as best you can. Bring home the bad guys and let me read about it over my morning coffee, at my kitchen table, in the safety of my house in a secure and free nation . . .I'm jus' sayin' . . .

    July 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  8. Dorothy

    For pete's sake, just because I'm talking about making a run for a government seat, do i need to let the media know? I say media because once they know..EVERYONE knows (lol) But the CIA has the right to talk, train, do whatever to get their people ready for ops. If they are to be carried out?,,.. then yes I feel Congress ahould know but only that which is needed. Our whole government does things and/or talks of things 24/7, do other brances know or have the need to know? Plain and simple if carried out , ok if not. keep it to yourselves

    July 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  9. Koral from Shelton, WA

    The CIA should keep secrets…but not from Congress. That’s the whole point. How in the world are we supposed to have CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT if Congress is not allowed to OVERSEE?

    July 16, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  10. sandra

    I'm beginning to wonder whatever happened to "keeping them honest". Since there so many 'little' issues emerging about the Bush/Cheney administrations policies and practices, it seems foolish to dismiss these allegations as minoir without some good old fashioned investigative journalism.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  11. JGB

    The CIA should keep secrets!! How else do you think they are supposed to get anything accomplished.........put an ad in the newspaper to let them know what we are doing??

    July 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Normally, I get pretty angry at being lied to, but I think it justified in this case.

    Al-Qaeda has presented a world wide threat for many years. As all other methods of stopping the violence perpetrated by them have completed failed, something drastic needed to be done to try to end it.

    Pity they didn't manage to take any of the members out.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:17 pm |