July 22nd, 2009
09:46 AM ET

Keep an eye on the spies

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/17/congress.cia/art.cheney.gi.jpg caption="Former Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly ordered the CIA to withhold information about counterterrorism."]
Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

In response to the growing pressure for an investigation into potential abuses by the CIA and former Bush administration officials, Republican Sen. John Cornyn warned: "This is high-risk stuff. Because if we chill the ability or the willingness of our intelligence operatives and others to get information that's necessary to protect America, there could be disastrous consequences."

But Cornyn has it wrong. What chills our national security operations is not the discovery of wrongdoing. Rather, what chills our national security operations is tolerating programs that undermine the credibility of our institutions. When Americans are asked to go to war or are warned of dangerous threats, they must be able to believe the people they are hearing from.

Following the most recent revelations about the CIA, we have reached a tipping point where it is becoming impossible to continue dismissing these allegations as part of the past.

The House Intelligence Committee has announced that it will begin an investigation into the CIA's plans for a covert assassination program to target al Qaeda operatives, including allegations that then-Vice President Dick Cheney instructed the agency to hide the operation from Congress.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Dick Cheney • Raw Politics
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Heather,ca

    I really could care less. This is from a prior administration that is no longer in office. By pushing this its sets a very dangerous precedent for future administrations. All this is is purely politics nothing more. I never voted for Bush, but 9/11 happened on his watch and he did the best he could. Cheney the same. I can't believe people care more about terrorists who don't value human life ours or theirs. The CIA is under orders by the President. So what if Bush(who is really their boss,not Cheney) told them not mention a program that never happened. With the amount of leaks in congress to the media most likely a good idea. Leave it alone before our President(s) in future administrations are afraid to act because they are too afraid to. The spies we have are brave selfless people who risk their lives daily. Keep the politics out of it.

    July 22, 2009 at 12:46 pm |