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Seymour Hersh: Assassination ring reported directly to Cheney


Ron Ecker
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  • 4 months later...
I'm sure that all the assassinations were overseas. We Americans know that our leaders don't kill our own people. Shoot 'em in the face on hunting trips, maybe, but that's about it.

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Hersh_US_has...utive_0311.html

This story is no doubt true, but I think we should keep in mind that this kind of capability and these kinds of teams have been with us from WW2 and before - since, there have been multiple [different teams - at the same time]; used often - outside and INSIDE the USA - even inside the 'White House' (and at times even higher-up the lines of power). Here and there the story pops up - LBJ's 'Murder Inc.' statement; Church Committee Hearings, others. The teams are constant. I'd  hate to try to calculate how many they have assassinated. I'd guess in the tens of thousands and many hundreds of heads of state and other important officials. Then there were programs like Phoenix and all the Wars where assassination is termed legal and the numbers become millions. Sick society to condemn this in words and on paper and do it anyway. That Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld et al. did it should come as as much surprise as that there was gambling going on a Rick's Cafe in Casablanca. Anyway, if we can get the Public to be aware and get some of these criminals in prison and stop this wholesale murder, it would be a good thing. To get to Ron's point. I don't believe inside the US has ever made them hesitate - only be a tad more careful in hiding it and making it seem like a suicide, accident or lone nut. Outside the country they just kill 'em and let the locals worry and wonder about who/why etc. Here they have to consider PR angles and inventing lies and damn lies - sometimes even calling on their MSM assets or intelligence agencies to invent/doctor documents and facts, have persons make false statements, etc. Sick! America is not the only country to did this, but I'd be willing to wager not since Hitler or Stalin has this gone on in such an organized - if secretive - fashion. Worst of all is the mythology and lip-service given to our purity of purpose and morality and how we don't do such things. Ha! Ha! Ha! May Chaney rot in some prison soon - for this and a host of other offenses. These people are not statesmen, but gangsters and murderers posing as political leaders on the stage-set called the American Government. This play is certainly a Tragedy - perhaps a Greek Tragedy. If there is any Hero in the story, it is the few whistleblowers and those willing to challenge this machinery of death, destruction, deceptions, theft, control and power-grabs. My Country Tis Of Thee, Sweet Land Of Hypocracy.....

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Secret CIA hit squad modeled on Mossad Assassins

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/167970

(IsraelNN.com) The controversial secret CIA hit teams which the agency planned to use to track down terrorists overseas were modeled on the commando teams used by the Mossad to assassinate terrorists involved in the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke to Newsweek.

After Arab terrorists murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, the Mossad set up a program called “Wrath of G-d” to track down and kill the terrorists who were responsible.

In Praise of Assassination

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-c-ander...o_b_231632.html

Congressional outrage over not being told the Central Intelligence Agency had a secret program to kill a select list of al-Qaeda leaders is a needless tempest in a teapot. Anyone with access to the Internet and a penchant for archival reading could have told you the CIA was tasked with eliminating certain threats to our national security. Consider, for instance, an article the Washington Post published on 28 October 2001. A front page story opens with the following lead: "Armed with new authority from President Bush for a global campaign against al-Qaeda, the Central Intelligence Agency is contemplating clandestine missions expressly aimed at killing specified individuals."

The story goes on to state, "The CIA is reluctant to accept a broad grant of authority to hunt and kill U.S. enemies at its discretion, knowledgeable sources said. But the agency is willing and believes itself able to take the lives of terrorists designated by the president." The Washington Post then notes, "Though there are differences on those matters, some officials observed that the agency is surprisingly undivided in its willingness to undertake the mission."

Given the vehemence with which the Bush administration conducted the War on Terrorism, how could Congress have not assumed the CIA was going to take steps to realize this objective? I would also note, however, that the agency apparently never actually dispatched the assassins. Speaking with Fox News, an unnamed former senior intelligence official declared, "This was not a program. It never began. The authority was given by Congress to develop this idea....There was no need to brief it. It wasn't a reality."

That's a shame. Quite frankly, this country needs a well-run assassination program. Yes, I realize Executive Order 12333 explicitly prohibits assassination by any "person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States government." I also realize Executive Order 12333 explicitly states "no element of the Intelligence Community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this order." Seems clear enough. But, the lawyers have yet to weigh in.

In 1989, W. Hays Parks, Special Assistant for Law of War Matters to the Judge Advocate General of the Army, prepared a memorandum on Executive Order 12333 that found three immediate exceptions to the rule -- conventional military operations, counterinsurgency operations, and peacetime counter-terrorist operations. The memorandum also takes Executive Order 12333 to task for not actually defining assassination. Lacking an officially sanctioned definition, Parks comes to this conclusion: "In general, assassination involves murder of a targeted individual for political purposes."

According to the Parks memorandum, "In peacetime, the citizens of a nation -- whether private individuals or public figures -- are entitled to immunity from intentional acts of violence by citizens, agents, or military forces of another nation." To justify this conclusion, Parks cites Article 2 of the United Nations Charter. Article 2 declares member states "shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

Here's the problem. As Parks acknowledges, the United Nations Charter also recognizes the inherent right of self defense and does not preclude unilateral action against an immediate threat. According to Parks, the United States recognizes three forms of self defense -- against an actual use of force, or hostile act; pre-emptive self defense against an imminent use of force; and self defense against a continuing threat.

So what does Executive Order 12333 actually accomplish? Well, Parks would have us believe it was intended to "establish beyond any doubt that the United States does not condone assassination as an instrument of national policy." But, in the next sentence he concludes, "Its intent was not to limit lawful self defense options against legitimate threats to national security of the United States or individual citizens." Parks was not alone in coming to this conclusion. His memorandum was "coordinated with and concurred in" by the State Department's Legal Advisor, CIA's General Counsel, the National Security Council's Legal Adviser, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy, and the Department of Defense General Counsel.

I'm not an attorney, but in this case I don't think a legal education is required to read between the lines. Washington does not condone assassination as an instrument of national policy, but the president is authorized to take whatever steps are necessary to defend the United States. This includes assassination. The Clinton administration came to that conclusion in 1998, and the Bush administration clearly followed suit.

Given this situation, I have a few nominees for a new self defense program. Kim Chong-il, North Korea's vicious despot, needs to go -- take his sons with him. Robert Mugabe, the thug ruining Zimbabwe, should also be high on the list. Finally, we have the leaders of Burma -- a collection of murderous thieves we would all be better off without. Why assassination? In each of these cases, the leadership has surrounded itself with a security apparatus capable of crushing any popular effort to replace the government. Furthermore, these governments pose a continuing threat to international peace and stability -- thereby endangering our national security.

I understand eliminating national leaders in such a manner may result in temporary domestic chaos. But I suspect the short term pain is worth the cost. Let's take our chances on their replacements -- we already know the current crop is an irredeemable loss. Think of this like Vegas, you have to take a risk in order to realize a payoff.

In short, rather than attacking the CIA for failing to brief a program that apparently never went into effect, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes should be asking why the agency isn't doing more to eliminate rouge international actors. Clearly the legal path has been blazed for such action -- we simply need to convince the executive branch of a need to follow-up on the opportunity.

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http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?linkid=93694

The Man Who Knew Cheney's Secret

by Benjamin Sarlin

The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh was mocked in March when he referred to Dick Cheney’s secret squad of CIA assassins. Now, he talks to The Daily Beast about the next shoe to drop.

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh raised eyebrows back in March when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that Dick Cheney ran a secret hit squad that he kept hidden from congressional oversight.

"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on," Hersh said at the time. He added: "Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us."

“I said what I said, they can always say what they say,” Hersh told The Daily Beast. “The last time they said the government doesn’t torture, this time it’s the government doesn’t assassinate.”

Some observers accused him of rumor-mongering and a top former military official threw cold water on the story, but with the recent news that the CIA allegedly kept Congress in the dark on a covert program, Hersh's words suddenly look more and more prescient. Yesterday, The New York Times reported the hidden program in question was a death squad authorized by Dick Cheney without congressional approval.

Now, there are key differences between Hersh's reporting and the Times' latest piece. Hersh suggested that the assassination ring was conducted out of the Joint Special Operations Command rather than the CIA. Moreover, according to Hersh's sources, the program was operational, leaving a trail of bodies, while the Times cited officials saying that the CIA hit squad never actually carried out a mission. The Times and Hersh could conceivably be reporting two distinct squads.

The Daily Beast tracked down Hersh in South Asia, where he says he has not been able to read the New York Times piece but has received calls buzzing about the report. Asked about the officials quoted in the Times' report who claimed that Cheney's assassination ring never became operational, Hersh offered a skeptical response.

"I said what I said, they can always say what they say," Hersh told The Daily Beast. "The last time they said the government doesn’t torture; this time it's the government doesn’t assassinate."

Hersh said that his words in Minnesota were exaggerated in the press, because he had previously reported on covert operations that he alleged were out of Congress' view. In February 2005, he published a report that the president had authorized Donald Rumsfeld to organize special operations in South Asia and the Middle East without going through the CIA, and thus not having to report them to Congress. In July 2005, he wrote that the White House circumvented Nancy Pelosi to organize covert operations led by retired CIA officers and non-government personnel to influence the Iraqi elections.

"In my reporting for this story, one theme that emerged was the Bush administration’s increasing tendency to turn to off-the-books covert actions to accomplish its goals," he wrote in the July 2005 piece. "This allowed the administration to avoid the kind of stumbling blocks it encountered in the debate about how to handle the elections: bureaucratic infighting, congressional second-guessing, complaints from outsiders."

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090715/ap_on_..._secret_program

By PAMELA HESS and ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writers – Wed Jul 15, 7:07 pm ET

WASHINGTON – As CIA director in 2004, George Tenet terminated a secret program to develop hit teams to kill al-Qaida leaders, but his successors resurrected the plan, according to former intelligence officials.

Tenet ended the program because the agency could not work out its practical details, the officials told The Associated Press. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

Porter Goss, who replaced Tenet in 2005, restarted the program, the former officials said. By the time Michael Hayden succeeded Goss as CIA chief in 2006 the effort was again flagging because of practical challenges.

CIA Director Leon Panetta drove the final stake into the effort in June after learning about the program. He called an emergency meeting with the House and Senate Intelligence committees the next day, informing lawmakers about the program and saying that as vice president Dick Cheney had directed the CIA not to inform Congress about the operation.

The CIA declined to comment on the officials' comments.

One former senior intelligence official said Wednesday that the idea never quite died because it was a capability — the details of which remain classified — that the CIA wanted in its arsenal. But as time wore on, the official said, its need became less urgent.

Another former official said that the CIA's reliance on foreign intelligence services and on drone-launched missile strikes proved over time to be less risky yet effective in targeting al-Qaida chiefs for death or capture. President George W. Bush authorized the killing of al-Qaida leaders in 2001.

According to one congressional official, the agency spent more than $1 million over the eight years that the CIA considered launching the hit teams. The official would not detail the exact amount or how it was spent.

The House Intelligence Committee is laying the groundwork for a possible investigation of the program and its concealment from Congress. In late June it asked the CIA to provide documents about the now-canceled program to kill al-Qaida leaders.

Agency officials say it is complying with the request. Panetta has at the same time ordered a thorough internal review of the program.

The committee will try to establish how much was spent on the effort, whether any training was conducted and whether any officials traveled in association with the program, a committee official said. Those factors would determine whether the program had progressed enough to require congressional notification.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, is expected to decide as early as this week whether to press ahead with a full investigation.

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Did this story fall off the front page already? BK

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/07/15/wh...sassins-bullet/

Let's make one thing clear at the outset: My idea of justice and, yes – retribution -- does not revolve around seeing Osama bin Laden on trial before the International Criminal Court in the Hague as the prosecutor politely asks, "Mr. bin Laden, do you recall the morning of September 11, 2001?"

My problem with George W. Bush's promise to get Osama "dead or alive" was not the Wild West hang-'im-high bravado of the 2001 presidential crack but the Pentagon's failure to commit enough troops to redeem the pledge at Tora Bora. When it comes to Adolf Hitler in his bunker in 1945, Pol Pot after the killing fields in Cambodia or bin Laden today, I am more than willing to temporarily suspend my otherwise unswerving belief in the rule of law.

Then why do I find myself queasy over Monday's news of a now-canceled post-9/11 CIA effort to go after al Qaeda leaders with trained teams of assassins? Why do I distinguish between bin Laden and less famous but presumably equally lethal al Qaeda leaders? What is the morality of government-sanctioned assassination when the target is a terrorist?

Put aside fascinating but distracting peripheral issues such as the CIA's failure to inform Congress of the kill-on-sight program, and Dick Cheney's role in the cover-up. Let's also avoid legalistic wrangling about whether al Qaeda fits under the wartime exception to Jerry Ford's 1976 executive order banning assassination.

Here is a hypothetical situation: Should I cheer if a CIA agent shot a bin Laden henchman in the back on a back street of Peshawar, Pakistan, far from any Afghan battlefield? Would the same principle apply if the target were a 19-year-old madrassa student in Peshawar who was planning to leave the next day for an al Qaeda training camp? In short, how senior does the al Qaeda official have to be to justify no-questions-asked assassination?

The assassination project was canceled last month by Leon Panetta, although it remains murky whether the CIA director objected solely to the failure to consult Congress or whether he was also dissuaded by practical and legal concerns. Yet America continues to practice de facto assassination by targeting terrorist leaders with deadly accurate Predator drone missiles. The Obama administration reviewed this policy on taking office, but the major White House concerns were the civilian casualties from the Predator attacks and objections from our erstwhile ally Pakistan over the continuing violations of its national sovereignty.

Any talk of assassination plots brings back memories of the definitive 1975 Senate hearings led by Idaho Democrat Frank Church into CIA misdeeds. The Church Committee highlighted the CIA's obsessive efforts in the early 1960s to kill Fidel Castro, often using cartoonish props like the poisoned cigars delivered to a Cuban agent in February 1961. (The ultimate fate of the cigars, which were treated with a lethal toxin, remains unknown).

But the CIA's targets extended far beyond Cold War menaces like Castro. In 1970 the CIA decided that it would be impossible to oust leftist President Salvador Allende in Chile as long as Gen. René Schneider, the Chilean Army's commander in chief, remained militantly opposed to a coup. So the decision was made in Washington to remove Schneider. According to the Church Committee report, the CIA passed along three submachine guns to Chilean plotters, who attempted to kidnap Schneider. After two botched abductions, Schneider was killed by a handgun (apparently not supplied by the CIA) during a third kidnapping.

The CIA initiative that offers the closest analogy to current efforts to exterminate al Qaeda's leaders was the Phoenix program during the Vietnam War. Begun in 1968 as an effort to dislodge the Viet Cong's unofficial leadership structure in South Vietnamese villages, it evolved into something brutal even by the standards of an ongoing war. As historian John Prados writes in the recently published "Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-75," "Accusations of arbitrary detention and assassination were so controversial in the United States that Phoenix stimulated the antiwar movement, damaging public support for the war to an incalculable degree."

What conclusions can we draw from this tangled history of the CIA's dark side?

It seems apparent in hindsight that the CIA's targets (Castro, Schneider, Dominican Republic strongman Rafael Trujillo, recalcitrant South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and anti-colonial leader Patrice Lumumba in the Congo) were strategic inconveniences for the United States rather than major-league war criminals. Fidel Castro has stifled dissent and democracy for a half century, but the CIA assassination plots against him were morally reprehensible. It is light years from the hypothetical "Would you have shot Hitler in 1933?" to the more realistic "Would you have offered poisoned cigars to Castro?"

The Phoenix program offers another cautionary lesson about the limitations of wartime intelligence. As veteran journalist Stanley Karnow recounts in his definitive "Vietnam: A History," under the Phoenix program, South Vietnamese officials "frequently tortured villagers on no more evidence than the accusation of jealous neighbors." Karnow blames the CIA for its folly in trying to work through inept and corrupt South Vietnamese local leaders rather than for actively encouraging torture and assassination.

All this suggests to me that America should almost never sanction assassination (even by Predator missiles) away from the battlefield. It is not enough for the CIA to triple check that its target is really the man with the blue turban, the pockmarked face and the limp. It is not enough that the intelligence comes from a proven informant or that the most recent satellite photographs show only a few civilians in the area.

The real question should be: How will this killing look in 20 or 30 years to a younger generation of Americans who view the horrors of September 11 as a far-off historical event? Even in 2039, I suspect that there will be few Americans who feel morally uncomfortable about every single effort to murder Osama bin Laden. But it may be far more difficult to justify having killed 14 Pakistani civilians in a Predator attack on a man who may be (according to two informants) an assistant deputy regional al Qaeda commander.

Yes, this is a subjective standard – and I recognize that readers may disagree. But it has been nearly eight years since the 9/11 attacks and it seems time for America to return to traditional moral values as it continues to battle terrorism.

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I think this is the most important story going, CIA Assassins - and its still only beginning to take shape.

It is also refocusing the attention of the House/Senate Joint Intelligence Committee and their Oversight responsibility might be stimulated into holding Watergate type hearings on the intelligence community, and not just the CIA. This would encompass the interrogation torture, renditions, wiretapping and intelligence failures.

This would also be preferable, as a non-partisan issue, than a blatently partisan congressional hearings - like the Republicans held when Clinton was pres.

I don't know if you can give all the credit to Sly Hersh, though his story still holds water and carries all the major elements - CIA Assassins, Special Ops teams, Cheney, et al.

But the story did fall off the front page already, though it is one of those issues that won't go away.

Besides the mainstream articles appearing in most major newspapers and magazines, I found

this one most interesting, as it brings back Arthur Young's octogenarian friend Lt. Col. Wendell Stevens (USAF R), the old Bluebook hand from Wright Pat.

We were first introduced to Lt. Col. Stevens by Michael Paine's step dad Art Young, of Bell Helicopter, who vouched for Stevens and his research into UFOs and contacts with aliens.

Now Stevens has a renegade Navy SEAL Assassin and Dick Cheney inspecting captured flying saucers.

I like the way he EMPHASIZES the assassination squad was "using special forces personnel."

http://www.examiner.com/x-2383-Honolulu-Ex...-with-documents

On July 13, the New York Times ran a story about the CIA running an assassination squad using U.S military special forces against foreign terrorists without Congressional approval on the orders of former Vice President Dick Cheney. The Times story confirms claims by Seymour Hersh in March 2009 that an assassination squad had been created that reported directly to Cheney using special forces personnel. The covert CIA project was shut down by CIA Director Leon Panetta when he learned of it on June 23.

Details of the project were passed on the next day to the U.S. Congress and led to furor over the reports. A statement by seven members of the House Intelligence Committee concerning the CIA misleading Congress was subsequently released.

The covert CIA program allegedly began in 2001 soon after the 911 attacks.

The unfolding revelations of CIA death squads using U.S. military special forces personnel coincides with the online release of video testimony of a former U.S. Navy SEAL who said he was recruited to perform 18 assassination assignments for the CIA. If true, the SEAL’s testimony reveals that covert assassinations predate the 911 attacks, and also targeted U.S. citizens. Curiously, the assassinations were related to covert projects Dick Cheney was allegedly involved in when he was Secretary of Defense for George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993.

Connor O’Ryan was a pseudonym used by Derek Hennessy who claims in video testimony recorded in 1991, that he performed covert missions for the CIA in the 1980s assassinating enemies of the United States. After joining the U.S. Navy as a marine in the early 1980s, O’Ryan/Hennessy claims he joined the elite Navy SEALs and was eventually tasked to perform his covert assassination missions. He said that targets of the assassination hits even included U.S. citizens. He described his 18th and final mission as a sergeant for the U.S. Army Green Berets stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary.

O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s extraordinary claims were investigated over a ten year period by a retired Lt Colonel with the U.S. Air Force, Wendelle Stevens. During his investigation, Stevens was able to confirm Hennessy’s military I.D. and that he was assigned to the CIA performing covert missions. Concerned that O’Ryan/Hennessy may have been part of an intelligence operation to discredit him, Stevens did not release the initial results of his investigation until 2001. Video testimony of O’Ryan/Hennessy is included in a set of interviews conducted with Stevens currently being released on the internet. In the interviews, Steven’s discussed documents he had in his possession verifying Hennessy’s covert CIA missions. One document was apparently written on CIA letter head (see above graphic) with instructions for O/Ryan/Hennessy on his last mission. Steven’s read out the document’s contents as follows: “You are to report to the American Embassy in Budapest, Hungary. You will be received by S.A. Greywolf. As a unit you will proceed to terminate an ex S.A. David T. Johnson.”

According to Stevens, the document was O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s final hit order one month before he left his final assignment at a secret facility in Nevada. Another document is O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s W-2 salary statement that showed he was earning $74,000 for the CIA. Though only a sergeant he was earning the equivalent of a colonel’s salary at the time. Steven’s was able to confirm that the serial number and code word on the W-2 were active through an anonymous FBI source......

.... If O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s CIA hit order letter is a hoax, that raises an equally perplexing question. Why would Wendelle Stevens, a long time researcher of the UFO phenomenon, be targeted in an elaborate intelligence operation to discredit him with a contrived story about CIA assassins using elite military special forces personnel in 1991?

O’Ryan/Hennessy spent an extended period hiding with Stevens and associates while allegedly on the run. During this time, a series of events occurred that persuaded those giving shelter to O’Ryan/Hennessy that he was genuinely being monitored and threatened to return voluntarily to his program. Eventually, O’Ryan/Hennessy disappeared and has never been heard of again.

If O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s testimony is even partially correct, as Stevens’ confirmation of his W-2 suggests, it would confirm the existence of an assassination team run by the CIA prior to 2001. His testimony reveals that even U.S. citizens were eliminated due to agendas of a highly classified covert operations run out of the CIA. O’Ryan/Hennessy himself apparently become a target when he shared his information with Stevens and this may have been related to his disappearance.

For the last nine months of his military service during his final assassination missions, Hennessy was assigned to a covert facility in Nevada called S-4 to perform sentry duty for a highly classified covert project. It was there that he witnessed Dick Cheney arrive one day for an inspection for a project maintaining the secrecy of which was related to his earlier assassination missions.

To be continued: Cheney taken inside S-4 to view flying saucers & EBE bodies

[Authors Note: I thank Lt Col Wendelle Stevens (USAF, ret.) and Rick Keefe for their assistance in confirming details of this article. The video series is available online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DBB6j-sB5w More information about the video and its production is available at: http://ufohypotheses.com/]

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DID I CALL IT, OR WHAT?

Yesterday I wrote:

I think this is the most important story going, CIA Assassins - and its still only beginning to take shape.

It is also refocusing the attention of the House/Senate Joint Intelligence Committee and their Oversight responsibility might be stimulated into holding Watergate type hearings on the intelligence community, and not just the CIA. This would encompass the interrogation torture, renditions, wiretapping and intelligence failures.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/us/politics/18intel.html

House Looks Into Secrets Withheld From Congress

By MARK MAZZETTI and SCOTT SHANE

Published: July 17, 2009

WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee opened an investigation Friday into whether the Bush administration broke the law by not informing Congress about several classified programs, including efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency to develop assassination teams to kill senior leaders of Al Qaeda.

The committee has already begun to collect C.I.A. documents about the assassination program, which was created shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and was abandoned, officials have said, without ever having taken on a mission. Democratic lawmakers said Friday that the C.I.A.’s failure to notify members of Congress about the secret program may have been illegal.

The agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, called emergency meetings with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees last month to inform them about the program, which he had canceled a day earlier. Mr. Panetta told the lawmakers that the program had initially been concealed from Congress at the behest of Dick Cheney, then vice president.

One Democratic member of the House committee, Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, said that in addition to the plans for killing Qaeda leaders, the review would cover what she described as the failure to inform Congress fully or accurately about three other issues: C.I.A. involvement in the downing of a missionary plane mistaken for a narcotics flight in Peru in 2001, and two matters that remain classified.

In addition, the inquiry is likely to look at the Bush administration’s program of eavesdropping without warrants and its detention and interrogation program.

Current and former intelligence officials have said that the scuttled assassination program was troubled by logistical problems and never progressed beyond the planning stage. Ms. Schakowsky, however, said she believed that the program had gone beyond planning and training, though she declined to discuss details.

The committee’s top Republican, Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, criticized its chairman, Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat of Texas, for “offering a partisan plan.”

Some intelligence officials and Republican lawmakers, maintaining that planning was as far as the assassination program ever went, have said there was therefore no requirement that Congress be informed of it. Mr. Hoekstra said in a statement Friday that “the current facts do not support” Democratic claims that the law’s requirement that Congress be kept informed of intelligence activities was violated.

But Mr. Hoekstra has himself often complained about the C.I.A.’s failure to inform Congress of its activities. And he has already accused the agency of covering up information about the shooting down of the plane in Peru, which killed a missionary family from his district in Michigan.

Paul Gimigliano, a C.I.A. spokesman, said the agency would work closely with the committee as it conducted its investigation.

“Like Chairman Reyes,” Mr. Gimigliano said, “the agency’s goal is that this new investigation not become a distraction to the men and women of C.I.A., who have the vital mission of protecting the United States from foreign threats.”

This would also be preferable, as a non-partisan issue, than a blatently partisan congressional hearings - like the Republicans held when Clinton was pres.

I don't know if you can give all the credit to Sly Hersh, though his story still holds water and carries all the major elements - CIA Assassins, Special Ops teams, Cheney, et al.

But the story did fall off the front page already, though it is one of those issues that won't go away.

Besides the mainstream articles appearing in most major newspapers and magazines, I found

this one most interesting, as it brings back Arthur Young's octogenarian friend Lt. Col. Wendell Stevens (USAF R), the old Bluebook hand from Wright Pat.

We were first introduced to Lt. Col. Stevens by Michael Paine's step dad Art Young, of Bell Helicopter, who vouched for Stevens and his research into UFOs and contacts with aliens.

Now Stevens has a renegade Navy SEAL Assassin and Dick Cheney inspecting captured flying saucers.

I like the way he EMPHASIZES the assassination squad was "using special forces personnel."

http://www.examiner.com/x-2383-Honolulu-Ex...-with-documents

On July 13, the New York Times ran a story about the CIA running an assassination squad using U.S military special forces against foreign terrorists without Congressional approval on the orders of former Vice President Dick Cheney. The Times story confirms claims by Seymour Hersh in March 2009 that an assassination squad had been created that reported directly to Cheney using special forces personnel. The covert CIA project was shut down by CIA Director Leon Panetta when he learned of it on June 23.

Details of the project were passed on the next day to the U.S. Congress and led to furor over the reports. A statement by seven members of the House Intelligence Committee concerning the CIA misleading Congress was subsequently released.

The covert CIA program allegedly began in 2001 soon after the 911 attacks.

The unfolding revelations of CIA death squads using U.S. military special forces personnel coincides with the online release of video testimony of a former U.S. Navy SEAL who said he was recruited to perform 18 assassination assignments for the CIA. If true, the SEAL’s testimony reveals that covert assassinations predate the 911 attacks, and also targeted U.S. citizens. Curiously, the assassinations were related to covert projects Dick Cheney was allegedly involved in when he was Secretary of Defense for George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993.

Connor O’Ryan was a pseudonym used by Derek Hennessy who claims in video testimony recorded in 1991, that he performed covert missions for the CIA in the 1980s assassinating enemies of the United States. After joining the U.S. Navy as a marine in the early 1980s, O’Ryan/Hennessy claims he joined the elite Navy SEALs and was eventually tasked to perform his covert assassination missions. He said that targets of the assassination hits even included U.S. citizens. He described his 18th and final mission as a sergeant for the U.S. Army Green Berets stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary.

O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s extraordinary claims were investigated over a ten year period by a retired Lt Colonel with the U.S. Air Force, Wendelle Stevens. During his investigation, Stevens was able to confirm Hennessy’s military I.D. and that he was assigned to the CIA performing covert missions. Concerned that O’Ryan/Hennessy may have been part of an intelligence operation to discredit him, Stevens did not release the initial results of his investigation until 2001. Video testimony of O’Ryan/Hennessy is included in a set of interviews conducted with Stevens currently being released on the internet. In the interviews, Steven’s discussed documents he had in his possession verifying Hennessy’s covert CIA missions. One document was apparently written on CIA letter head (see above graphic) with instructions for O/Ryan/Hennessy on his last mission. Steven’s read out the document’s contents as follows: “You are to report to the American Embassy in Budapest, Hungary. You will be received by S.A. Greywolf. As a unit you will proceed to terminate an ex S.A. David T. Johnson.”

According to Stevens, the document was O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s final hit order one month before he left his final assignment at a secret facility in Nevada. Another document is O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s W-2 salary statement that showed he was earning $74,000 for the CIA. Though only a sergeant he was earning the equivalent of a colonel’s salary at the time. Steven’s was able to confirm that the serial number and code word on the W-2 were active through an anonymous FBI source......

.... If O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s CIA hit order letter is a hoax, that raises an equally perplexing question. Why would Wendelle Stevens, a long time researcher of the UFO phenomenon, be targeted in an elaborate intelligence operation to discredit him with a contrived story about CIA assassins using elite military special forces personnel in 1991?

O’Ryan/Hennessy spent an extended period hiding with Stevens and associates while allegedly on the run. During this time, a series of events occurred that persuaded those giving shelter to O’Ryan/Hennessy that he was genuinely being monitored and threatened to return voluntarily to his program. Eventually, O’Ryan/Hennessy disappeared and has never been heard of again.

If O’Ryan’s/Hennessy’s testimony is even partially correct, as Stevens’ confirmation of his W-2 suggests, it would confirm the existence of an assassination team run by the CIA prior to 2001. His testimony reveals that even U.S. citizens were eliminated due to agendas of a highly classified covert operations run out of the CIA. O’Ryan/Hennessy himself apparently become a target when he shared his information with Stevens and this may have been related to his disappearance.

For the last nine months of his military service during his final assassination missions, Hennessy was assigned to a covert facility in Nevada called S-4 to perform sentry duty for a highly classified covert project. It was there that he witnessed Dick Cheney arrive one day for an inspection for a project maintaining the secrecy of which was related to his earlier assassination missions.

To be continued: Cheney taken inside S-4 to view flying saucers & EBE bodies

[Authors Note: I thank Lt Col Wendelle Stevens (USAF, ret.) and Rick Keefe for their assistance in confirming details of this article. The video series is available online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DBB6j-sB5w More information about the video and its production is available at: http://ufohypotheses.com/]

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Guest Tom Scully

Bill,

When I saw you had posted a link to a piece published on Philip Anschutz's "Examiner", by this wing nut, citing the investigation completed by the 86 years old UFO Colonel, on the backgriound of a CIA assassin nobody who speaks english as their primary language has ever heard of, this came to my mind:

(Dedicated to GW Bush, Dick Cheney, Philip Anschutz, Michael Salla, Col. Wendelle Stevens, and Derek Hennessy, for...without you, this Examiner story could never...)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=69...%22++&hl=en

The ones who don't enjoy themselves, even when they laugh. Oh yeah. The ones who worship the corporate image, not knowing that they work for someone else. Oh yeah. The ones who should have been shot in the cradle... Pow! Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Follow me to success, but kill me if I fail... so to speak.' Oh yeah. The ones who say we Italians are the greatest he-men on earth. Oh yeah. The ones who are noble Romans, the ones who say 'That's for me,' the ones who say 'You know what I mean.' Oh yeah. The ones who vote for the right because they're fed up with strikes. Oh yeah. The ones who vote white in order not to get dirty. The ones who never get involved with politics. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Be calm, calm.' The ones who still support the king. The ones who say 'Yes, sir.' Oh yeah. The ones who make love standing in their boots, and imagine they're in a luxurious bed. The ones who believe Christ is Santa Claus as a young man. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Oh, what the hell.' The ones who were there. The ones who believe in everything, even in God. The ones who listen to the national anthem. Oh yeah. The ones who love their country. The ones who keep going, just to see how it will end. Oh yeah. The ones who are in garbage up to here. Oh yeah. The ones who sleep soundly, even with cancer. Oh yeah. The ones who, even now, don't believe the world is round. Oh yeah, oh yeah. The ones who are afraid of flying. Oh yeah. The ones who have never had a fatal accident. Oh yeah. The ones who have had one. The ones who, at a certain point in their lives, create a secret weapon, Christ. Oh yeah. The ones who are always standing at the bar. The ones who are always in Switzerland. The ones who started early, haven't arrived, and don't know they're not going to. Oh yeah. The ones who lose wars by the skin of their teeth. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Everything is wrong here.' The ones who say 'Now let's all have a good laugh.' Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

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Bill,

When I saw you had posted a link to a piece published on Philip Anschutz's "Examiner", by this wing nut, citing the investigation completed by the 86 years old UFO Colonel, on the backgriound of a CIA assassin nobody who speaks english as their primary language has ever heard of, this came to my mind:

(Dedicated to GW Bush, Dick Cheney, Philip Anschutz, Michael Salla, Col. Wendelle Stevens, and Derek Hennessy, for...without you, this Examiner story could never...)

Thanks for that, Tom, it was really entertaining and enlightening.

And I didn't know Anschutz owned the "Examiner." What a guy. Rather than give you a refund for your Michael Jackson show tickets, he's letting you keep them as a keepsake.

All that real JFK assassination research needs is one guy like him to fund a few researchers for six months to a year and the case will be solved.

As for Col. Wendell Stevens and Derek Hennessy, I believe Hennessy is for real.

Did you view the Stevens' video interviews?

Like I said, I know a guy just like Hennessy, a former Navy SEAL, SEAL TEAM 6, who had worked on PHOENIX in Vietnam and was recruited by Blackwater for Iraq. It appears that Stevens checked out Hennessy's background and he is for real, or what he says happened appears to be true.

I don't doubt that the Navy has been running these Double Oh guys for decades.

To explain further, before you came along, I related the story of when I interviewed Michael Paine's step-father Arthur Young in Philadelphia shortly before he died. He asked me for my birthdate, time and place of birth and figured out my astrology chart while we talked for hours in his living room. At one point Young asked me if I was from the Pleiades, an alien.

I think he was dissappointed I wasn't. When I asked him more about the Pleiades, he referred me to a book from his shelf that had photos of Pleiadians and spaceships that was written by Col. Wendel Stevens, who Young said was a friend of his.

When I got home I obtained the phone number for Stevens and called him and asked him for a copy of his book, but he said the book was out of print. He didn't want to talk at first, but loosened up when I mentioned Art Young's name.

Stevens said he was a retired Colonel in the Air Force, stationed at Wright-Pat AFB in Dayton, Ohio, and worked on Project BLUEBOOK under Gen. Charles Cabell, the brother of the Mayor of Dallas, who is said to have been responsible for the failure of the Bay of Pigs. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_P._Cabell]

And now Col. Stevens resurfaces with a new story, that of Sgt. Derek Hennessy, Navy SEAL assassin.

I think the whole CIA Assassin Team is a cover story for the real Navy SEAL assassins, just like the UFOs were a cover for U2.

Combined with the info supplied by Lt. Com. Thomas Narut to Peter Watson, and Steven's story of Hennessy seems to fit into that piece of the puzzle without being squeezed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DBB6j-sB5w

BK

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=69...%22++&hl=en

The ones who don't enjoy themselves, even when they laugh. Oh yeah. The ones who worship the corporate image, not knowing that they work for someone else. Oh yeah. The ones who should have been shot in the cradle... Pow! Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Follow me to success, but kill me if I fail... so to speak.' Oh yeah. The ones who say we Italians are the greatest he-men on earth. Oh yeah. The ones who are noble Romans, the ones who say 'That's for me,' the ones who say 'You know what I mean.' Oh yeah. The ones who vote for the right because they're fed up with strikes. Oh yeah. The ones who vote white in order not to get dirty. The ones who never get involved with politics. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Be calm, calm.' The ones who still support the king. The ones who say 'Yes, sir.' Oh yeah. The ones who make love standing in their boots, and imagine they're in a luxurious bed. The ones who believe Christ is Santa Claus as a young man. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Oh, what the hell.' The ones who were there. The ones who believe in everything, even in God. The ones who listen to the national anthem. Oh yeah. The ones who love their country. The ones who keep going, just to see how it will end. Oh yeah. The ones who are in garbage up to here. Oh yeah. The ones who sleep soundly, even with cancer. Oh yeah. The ones who, even now, don't believe the world is round. Oh yeah, oh yeah. The ones who are afraid of flying. Oh yeah. The ones who have never had a fatal accident. Oh yeah. The ones who have had one. The ones who, at a certain point in their lives, create a secret weapon, Christ. Oh yeah. The ones who are always standing at the bar. The ones who are always in Switzerland. The ones who started early, haven't arrived, and don't know they're not going to. Oh yeah. The ones who lose wars by the skin of their teeth. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Everything is wrong here.' The ones who say 'Now let's all have a good laugh.' Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

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The Assassins Debate

Why Seymour Hersh is still wrong about Cheney's hit squad

Michael C. Moynihan | July 17, 2009

http://diplomacy.norwich.edu/rea/

A few months ago on this website, I cast doubt on a claim by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that former Vice President Dick Cheney was running “an executive assassination ring” out of his West Wing office. Urging caution when repeating such claims—predictably, outside of the conspiracy-friendly websites like Raw Story and Digg, only MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reported this dubious "scoop"—I argued that because Hersh had previously admitted exaggerating stories in order to “convey a larger truth,” a healthy dose of skepticism was warranted.

The story quickly disappeared, only to be reanimated this week by CIA director Leon Panetta’s revelation that the Bush administration deliberately obscured an unnamed secret CIA program from Congress. A flood of stories from the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The New York Times followed, revealing that the CIA plan involved the targeted assassination of al-Qaeda targets. Many observers quickly connected the dots back to Hersh. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein wondered if the CIA, with whom the Bush administration famously battled, was “hiding Cheney's executive assassination ring." A handful of indignant emailers, claiming vindication on behalf of Hersh, demanded a retraction of my blog post.

Not a chance.

Let's briefly revisit Hersh’s bombshell assassination claims. Last March, during a speech at the University of Minnesota, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist revealed that the CIA "was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state (emphasis added)." He offered the following as evidence: "[T]here was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command—JSOC it's called...They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office...It's an executive assassination ring essentially."

But this is a non-sequitur. Hersh first references a secret, as-yet-unreported CIA program focusing on domestic targets after 9/11—which, as of this writing, hasn't been uncovered by those investigating the Panetta story, though it certainly doesn’t strain credulity—and quickly shifts gears to a discussion of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a special unit of the United States Special Operations Command known for tracking and assassinating the Jordanian al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

As pointed out by sources familiar with the program, Panetta cancelled the CIA operation before it became "fully operational,” though Hersh claims the Cheney “executive assassination ring” has been “going on and on and on” for years. Here is Newsweek's Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, describing the lumbering and troubled evolution of the program:

Top CIA officials ultimately concluded the program posed an unacceptable risk of failure or exposure, according to another former official. As a result, the initial plans proposed by officers of the Directorate of Operations—now known as the National Clandestine Service—were put on hold by CIA Director George Tenet before he left office in 2004, former officials said. Tenet's two successors, Porter Goss and Gen. Michael Hayden, kept the plans in the deep freeze. But a former official said that until Panetta killed the program outright last month, the CIA never totally abandoned the plans for kill teams...

One journalist looking into the program—a person, it is worth noting, deeply critical of Bush and Cheney's terrorism policies—suggested a more logical explanation. Hersh, he informed me, might have stumbled across the program exposed this week but perhaps "didn't understand what his sources were telling him." When asked if these revelations vindicated the "executive assassination ring" claim, another journalist working on the story told me that those who connect the Panetta revelations to Hersh's breathless talk in Minneapolis "have no idea what they are talking about."

Simply put, Hersh’s narrative of an operational, domestic cadre of assassins doesn’t fit with what we know about the plan scuttled by Panetta.

Nevertheless, The Daily Beast’s Benjamin Sarlin huffed that Hersh "was mocked in March when he referred to Dick Cheney’s secret squad of CIA assassins" but now it appeared that Hersh was "prescient," the "man who knew Cheney’s secret." Those who distrusted Hersh would soon be forced to eat crow: "Yesterday, the New York Times reported the hidden program in question was a death squad authorized by Dick Cheney without Congressional approval—almost exactly what he described."

But as The Daily Beast editors soon realized, the Times story said nothing about domestic operations, didn't mention JSOC, a group not even under CIA command, and told a very different story than Hersh. An editor’s note was tacked on to the piece, telling readers that the article "was updated to reflect differences between Hersh’s story and The New York Times'." The claim that Hersh’s story was "exactly" what the Times reported vanished (though it can be viewed via Google’s cache), replaced with a more equivocal sentence: "Now, there are key differences between Hersh's reporting and the Times' latest piece."

In an attempt to keep the "executive assassination ring" angle in play, Sarlin’s updated story concluded gamely that "The Times and Hersh could conceivably be reporting two distinct squads." MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann offered a similar conclusion, telling a guest that "Seymour Hersh's hint of the story in Minnesota in the spring was about stuff run out of the Pentagon and specifically not tied to the CIA," though there might be "two secret assassination squads."

The desire to eschew these contradictory facts in pursuit of a political point spread throughout the blogosphere. Soon after Cheney's former national security adviser John Hannah told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that it was “certainly true” that the there was a “well-vetted process, interagency process” targeting “those that have committed acts of war against the United States,” Center for American Progress blogger Satyam Khanna wrote that "a former Cheney aide suggests that Hersh’s account of [an] 'executive assassination ring' is 'certainly true.'" Well, no he didn’t.

My concern here is not with the efficacy, legality, or existance of Dick Cheney’s program to rub out members of al-Qaeda, but with those who warn us that journalism in the run up to the Iraq War failed the American people because its practitioners placed furthering a political agenda over the supremacy of truth. If the mainstream media in 2002 was hamstrung by sloppy and biased reporting, thereby necessitating a counterrevolution in blogging and online reporting, have the Enragés, the young bloggers who demanded higher standards and an upending of the old order, already become Robespierres? Is it now OK to engage in sloppy and lazy journalism, provided that the stakes are smaller and your target is widely considered to be a bastard?

In reporting the Panetta story, it was “old media” print journalists like Siobhan Gorman, Eli Lake, Joby Warrick, and Scott Shane that informed and illuminated, while the partisans of the new media took up the rear, pounding round pegs into square holes.

During the 2008 election, one writer praised the new breed of online journalists while cautioning that in rushing to scoop the mainstream media, Internet upstarts often risk missing “nuance and context,” valuing quantity over quality. Web journalists, he continued, often settle “for a timely article rather than a complete one,” though this is “an avoidable problem.”

Indeed it is. And the author, Huffington Post political reporter Sam Stein, might want to start taking some of his own advice.

Michael C. Moynihan is a senior editor of Reason magazine.

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I would approach this issue from a different perspective.

Namely, is OBL dead or is he alive?

If he is dead, how, when and where did he die?

If one's goal is to perpetuate a WOT, is it better to have a live OBL or a dead OBL?

Other questions also arise, like whether it is relevant if a hit squad was assembled on the drawing board but never deployed, whether Panetta's diclosure of this issue is a transparent attempt to deflect attention from what Nancy Pelosi know about enhanced interrogation techniques and when she new it, and the legal effect of an executive order (as Paul Begalla famously said "Stroke of the pen - law of the land. Kind of cool!").

I probably take a different view than most of the people on the EF about matters like this (I trust the CIA more than I trust Congress), but these questions should be important to everyone.

The problem with buying into Sy Hersch is that, if you do, you also have to explain some of the utter silliness contained in "The Dark Side of Camelot".

Same way with decrying the JFK assassination-related fiction of Vincent Bugliosi when he writes about the SBT and then believing him when he writes a book critical of GWB.

Authors are either credible or unbelievable, but they can't be both.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fox News: US Targets Afghan Drug Lords

Is this a contemporary Operation 40 or PHOENIX?

Is this what Cheney's assassins squad was to do?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/09...l-capture-list/

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has created a target list of 50 Afghan drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban to be captured or killed, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing interviews with two U.S. generals in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report to be released this week, the Times said the strategy is aimed at disrupting the flow of drug money used to finance Taliban insurgents.

The addition of drug lords on the "joint integrated prioritized target list" reflects a major shift in counternarcotics strategy and means the traffickers will be given the same target status as militant leaders.

"We have a list of 367 'kill or capture' targets, including 50 nexus targets who link drugs and the insurgency," a general reportedly told the committee staff, the Times said.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama's national security adviser did not rule out adding more U.S. forces in Afghanistan to help turn around a war that he said is not now in crisis.

James Jones, a retired Marine general with experience in Afghanistan, said the United States will know "by the end of next year" whether the revamped war plan Obama announced in March is taking hold.

The administration is redefining how it will measure progress, with new benchmarks that reflect a redrawn strategy. An outline is expected next month.

Making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, Jones did little to dispel the growing expectation that Obama soon will be asked to supplement the 21,000 additional forces he already approved for Afghanistan this year.

"We won't rule anything out," but the new strategy is too fresh for a full evaluation, Jones said. "If things come up where we need to adjust one way or the other, and it involves troops or it involves more incentives ... for economic development or better assistance to help the Afghan government function, we'll do that."

The Obama plan is supposed to combine a more vigorous military campaign against the Taliban with a commitment to protect Afghan civilians and starve the insurgents of sanctuary and popular support. It envisions a large development effort led by civilians, which has not fully happened, and a rapid expansion of the Afghan armed forces to eventually take over responsibility for security.

"If we can get that done ... we will know that fairly quickly," Jones said.

The system to measure progress in Afghanistan is several weeks from completion. It reflects creeping congressional skepticism about the war and its costs. The United States has spent more than $220 billion since the U.S.-led invasion of 2001, plus billions for more toward aid and development projects. By the United States' own admission, much of the aid money was wasted.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee wrote recently that they are worried about "the prospects for an open-ended U.S. commitment to bring stability to a country that has a decades-long history of successfully rebuffing foreign military intervention and attempts to influence internal politics."

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Sunday he does not know how Congress would react to a new request for additional troops.

"It depends on what the facts and the arguments are," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. "It depends what our commanders in the field say. It depends also I think in part what our NATO allies are willing to do."

Appearing with him, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., warned against repeating what he called the mistake of committing too few troops to Iraq at the start of the war.

"My message to my Democratic colleagues is that we made mistakes in Iraq. Let's not 'Rumsfeld' Afghanistan," Graham said, referring to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld resisted sending a very large U.S. force at the outset of the Iraq war in 2003.

"Let's don't do this thing on the cheap," Graham said. He said he will "be shocked if more troops are not requested by our commanders."

Violence has spiked this year, with roadside bombs the militants' weapon of choice. There are relatively few direct firefights. There are signs the Taliban is pursuing a classic tactic of a smaller, weaker enemy waiting out a larger, militarily superior one.

Deaths among U.S. and other NATO troops have soared. With 74 foreign troops killed -- including 43 Americans -- July was the deadliest month for international forces since the start of the war in 2001.

There are currently 62,000 U.S. troops and 39,000 allied forced in Afghanistan, on top of about 175,000 Afghan soldiers and police. Some NATO countries plan to withdraw their troops in the next couple of years, even as the U.S. ramps up its presence.

The newly installed top U.S. general in Afghanistan is preparing an interim assessment that is expected to be a sober accounting of the difficulties of fighting an entrenched and technically capable insurgency eight years into the war. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is expected to identify shortfalls that should be filled by more forces -- perhaps a mix of Afghan, NATO and U.S.

His report had been expected this week but is now delayed at least until after the Afghan national elections on Aug. 20.

U.S. officials have said they are neutral on the election's outcome so long as voting comes off smoothly and with a minimum of irregularities. Jones cited the elections as evidence of progress.

He rejected the idea that a secret, hastily arranged gathering of the top U.S. defense officials in Europe last weekend carried a whiff of desperation.

"No, I don't think we're at a crisis level ... or that there's going to be any movement on the ground by the Taliban that's going to overthrow the government. We're going to have, I think, a good election," Jones said.

Jones appeared on "FOX News Sunday," NBC's "Meet the Press" and CBS' "Face the Nation." Levin and Graham were on CBS.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.ttp://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/09/adds-afghan-drug-lords-kill-capture-list/

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Fox News: US Targets Afghan Drug Lords

Is this a contemporary Operation 40 or PHOENIX?

Is this what Cheney's assassins squad was to do?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/09...l-capture-list/

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has created a target list of 50 Afghan drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban to be captured or killed, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing interviews with two U.S. generals in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report to be released this week, the Times said the strategy is aimed at disrupting the flow of drug money used to finance Taliban insurgents.

The addition of drug lords on the "joint integrated prioritized target list" reflects a major shift in counternarcotics strategy and means the traffickers will be given the same target status as militant leaders.

"We have a list of 367 'kill or capture' targets, including 50 nexus targets who link drugs and the insurgency," a general reportedly told the committee staff, the Times said.

Good hunting.

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