Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The latest altercation between the CIA and Congress is a pointless exercise that is placing the country in increasing danger.
The CIA is accused of concealing significant actions from Congress, but the facts so far reveal insignificant inaction. In 2001, the CIA's then-Directorate of Operations began to discuss ways in which the United States might use special teams to track down and kill al Qaeda leaders. The operational vision was similar to Operation Wrath of God, in which Israel's Mossad hunted down members of the Black September terror group that murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The plan would have been an ambitious and risky undertaking if implemented. But the operation never made it past the planning stages, and it was put on hold in 2004. Five years later, in June of this year, CIA Director Leon Panetta officially killed it.
It is hard to understand the fuss. It appears that no CIA teams were dispatched and no terrorists were killed utilizing this unlaunched operation. Congress must have worked hard not to notice this secret program since details of the plans were well reported in the press. In October 2001, The Washington Post ran an article by Barton Gellman on the front page, CIA Weighs 'Targeted Killing' Missions, which stated that the Central Intelligence Agency is contemplating clandestine missions expressly aimed at killing specified individuals. In December 2002, James Risen and David Johnston gave details on the target list on the front page of the New York Times Bush Has Widened Authority …