GOP Responds to Cheney's Concealment of CIA Program with Strawmen and Shrugged Shoulders

Earlier this week, seven House Democrats on the Intelligence Committee released a letter revealing that CIA Director Leon Panetta had “recently testified to Congress that the agency concealed information and misled lawmakers repeatedly since 2001″ about an unidentified CIA operation that was an “on-again, off-again” effort until Panetta stopped it in June. The New York Times reports today that former Vice President Dick Cheney gave “direct orders” for the program to be concealed from Congress.

On the Sunday shows, several Republican lawmakers attempted to defend or divert attention away from the revelation about Cheney. “I don’t think we should be jumping to any conclusions,” said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on ABC’s This Week. Kyl claimed that Cheney’s alleged actions were “not out of the ordinary”:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But this allegation of the vice president ordering it be kept secret, you believe that should be investigated?

KYL: Look, the president and the vice president are the two people who have responsibility, ultimately, for the national security of the country. It is not out of the ordinary for the vice president to be involved in an issue like this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But to order it be kept secret?

KYL: What if it’s a top secret program? Of course he and the president would both be responsible for that. Let’s don’t jump to conclusions is what I’m saying.

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that while he agrees that “the CIA should brief the Congress,” any mention of Cheney is just the Obama administration trying to “blame the Bush-Cheney administration” for everything. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he doesn’t “know whether it was appropriate,” but dismissed the concern by saying, “the CIA is in the secrecy business.”

Also on CNN, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) said that it “is wrong if somebody told the CIA not to inform the appropriate members of Congress,” but tried to cast the debate as an “attempt” by Democrats “to basically undermine the capacity to protect and develop intelligence.” Watch it:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.