Assassinations in Allied Countries?
The Guardian, fleshing out Siobhan Gorman’s Wall Street Journal piece today on the secret CIA “significant actions” that Director Leon Panetta cancelled last month, reports that the program was geared to assassinate members of al-Qaeda in friendly countries. Here’s what one former intel official told the Guardian’s Chris McGreal:
“One of the most sensitive areas has been what we do in friendly countries that don’t want to cooperate or maybe we don’t have enough confidence to entrust them with information. If you have an al-Qaida guy wandering around certain bits of the world we might decide that we need to deal with that ourselves, directly, without making a lot of noise,” he said. “There was a plan to deal with that. It was much talked about in the CIA and the military had its own operation.”
My quest to elaborate on this took a revealing turn when I asked a currently-serving intelligence official whether the Guardian had it right. “This effort has been briefed to the Congress,” the official replied. “They know what this was and what it wasn’t.” So I asked a congressional staffer, who answered, “Like Congress can talk about it.” This is what it’s like reporting this story, folks.