Posted tagged ‘Leon Panetta’

Bombers’ Bodies Photos Condemned

April 18, 2012

According to Defense Secretary Leo Panetta, photos of U.S. soldiers posing with bodies of suspected Afghan insurgents depict behavior that “absolutely violates” U.S. regulations and values.

From CNN:

“This is not who we are, and it’s certainly not who we represent when it comes to the great majority of men and women in uniform who are serving there,” he said.

The two photos published by the paper are among 18 provided by a U.S. soldier who wanted “to draw attention to the safety risk of a breakdown in leadership and discipline,” The Times reported.

The military said an investigation is under way.

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CIA Hired Blackwater To Go After Al Qaeda Leaders

August 21, 2009

The CIA apparently hired Blackwater back  in 2004 to work on a covert program aimed at targeting and potentially killing top al Qaeda leaders.

From CNN:

The existence of the program, which began in 2001, came to light earlier this year when CIA Director Leon Panetta canceled the effort, but it is only now that Blackwater’s involvement has become known.

That development was first reported Thursday in The New York Times.

The program was part of a broader effort inside the CIA to develop the capacity to conduct training, surveillance and possible covert operations overseas, according to the source. The program was outsourced to contractors to “put some distance” between the effort and the U.S. government.

By mid-2006, Blackwater’s involvement in the program had ended, according to a U.S. official. Other contractors were brought in for other parts of the program, another source said.

The total program cost “millions,” a U.S. official said. It is not known how much Blackwater was paid. The company — now known as Xe — did not return CNN’s calls seeking comment.

Dick Cheney Linked to Concealment of Terror Program

July 11, 2009

According to reports today, the CIA withheld information about a secret counter terrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney.

From the New York Times:

The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

Efforts to reach Mr. Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.

The question of how completely the C.I.A. informed Congress about sensitive programs has been hotly disputed by Democrats and Republicans since May, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the agency of failing to reveal in 2002 that it was waterboarding a terrorism suspect, a claim Mr. Panetta rejected.

The law requires the president to make sure the intelligence committees “are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity.” But the language of the statute, the amended National Security Act of 1947, leaves some leeway for judgment, saying such briefings should be done “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”