- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

OH, THE IRONY

By all appearances, the CIA had it in for the George W. Bush administration.

First, there were all those former CIA officials who, once safely in retirement, blasted Mr. Bush and his team for assorted sins. Some wrote books. And then there was Valerie Plame, a CIA official who blamed the White House for blowing her cover. It turned out the leaker was a State Department deputy secretary, but by then Karl Rove and other members of the Bush inner circle had spent years trying to avoid indictment by a special prosecutor.

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, was sentenced to prison for perjury (Mr. Bush commuted the sentence).

And then there were all those leaks to the New York Times about super-secret programs to spy on terrorists. We may never know whether the CIA was involved in that, but you have to wonder.

So how are Bush-hating Democrats rewarding the agency? By pummeling it.

Washington. What a city.

THAT SECRET PLAN

“On Sunday, the New York Times struck another blow against the Bush administrations counterterrorism measures with a front-page story alleging that a CIA program was kept secret from Congress for eight years. The orders to keep Congress out of the loop - which sound flagrantly illegal - came, according to the story, straight from then-Vice President Dick Cheney,” Jonathan Tobin writes in a blog at www.commentarymagazine.com.

“Coming on the heels of another story published Friday, in which the Times claimed that federal surveillance of suspected terrorists phone conversations was not useful in countering terrorism - a convenient conclusion for the Times since it was their revelations about this program that rendered it useless - it seemed as if the anti-Bush reporting team had hit the jackpot,” Mr. Tobin said.

“The notion of a CIA project, so secret that even the Times didnt know its nefarious purpose, directed by the ultimate liberal hate-icon, Cheney, was almost too good to be true. Surely the project was a plot against innocent American citizens and another way to subvert our liberties. And if this super-secret plot were illegally kept from Congress, the campaign to criminalize the efforts of the Bush administration in defending this country against al Qaeda would have finally found the silver bullet to nail Cheney with.

“But, alas for the Left, [Mondays] Wall Street Journal eliminates some of the mystery behind this story. It turns out the super-secret program wasnt so controversial after all. That is, not controversial if you thought the 9/11 attacks were bad. The secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter.

“A plan to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, you say? Wasn’t this what the CIA and the rest of the government were supposed to be doing? And if they weren’t pursuing such a project, the apt question here would be, why not?”

REWRITING HISTORY

“There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week,” Liz Cheney writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: ‘The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.’

“The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not ‘competition in astrophysics and athletics.’ It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet ‘sphere of influence’ was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism,” said Ms. Cheney, a former State Department official and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

“It is irresponsible for an American president to go to Moscow and tell a room full of young Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended. One wonders whether this was just an attempt to push ‘reset’ - or maybe to curry favor. Perhaps, most concerning of all, Mr. Obama believes what he said.

“Mr. Obama’s method for pushing reset around the world is becoming clearer with each foreign trip. He proclaims moral equivalence between the U.S. and our adversaries, he readily accepts a false historical narrative, and he refuses to stand up against anti-American lies.”

MISSING WOMAN

“It’s time for Barack Obama to let Hillary Clinton take off her burqa,” Tina Brown writes at www.thedailybeast.com.

“Consider the president’s Moscow trip a week ago. In a cozy scene at Vladimir Putin’s dacha, the boys enjoyed traditional Russian tea and breakfast on a terrace. Sitting on Putin’s right was the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. Where was Lavrov’s counterpart? She was back home, left there with a broken elbow to receive a visit from the ousted Honduran president, Jose Manuel Zelaya,” Ms. Brown said.

“It becomes clearer by the day how cleverly Obama checkmated both Clintons by putting Hillary in the topmost Cabinet job.

“Same thing last month, when the president stopped off to see [Saudi Arabia] King Abdullah en route to his oratorical home run in Cairo: no Hillary. Nor was there any sign of Middle East envoy George Mitchell or anyone else from the State Department on the Saudi leg of the trip, even though its main mission was to recruit Abdullah into a peacemaking partnership with Israel. The king told Obama no, by the way, so it’s fair to ask whether the president could have used a bit more Foggy Bottom prep work.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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