The Secrecy of Dick Cheney
Obviously, Scott Shane’s piece in yesterday’s New York Times reporting former vice-president Dick Cheney’s direct involvement in keeping the existence of a secret counterterrorism program (the nature of which is still unknown) hidden from Congress for eight years raises all kinds of serious concerns.
For irony edging toward gallows humor, though, you cannot beat this glancing mention, in the IG report (Shane refers to it in his article), of the difficulty FBI agents experienced in following up on leads generated by the still-unknown secret program… because the program was so secret:
The DOJ OIG [Department of Justice Office of the Inspector-General] generally found that the FBI implemented reasonable procedures for expeditiously disseminating PSP-derived information to FBI field offices for investigation while protecting the sources and methods by which the information was obtained. However, the DOJ OIG also found that the highly compartmented nature of the PSP [President's Surveillance Program] created obstacles for the FBI’s process for handling program-derived information and understandably frustrated FBI agents responsible for investigating the information.
It’s that darn pre-9/11 wall going up again! Maybe Scott at Power Line can spend some time pondering how much damage was done to our national security by running a counterterrorism program that was so secret, none of the people who actually did the counterterrorism work knew about it!