Seymour Hersh: Secret assassination operation was run by Bush White House03/12/09 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Thursday) | Listen to this entire show:
"At a â€œGreat Conversationsâ€ event at the University of Minnesota [Monday] investigative reporter Seymour Hersh talked about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an â€œexecutive assassination ring,â€ according to Eric Black at MinnPost.com,
The evening, featuring Walter Mondale and Hersh, moderated by Jacobs and titled â€œAmericaâ€™s Constitutional Crisis,â€ looked to be a mostly historical review of events that have tested our Constitution, by a journalist and a high government officials who had experience with many of the crises.
And it was mostly historical, and a great conversation, in which Hersh and Mondale talked with UM political Scientist Larry Jacobs about the patterns by which presidents seem to get intoxicated by executive power, frustrated by the limitations on that power from Congress and the public, drawn into improper covert actions that exceed their constitutional powers, in the belief that they can get results and will never be found out. Despite a few references to the Founding Fathers, the history was mostly recent, starting with the Vietnam War with much of it arising from the George W. Bush administration, which both men roundly denounced.
At the end of one answer by Hersh about how these things tend to happen, Jacobs asked: â€œAnd do they continue to happen to this day?â€
Replied Hersh: â€œYuh. After 9/11, I havenâ€™t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They havenâ€™t been called on it yet. That does happen.
"Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC itâ€™s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...
"Congress has no oversight of it. Itâ€™s an executive assassination ring essentially, and itâ€™s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
"Under President Bushâ€™s authority, theyâ€™ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. Thatâ€™s been going on, in the name of all of us."
During this segment of Radioactivity we played Hersh's words from earlier this week. Later, we opened the phone lines to talk about wages, unions, alleged war crimes by the Bush administration and Hersh's allegations.