Eli Lake and Sara Carter at the Washington Times have uncovered another development concerning the embattled CIA. This comes on the heels, of course, of the string of humiliations and intra-administration struggles lost by Leon Panetta’s agency (e.g., release of the enhanced interrogation memos, re-investigation of CIA operatives, loss of responsibility for high-value target interrogations). Chief among these has been the nonstop attacks from the Democrats in Congress, who have accused the CIA of “lying” to them.
Lake and Carter report:
Besieged by leaks of several closely held secrets, the CIA has asked the Justice Department to examine what it regards as the criminal disclosure of a secret program to kill foreign terrorist leaders abroad, The Washington Times has learned.
Two U.S. intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because of the sensitivity of the case, said the leak investigation involved a program that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta told Congress about in June and that surfaced in news reports just a month later.
[. . .]
One element of the new leak investigation involves a New York Times story last month that said the secret program employed the security contractor Xe — formerly known as Blackwater. The plan was never put into effect — and Mr. Panetta canceled it as soon as he learned of it, according to the CIA.
But the disclosure has had other consequences: Al Qaeda has placed Xe’s chief executive, Eric Prince, on its own version of a most-wanted list, said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the contractor.
So the CIA is now striking back, one supposes, having had enough of leaking congressmen who feel free to listen to briefings and then run to the media to continue their assault on the agency. And one can delight in the thought of an investigation in which members of Congress are the prime suspects in the irresponsible leaking of confidential material. (Lake and Carter recall the Valerie Plame matter and the outrage over “outing” those working in our intelligence community.)
But before we get our hopes up, this is Eric Holder’s Justice Department — the gang that reached out from Washington, we are told, to end the Bill Richardson investigation, dismissed the Black Panther voter-intimidation case, and went to war with the CIA in all the incidents listed above. Isn’t there someone else who can do this? No, unfortunately. This is the price one pays for a politicized Justice Department — we are stuck with a department, and its political appointees, that possesses enormous and far-reaching power, upon whom other agencies and departments of government must rely and whose motives are entirely suspect.
I, for one, am not overflowing with confidence that Holder will set loose the hounds, uncover the culprits regardless of party and position, and press for vigorous prosecution of those who leaked classified secrets and have apparently endangered Eric Prince’s life. Call me cynical, but I think their resources and energy are focused elsewhere.