CIA head nixed secret plan for assassination squad

According to a story in the Washington Post the CIA was in the process of developing teams of anti-terrorist assassination squads that ended up being shut down when CIA head Leon Panetta found out about them.

While there were apparently plans at the agency to develop these squads for a number of years with the idea of using them to hunt al-Qaeda leaders it wasn’t until recently that the plans were upgraded to a “somewhat more operational phase”.

Once he learned of the plans and shut them down Panetta appeared at Capital Hill to brief lawmakers about the whole deal since they had been kept in the dark about it.

The Obama administration’s top intelligence official, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, yesterday defended Panetta’s decision to cancel the program, which he said had raised serious questions among intelligence officials about its “effectiveness, maturity and the level of control.”

But Blair broke with some Democrats in Congress by asserting that the CIA did not violate the law when it failed to inform lawmakers about the secret program until last month. Blair said agency officials may not have been required to notify Congress about the program, though he believes they should have done so.

Source: The Washington Post

The Democrat lawmakers however feel that the CIA intentionally misled Congress by failing to disclose the program. It was a program that came out of “presidential finding” signed by President George W. Bush shortly after September 11, 2001 that granted the agency broad authority to use deadly force when hunting down bin Laden and other high ranking al-Qaeda members.