Last month journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story that the Bush administration used an executive assassination ring to go into countries and execute people on a hit list. Today on CNN’s The Situation Room, former Cheney aide John Hannah said that a list of targets exists and there are troops in the field who have the authority to capture or kill certain individuals.
Here is the video courtesy of Think Progress:
Host Wolf Blitzer asked Hannah about a list of targets for assassination, and he replied, “There’s clearly a group of people that go through a very extremely well-vetted process, interagency process…that have committed acts of war against the United States, who are at war with the United States or are suspected of planning operations of war against the United States, who authority is given to our troops in the field in certain war theaters to capture or kill those individuals. That is certainly true.”
Hannah also said that he doubted that Congress was notified about the assassinations. Hersh originally said at a University of Minnesota event last month that, “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 it’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. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.”
At first I thought that this story was too outrageous to be true, but with the story yesterday that Cheney tried to sabotage Obama with Israel, and with the wide list of documented secret activities that have been confirmed to have gone on under the Bush administration, is this really a surprise? Cheney believes in the unlimited authority of the Executive Branch, so would it really be that big of a stretch that he would be in charge of an executive assassination ring? Until I see evidence that contradicts this report, I am inclined to believe it.