Friday, January 09, 2009

CIA Whacks Wanted Terrorists; Would Panetta Have Allowed It?

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Leon Panetta is by far the worst of the Obama selections for top government managers. The man has zero experience with intelligence matters and even less experience with covert operations and clandestine warfare. Plus, he's a stone-cold liberal with liberal tendencies in a position that requires nerve, balls and a kill instinct--personality traits not usually associated with a left-wing budget manager.

Take this incident for instance:

Two top al Qaeda officials are believed dead following a New Year's Day drone attack in northern Pakistan, ABC News has confirmed. U.S. officials said Fahid Mohammed Ali Msalam and Sheikh Ahmed Salem Swedan, both on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list, were killed in the CIA strike.

Msalam, who also went by the alias Usama al-Kini, and Swedan were both from Kenya and were indicted in the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and for conspiring to kill U.S. citizens.

"It's amazing that it took 10 years to get these guys when they were on the FBI most wanted list all of this time," said former national security advisor and ABC News consultant Richard Clarke.

U.S. counterterrorism officials said that they believed the al Qaeda leaders were running operations for the terrorist group in Pakistan.

"Hopefully this provides some sense of justice for the 1998 bombings," one official told ABC News.
Yes, it does provide a sense of justice.

Anyway, it's clear that the CIA got wind of where these guys were and it would have been up to CIA Director Hayden to give the green light to launch this operation--effectively an assassination--into Pakistan. Thank goodness he had the guts to OK it.

But would a Leon Panetta have the huevos to make the same call? We saw what indecision and politics can do when they enter into a crucial decision that must be made quickly when the CIA had bin-Laden in their sights and then-National Security Advisor Sandy Berger hemmed and hawed and let him get away to carry on his jihad that resulted in 3,000 dead and a smoking crater in Lower Manhattan and a gaping wound in the Pentagon.

I tend to think that Panetta was purely a political pick and a yes man who will neuter the once-powerful agency once and for all. Panetta will immediately cut back on covert ops and leave us wide open to another attack--one that will not be symbolic but aimed at further destroying our economy. Something we can ill-afford at this time.

Kudos to Michael Hayden for giving the go-ahead to this plan and I hope we can get a few more in the next 11-days leading up to the inauguration.

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