We Can't Confirm the Existence of the Program We've Been Bragging About

Does the U.S. government acknowledge the existence of its targeted killing program? It all depends on what's convenient at the moment, Glenn Greenwald reports:

These aren't the drones you're looking for.Key Obama officials, including the president himself, not only make selective disclosures about this program but openly boast about its alleged successes. Leon Panetta, then the CIA Director, publicly said all the way back in 2009 when asked about the CIA drone program: "I think it does suffice to say that these operations have been very effective because they have been very precise." In 2010, Panetta, speaking to the Washington Post, hailed the CIA drone program in Pakistan as "the most aggressive operation that CIA has been involved in in our history". This is just a partial sample of Obama official boasts about this very program (for more, see pages 15 to 28 here).

Despite all that, the Obama DOJ from the start has refused not only to provide the requested documents about the CIA drone program, but they refuse to say whether such documents even exist. They do so by insisting that whether there even exists such a thing as a "CIA drone program" is itself classified, and therefore, they can neither admit nor deny whether they possess any of the documents sought by the FOIA request....

This never happened.C-SPAN[L]ate last week, the ACLU wrote a letter to the appellate court where its case is now pending to notify the court of [John Brennan and Mike Rogers' recent] public acknowledgments. Specifically, as the ACLU put it, Brennan and the Committee members "extensively discussed various aspects of the CIA's targeted-killing program, including the 'role' of the 'CIA director in [the] approval process' for targeted killings abroad". Moreover, Rogers openly "discusse[d] his committee's 'monthly' oversight of the CIA's targeted-killing program." Now, there is simply no way to deny in good faith that the US government has publicly and officially acknowledged the CIA drone program.

But good faith is no impediment to the Obama DOJ when it comes to its abuse of secrecy powers. This morning, the DOJ sent a letter to the court replying to the ACLU. Ever after the events of last week, they have the audacity to claim that even the question of whether there is a CIA drone program must still be concealed.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    It's this kind of accountability that keeps us free.

  • ||

    Thanks to all this transparency, Obama can see for miles and miles.

    Oh yeah.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's just the view from the drone.

  • Rich||

    They do so by insisting that whether there even exists such a thing as a "CIA drone program" is itself classified

    You mean *that insistence* is UNclassified?! They're slipping!

  • R C Dean||

    We can neither confirm nor deny that the drone program whose success we celebrated yesterday actually exists.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Maybe it's just that they were lying yesterday, and the truth is it doesn't actually exist!

  • ||

    The most transparent administration in historical fantasy.

  • ||

    The most fantastical transparency in administrative historiography.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The most fanatic hagiography in transparent dissembly.

  • SugarFree||

    A shadowy flight into the opaque world of a man who does not tell the truth.

  • Ska||

    I thought Joe Biden was the one who owned K.I.T.T.

  • SugarFree||

    K.I.T.T. isn't a train.

  • Jordan||

    The most fascistic dissemblers in administrative hysteria.

  • ||

    The most...gayest...gaymbers in....gayitive....gaytasy.

    EPISISARCH IS GAY

  • wareagle||

    gayest gayer since gay came to gaytown, I believe he himself has said.

  • Tonio||

    I love you guys.

  • $park¥||

    You guys keep mentioning a "drone program" like that's supposed to mean something. Is the government experimenting with ants? Bees?

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, that's me. I have assumed the mantle of god-emperor of the ants. All ants. Sounds trivial, but I can now defeat any enemy.

  • ||

    I for one welcome etc etc.

  • $park¥||

    I'm going to have to build a peanut butter fence around my house I guess.

  • phandaal||

    Gold Bond. Ants can't stand the stuff... learned this out in the forests of Washington State where the ants build mounds that are about 6 feet tall.

  • ||

    Me and Ortho have some thoughts on this.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Million and millions of ant are headed your way. They just ate your bug guy, by the way.

  • ||

    I've lived in fire ant territory all my life. I've got enough gasoline, bird shot, and ant bait to take on several billion of those fuckers. Also, my giant magnifying glass is nearing completion, so come on a cloudy day.

  • ||

    You don't seriously shoot ants, do you? You Southerners are so weird I have no idea if this is true.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Shooting ants with birdshot is crazy.

    You've gotta use roachshot.

  • ||

    It's kind of like Rashomon - whether it's true or not isn't really the point.

  • ||

    @ Nicole

  • ||

    set fire to the ant hill?

    open fire with a shotgun and bird shot

    idk if it will work good but sounds fun

    From googling fire ant birdshot.

  • ||

    Also this.

  • ||

    You don't seriously shoot ants, do you?

    Depends on whether you're trying to actually get rid of them or are just pissed off that you stepped in an anthill and got the shit bit out of you. Its not very effective in killing ants, but it makes you feel better.

  • $park¥||

    I would imagine you could load up the shotgun with salt tabs and blast the fuck out of them.

  • brlfq||

    Its not very effective...but it makes you feel better.

    That's why most of us are here.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Being in a place where I can just walk around with a gun of my choice and shoot anything that moves*, or doesn't move, is a foreign concept to people who live in places like Chicago.

    *Though I have certainly shot my fair share of shit out in the Everglades as a young lad, I no longer advocate shooting at living things unless you're either going to eat it, or it's living in your attic like these fucking squirrels.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You have no idea what a billion ants could do.

  • ||

    I've seen those South American ant migrations. I know they're like wee, hexapodal zombies. I also know they scream when they burn.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I wish I really did have control of all ants to show you what insanely large numbers look like.

  • ||

    According to the internet, you're off by a factor of a million. There are approximately a quadrillion ants on the planet, most likely massing more than every other macroscopic species combined. But I still think I can take the first billion.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was hardly suggesting that all I had were a billion ants. That's just an appetizer. Well, technically, you're the appetizer.

    Hated those fire ants. We used to have to deal with those in Tallahassee all the time.

  • ||

    I met Jarod from the Subway commercials at some heartwalk or something in Tallahassee. He goes, "ooh, fire ants" and kicks over a pile. All the natives go "what the hell is wrong with you? Now they're going to spread out and move." I hope that skinny fuck got bit.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    If you're from Florida, you have learned to hate the fire ant. I've gotten in to 2 fire ant piles, and both were excruciatingly painful, with the pain lasting for days.

  • Bardas Phocas||

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Now I want to play Fallout 3.

  • ||

    "There's only zero of you," said the Queen of the Ants. In ant arithmetic, there are only two numbers: Zero, which means anything less than a million, and Some.

  • Pro Libertate||

    People don't truly appreciate the sheer volume of ants there are in the world. All linked together with magical insect hive minds.

  • ||

    Joan Collins appreciates it.

  • brlfq||

    We understand hive minds.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Yes, I'm sure you do.

  • entropy||

    The Vespoidean Popular Front for the Liberation of Formica will never submit to your tyrannous imperial reign!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Unfortunately for you, I have an army of giant ant-eaters that I got from the professor.

  • Pro Libertate||

    My anti-antieater suicide squads laugh at your paltry defenses.

    Ants just keep coming.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Listen, these giant anteaters can eat an entire Jamaican man in seconds. They'll do fine against their preferred food.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Thanks for that - how am I supposed to explain why I am laughing so hard?!

    NEVERMIND, CO-WORKERS, IT'S ALL GOOD.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's what Hitler said about the Russians, and look what happened to him.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Ah, but I have something Hitler lacked: countless hours of training on Command and Conquer.

    Also, I have seen this chart.

  • Rasilio||

    Kind of reminds me of an incident from the first Gulf War.

    Some spokesman for the Israeli Defense ministry was being interviewed about the Scud attacks they were facing and he was asked about the possibility that they would contain Chemical Weapons, to which he replied (paraphrasing from memory here)...

    "If the government of Iraq wishes to employ weapons they claim not to have against us we will have no choice but to use weapons which we claim not to have against them"

    There are of course advantages to officially denying what everyone knows to be true.

  • ||

    "We will never be the first Middle Eastern nation to use nuclear weapons...[mumbled, away from mic]:And we won't be the second, either."
    --Moshe Dayan, then Defense Minister of Israel

  • John||

    These clowns don't even make decent villains. It is as if the Nixon Administration spent its time leaking and bragging about the war in Cambodia or this great plan to break into the DNC headquarters.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The difference is that the drone program is popular with the public.

    And they're going to get away with this, so they ain't clowns. They're better at this game than you or I would be.

  • John||

    Cambodia and Vietnam were both popular with the public. Nixon won a landslide re-election in 72.

  • ||

    Nixon won on a plan to exit Vietnam.

  • John||

    But he has been there for four years. And it didn't seem to hurt him. The Vietnam war was never unpopular with the pubic, just with college students and only after they stopped granting draft deferments. Go back and look. Public approval for the war was always over 50% right up through 73.

  • ||

    I just don't think if it was really as popular as you're making it out to be (I don't trust opinion polls, then or now), his campaign platform wouldn't have been, "I have a secret plan to get us out of this war."

    If it was popular, he would have run on staying indefinitely until the job was done, run on escalating the conflict, or some such other platform.

  • John||

    People are always happy to see a war end. The bottom line is that Nixon won a landslide against the anti-war candidate after spending four years not getting us out of the war.

  • ||

    People are happy to see wars end in victory. And while he beat the "everybody flee now!" candidate, it's entirely disingenuous to pretend he wasn't doing anything to get us out of the war for four years, when troop levels were reduced massively from 69 - 72.

    http://www.americanwarlibrary....../vwatl.htm

  • John||

    That is true Gorjira. And it should also be noted that those troop levels were massively reduced while obtaining some of the best military results of the war. We kicked the living hell out of the North Vietnamese during that time. It was one of the great unrecognized military triumphs in American history.

  • ||

    Oh no argument from me there. Unlike a lot of other folks, looking at it in a vacuum (i.e. not applying my standard anarchist bent to the whole thing) I don't get what the fuss was about attacking Cambodia. It had to be done if we were going to give the Vietnamese even a fighting chance.

  • kinnath||

    Oh, it's kind of like this whole pakistan/drone thing. Generally speaking, it's a fucking crime to drop bombs on a country that you're not officially at war with.

  • ||

    Yeah that's why I said looking at it in a vacuum. Purely from a standpoint of accomplishing the stated mission, it had to be done. Doesn't mean it was right or legal.

  • brlfq||

    Nixon won a landslide against the anti-war candidate

    McGovern wasn't just an anti-war candidate. He was a radical leftist/socialist who also happened to be against the war in Vietnam. American voters' rejection of McGovern certainly did not signify an endorsement of the war.

  • kinnath||

    My father, a hardcore conservative, voted straight-ticket democratic party because of Cambodia.

    Vietnam was not popular, but it was contained.

  • John||

    Ask people why Nixon resigned, they will almost always tell you it was because of the breakin. Most people didn't care about Cambodia.

  • kinnath||

    Of course he resigned over the break in and cover up. That was about real-world evidence of real-life crimes within the US jurisidiction.

    Way more people cared about Cambodia than care about the drone strikes today.

  • db||

    I really have to wonder about how teachers are presenting the Vietnam War, Cambodian incursion, and the war protests in light of Obama's presidency. When I was in HS (late 80s amd early 90s), it was all about how unpopular the war was and how questionably it was prosecuted and how dirty a guy Nixon was. Teachers these days must be twisting themselves in knots.

  • Rasilio||

    I think it is a very legitimate question whether the public would remain in favor of the Drone Program if the mainstream media was not feeding them the official government line that they are killing "Terrorists" with those drones.

    I think it is entirely reasonable to say that if George Bush had carried the Drone War to the levels that Obama has that there would be at least a plurality of not an outright majority who would support his impeachment on war crimes charges.

  • SugarFree||

    There'd damn sure be marches and puppets and Code Pink screeching.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Well there still is Code Pink screeching:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....-protests/

    Whatever their other faults, Code Pink has at least been consistently anti-war regardless of the party of the President in office.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Don't blame me, I voted for Luthor as Supervillain-in-Chief.

  • robc||

    I voted for Lizard People.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Chem-Trails?

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I voted SMOD.

  • some guy||

    Key Obama officials, including the president himself, not only make selective disclosures about this program but openly boast about its alleged successes...

    They do so by insisting that whether there even exists such a thing as a "CIA drone program" is itself classified...

    I thought releasing classified information to the public was a felony with severe penalties attached. It's almost as if there is a different set of rules for the Top Men...

  • some guy||

    In case it isn't clear, the quote was pulled from two different sections of the article. The "They" in the second sentence is the DOJ.

  • John||

    Yeah. Remember when releasing the name of a Virginia soccer mom who once was a CIA agent was a high crime and misdemeanor?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The guy who did it (Richard Armitage) never got prosecuted....

  • John||

    But Scooter Libby did and he didn't even leak anything.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yeah, well that was a separate crime of lying to instigators.

    Is there any evidence that anyone in the Obama administration has ever lied?

  • $park¥||

    lying to instigators

    What were they trying to instigate?

  • John||

    And there was no evidence Libby ever lied. The only evidence they had was the testimony of an journalist who remembered the conversation differently. They didn't have any notes, other witnesses recordings, nothing. Just the word of two people who each remembered a conversation differently.

    Bush was a real dirt bag coward for not pardoning Libby.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Bush was a real dirt bag coward for not pardoning Libby.

    Maybe, but as Radley Balko pointed out at the time with a top 10 list, there were a lot of people who got screwed over by federal investigators a lot worse than Libby. Mostly in drug cases.

    The DEA was throwing doctors in prison left and right for prescribing painkillers to people who claimed to be in pain, and none of them even got a commutation.

  • John||

    But none of those guys were the friend and the chief of staff of his VP. Bush didn't even take care of his friends.

  • ||

    Besides the fact that they are politicians and their lips are moving?

    More seriously, somebody -- I vote for everyone, but I could be wrong -- has lied in front of Congress under oath about the Benghazi affair. Because there are three separate stories that are being disavowed by the other two sides.

  • John||

    The Justice Department admitted to lying to Congress regarding Fast and Furious. They admitted a letter they sent was an outright lie.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Is there any evidence that anyone in the Obama administration has ever lied?

    Is there any that they have ever told the truth?

  • kinnath||

    Every video tape that show Obama's lips moving.

  • Rasilio||

    "Is there any evidence that anyone in the Obama administration has ever lied?"

    Wait, is that a serious question?

    I mean I understand you probably simply forgot to add "Under Oath" but even there there is WAY more than enough to establish Probable Cause at a minimum over Benghazi and Fast and Furious

  • playa manhattan||

    The name that was so secret that it had been listed on church and PTA websites with her permission BEFORE the leak? That name?

  • Killazontherun||

    Are we talking about the person whose surname was the same as that from the title of a tune by Steve Winwood? I've said too much.

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