Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama Went Over CIA Director Panetta's Head to Protect Bush


Scott Horton reports:

The Daily Beast's Scott Horton gets the inside scoop from Jane Mayer on CIA chief Leon Panetta—and how he advocated for a truth commission on torture but was rebuffed by Obama, who saw it as a potentially dangerous political distraction.
On Monday, The New Yorker hits newsstands featuring “The Secret History,” an article by Jane Mayer that takes a close look at the CIA under its new director, former congressman and White House chief of staff Leon Panetta.

Following up on the pioneering work in her prize-winning book The Dark Side, Mayer examines the legacy of the Bush years—torture practices and a series of secret detention facilities around the world. Over the objections of senior players in the agency, President Obama shut them down, but the Obama White House and Director Panetta continue a struggle on two fronts. On one hand, they face relentless attacks from former Vice President Dick Cheney, who says America’s security was compromised by the decision. On the other hand, they struggle to keep the door to the CIA’s vault of Bush-era secrets firmly shut—avoiding demands for disclosure of documents and records, calls for an independent investigation, and even the suggestion that a criminal investigation is called for.

If I ever had a chance to meet President Obama, I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

Zaid: 'Sup Obama

Obama: Suuuuup? How's it hangin'?

Z: It's cool. You?

O: This place is TIGHT. They got this chef, he makes whatever I want. And this White House got LCD TV's everywhere and I got like NBA HD, and I called up Jamal, and Jamal was all like "Who this?" and I was all like "IT THE PRESIDENT SUCKAAAA!!!"

Z: That's nice, but I wanted to ask you something.

O: Whut?

Z: Why you a punk?

O: What you mean I a punk?

Z: I mean, you're covering Bush and Cheney's butt on any sort of torture investigation. Why? That stuff is whack.

O: Um, well, don't tell anyone, this but...

Z: Yes?

O: I'm an (expletive) pussy, that's why.

Z: Oh.

O: I'm scared of actually having to do stuff that takes an iota of political courage or arouses any sort of real opposition from entrenched interests, even though I act like I do that stuff all the time by pontificating in my Harvard-tuned speeches.

Z: Well, I sort of figured that was what was happening, but I never expected you to actually say it.

O: Yeah, well a guy gotta be honest every now and then. Hey?

Z: Yeah?

O: Sasha and Malia got this thing called the Wii, and it's frickin' sweet. I got me some NBA games, and I think Michelle bought Mario Kart the other day. Whaddya say we grab some orange soda and go play it up in the Lincoln Bedroom? They got this sweet HDTV up in there and...

Z: (eyeroll and exit)


Yeah, I'm not sure why my Obama was basically a guy in his early 30's who was obsessed with sports and video games, but it gets the point across.