Who’s in charge?

If there’s one story that’s yet to strike a significant nerve with folks outside of Washington, it’s the revelation that the Central Intelligence Agency had a secret counterterrorism program that it didn’t tell Congress about.

Oh, and it didn’t tell Leon Panetta, who is director of the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Panetta, who says he ended the program when he heard about it on June 23 after he heard about.

As befits Washington, it’s Republicans on one side; Democrats on the other, according to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on Saturday..


Details of the program have not been released. Some Republicans say the revelation is no big deal, and that Democrats are playing politics. A man at the center of the controversy — Democrat Silvestre Reyes of Texas, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — tells NPR’s Guy Raz that his committee has pinpointed numerous instances where it was not given “full and complete information” and in at least one case, “we were deliberately lied to.”

But wait, there’s more, according to the New York Times, which cites its sources claiming it was under orders from former VP Dick Cheney that withheld information about the program from Congress:


The disclosure about Mr. Cheney’s role in the unidentified C.I.A. program comes a day after an inspector general’s report underscored the central role of the former vice president’s office in restricting to a small circle of officials knowledge of the National Security Agency’s program of eavesdropping without warrants, a degree of secrecy that the report concluded had hurt the effectiveness of the counterterrorism surveillance effort.

Amid all the controversy over who knew what, we still don’t know what the counterterrorism program was. The Times says it didn’t involve domestic spying, or waterboarding and that it never became fully operational.