While congressional Democrats and Republicans diverted the public's attention with claims and counterclaims whether or not the Company had "misled" Congress by not disclosing the program's existence, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported months earlier that former Vice President Richard Cheney had stood up an "executive assassination ring."
According to Hersh, that fully-operational program was run, not by the CIA, but by the Pentagon's secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a subunit attached to United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). During a "Great Conversations" event last March at the University of Minnesota, Hersh told the audience:
"Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
"Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That's been going on, in the name of all of us." (Eric Black, "Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes 'executive assassination ring'," MinnPost.com, March 11, 2009)
Old news right? Well, not entirely.
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