The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are on the verge of a multi-fronted investigation of the Bush administration’s handling of the war on al-Qaeda, including a secret CIA plan to capture or kill senior al-Qaeda leaders which never became operational, before being terminated by Leon Panetta. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden vehemently denies that the plan, or other CIA activities, were concealed from Congress:
In an interview with The Associated Press, Hayden maintained that top members of Congress were kept well-informed all along the way, notwithstanding protests from some that they were kept in the dark.
For months Democrats in Congress have been seeking an excuse to investigate the Bush administration, and the pressure appears to be having an effect on the Obama administration. A little leak, a little rumor, and a dispute over who was told what when, is all that is needed to set the Democrats on a full scale assault on the Bush administration via the intelligence services.
On the consequences, the NY Times gets it right:
That makes four fronts on which the intelligence apparatus is under siege. It is just the kind of distraction from Mr. Obama’s domestic priorities — repairing the economy, revamping the health care system, and addressing the long-term problems of energy and climate — that the White House wanted to avoid.
A series of investigations could exacerbate partisan divisions in Congress, just as the Obama administration is trying to push through the president’s ambitious domestic plans and needs all the support it can muster.
The Dems are swinging in the dark. They will hit someone, it’s just not clear who that someone will be. My guess is that it will not be the Bush administration. As I predicted months ago, the Dems will devour Obama’s agenda, and damage at least some of their own along the way for going along with programs they now claim were illegal.
Politicially I’d say “go get ’em,” except that the consequences will be severe in terms of our intelligence capabilities. So I’ll ask the Democrats to be mature leaders, not vindictive brats who are trying to settle political scores at the price of damaging our intelligence agencies.
There, I said it. Next time, I’ll just say “I told you so.”