A belated point coming out of last week’s news…
Last month, when Leon Panetta provoked congressional outrage by revealing the existence of a secret CIA program to kill top al Qaeda leaders, we had the feeling that there was more to the story than we’d so far learned. After all, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration had openly and uncontroversially targeting Bin Laden and his top deputies.
Well, now the other shoe has dropped, in the form of the news last week that the agency brought in Blackwater, the controversial private security contractor, for help with the job. Indeed, it was Blackwater’s involvement, reported the New York Times, that helped prompt Panetta to reveal the program’s existence.
It’s unclear exactly what Blackwater’s role was. Indeed, former CIA agent Bob Baer writes that, in his view, the agreement was likely “more about bilking the U.S. taxpayer than it was killing Osama bin Laden or other al-Qaeda leaders.”
Still, when Democratic lawmakers reacted with outrage to Panetta’s revelations, some observers accused them of being motivated only by concerns over turf. So, given Blackwater’s record, it’s worth noting that they in fact had good reason to be concerned.