The one member of Congress who knew what was going on was Dick Cheney, a close friend and confidant of Bush’s from their days together in the Ford administration. In 1976, in the aftermath of the Church Committee’s inquiry into CIA abuses, standing intelligence committees had been set up in both the Senate and the House, charged with holding the CIA and other intelligence agencies to account. But it was understood by all those involved in the vice president’s secret team that these committees could be bypassed, even though the laws governing covert intelligence activities had been stiffened: there was now a legal requirement that all covert CIA and military intelligence operations had to be made known to the committees through a formal, written document known as a ‘finding’. But there was a big loophole in the legislation, in the view of the vice president’s men. ‘There was no requirement for a finding for merely asking questions,’ the officer said, ‘and so we’d make routine requests for intelligence assessments from the CIA through the Joint Chiefs and the National Security Council. Our basic philosophy was that we were running military’ – not intelligence – ‘operations and therefore did not have to brief Congress. So we could legally operate without a finding.’ He was describing an ingenious procedure for getting around the law: one that would be put into use again after 9/11, when Cheney, by then vice president, triggered the unending war on terror.
(25. Mai 2010) Gen. Stanley McChrystal, at the time the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised President Obama to allow combatant commanders more latitude to combat terrorism using task forces. Coming from McChrystal, it was a surprising endorsement of a policy that would shift responsibility for unconventional warfare from JSOC, which he had commanded, to the combatant commanders.
(24. Mai 2010) The order, which an official said was drafted in close coordination with Adm. Eric T. Olson, the officer in charge of the United States Special Operations Command, calls for clandestine activities that “cannot or will not be accomplished” by conventional military operations or “interagency activities,” a reference to American spy agencies.
While the C.I.A. and the Pentagon have often been at odds over expansion of clandestine military activity, most recently over intelligence gathering by Pentagon contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan, there does not appear to have been a significant dispute over the September order.
A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to confirm the existence of General Petraeus’s order, but said that the spy agency and the Pentagon had a “close relationship” and generally coordinate operations in the field.
(1. Dezember 2009) The military at large has also felt the growing influence of JSOC. Indeed, General Stanley McChrystal, now the top military commander in Afghanistan, led JSOC from 2003 to 2008. McChrystal’s extensive special operations in Iraq, credited as crucial in the country’s stabilization, earned both him and JSOC wide support in the military and in Washington. In his high-powered role in Afghanistan, McChrystal is increasingly turning to his old command. Spencer Ackerman reports that JSOC’s current leadership is „playing a large and previously unreported role in shaping the Obama administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy.“ That new influence includes strategic decision-making and direct involvement in the more traditional warfare conducted by the conventional military. Ackerman writes:
„In his Afghanistan review, McChrystal said that a key goal for him would be to increase coordination between his NATO command and the independent command of JSOC, which suggested that the dichotomy between using Special Operations Forces for counterterrorism and conventional forces for counterinsurgency was eroding.“
(16. November 2009) An American former senior intelligence official said that a team that has trained for years to remove or dismantle parts of the Pakistani arsenal has now been augmented by a unit of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the élite counterterrorism group. He added that the unit, which had earlier focussed on the warheads’ cores, has begun to concentrate on evacuating the triggers, which have no radioactive material and are thus much easier to handle.
“The Pakistanis gave us a virtual look at the number of warheads, some of their locations, and their command-and-control system,” the former senior intelligence official told me. “We saw their target list and their mobilization plans. We got their security plans, so we could augment them in case of a breach of security,” he said. “We’re there to help the Pakistanis, but we’re also there to extend our own axis of security to their nuclear stockpile.” The detailed American planning even includes an estimate of how many nuclear triggers could be placed inside a C-17 cargo plane, the former official said, and where the triggers could be sequestered.
(23. November 2009) “I think Cheney and Rumsfeld went directly into JSOC. I think they went into JSOC at times, perhaps most frequently, without the SOCOM [Special Operations] commander at the time even knowing it. The receptivity in JSOC was quite good,” says Wilkerson. “I think Cheney was actually giving McChrystal instructions, and McChrystal was asking him for instructions.” He said the relationship between JSOC and Cheney and Rumsfeld “built up initially because Rumsfeld didn’t get the responsiveness. He didn’t get the can-do kind of attitude out of the SOCOM commander, and so as Rumsfeld was wont to do, he cut him out and went straight to the horse’s mouth. At that point you had JSOC operating as an extension of the [administration] doing things the executive branch–read: Cheney and Rumsfeld–wanted it to do. This would be more or less carte blanche. You need to do it, do it. It was very alarming for me as a conventional soldier.”
(19. August 2009) The C.I.A. this summer conducted an internal review of the assassination program that recently was presented to the White House and the Congressional intelligence committees. The officials said that the review stated that Mr. Panetta’s predecessors did not believe that they needed to tell Congress because the program was not far enough developed.
The House Intelligence Committee is investigating why lawmakers were never told about the program. According to current and former government officials, former Vice President Dick Cheney told C.I.A. officers in 2002 that the spy agency did not need to inform Congress because the agency already had legal authority to kill Qaeda leaders.
(11. Juli 2009) The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.
(31. März 2009) AMY GOODMAN: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh created a stir last month when he said the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Hersh made the comment during a speech at the University of Minnesota on March 10th.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination wing, essentially. And it’s been going on and on and on. And just today in the Times there was a story saying that its leader, a three-star admiral named McRaven, ordered a stop to certain activities because there were so many collateral deaths. It’s been going in — under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.
AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday, CNN interviewed Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser, John Hannah. Wolf Blitzer asked Hannah about Sy Hersh’s claim.
WOLF BLITZER: Is there a list of terrorists, suspected terrorists out there who can be assassinated?
JOHN HANNAH: There is clearly a group of people that go through a very extremely well-vetted process, inter-agency process, as I think was explained in your piece, that have committed acts of war against the United States, who are at war with the United States, or are suspected of planning operations of war against the United States, who authority is given to the troops in the field and in certain war theaters to capture or kill those individuals. That is certainly true.
WOLF BLITZER: And so, this would be, and from your perspective — and you worked in the Bush administration for many years — it would be totally constitutional, totally legal, to go out and find these guys and to whack ’em.
JOHN HANNAH: There’s no question that in a theater of war, when we are at war, and we know — there’s no doubt, we are still at war against al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and on that Pakistani border, that our troops have the authority to go after and capture and kill the enemy, including the leadership of the enemy.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser. Seymour Hersh joins me now here in Washington, D.C., staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. His latest article appears in the current issue, called “Syria Calling: The Obama Administration’s Chance to Engage in a Middle East Peace.”
(30. März 2009) A Special Operations Command spokesman rejected Hersh’s report, saying their forces operate under established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict. He adds that the vice president has no command-and-control authorities over the U.S. military. Two former Cheney aides also reject the claim, as does the former Bush homeland security adviser, now a national security analyst. Hersh did not disclose any sources in the speech or in the CNN interview, nor was he asked about sources.
The assassination of political leaders has been banned since 1976 – but suspected terrorists are a different story.
(11. März 2009) “In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.
“I’ve had people say to me — five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee?’
“But they’re not gonna get before a committee.”
(3.Juli 2008) Nun ist aber innerhalb des US-Militärs und in den Fluren von Washington bekannt geworden, dass ausser den CIA-geführten Einheiten auch hochgeheime Spezialkommandos des US-Militärs vom „Joint Special Operations Command“ (JSOC) auf direkten Befehl von Präsident Bush und unter direkter Kontrolle von US-Vize Dick Cheney im Iran operieren.
Diese Einsätze wurden in den letzten Monaten massiv ausgeweitet und erfolgten ohne Wissen, Zustimmung oder Kooperation von Kongress, US-Zentralkommando CENTCOM und sogar US-Verteidigungsminister Robert Gates.
Hintergrund ist die Rechtsauffassung des Weissen Hauses, dass nur für Einsätze der CIA das Parlament hinzugezogen werden muss, nicht aber für Einsätze des Militärs.
Dazu muss man die Struktur des US-Militärs kennen. Die Befehlskette geht vom Präsidenten, dem Vizepräsidenten, dem US-Verteidigungsminister im Pentagon über die Kontinentalkommandos zu den Oberkommandierenden in den einzelnen Ländern, wie z.B. in Irak oder Afghanistan.
Der „Joint Chiefs of Staff“, der „Vereinigte Generalstab“ hat operativ nichts zu melden.
Die US-Kontinentalkommandos haben sich quasi als „Verantwortungsbereiche“ den Planeten aufgeteilt. NORTHCOM für Nordamerika, SOUTHCOM für Südamerika, CENTCOM für den arabischen Raum mit den Kriegszonen Afghanistan und Irak, EUCOM für Europa, Russland und Nordpolregion und das neue AFRICOM für Afrika und PACOM für China, Indien, die Antarktis und den gesamten Pazifik.
Neben den Kontinentalkommandos gibt es aber noch andere, weltweit tätige Kommandoabteilungen des Pentagon, für strategische (also atomare) Kriegführung sowie aus dem Weltraum (STRATCOM), für Transport (TRANSCOM) und Versorgung (JFCOM).
Diese sind den Kontinentalkommandos gleichgestellt.
Ausserdem gibt es da noch das „U.S. Special Operations Command“ (SOCOM), dessen Einsatzgebiet nicht definiert ist und weltweit operiert. Ein klassischer Fall von oben organisierter Kompetenzüberschneidung im US-Militär um Rudelkämpfe hochzuhalten, Spannungen zu erzeugen und um Konkurrenzdruck zu erzeugen, was dann von der Hierarchie zu eigenen Zwecken umgemünzt werden kann.
Ein Unterkommando des SOCOM ist das „Joint Special Operations Command“ (JSOC), welches die Spezialeinheiten des Weissen Hauses führte um die es hier geht.
Bereits 2005 gab es Berichte über ein geheimes Unterprogramm im JSOC namens „Power Geyser“. Darin sollen Spezialagenten in unmittelbarer Umgebung des US-Präsidenten, des Vizepräsidenten und der Führungsebene des Kongresses zu derem Schutz eingesetzt worden sein.
Also Agenten in unmittelbarer Nähe und in unmittelbarer Kommunikation mit den mächtigsten offiziellen Amtspersonen der Welt. Eine ideale Voraussetzung um später mit diesen Agenten die Militärhierarchie zu umgehen.
(Juli 2008) The covert operations set forth in the Finding essentially run parallel to those of a secret military task force, now operating in Iran, that is under the control of JSOC. Under the Bush Administration’s interpretation of the law, clandestine military activities, unlike covert C.I.A. operations, do not need to be depicted in a Finding, because the President has a constitutional right to command combat forces in the field without congressional interference. But the borders between operations are not always clear: in Iran, C.I.A. agents and regional assets have the language skills and the local knowledge to make contacts for the JSOC operatives, and have been working with them to direct personnel, matériel, and money into Iran from an obscure base in western Afghanistan. As a result, Congress has been given only a partial view of how the money it authorized may be used. One of JSOC’s task-force missions, the pursuit of “high-value targets,” was not directly addressed in the Finding. There is a growing realization among some legislators that the Bush Administration, in recent years, has conflated what is an intelligence operation and what is a military one in order to avoid fully informing Congress about what it is doing.
(23. Januar 2005) As part of the extraordinary army of 13,000 troops, police officers and federal agents marshaled to secure the inauguration, these elite forces were poised to act under a 1997 program that was updated and enhanced after the Sept. 11 attacks, but nonetheless departs from how the military has historically been used on American soil.
These commandos, operating under a secret counterterrorism program code-named Power Geyser, were mentioned publicly for the first time this week on a Web site for a new book, „Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operation in the 9/11 World,“ (Steerforth Press). The book was written by William M. Arkin, a former intelligence analyst for the Army.
The precise number of these Special Operations forces in Washington this week is highly classified, but military officials say the number is very small. The special-missions units belong to the Joint Special Operations Command, a secretive command based at Fort Bragg, N.C., whose elements include the Army unit Delta Force.
(3.März 2015) „And I also resent the fact that he was telling us how to negotiate when the administration and their representatives have been at this for two years now with the cooperation, participation of five other major nations in the world. This speech was straight out of the Dick Cheney playbook. It was fearmongerring at its ultimate. Phrases like essentially saying nuclear war is inevitable if this deal were to be accepted, phrases like this would pave the way to Iran having a nuclear bomb, these are things that I think are, again, part of what Dick Cheney would have done and did. This has been the Prime Minister’s pattern. He’s gone to the U.N. and done the same thing. „
(11.9.2016) Der Verkehrsminister (wörtlich: Transportminister, „Secretary of Transport“) Norman Mineta sitzt an diesem Morgen des 11. September zusammen mit Vizepräsident Dick Cheney im „Situation Room“, also der Zentrale des PEOC Bunkers. Minetas Aussage vor der 9/11-Kommission zufolge – die untenstehend in der Dokumentation als Aufzeichnung zu sehen ist – betritt mehrfach ein Mann den „Situation Room“ und berichtet Vizepräsident Dick Cheney über die Entfernung eines sich Washington nähernden Flugzeugs.
„Das Flugzeug ist 50 Meilen entfernt“, dann: „Das Flugzeug ist 30 Meilen entfernt.“ Als der Mann schließlich dem Vizepräsidenten meldet: „Das Flugzeug ist 10 Meilen entfernt“ fragt der Mann den zu diesem Zeitpunkt amtierenden Oberkommandierenden der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, Dick Cheney:
„Stehen die Befehle noch?“ („Do the orders still stand?“)
Laut Mineta wendet Cheney dem Mann nun den Kopf zu und sagt:
„Natürlich stehen die Befehle noch! Haben Sie irgendetwas Gegenteiliges gehört?“
Minuten später erfolgt der Einschlag im Pentagon.
(11.9.2014) Wie allgemein bekannt, war der Präsident, George Bush Junior, am 11. September 2001 in Florida zu Besuch bei einer Schulklasse, plauderte dort, trotz der laufenden Attentate, bizarr immer weiter und enthielt sich faktisch seiner Funktion. Die Kommandokette des mächtigsten Staates der Welt endete am 11. September also beim Vizepräsidenten Dick Cheney im Weißen Haus und dessen PEOC („President´s Emergency Operations Center“) Bunker.
But it was probably an unwelcome development for the embattled CIA director nominee that Cheney chose to combine warm words for her with a call for a return to the “enhanced interrogation” techniques that have marred her record and which she is promising to eschew.