July 13th, 2009
06:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Bush-era distractions may weigh down Obama's agenda

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/13/obama.agenda.distractions/art.obamaserious.gi.jpg caption="President Obama is tackling a large domestic agenda at the same time as a new CIA controversy begins to brew."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As President Obama tries pressing ahead with his domestic agenda focused on health care and energy reform, several potential investigations threaten to steal the focus in Washington.

The most recent controversy: The revelation that Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta told House and Senate intelligence committees that former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the spy agency to keep Congress in the dark for eight years about a still-secret counterterrorism program.

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who confirmed she learned of the former vice president's order during a recent closed-door briefing by Panetta, expressed outrage.

"That's something that should never, ever happen again," Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, said on Fox News Sunday. "I think this is a problem, obviously."

A knowledgeable source familiar with the matter said the counterterrorism program in question was initiated shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. The program, the source notes, was on-again, off-again and was never fully operational. Panetta has since put an end to the program, according to the source.

Efforts to contact Cheney for reaction were unsuccessful. CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano has declined to comment on the report.

David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst, says that while this is the last thing the Obama administration wants to deal with, it's "starting to mushroom into a life form of its own."

Full story

soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Frank

    The solution is clear.

    Appointment of a special prosecutor would allow the Obama administration to live up to its responsibility to see that the law is faithfully enforced without becoming bogged down in an investigation that may take years to complete.

    July 13, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Nothing new here – two wars, major financial fiascos, etc., and then we find out Cheney appointed himself President (Decider) on a lot of stuff while "W" probably sat and tried to finish reading "My Pet Goat".

    There had better be an investigation, or my vote goes elsewhere in 2012.

    (no – it won't be for "that person from AK" – 2012 to 2014-1/2) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    July 13, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Lizzy

    Obama will stay focused through it all!

    July 13, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Albo58

    Smoke and mirrors! Pay no attention to the current administration and it's ineptness to properly run this country! Fortunately, even the libs are starting to notice that this president and his Congressional majority are weak and clueless, with a massive dash of tax and spend!

    July 13, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Willy Brown

    As I said before: The current administration is all about burning the last administration and thus has taken their eye off the 2012 prize.

    July 13, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Doug

    Senator Feinstein's remarks are a joke. Was she talking about the state of California's debt ? Only 24 Billion Dollars and counting, Will they have to call their senators home? " I think this is a problem, obviously" Please represent your MESS first, that is your job in Washington. Let the people that pay their bills run the country.

    July 13, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    Ever notice how these photos, investigations and other relevations about the Bush administration tend to show up just when the current administration needs a Public Relations stunt to boost their approval rating?

    This is the "Change" in Washington America needed? No thanks.

    July 13, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. American Veteran

    barney frank and chris dodd are a sleep at the wheel, in fiance.
    I would like to thank them both for fanny mae, freddie mac & aig, great over-site guys. as for nancy pelosi, are you serious ?

    obama bowing to the saudi king, was a nice touch.
    the president has apologized to everyone for everything, even for things we haven't done yet.

    our national deficit is ........oh ya, we don't even have the numbers yet.
    the stimulus package that no-one had a chance to read, was pushed through.

    we can't even get the news any more, because journalism is for the most part dead, now we have hatchet jobs.

    it's eight months after that fact [the election] yet, you people are still blaming bush and bad-mouthing palin.

    if it weren't so sad, it be funny.

    July 13, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. New Yorker

    This nonsense can only "steal the focus" if CNN and the other news outlets focus on it. Don't waste our time with this hoax.

    July 13, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Let's waterboard Cheney to find out what he knew and when he knew it. He could stay temporarily at Gitmo amongst his peers.

    July 13, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. SS

    Um...why are they not investigating Cheney...
    What's to stop another adminstration from conducting such affairs behind congress back...
    How does the VP have such power?

    July 13, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. Ted Tartaglia

    Those Bush administration officials who broke the law should be investigated, prosecuted, and jailed if found guilty. In addition, Cheney should be charged with treason during a time of war and suffer the appropriate penalty if convicted.

    July 13, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  13. Jim in Fllorida

    Well, well, Bush era distractions.

    A distraction is initiated by someone – either the Obama administration or the leftist controlled Congress,

    If Obama could lead this would not be a problem. He can't so it's his mess.

    What a joke...

    July 13, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. mjm

    Right now, the Democrats are suffering from ADD.

    We have enough problems to worry about. Focus on 2009, not 2001.

    "The program, the source notes, was on-again, off-again and was never fully operational."

    I heard it was never operational, according to ABC. Which means it didn't need to be reported to congress.

    Let it go. Focus on 2009 or you'll be gone in 2010.

    July 13, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Seriously, folks, if we don't make an example of these abusers, they will likely continue in future administrations - maybe even in this admin (that would get a few of you republicans riled up wouldn't it).

    July 13, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. JonDie

    The crimes committed by Bush and Cheney against the American people as well as against peoples around the world are hardly "distractions." The media continues to shield and even actively aid the GOP.

    July 13, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  17. TM in CO

    Sounds like something Cheney would do. He'll be hitting the news shows defending this just like everything else. The man should become a dictator in some far away land

    July 13, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. bimmer

    Only Obama to be blamed if it does.

    July 13, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. tedious898

    But of course.....Obama is being blamed for the financial mess we're in. Why shouldn't the "dumb dumb Repub" followers blame him for the past crimes?

    This President can't win! There are simply not enough intelligent american citizens to drown out the loud cries of racial hatred.

    Guaranteed on this article you will see posts about:

    – Obama to blame for the recession.
    – Obama is a failure as a President because he's a socialist
    – Obama is only community organizer and unqualified.

    None of these bizarre excuses for americans consider "no one could fix an economy the size of the U.S. in less than 7 months". None these "Rush" baffooners even understand that Social Security is a program they will come to know and love upon their retirement. And finally....The "Community Organizer" is also a constitutional professor with a Law degree from Harvard. I personnally believe "the governorship experience" tauted by Dubya fans wasn't worth a hill of beans – considering how such experience informed such incompetent decisions.

    July 13, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. well Bush did amount to something

    not something good, but something notheless

    he and his bunch need some jail time, that would heal the nation

    July 13, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    the Bush Cheney group are jerks and should be held
    for the crap they pulled
    but lets not dwell on the past but remember it as to not make
    the same mistakes again and lies


    July 13, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. Leslie

    Oh yes!!!!!!!! His idea of destroying US economy! I thanked Obama for his new $2 Trillion DEFICIT less than 120 days in office.

    July 13, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    This is not a partisan issue. If they broke the law then they need to got to jail. Simple as that. The republican response should be "Lets investigate government for possible abuse". Anything else is just playing politics. Obama's "Looking forward" mantra is wrong as well. The people are tired of the privileged getting away with breaking the law. Until they are made to pay for it, it will continue to happen.

    July 13, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  24. Snoopy

    I'm not surprised at this as we are in fact still in the 'fiscal year' of the Bush Admin. Yes, I said it...still in the fiscal year of the Bush Admin. Remember that major Recovery bail out that the Bush Admin passed less than a year ago...oops, that's right the Repubs forgot all about that...before Obama took office the Bush Admin threw $1trillion+ to the economic crisis and the money vanished. Dang...that was all LESS THAN 12 months ago...WOW.

    Of course Obama will still feel the bite from that and as you can see from many comments now made by Repubs, it's all Obama's fault. Now he's tagged as the CAR SALESMAN for aiding...yes aiding GM. Remember the $700 billion Bush bailout...they didn't even want to give GM anything...remember the irie about "how can you bail out wall street and not GM"

    I wish the Repubs would come to the table with some ideas...we ALL really need them...Obama started as a person that wanted everyone to contribute, but the party of NO planted their feet in the sand and said NO.

    July 13, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. AlwaysThinking

    Yep, I'm worried about it, too, but I'm also confident our nation can handle both coming to terms with the truth about the previous Administration and moving forward with President Obama's much-needed agenda.

    It will be a demanding task, but we're adults and we'll just have to deal with it.

    It's all part of truly learning the lesson to NEVER let the crimes of the Bush era ever happen again.

    July 13, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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