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. Dave

    Need a distraction to the Obama spending policies like cap and trade; haul out Cheney and the CIA or Bush and the economy or Rove and the Attorney General firings, or Iran or............

    Anything to distract the public from which shell you're hiding the tax increase pea under.

    July 13, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. Gerry M. Eugene, OR

    If no one has noticed I’ll point out the former vice president Dick Cheney has returned to his aforementioned ‘undisclosed location.’ Which is to say, Dick, where are you? Dick was out there in full throated voice demanding that his opinion was just as valid as the elected president of the United States. And now that it has become clear that Dick Cheney obstructed the lawful activities of the Congress of the United States by directing employees of the CIA to mislead and misinform the Congress, Dick has vanished and is not available for comment. The neo-cons have an agenda. It is the destruction of the Obama Administration, no matter the cost to Americans or America. They have it in their heads that they are still right: we need to have a ‘holy war’ and a ‘crusade’ against the Islamic terrorists and prove to the world that the neo-con version of American democracy is the only acceptable way to govern any nation on Earth. God Help Us and God Preserve President Obama from these extreme neo-con right wing nut jobs!

    July 13, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  3. john bouds

    i hope that one day we can look back and hold dick cheney accountable for every action and responsibility that dragged the US into a worldwide doghouse and fostered anti – americanism throughout the globe.

    his knowledge of tactics and ordering of flagrant torture deserve a status of exile and warrant an appearance at the Hague.

    July 13, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  4. xargaw

    During the campaign Obama talked about being able to do several things at one time when he was called out by McCain. The Justice Department and FBI, (and Special Prosecutors, if necessary) can surely fulfill investigations into the previous Administrations if the evidence leads them. If crimes were committed, than the law must be excercised to restore Americas good name and the rule of law. To allow crimes to go unconfronted destorys any moral authority or suasion this country has around the world. Obama took the oath to uphold the Constitution and we expect him to do it.

    July 13, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. RB

    By distraction you must mean that the Administration is attempting to throw this into the wind to use it as a smoke screen.

    Who do you think is stirring this up? You guys should all consider going back to Journalism school!!!

    July 13, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  6. Tired in SC

    Anything to mess ups his plans I am all for it.

    July 13, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. Susan (Michigan)

    They HAVE to look into this. They HAVE to prosecute if necessary. All of us that have been pushing for an investigation for the last several years are thrilled that finally someone is listening. This has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with a rogue administration that put its agenda ahead of the Constitution and American law, and then shielded itself under the premise of "keeping us safe."
    I know that health care is important, and the economy is important, but nothing is more vital than protecting our individual rights, and Bush and Cheney thought that their lying and lawbreaking would never be caught.
    It's time for justice.

    July 13, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. Tired in SC

    Are you upset that people do not like the amount of money you want to spend of the stimulus that will pay for the cost of the study of the mating of frogs? Gee I am so sorry. If you need a few frogs let me know I have plenty of them but of course I woukd charge you dearly for them, Nothing free to the governement.

    July 13, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. Matt, New York

    Steal the focus?! Who do you think is pushing for these investigations to distract America for his administration's failures?

    July 13, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  10. JDB

    The GW Bush legacy of monumental screw ups continues.

    He's done this his entire adult life – he screws up and someone else has to clean up behind him.

    Good riddance GW Loser, you left the entire country to clean up your messes this time.

    July 13, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. No Hillary = No Obama

    Let's face the reality here. Obama is no more "transformative" than the man in the moon. What his presidency will turn out to be is "transitional" – from the Bush mess to whoever gets elected next and it won't be Obama.

    July 13, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. Ron L

    IT'S A MESS, but if the laws of the land have been broken it NEEDS to be addressed.

    July 13, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  13. tigerakabj

    Really Mr. Hornick?

    The way I see it, since health care reform, the climate bill, etc. are being delayed until the end of the senate recess (after August), then now is a perfect time.

    See, you and the GOP would like the world to forget about the last 8 years, forget that the Republican party lied us into war, INCLUDING MANY OUR ALLIES AS WELL.

    But guess what, that won't happen. If anything this Cheney/CIA revelation only confirms that we know very little about what went down the last 8 years.

    Mr. Hornick, you don't lie a country (and its allies) into war and get away with it. Please believe that. You can scream witch hunt, "looking back," Clinton-did-stuff-too (yeah right....a bj?) all you want. America is going to get justice. The truth will set us all free.

    July 13, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. Terry from West Texas

    As much as I'd enjoy two years of daily hearings on Bush, Cheney, Guantanamo, weapons of mass destruction, Halliburton, Blackwater, CIA prisons that no one knows about, oil company lobbiests writing energy bills in Cheney's office, and so forth, we just cannot give ourselves that luxury.

    Conservatives have made such a mess of the nation that all of our energy and all of our money has to go to repairing our economy, rebuilding American Industry, dealing with fundamentalist terrorists (mostly Muslim but the occasional Christian blows up an abortion clinic every now and then), trying to deal with global warming, etc.

    If there were fewer crises ongoing, I would love to get a box of popcorn and a soda and watch Dick Cheney be interrogated for a couple of weeks.

    July 13, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. janelle

    How long are they going to milk the Bush/Cheney cow? It's time to face the music. Obama's policy isn't very good. We've had nothing but the sky is falling and we have to spend incredible sums of money right now, but it doesn't solve anything because it doesn't address the problem. Throwing money at a problem isn't the answer if it doesn't address why we have the problem in the first place. When will the Obama administration take ownership of their own failed policies and quit blaming the previous administration?

    July 13, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. Hankers

    With a headline like "Bush-era distractions may weigh down Obama's agenda", you just know that any fialure will be caused by Bush Era... but for how long?

    July 13, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. Really!?

    The distractions will be brought up to push through the agenda that is getting less and less popular by the day. NO poll has any of this agenda over 50% now. A true story, I know a republican staffer in DC. He says the congressmans' office receives letters, emails, etc... that start like "I voted for President Obama and support him, but please do not vote for health care, the stimulus, Cap and Trade, etc..." Now, why would that person vote for him and oppose the entire platform he ran on?

    July 13, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. aware

    Dems over-reach as predicted! 🙂

    But this will give poor BO some time/cover for his ridiculous policies/programs. 🙁

    July 13, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  19. liberals are lemmings

    Really. . . Are you kidding me

    July 13, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  20. Johnny DC

    Conveniently this "mushroom" is ready to "burst" right when unemployment is about to hit 10% and the President is about to ask for another stimulus, because (A) this previous one wasn't enough, or (B) we can't tell if the previous one really failed or not.... depending on what day it is or which news program he is trying to sidestep.

    (C) this administration is not as clean as everyone hoped, and I hope the kool-aid drinkers realize that before we're all screwed.

    July 13, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. Peter (CA)

    Great, so Obama is the only adult.
    As much as I would love to see a sociopath like Cheney go down, it's obvious that if the Democrats pursue this, the Republicans will block every one of Obama's programs.

    The Democrats need to be smart. This may turn out to be their version of Whitewater but they can't allow it to derail everything else.

    July 13, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. Todd

    Barry, take lessons on, HOW TO DEFEND A NATION.

    July 13, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  23. 60's survivor

    there's a lot more under the carpet.......!!!!!

    July 13, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  24. GuyInVA

    Hilarious! The agenda gets bogged down, and CNN blames it on the Bush administration.

    July 13, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  25. Jody

    What do you mean Bush era distrations may weigh down Obamas agenda? The dems are pushing for these distractions right now because Americans are skeptical of their spending on the stimulus, cap and trade, over $1 trillion for healthcare. This is the dems getting people fired up over Bush again so they can try to sneak some legistation through that Americans don't want to see.

    The title should read Bush era distractions are key to promoting Obamas agenda.

    July 13, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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