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Slandering Cheney

The New Yorker’s June 22 edition will include an interview with CIA chief Leon Panetta, who suggests that former vice president Dick Cheney is “[almost] wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.

Three reactions:

(1) Has a sitting CIA director ever slandered a major American political figure like this before? It’s alarming that Panetta evidently felt it appropriate to engage in partisan attacks in the first place. This type of inflammatory statement may be expected in the lefty blogosphere, not passing through the lips of a top intelligence official whose position is explicitly and necessarily non-partisan. Good thing the era of “politicizing intelligence” is over. 

(2) One can only imagine the hue and cry we’d have heard if a Bush appointee of similar stature had insinuated that, say, Al Gore was secretly hoping for a terrorist strike against America. Will Republicans defend Cheney and demand an apology?

(3) With due respect to Mr. Panetta, Cheney has already made his point, and did so quite effectively. He managed to win this debate simply by employing persusasive arguments and appealing to reason.  No outside “help” was necessary. 

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