NSA ‘leave behinds’ behind Obama giving Cheney Secret Service protection?
I admit I’m totally synthesizing two unrelated stories, but I’m just wondering out loud here. First, Seymour Hersh tells NPR back in March that Cheney has left “stay behinds,” in Obama’s NSA. Um, in the non-doublespeak world, we call those people “spies.”
HERSH: I’ll make it worse. I think he’s put people left. He’s put people back. They call it a stay behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out the, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay behind that you can continue to contacts with, to do sabotage, whatever you want to do. Cheney’s left a stay behind. He’s got people in a lot of agencies that still tell him what’s going on. Particularly in defense, obviously. Also in the NSA, there’s still people that talk to him. He still knows what’s going on. Can he still control policy up to a point? Probably up to a point, a minor point. But he’s still there. He’s still a presence.
Then, last week, we learned Cheney is receiving unprecedented Secret Service protection courtesy of an Obama directive. US News says, “indications are that the threats against Cheney, who’s working on his biography at his homes in Virginia and Maryland, haven’t lessened since his term expired.”
Ok, but what if there’s a little more going on than that? I’m not going to say Cheney is undermining Obama’s policies, though it’s no secret he detests them. But what if the most powerful vice president in history wants to keep his fingers in the pudding, and keep tabs on the top secret intelligence he used to receive? Even if that sort of thing is now, you know, illegal, since he’s no longer in office? Who better than the Secret Service to shadow Cheney everywhere he goes, you know, no accusations here, just thinking out loud, but just in case? Who better to protect Cheney. . . from himself?
Remember Clinton aide Sandy Berger stealing docs from the National Archives? My thinking this out loud has nothing to do with political leanings; it’s about what the loss of power will drive the formerly powerful to do. Cheney certainly wouldn’t be the first to try to hang on.
So, perhaps Obama is taking a page from Sun-Tzu: keep your friends close, and your Cheneys closer.