Executive Assassination Wing

As part of the University of Minnesota’s Great Speakers series, Seymour Hersh spoke with former VP Walter Mondale, now director of the Center of the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute.  Eric Black was in the audience and took note when Hirsch said Dick Cheney managed an “executive assassination wing.”  Later Black reported this in his blog and has since caused quite a stir.
Terry Gross interviewed Hersh and asked him about his comments.  First, he was dismissive of Minnesota and our climate…and I paraphrase, “what else are going to do in Minnesota on a cold and snowy March day besides create a dust up over a few comments in a West Bank auditorium?”  Despite his condescension, I think he was flattered by all the attention and no doubt increased the readership of the current issue of the New Yorker.
Anyhow, the substance of his remarks was that Cheney was running the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) which has/had(?) a list of “high value targets,” would go into random countries, find these people and execute them.  What’s worse, Hersh leaves us with this:
I’ll make it worse. I think he’s [Cheney] 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. 

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