CIA Assassination Scheme No Big Deal In-House
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2009 1:42 PM CDT
Former President George W. Bush, right, and George J. Tenet, left, director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 2001.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Not only was the CIA's “targeted killing” program an “open secret,” but there's also “less to it than meets the eye,” Robert Baer writes for Time. The former intelligence officer notes that the Washington Post broke the story in 2001, and a New York Times reporter's book gave the name of the project, "Box Top." “So why all the fuss?” Baer wonders, given that no killings took place and a team was never even assembled. “Very likely because of that word assassination.”

“It was little more than a PowerPoint presentation,” an agency source says. “Why would we tell Congress?” Baer concurs. “If the CIA always raised a contingency like this with Congress, the agency would spend all its time on the Hill.” But the truth might not matter, Baer concludes: “However overblown the story, if a full-fledged investigation into it does occur, it could be the last nail in the CIA's coffin.”