Ex-Joint Chiefs Chairman Myers Doubts Hersh Assassination Squad Story

The former general doubts the investigative reporter.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Put Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the category of those who don't buy Seymour Hersh's recent claim that during the last administration, Vice President Cheney's office ran a covert "executive assassination ring."

Myers sat down last week with my colleague Andrew Burt to discuss the former general's new book, Eyes on the Horizon. You can read other excerpts from the interview (and it's interesting stuff) in our weekly digital edition, but when Andrew asked him about Hersh's charges, Myers said that he doubted it.

"I don't know what Seymour's talking about, frankly," says Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001-2005. "If something like that existed during my tenure, I never heard about it, never discussed it, never thought about, and I think I would have."

Of course, in fairness to Hersh, what else is Myers going to say? And Hersh did say that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs was out of the loop anyway.

If you missed it, here's how Hersh described his allegations:

Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC it's called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...

Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.

Perhaps in the fullness of time we'll find out.

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