George Washington Blog 
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Government officials have claimed that the “secret program” CIA director Panetta recently disclosed to Congress involved foreign assassinations.
But on December 15, 2002, the New York Times published  a story entitled “Bush Has Widened Authority of C.I.A. to Kill Terrorists”.
As the Times pointed out:
The Bush administration has prepared a list of terrorist leaders the Central Intelligence Agency is authorized to kill, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be minimized, senior military and intelligence officials said…
President Bush has provided written legal authority to the C.I.A. to hunt down and kill the terrorists without seeking further approval each time the agency is about to stage an operation…
Mr. Bush issued a presidential finding last year, after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, providing the basic executive and legal authority for the C.I.A. to either kill or capture terrorist leaders…
The president has given broad authority to the C.I.A. to kill or capture operatives of Al Qaeda around the world, the officials said…
The administration must notify Congressional leaders of any covert action finding signed by the president. In the case of the presidential finding authorizing the use of lethal force against members of Al Qaeda, Congressional leaders have been notified as required, the officials said.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
The Times article makes clear that Congress was notified about the program sometime between September 11th and the date the article was published in December 2002.
And as Citizens for Legitimate Government writes :
This can’t be the ‘secret program,’ since the NYT published the ‘secrets’ in 2002.
Therefore, the secret program must have involved something more than foreign assassinations, or something else entirely.