(From NPR an interview with investigative journalist, Seymour Hersch)
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.
So how many "friends" can Cheney count on if he decides to stage a "coup"?
Let's look at where he's been:
White House Staff Asisstant, 1971
Assistant of the Cost of Living Council 1971-1973
Deputy Assistant to the President 1974-1975
White House Chief of Staff - Ford Administration
Rep. from Wyoming (elected 1978) – re-elected five times
House Minority Whip (how appropriate)
Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush
Oversaw Operation Desert Storm
Chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company 1995 -2000*
Of all those positions, Cheney showed his true self as Deputy Assistant. It was in this position that he suggested to Donald Rumsfeld a questionable policy of vengeance against journalists, especially Seymour Hirsch of the New York Times.
So, if we are to make anything of Cheney's stay-behinds, how powerful a conspiracy are we talking about?
Depends on how ruthless you think Dick Cheney really is.
*During Cheney's tenure, Halliburton changed its accounting practices regarding revenue realization of disputed costs on major construction projects. Cheney resigned as CEO of Halliburton on July 25, 2000. As vice president, he argued that this step removed any conflict of interest. Cheney's net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million, is largely derived from his post at Halliburton, as well as the Cheneys' gross income of nearly $8.82 million.