I agree, something doesn’t add up with the Cheney story. My first thought this morning as I was reading the paper was that assassination is just a cover story, and the real program probably had something to do with spying on Americans (as Bunch also theorizes). (Think about it — a program to secretly assassinate al Qaeda leaders is just plausible enough as something they would want to hide, without being something likely to elicit much outrage.) In any case, it seems not improbable that there’s some sort of misinformation campaign going on here, and the Times, as usual, is serving as dutiful stenographer.
(edited for clarity)