Current and former U.S. government confirmed to the New York Times the C.I.A. had preliminary plans to dispatch paramilitary teams of assassins to kill al Qaeda figures around the globe. Despite running into legal, logistical and diplomatic obstacles, the spy agency reportedly kept the plans alive under pressure from the Bush administration. Current C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta shut the program down the day before he told the two Congressional Intelligence Committees it had been kept hidden from elected officials under orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney. The Times’ sources say no one involved with the program, which was devised in the wake of 9/11, ever submitted a specific operation for approval by the White House.