Plame Gossip - witness influence
Does it smell in here?
ROHRABACHER: Well, I'll tell you something, if a nuclear weapon goes off in Washington, DC, or New York or Los Angeles, it'll burn the Constitution as it does. So I'm very happy we have a president that's going to wiretap people's communication with people overseas to make sure that they're not plotting to blow up one of our cities.
Representative Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, withdrew a threat to block the measure after being given a promise that a report on the impact of the new law would be made within 180 days.
And it ended,
"Mr. Bush had barely announced his deal with Mr. McCain before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it crystal clear that the administration would define torture any way it liked," said a New York Times editorial.
As Greyhair pointed out in the comments, the battle isn't over.
ALSO, on torture, have we learned nothing from Al Libi? (NYTimes)
Q -- for any surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA?
MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. One, I'm aware of the reports that were in the papers this morning.
Q I hope so. (To which McClellan answer, "ongoing intelligence operations")
Q Right, but all I asked you was whether it's your position that it always requires a court order for surveillance of U.S. citizens.MR. McCLELLAN: What it's getting into -- again, let me reiterate. The President is firmly committed to upholding our Constitution and protecting people's civil liberties.That is something he has always kept in mind as we have moved forward from the attacks of September 11th, to do everything within our power to prevent attacks from happening. It's very important to him. We are meeting both those priorities. Those are two important priorities. (Upholding the constitution is one of two 'priorities'?) ..........
Q If there is a conflict and you can't do both, when push comes to shove, the question is, which is more important: life or liberty? .....
MR. McCLELLAN: ......Some people suggest that the President is just going off and doing certain things. Well, there's congressional oversight in place, there's other oversight in place, there's our Constitution, there's the laws. And we abide by them.
Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.
To get his patriotic "Decree on the Protection of People and State" passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it: if the national emergency provoked by the terrorist attack was over by then, the freedoms and rights would be returned to the people, and the police agencies would be re-restrained. Legislators would later say they hadn't had time to read the bill before voting on it.
Immediately after passage of the anti-terrorism act, his federal police agencies stepped up their program of arresting suspicious persons and holding them without access to lawyers or courts. In the first year only a few hundred were interred, and those who objected were largely ignored by the mainstream press, which was afraid to offend and thus lose access to a leader with such high popularity ratings. Citizens who protested the leader in public - and there were many - quickly found themselves confronting the newly empowered police's batons, gas, and jail cells, or fenced off in protest zones safely out of earshot of the leader's public speeches.
Within the first months after that terrorist attack, at the suggestion of a political advisor, he brought a formerly obscure word into common usage. He wanted to stir a "racial pride" among his countrymen, so, instead of referring to the nation by its name, he began to refer to it as "The Homeland," a phrase publicly promoted in the introduction to a 1934 speech recorded in Leni Riefenstahl's famous propaganda movie "Triumph Of The Will." As hoped, people's hearts swelled with pride, and the beginning of an us-versus-them mentality was sewn. Our land was "the" homeland, citizens thought: all others were simply foreign lands. We are the "true people," he suggested, the only ones worthy of our nation's concern; if bombs fall on others, or human rights are violated in other nations and it makes our lives better, it's of little concern to us.
Playing on this new nationalism, and exploiting a disagreement with the French over his increasing militarism, he argued that any international body that didn't act first and foremost in the best interest of his own nation was neither relevant nor useful.
DENVER - The Air Force Reserve plans to discharge a lieutenant colonel accused of defacing cars that had pro-Bush bumper stickers, the military said Friday. Lt. Col. Alexis Fecteau, a pilot with 500 combat hours in the first Persian Gulf war and the Balkans, is charged with criminal mischief for allegedly using paint stripper to write a profanity about Bush in 18-inch-high letters on cars at Denver International Airport.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials. ....
The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.
(AP) WASHINGTON - After months of resistance, the White House has agreed to accept Sen. John McCain's call for a law specifically banning cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign suspects in the war on terror, several congressional officials said Thursday.(Later) It's official. Both sides have announced an agreement, and the CIA defense provison stayed in. McCain got everything. He didn't have to give up on one point from what I've read so far. WaPo version, NYTimes version. Nothing further in either one.
"I'm confident the president knows who the source is," Novak told a luncheon audience at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh on Tuesday. "I'd be amazed if he doesn't."My first opinion is still that Novak, frustrated by the fact that he lost his career by publishing a White House mandated hit piece, struck back.
I think Novak is hoping that if he aligns himself with Woodward he won't be seen as such an evil bastard. However, I get the feeling that Novak feels he was hung out to dry by his pals in the White House and that is why he said the president knew who his source was. I guess he felt that no one rallied around him.That's a good point. From an egomaniac like Novak, having it pointed out that he is not as valued as Woodward must've shaken his overly high self identity.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Addressing the spread of methamphetamines already devastating some rural U.S. communities, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a package of measures aimed at stiffening penalties and making it harder for meth "cooks" to obtain common ingredients.
The drug package was wrapped into the larger Patriot Act anti-terrorism bill, which passed the House , .....
Asked if Rumsfeld will stay through the second term, Bush said: "Well, end of my term is a long time, but I tell you, he's done a heck of a good job and I have no intention of changing him."
President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House.And he repeats the lie that Abramoff gave equally to both parties. (Now Abramoff's charitable givings are under question. It seems he reported to the IRS that he gave $330,000 to charities in 2002 who claim they never saw a dime of it. Where did that money go?)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a symbolic move, the House endorsed a Senate-passed ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign terrorism suspects Wednesday as negotiations between the White House and Sen. John McCain over the provision appeared at an impasse.
It was approved 308-122, (voting details from Amblog)The vote tally was 200 Democrats, 1 independent and 107 Republicans against torture; 121 Republicans and 1 Democrat for torture. You can see the actual tally of the members of Congress who support torture here.
My, 97% voting with Delay, congressman Culberson voted for torture. Click the link to check yours.
The NYTimes version adds that this was brought to the floor by Murtha.
Newspaper columnist Robert Novak is still not naming his source in the Valerie Plame affair, but he says he is pretty sure the name is no mystery to President Bush.
Somehow, I don't think the President will be answering questions again anytime soon. And pity the poor McClellan. If I see this in a Press Briefing, I'll throw it up. It should be particularly rancorous after McClellan got caught claiming that Rove had no role in the leak.
UPDATE: National Review is reporting big rumors that Rove is gonna be indicted soon. And, Mr. York, using, "as far as anyone knows" to downplay the severity of this investigation may salve the base who read NRO, but it works two ways. "As far as anyone knows," Fitzgerald is investigating Rove for a string of axe-murders. See, It's certainly wrong, but a clever way to spin your opinion.
UPDATE: David Shuster is apparently reporting that there was neither Fitzgerald nor grand jury at the Prettyman Federal courthouse today. This is only annoying because he was the first one yesterday to tell us there would be a meeting. Was he wrong yesterday? Or did Fitzgerald cancel the meeting so he could discuss things with the lawyer of "Official A?" No idea. Just gossiping.
When hundreds of religious activists try to get arrested today to protest cutting programs for the poor, prominent conservatives such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will not be among them. .....And Dobson's reponse, "Look, over there, they're attacking Christmas, and the gays, the gays are trying to kidnap your children and turn them into homosexuals..... Now, watch me as I hit this drive."
Conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family say it is a matter of priorities, and their priorities are abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices.
CHICAGO - An Associated Press analysis of a little-known government research project shows that black Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger.
The Chicago prosecutor(Fitzgerald) briefed the second grand jury investigating the outing last week for more than three hours. During that time, he brought them up to speed on the latest developments involving Rove and at least one other White House official, the sources said. The attorneys refused to identify the second person.
WASHINGTON -- A Texas prosecutor has issued subpoenas for bank records of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of a California congressman as part of the investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas last Thursday for California businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies, Wilkes Corp. and ADCS Inc. in connection with a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay's indictment on money laundering charges.
The Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates another quarter point today. But after 18 months in which the Fed has been pushing rates higher to keep inflation under control, the central bank appears to be getting close to the end of its rate increase campaign.
BRITAIN and America are planning a phased withdrawal of their forces from Iraq as soon as a permanent government is installed in Baghdad after this week’s elections. ....
A senior Western diplomat in Baghdad said yesterday: “One of the first things we will talk about (with the new Iraqi government) is the phased transfer of security, particularly in cities and provinces. It will happen progressively over the next year.”
Then, McCain ally, Lindsey Graham, who I'm slowly growing to like, on Meet The Press:
"What does degrading mean? Do you not want to degrade a terrorist, not hurt them, but degrade them, if they are going to take out your family, if they are going to assassinate you? That's the question that is being worked out," he said.
"There is a breakdown along how to best protect the troops. There is a philosophical difference here I don't want to divulge," the South Carolina Republican said, when asked if the White House was seeking immunity for possible past torture.
Did Lindsey Graham just call Cheney the "vice president of torture" on Meet the Press? Snap. I'll bet that Republican "Holiday party" is gonna be a little awkward.
(Later) This little gem from the Guardian.
Binyam Mohammed, 27, says he spent nearly three years in the CIA's network of 'black sites'. In Morocco he claims he underwent the strappado torture of being hung for hours from his wrists, and scalpel cuts to his chest and penis and that a CIA officer was a regular interrogator.......
A senior US intelligence official told The Observer that the CIA is now in 'deep crisis' following last week's international political storm over the agency's practice of 'extraordinary rendition' - transporting suspects to countries where they face torture. 'The smarter people in the Directorate of Operations [the CIA's clandestine operational arm] know that one day, if they do this stuff, they are going to face indictment,' he said. 'They are simply refusing to participate in these operations, and if they don't have big mortgage or tuition fees to pay they're thinking about trying to resign altogether.'
Months before Karl Rove corrected his statements in the Valerie Plame investigation, his lawyer was told that the presidential aide might have disclosed Plame's CIA status to Time reporter Matt Cooper, the magazine reported Sunday.
Rove says he had forgotten the conversation with Cooper. But in the first half of 2004, as President Bush's re-election campaign was heating up, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, got the word about a possible Rove-Cooper conversation from Time reporter Viveca Novak. (I like the reminder on the election in this article. - mike) .....
And that last sentence is why Rove will go down. This V. Novak story was a desperate hail mary by Luskin. It confused us all, but as the detail comes out, it becomes more and more clear that it's not going to work. (more later)
(Later) Here's the Time story V. Novak wrote about her meeting with Luskin. I still don't see how it helps Rove.
But the newly disclosed e-mail messages offer a competing view, showing that, privately, some F.B.I. agents have felt hamstrung by their inability to get approval for using new powers under the Patriot Act, which was passed weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
One internal F.B.I. message, sent in October 2003, criticized the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, which reviews and approves terrorist warrants, as regularly blocking requests from the F.B.I. to use a section of the antiterrorism law that gave the bureau broader authority to demand records from institutions like banks, Internet providers and libraries.
Remember this article from the WaPo on Nov. 6?
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.So, 30,000 a year isn't enough? I hope the leak the FBI gave the NYTimes was worth them printing this crap.
Bill O'Reilly, on his radio show already blamed the "war on christmas" on a secular conspiracy headed by Jewish American success story George Soros.
"The wagers of this war on Christmas are a cabal of secularists, so-called humanists, trial lawyers, cultural relativists, and liberal, guilt-wracked Christians - not just Jewish people," Gibson said.
The implication being that to some degree it is Jewish people. This can't be passed off as an accidental misstatement, it's in his book. Now, I'm not Jewish, or an immigrant, or gay, but this scares the hell out of me.
This isn't just some funny thing the right are going on about. This is part of a continuing effort to extend the role of heterosexual white Christians as the model and center of our society. And that has a scary history whether you're talking about Nazis, McCarthyism, or the Klan.
(And, by the way, if you're rich and Crazy Christian, the WaPo recommends pro-gun, anti-gay, anti-evolution Cobb County, Georgia as a place where you can practice your bigotry with support.)
In a move unthinkable in the bloody run-up to the last election, guerrillas in the western insurgent heartland of Anbar province say they are even prepared to protect voting stations from fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
So the guerillas are going to protect the voting stations? Maybe I'm just too cynical after finding out that the US military is planting psyops stories. Whattya think?
And, just coincidentally, the NYTimes has a giant piece on the US military's "information war" today as well.