Saturday, October 01, 2005

Rather was prevented by CBS (subsidiary of Viacom) from going after the GOP operatives who doctored the documents

From Online Journal:

Rather was prevented by CBS (subsidiary of Viacom) from going after the GOP operatives who doctored the documents
By Wayne MadsenOnline Journal Contributing Writer
Download a .pdf file for printing.Adobe Acrobat Reader required.Click here to download a free copy.
October 1, 2005 (waynemadsenreport.com)—Former CBS News anchor Rather says CBS wouldn't allow him to do a follow-up story on Bush's Texas Air National Guard (TANG) files.
Speaking at the National Press Club on September 26, Dan Rather responded to a question posed by moderator Marvin Kalb concerning the controversial TANG files of George W. Bush. Kalb asked Rather why he did not return to the story and investigate those who created the guard files, passed them off to a former TANG officer and hence to CBS's 60 Minutes, and tipped off right-wing bloggers before the airing of the pre-2004 election exposé by 60 Minutes. Rather responded, "You'll have to ask CBS that question."
Rather stated it was his desire to continue to delve into the story and the set-up. According to CBS insiders, the original TANG files were scanned by GOP dirty tricks operatives using a sophisticated text scanner that changed the original IBM typewriter Courier font to a Times Roman font, automatically created a "th" superscript for date numbers, and created margins and pagination. An independent panel commissioned by CBS and headed by former GOP Attorney General Richard Thornburgh never concluded the documents were bogus.
In fact, the GOP operatives had to be very careful in their dirty tricks operation: forging or counterfeiting official government documents is a felony. However, scanning original documents technically does not fall under the category of counterfeiting. Nevertheless, the GOP quickly tipped off right-wing bloggers, including Free Republic.com, that the CBS documents were forgeries. In doing so, Karl Rove and his team successfully refocused attention away from Bush and his AWOL status in the Guard and on to Dan Rather and 60 Minutes. People like Karl Rove and, as reported by The New York Post, long time GOP dirty tricks operative Roger Stone, got away with the entire caper, thus eliminating Bush's phony military record as a campaign issue.
Rather reiterated his recent comments at Fordham University that a fear mentality has gripped news rooms across the nation. He partly blamed the government for instilling fear among America's journalists.
© 2005 WayneMadsenReport.com. All Rights Reserved.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is author of the forthcoming book, "Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops & Brass Plates." He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report.


From CJ&D:


The Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) today called the Bush Administration “the worst kind of hypocrite” for, on the one hand, denouncing injured consumers who file lawsuits, while at the same time filing its own case for civil damages against a manufacturer whose defective product endangered the President.
It was revealed this week that the secret service purchased for use by high level officials, including President and Laura Bush, defective bullet-proof vests from a company called Second Chance Body Armor. In July, the Department of Justice filed a civil case to collect compensation against the manufacturer and the maker of the defective fiber used in the vest.
The Bush Administration has made weakening the civil justice system a cornerstone of its domestic agenda. The President campaigned on the issue and has strongly supported laws limiting compensation to injured citizens and providing immunity to negligent corporations, while denouncing those who use the courts.
“As the President must now know, defective products will inevitably make their way to marketplace, and the irresponsible companies that produce them must be held accountable in court. In fact, sometimes, lawsuits are the only way to force a defective product off the market. We hope this President now ends his reprehensible campaign against injured consumers who go to court to obtain justice. No one likes a hypocrite,” said Laurie Beacham, Communications Director for CJ&D.
The Government’s lawsuit alleges that the companies knew, years before alerting its customers, that the strength, endurance, and bullet-stopping capacity of the vests were substantially weaker than represented. It only revealed the problem after a California police officer was shot to death wearing the vest and a Pennsylvania officer was seriously wounded. The Government is seeking civil fraud damages under the False Claims Act and common law. A criminal investigation into the matter is also pending.
The Center for Justice & Democracy is a national consumer organization that works to protect the civil justice system. It has issued several studies on so-called “tort reform” proponents who seek to take away consumers’ rights to go to court, but do not hesitate to run to court when they or family members have been hurt. CJ&D has previously labeled President Bush a “lawsuit hypocrite” for suing a rental car company for an accident involving one of his daughters in which no one was hurt.

At odds over body armor reimbursement

From Christian Science Monitor:

At odds over body armor reimbursement
Pentagon has still not acted to pay back parents a year after Congress 'demanded action.'

By Tom Regan csmonitor.com

More than a year after the US Congress told the Defense Department to reimburse parents who had bought body armor for their sons or daughters serving in Iraq, the Pentagon "still hasn't figured out a way" to reimburse them. The Associated Press reports that soldiers and their parents are still spending "hundreds, sometimes thousands" of dollars on armor that "the military does not provide."
Senator Chris Dodd (D) of Connecticut said he will "again try to force" the Pentagon to obey the reimbursement bill that it "opposed from the outset and has so far not implemented."
[Dodd], said he will offer amendments to the defense appropriations bill working its way through Congress to take the issue out of the hands of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and give control to military unit commanders in the field.
"Mr. Rumsfeld is violating the law," Dodd said. "It's been sitting on the books for over a year. They were opposed to it. It was insulting to them. I'm sorry that's how they felt."

Marine Corp Times reports that under the law passed last October, Congress had until this past Feb. 25 to develop a way to implement the reimbursement plan. The amendment that Dodd had originally added to a military appropriations bills authorized, but did not require, the military to reimburse families up to $1,100 for the purchase of armor and other safety gear "not provided by the military. The Corp Times adds that the Pentagon "never paid a dime," and military officials have said they are still "working on the regulations."
Sen. Dodd has the backing of major military and veteran groups for his plan.
“We share your disappointment that the Defense Department still has not implemented it 11 months after it was enacted,” said retired Vice Adm. Norbert Ryan Jr., president of the Military Officers Association of America.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Michael Cline, executive director of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, said the Pentagon’s refusal to pay is hard to understand, given the 91-0 vote by the Senate last year in favor of Dodd’s original proposal ... “How many of those killed [in Iraq and Afghanistan] could have been saved with the proper equipment?” Cline said.The Associated Press reports that one father, who only wanted to be identified by his first name, Gordon, because he feared "retaliation" against his son who is serving in Fallujah, spent over $1,000 two weeks ago to buy lower body armor.
"I wouldn't have cared if it cost us $10,000 to protect our son, I would do it," said Gordon. "But I think the US has an obligation to make sure they have this equipment and to reimburse for it. I just don't support Donald Rumsfeld's idea of going to war with what you have, not what you want. You go to war prepared, and you don't go to war until you are prepared."Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said Thursday the department "is in the final stages of putting a reimbursement program together and it is expected to be operating soon." But defense officials would not discuss the reason for the delay.
In August the Pentagon announced it was replacing body armor for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to withstand "the strongest of attacks from insurgents." Armor replacement began more than a year ago and will ultimately cost $160 million. The plan would last another year, the Pentagon said at the time, and would "upgrade" the protection used by more than 500,000 soldiers, civilian employees and news media.
USAToday.com reports that the Justice Department has launched a criminal probe into whether Second Chance Body Armor (which the government started working with in 2001) knowingly provided defective bulletproof vest to the military and the White House. The Pentagon had bought some of the vests for "elite troops."
Problems came to light two years ago when the Michigan-based company recalled 130,000 vests because of degradation problems with Zylon, a bullet-resistant fabric used in its vests. The vests were upgraded and returned.
But in June the company issued a bulletin to police departments warning that its vests could fail and result in "serious injury or death." It estimated that about 100,000 of its vests remained in circulation.The company is cooperating with the investigation.
Finally, Newsday reports that Rumsfeld also found himself in trouble with many police departments across America after he compared the "infiltration of insurgents into Iraqi security forces" with "comparable problems" encountered by US police forces. "It's a problem faced by police forces in every major city in our country, that criminals infiltrate and sign up to join the police force," Rumsfeld testified to the Senate Thursday. But a police spokesman felt differently:
"The secretary's comment was flippant and reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about what American police departments are all about," said Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations.
"It's absurd to equate the idea that background checks may occasionally miss a shoplifting charge or somebody who smoked dope as a kid with a person who wires themselves with explosives and blows themselves up in a dining hall," he added.

Karen Hughes: Middle East Blunders help Bin Laden

From Common Dreams:

Bin Laden's Little Helper
by Sidney Blumenthal

President Bush has no adviser more loyal and less self-serving than Karen Hughes. As governor of Texas, he trusted the former Dallas television reporter-turned-press secretary with the tending of his image and words. She was mother hen of his persona. In the White House, Hughes devoted heart and soul to Bush as his communications director until, suddenly, she returned home to Texas in 2002, citing her son's homesickness. There were reports that Karl Rove, jealous of power, had been sniping at her.
From her exile, Hughes produced Ten Minutes from Normal, a deeply uninteresting and unrevealing memoir. Long stretches of uninformative banality are broken by unselfconscious expressions of religiosity - accounts of how she inserted Psalms 23 and 27 into Bush's speeches after 9/11, the entire sermon she delivered aboard Air Force One on Palm Sunday. Hughes quotes the then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice: "I think Karen missed her calling. She can preach."
When two undersecretaries of state for public diplomacy resigned this year in frustration, in the face of the precipitous loss of US prestige around the globe, Bush found Hughes a new slot. She may be the most parochial person ever to hold a senior state department appointment, but the president has confidence she can rebrand the US.
This week, Hughes embarked on her first trip as undersecretary. Her initial statement resembled an elementary school presentation: "You might want to know why the countries. Egypt is, of course, the most populous Arab country... Saudi Arabia is our second stop; it's obviously an important place in Islam and the keeper of its two holiest sites ... Turkey is also a country that encompasses people of many different backgrounds and beliefs, and yet is proud of the saying that 'All are Turks'."
Hughes appeared as one of the pilgrims satirized by Mark Twain in his 1869 book Innocents Abroad, on his trip on the Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion. "None of us had ever been anywhere before; we all hailed from the interior; travel was a wild novelty... We always took care to make it understood that we were Americans - Americans!"
Hughes's simple, sincere and unadorned language reveals the administration's inner mind. Her ideas on terrorism and its solution are straightforward. "Terrorists," she said, "their policies force young people, other people's daughters and sons, to strap on bombs and blow themselves up." That is: somehow, magically, these evil-doers coerce the young to commit suicide. If only they would understand us, the tensions would dissolve.
"Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans' lives," she said. When an Egyptian opposition leader inquired why Mr Bush mentions God in his speeches, Hughes asked him whether he was aware that "previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our constitution cites 'one nation under God'."
"Well, never mind," he said.
With these well-meaning arguments, Hughes has provided the exact proofs for Bin Laden's claims about American motives. "It is stunning to the extent Hughes is helping bin Laden," says Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist who has conducted extensive research into the motives of suicide terrorists and is the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. "If you set out to help bin Laden," he says, "you could not have done it better than Hughes."
Pape's research debunks the view that suicide terrorism is the natural byproduct of Islamic fundamentalism or some "Islamo-fascist" ideological strain, independent of certain highly specific circumstances.
"Of the key conditions that lead to suicide terrorism in particular, there first must be the presence of foreign combat forces on the territory that the terrorists prize. The second condition is a religious difference between the combat forces and the local community. The religious difference matters in that it enables terrorist leaders to paint foreign forces as being driven by religious goals.
"If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the US occupation of the Arabian peninsula driven by our religious goals and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims but also secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case."
The undersecretary's blundering tour of the Middle East might be the latest incarnation of Innocents Abroad. "The people stared at us everywhere, and we stared at them," Twain wrote. "We bore down on them with America's greatness until we crushed them."
But the stakes are rather different from those on the Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion. "It would be a folly," says Pape, "were it not so dangerous."
Sidney Blumenthal
sidney_blumenthal@yahoo.com, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is the author of The Clinton Wars.

BushCo Tax Funded Fake News Illegal

From the New York Times:

Audit Assails the White House for Public Relations Spending
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - Federal auditors said today that the Bush administration had violated the law by purchasing favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.
In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" inside the
United States, in violation of a longstanding, explicit statutory ban.
The contract with Mr. Williams and the general contours of the administration's public relations campaign had been known for months. The report today provided the first definitive ruling on the legality of the activities.
Lawyers from the G.A.O., an independent nonpartisan arm of Congress, found that the Bush administration had systematically analyzed news articles to see if they carried the message, "The Bush administration/the G.O.P. is committed to education."
The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."
The G.A.O. also assailed the Education Department for telling Ketchum Inc., a large public relations company, to pay Mr. Williams for newspaper columns and television appearances praising Mr. Bush's education initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act.
When that arrangement became publicly known, it set off widespread criticism. At a news conference in January, Mr. Bush said: "We will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."
But more recently the Education Department defended its payments to Mr. Williams, saying his commentaries were "no more than the legitimate dissemination of information to the public."
The G.A.O. said the Education Department had no money or authority to "procure favorable commentary in violation of the publicity or propaganda prohibition" in federal law.
In the course of its work, the accountability office discovered a previously undisclosed instance in which the Education Department had commissioned a newspaper article. The article, on the "declining science literacy of students," was distributed by the North American Precis Syndicate and appeared in numerous small newspapers around the country. Readers were not informed of the government's role in writing of the article.
The auditors also denounced a prepackaged television news story disseminated by the Education Department. The news segment, a "video news release" narrated by a woman named Karen Ryan, said that President Bush's program for providing remedial instruction and tutoring to children "gets an A-plus."
Ms. Ryan also narrated two videos praising the new Medicare drug benefit last year. In those segments, as in the education video, the narrator ended by saying, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."
The prepackaged television news segments on education and on Medicare did not inform the audience that they had been prepared and distributed by the government.
The public relations efforts by the Education Department came to light a few weeks before Margaret Spellings was sworn in as secretary in January. SA spokeswoman for the secretary, Susan Aspey, said Ms. Spellings regarded the efforts as "stupid, wrong and ill-advised." She said Ms. Spellings had adopted procedures "to ensure these types of missteps don't happen again."
The investigation by the Government Accountability Office was requested by Senators Frank R. Lautenberg of
New Jersey and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats.
Mr. Lautenberg expressed concern about a section of the G.A.O. report in which federal investigators said they could not find records to confirm that Mr. Williams had performed all the activities for which he billed the government.
The Education Department said it had paid Ketchum $186,000 for services performed by Mr. Williams's company. But it could not provide transcripts of speeches, copies of articles or records of other services performed by Mr. Williams, the G.A.O. said.
In March, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel said that federal agencies did not have to acknowledge their role in producing television news segments if they were purely factual. The inspector general of the Education Department reiterated that position earlier this month.
But the Government Accountability Office said today: "The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual. The essential fact of attribution is missing."
The G.A.O. said that Mr. Williams's work for the government resulted from a written proposal that he submitted to the Education Department in March 2003. The department directed Ketchum to use Mr. Williams as a regular commentator on Mr. Bush's education policies. Ketchum had a federal contract to help publicize the law, signed by Mr. Bush in 2002.
The Education Department flouted the law by telling Ketchum to use Mr. Williams to "convey a message to the public on behalf of the government, without disclosing to the public that the messengers were acting on the government's behalf and in return for the payment of public funds," the G.A.O. said.
The Education Department spent $38,421 for production and distribution of the video news release and $96,850 for the evaluation of newspaper articles and radio and television programs. Ketchum assigned a score to each article, indicating how frequently and favorably it mentioned specific features of the new education law.
Congress tried to clarify the ban on "covert propaganda" in a spending bill signed by Mr. Bush in May. The law says that no federal money can be used to produce or distribute a prepackaged news story unless the government's role is openly acknowledged. Congress said the law "confirms the opinion of the G.A.O." on this issue.

Canadian Ambassador McKenna calls United States government dysfunctional

From Guerilla News:

Frank McKenna said the United States is "a great country in spite of its government structure, rather than because of it."
Canada’s ambassador to the United States painted an unflattering picture of the way government works south of the border yesterday, calling it “dysfunctional,” overly complex and in dire financial straits, while saying Canada has an efficient system on a solid fiscal footing.
Speaking at a business luncheon—and with the U.S. ambassador to Canada sitting steps away—Frank McKenna said the United States is “a great country in spite of its government structure, rather than because of it.”
“The United States of America is a wonderful creation—the Constitution is a spectacular thing,” Mr. McKenna said.
“But it was anticipated that it would be established as a country in which there would be a check and balance on the exercise of power. And I can tell you categorically that what has been institutionalized instead is total gridlock. The government of the United States is, in large measure, dysfunctional.”
He said one senator there has 75 staff members, which shows that U.S. policymaking is “so complex that even people who work within government need help to navigate through it.”
David Wilkins, the American envoy to Canada, appeared to take his counterpart’s speech to a joint meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Club of Toronto in stride.
Following the address, Mr. Wilkins told reporters that Mr. McKenna is “a great orator and he’s a good friend and he gave a pretty compelling speech about the attributes of Canada.”
Mr. Wilkins said he has been warmly received in Canada, adding: “The United States is a beacon of light for so many people throughout the world. I could not be prouder of my country and I, quite frankly, did not take personally the remarks of Mr. McKenna in any way, period.”
In his speech, Mr. McKenna also attempted to juxtapose what he sees as inferior traits of the U.S. system in painting a positive image of Canada’s government.
For instance, he said Canada’s neighbour to the south is also possessed of “so much independence of political party loyalty, if you like, that everybody in their own way is a freelancer, going off in different directions,” he said.
The situation is “like having 535 Carolyn Parrishes in one place,” he added, referring to the controversial Canadian MP.
A lack of structure in turn makes it difficult to develop and execute a coherent policy, he added.
“In Canada, whether we like it or not—and often we don’t like it—but essentially we have party discipline, and if you can convince the Prime Minister or a minister that something should be done, invariably it can end up being done,” Mr. McKenna said.
At the same time, he said, the United States faces “a very difficult financial situation,” with predictions its deficit will hit or exceed US$500-billion this year.
“That’s not to speak of the fact that that doesn’t include unfunded liabilities for social security, which, some estimate, could run into the twenties and thirties of trillions of dollars.”
By comparison, Canada is in its eighth consecutive year of surplus, with a dropping ratio of debt to gross domestic product, he said.
“Our pension plan, instead of being in deficit, is actuarially balanced for the next 75 years.”
He also praised Canada’s health care system and the country’s abundance of natural resources.
“And with respect to energy, in an energy-starved world, where our neighbour to the south of us, the United States of America, relies [on] export markets for 60% of its oil, Canada is self-sufficient in every category.”
Speaking to reporters following his address, Mr. McKenna said he was inspired to praise Canada’s strengths by the recent remarks of Michaelle Jean, the new Governor-General.
“I just thought I would put my interpretation on her remarks and try to define Canada a little bit more.”
He also appeared unconcerned about any potential reaction his current and previous criticisms of the United States may provoke.
“I find Americans are very direct people and they accept directness with equanimity,” Mr. McKenna said.
Absent from Mr. McKenna’s speech was any reference to the ongoing dispute over softwood lumber duties between Canada and the United States—a topic on which he has criticized the United States a number of times in the past.
However, at the outset of yesterday’s address, he said: “I am so tired of talking about softwood lumber. I just want a break for one day.”

Pentagon Demotes Atta Papers Whistle-Blower

From Boston.com:

Pentagon revokes 9/11 officer's clearance

By Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press Writer September 30, 2005

WASHINGTON --An officer who has claimed that a classified military unit identified four Sept. 11 hijackers before the 2001 attacks is facing Pentagon accusations of breaking numerous rules, charges his lawyer suggests are aimed at undermining his credibility.
The alleged infractions by Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, 42, include obtaining a service medal under false pretenses, improperly flashing military identification while drunk and stealing pens, according to military paperwork shown by his attorney to The Associated Press.
Shaffer was one of the first to publicly link Sept. 11 leader Mohamed Atta to the unit code-named Able Danger. Shaffer was one of five witnesses the Pentagon ordered not to appear Sept. 21 before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the unit's findings.
The military revoked Shaffer's top security clearance this month, a day before he was supposed to testify to a congressional committee.
Mark Zaid, Shaffer's attorney, said the Pentagon started looking into Shaffer's security clearance about the time in 2003 he met in Afghanistan with staff members of the bipartisan commission that studied the Sept. 11 attacks and told them about Able Danger.
Zaid said he can't prove the Pentagon went after Shaffer because he's a whistleblower, but "all the timing associated with the clearance issue has been suspiciously coincidental."
Citing concerns with the privacy act, Cmdr. Terry Sutherland, a Defense Intelligence Agency spokesman, declined to release any information on Shaffer.
According to papers provided by Zaid, the Defense Intelligence Agency is questioning whether Shaffer deserved a Defense Meritorious Service Medal he was awarded. Shaffer, who is supported by a retired colonel who has praised his work, says those challenging the medal do not have firsthand knowledge of his actions.
Shaffer says he showed his government credentials during two incidents in 1990, when he was drunk, and 1996, when he was pulled over by police. The military says he misused his credentials, but Shaffer says he was not told he should not have used them. He also said he has joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been sober for 13 years.
As for the pens and other office supplies taken, he blamed that on "youthful indiscretions" more than 20 years ago.
According to the paperwork, the alleged infractions against Shaffer also include:
-- Falsely claiming $341.80 in mileage and tolls fees. He said he filed travel expenses based on what he was told by human resources staff.
-- Obtaining $67.79 in personal cell phone charges. He said the amount was a legitimate expense accrued so he could forward calls.
-- Going over his chain of command to do briefings. Shaffer said he was providing briefings to higher-ups on projects even his direct superiors did not know about, and he received superior review ratings for that time.
-- Showing irresponsibility with $2,012 in credit card debt. He said he paid off the debt, and Zaid said DIA dropped the issue.
Shaffer, now a member of the Army Reserves, has been on administrative leave since March 2004. During the same time, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel on Oct. 1, 2004.
Shaffer has said he tried three times to meet with the FBI to convey the Able Danger unit's findings before Sept. 11, but was ordered not to by military attorneys.
Shaffer's assertions on Able Danger have been supported by Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. If correct, they would change the timeline as to when authorities first learned of some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.
The Sept. 11 commission has dismissed the claims. The Pentagon has acknowledged some employees recall seeing an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist before the attacks, but said none have been able to find a copy of it.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Other Abu Gharib convictions

It appears that Lynndie England got a longer sentance because she did not plead guilty. She did plead guilty originally but the judge threw it out based on Graner's testimony.

From Boston Globe:

Eight other Army reservists have been convicted of abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq:

Former corporal Charles Graner of Uniontown, Pa., was found guilty in January. He is serving a 10-year prison term. Prosecutors described Graner as the ringleader of the group of guards who mistreated Iraqis.

Former specialist Megan Ambuhl of Centreville, Va., a former guard, pleaded guilty in November 2004 to failing to prevent or report maltreatment of prisoners. She was discharged from the Army without prison time.

Former specialist Sabrina Harman of Lorton, Va., was found guilty in May of conspiracy, maltreating detainees, and dereliction of duty. She was sentenced to six months in prison.
Former staff sergeant Ivan Frederick of Buckingham, Va., was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in October after pleading guilty to conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees and other charges.

Former specialist Jeremy Sivits of Hyndman, Pa., pleaded guilty in May 2004 to four counts, for taking pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners being humiliated. He was sentenced to one year in prison.

Former specialist Roman Krol of Randolph, Mass., admitted pouring water on naked detainees and forcing them to crawl around the floor. Krol was sentenced in February to 10 months in prison.

Former specialist Armin Cruz of Plano, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mistreating prisoners and was sentenced in September 2004 to eight months in prison.

Former sergeant Javal Davis of Roselle, N.J., was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty in February to assault, dereliction of duty, and lying to Army investigators.

'Think Progress' exposes a couple lies

After Indictment, DeLay Grossly Distorts Role With TRMPAC

Tom DeLay wants you to believe he was completely in the dark about TRMPAC’s activities. Here’s what DeLay said tonight on Hardball:
That’s TRMPAC. That’s not me…I was simply, along with four other elected officials, on an advisory board. They used my name as headliners for fundraisers and I had no idea what they were doing.

The facts suggest otherwise:

DELAY SAID TRMPAC WAS HIS IDEA: “U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, said Wednesday that it was his idea to create Texans for a Republican Majority.” [Austin American Statesman, 3/10/05]

DELAY ADMITTED HE WAS A “CREATOR, ADVISOR AND FUNDRAISER” FOR TRMPAC: “House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Wednesday he served as a creator, adviser and fund-raiser to a Texas-based political action committee now under state criminal investigation.” [Houston Chronicle, 3/10/04]

TRMPAC LITERATURE NAMES DELAY AS ORGANZATION “LEADER”: “Q: Who is Leading Texas for a Republican Majority? A: The leadership of the PAC includes Rep. Tom DeLay…” [TRMPAC, Q&A For Potential Media Inquires]

EVIDENCE SUGGESTS DELAY WAS INVOLVED IN COLLECTING CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS: “Documents, which were entered into evidence last week in a related civil trial in Austin, the state capital, suggest that Mr. DeLay personally forwarded at least one large corporate check to the committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, and that he was in direct contact with lobbyists for some of the nation’s largest companies on the committee’s behalf.” [New York Times, 3/9/05]


Brown Falsely Smears Blanco Under Oath

Today, while testifying under oath, Mike Brown claimed that Louisiana Gov. Blanco’s August 27th request to the President for a federal emergency declaration excluded Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquerines parishes. Here’s Brown today under questioning by Rep. Steve Buyer:

BUYER: So I’d like to know why did the president’s federal emergency assistance declaration of August 27th not include the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines?

BROWN: …[I]f a governor does not request a particular county or a particular parish, that’s not included in the request.

BUYER: All right.
Orleans Parish is New Orleans. I was listening to my colleague, Mr. Jefferson’s, questions about when they talked about, you know, they asked for this assistance for three days and then president responded the very next day, not the day that it was made — the request — but the governor of Louisiana actually excluded New Orleans from the president’s federal emergency assistance declaration?

BROWN: Again, Congressman, we looked at the request.The governors make the request by…

BUYER: Let me ask this. Since you went through the exercise in Pam, was that not shocking to you that the governor would excluded New Orleans from the declaration?


BUYER: When that request came in excluding these three parishes, did you question it?

BROWN: We questioned it. But I made the decision that we were going to go ahead and move assets in regardless because we have the ability to add those parishes…

In fact, Blanco requested the President to declare a disaster in “all the southeastern parishes,” which includes Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines. See the request for yourself HERE.
I’m glad we are paying Brown his full salary so we can learn from “his views on his experience with Katrina.”

Chertoff, Not Brown, Was Responsible For Federal Response To Huricane

From Democracy Now:

We speak Knight Ridder reporter Alison Young about the Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff's responsibilities and the shift of blame to former FEMA head Michael Brown.

Alison Young, Reporter with Knight Ridder who co-wrote a recent article called “Chertoff Delayed Federal Response, Memo Shows” about how Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff actually had more authority to respond to the Hurricane Katrina disaster than did Michael Brown.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue our coverage of the congressional panel where FEMA director – the former FEMA director, Michael Brown, was questioned. Joined in our New York – in Washington studio by Alison Young, reporter with Knight Ridder, who co-wrote a recent piece about how Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff actually had more authority to respond to Hurricane Katrina than did Michael Brown. Welcome to Democracy Now!

ALISON YOUNG: Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, why don't you lay out what you think the chain of command was and what Michael Chertoff's role was?

ALISON YOUNG: Well, the entire response has been interesting, hearing all of the finger pointing about the lack of command and control on the ground in the hurricane zone during Katrina. In January of this year, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled their National Response Plan. This was supposed to be a blueprint in this post-September 11 world for how we were going to deal with a massive catastrophe. While certainly terrorism was an emphasis behind this document, it very clearly says that this is to be used when you have a major catastrophic natural disaster, such as a hurricane.
What's surprising is, when you listen to the testimony yesterday by the former FEMA director, it seems to be in conflict with what the plan calls for in a catastrophe. It very clearly says that in a catastrophe, where you either anticipate or it has already happened that locals have become overwhelmed by the situation, both in terms of resources and the structure, that the federal government is supposed to take a proactive – take proactive steps to protect the lives of citizens. And it says that while there has been a lot of talk about how locals didn't make certain specific requests, the plan says that all the standard procedures for requiring requests can be waived in these kinds of situations, and while federal authorities are supposed to notify, if they can, and coordinate with states, it says, in the plan, that the coordination process should not delay or impede the rapid mobilization and deployment of critical federal resources.
Ultimately, this plan designates the Secretary of Homeland Security as the person who is supposed to be the principal federal official in charge when disaster strikes. A presidential directive by President Bush going several years back has designated the Secretary of Homeland Security as being in charge in domestic incidents, and so while Michael Brown very much was a point person down on the ground, there are a number of questions for Secretary Chertoff.

AMY GOODMAN: So you write about this memo, saying Chertoff didn't shift power to Brown for 36 hours after the hurricane. Talk more about that.

ALISON YOUNG: Sure. Part of what triggers this so-called “proactive federal response” is designating an event, what they call an “incident of national significance.” This is a new term that is coming into play in the whole emergency management sector as part of the National Response Plan. Secretary Chertoff – the plan says that it is up to the Secretary of Homeland Security to make that designation. He did not do that until about 36 hours after Katrina struck, even though that designation can be made when a catastrophe is known to be imminent. And in doing that, 36 hours after the event, he empowered Michael Brown to be the principal federal official in charge.
We have lots of questions about what the delay in making that designation – how that may have impeded the lines of authority, whether by not having that designation, the FEMA director was in a position to merely ask and coordinate, as opposed to really step up to the plate in what is a hierarchical structure that puts a federal official basically saying, “Look, we need to coordinate everyone, and we want to work with you, but we also have a duty to get federal resources into the area to help people.”

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, the chronology is quite something. When you say Chertoff didn't shift the power to Brown until late on the evening of August 30, that's 36 hours after Hurricane Katrina. And then on the day that Chertoff wrote the memo, Bush in San Diego, presiding over the ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, and then we had that pretty well known picture now of Bush with the guitar, because he's with a country music singer on that day that the people of New Orleans are sinking. Chertoff's 30th memo, August 30th, for the first time declaring Katrina an incident of national significance, then August 31, the Department of Defense, whose troops and equipment are crucial in such large disasters activated its Task Force Katrina, but active duty troops didn't move in large numbers to the Gulf Coast until Saturday. Where are the explanations, as you pursue this story from the White House?

ALISON YOUNG: We have not had much luck getting good explanations. Ever since we wrote that article, the Department of Homeland Security has now been – while the day that – the day after Secretary Chertoff designated Katrina an incident of national significance, he held a press conference and made a pretty big deal about how this was the first time ever he had implemented the National Response Plan in an incident of national significance.
After that story ran and they started being asked more questions by us and other media, they're now downplaying it, saying it really didn't make much of a difference at all, that this was merely a paperwork matter. They are saying that because President Bush had declared a state of emergency, had issued an emergency declaration for Louisiana and Mississippi a few days prior to the storm, that that essentially was the same thing as declaring it an incident of national significance.
However, while the National Response Plan does, in fact, define things that may qualify as incidents of national significance, as things that meet the definition for an emergency or disaster declaration by the President, it says specifically that it's the Secretary of Homeland Security who makes that declaration. And also, if they were treating it as an incident of national significance prior to that time, they have not been able to offer us any explanation why, from April 1 of this year, until Katrina, there had been 20 federal emergency and disaster declarations that have been issued but not a single one of those was touted as an incident of national significance.
So we are still asking a lot of questions about the mechanics about how was it that critical federal resources got into the area, what role secretary Chertoff's designation, coming 36 hours after Katrina struck, what role that played, but we're having a hard time getting answers.

AMY GOODMAN: So you asked the Department of Homeland Security about Chertoff's schedule; they haven't responded?

ALISON YOUNG: They have now talked to us a bit in generalities about his schedule. One of the things that is of interest in his schedule is, while they say that he was very actively involved in monitoring what was going on with Hurricane Katrina, we were able to find out that after the storm struck, he went to the C.D.C. in Atlanta for a previously scheduled briefing on avian flu. And it wasn't until he was on his way back that he started crafting the language for the memo that declared it an incident of national significance.

AMY GOODMAN: For those who say this is simply a partisan attack, it's interesting to see your interview with a former FEMA director under President Reagan, General Becton.

ALISON YOUNG: Right, there have been several of my colleagues who have been involved in this story, and that interview was done by one of them. But we have had a number of concerns raised by FEMA officials who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations who have raised significant concerns about what happened here in the response. They have raised concerns about why there are a lot of questions right now about: Are there greater authorities needed, when, in fact, for many years FEMA in this country had done a pretty good job in responding to major natural disasters and other incidents.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Alison Young, one of the authors of the Knight Ridder piece, “Chertoff Delayed Federal Response, Memo Shows.”

Italy Seeks Arrest of Three More CIA Men

From Salon:

By AIDAN LEWIS Associated Press Writer
September 30,2005 ROME -- Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for three more purported CIA operatives accused of helping abduct an Egyptian Muslim cleric from Italy in 2003, a prosecutor said Friday.
Milan Prosecutor Armando Spataro told The Associated Press the new warrants were approved by Milan Judge Chiara Nobile on his request earlier this week, and bring the total number of purported CIA operatives sought by Italian police in the case to 22.
Earlier this year, authorities ordered the arrest of 19 people alleged to have helped kidnap cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.
Nasr was allegedly abducted on a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 before being flown to Egypt, where he was reportedly tortured.
Prosecutors claimed Nasr's abduction a serious violation of Italian sovereignty and said it hindered Italian terrorism investigations.
The Italian government said it had no prior knowledge of the operation, and the case caused a major strain in Italian-U.S. relations.
The operation was purportedly part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program in which terrorism suspects are transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible ill treatment.
U.S. officials have declined to comment on the case and the U.S. embassy in Rome repeated that position Friday.
Nasr was believed to have fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia, and prosecutors were seeking evidence against him when he disappeared, Italian news reports said last year.
Spataro said the prosecution was preparing to ask for extradition requests to U.S. authorities for the 22 suspects.
He declined to discuss details of the new arrest warrants, but Italian newspapers La Stampa and Corriere della Sera said that one of those sought had been listed as a senior official in the U.S. embassy in Rome.
The reports said that suspect helped transfer Nasr from Milan to the U.S.-Italian air base of Aviano. From Aviano, Nasr was allegedly flown first to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, then to Egypt.
They said all three suspects held U.S. passports.
The reports also said Italian investigators had uncovered more details on how Robert Seldon Lady -- who prosecutors have described as a former CIA station chief in Milan and who Nobile ordered arrested earlier this year -- allegedly planned the abduction.
Police reportedly reconstructed the hard drive of the computer left behind in the house in northern Italy where Seldon Lady had been living, even after his wife had deleted the computer's files, and found a photo of Nasr and other material.

Senators: Hurricane Aid Is Being Blocked

From Washington Post:

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- With Gulf Coast governors pressing for action, Senate Finance Committee members complained Wednesday that the Bush administration is blocking a bipartisan $9 billion health care package for hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"We've got people with needs today," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. She was joined by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, who testified via a teleconference hookup, in urging quick action on the legislation.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the committee, said four or five senators have been blocking action on the bill after the Bush administration raised objections to provisions that would extend Medicaid coverage to thousands upon thousands of adults who otherwise would be uninsured, including those whose applications have been rejected in Louisiana.
"We can work with everybody, including the administration, or against them, and I'm prepared to go either way," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. "But I'm going to look after our people first."
Administration officials contend the Medicaid extensions are not needed because a newly created fund could be tapped whenever health care providers care for uninsured victims of Katrina between Aug. 24th and Jan. 31, 2006.
But the administration has not revealed how much money will be in the fund, and senators questioned both the funding commitment and whether the administration has the authority to establish such a fund.
Earlier Wednesday, Blanco asked the committee for help in rebuilding her devastated state, saying Hurricanes Katrina and Rita "knocked us down but they did not knock us out."
In her opening statement, Blanco did not mention former FEMA director Michael Brown, who on Tuesday had blamed state and local officials in Louisiana for not responding appropriately to the storm. She declined later to respond to Brown's accusations when given a specific opportunity by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
"We are looking forward, not backward, " she said.
Blanco said 40 percent of Louisiana's businesses were lost or damaged in the storm and said the state's most pressing need is jobs.
"That's what we need," she said. "That's exactly what we need in the face of this suffering and hardship _ jobs."
Across the Capitol, a House panel was hearing pledges from government auditors that they will closely examine millions of dollars in contracts the Bush administration awarded to politically connected companies for Hurricane Katrina relief.
The inspectors general from half a dozen agencies, as well as officials from the Government Accountability Office, on Wednesday were addressing a House subcommittee on the Katrina cleanup and announcing several new audits to combat waste and fraud.
They are pledging strong oversight that includes a review of no-bid contracts and close scrutiny of federal employees who now enjoy a $250,000 _ rather than a $2,500 _ purchase limit for Katrina-related expenses on their government-issued credit cards.
"When so much money is available, it draws people of less than perfect character," H. Walker Feaster, inspector general of the Federal Communications Commission, said. "It underscores the need for internal controls of the money going out."
The joint appearance of government auditors comes amid a flurry of legislation pending in Congress that would create additional layers of oversight to the Katrina contracting and award process.
It also comes amid growing charges of favoritism that critics say led to government missteps in the wake of the Katrina disaster.
In a House hearing Tuesday, both Republicans and Democrats assailed Brown, who critics say lacked proper experience for the job, for his performance in handling emergency aid. Brown admitted making some mistakes but placed the brunt of the blame on the Louisiana governor, the New Orleans mayor and even the Bush White House that appointed him.
Blanco on Tuesday had vehemently denied that she waited until the eve of the storm to order an evacuation of New Orleans. She said her order came on the morning of Aug. 27 _ two days before the storm _ resulting in 1.3 million people evacuating the city.
"Such falsehoods and misleading statements, made under oath before Congress, are shocking," Blanco said in a statement Tuesday.
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., said Wednesday that while Brown made mistakes, so did others. "He can't be the scapegoat. First responders are local and state, and the governor and mayor did a pathetic job of preparing their people for this horrific storm," Shays said on NBC's "Today" show.
Lawmakers were turning their attention to the lucrative Katrina contracts.
In the weeks after the Aug. 29 storm, more than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts awarded by FEMA for Katrina work were handed out with little or no competition or had open-ended or vague terms that previous audits have cited as being highly prone to abuse.

Company run by Frist's brother made $630m deal two days before he announced he would be leader

From RawStory:

Bill Frist, it seems, needs a doctor.
The Senate's plaintive Southern physician -- envisioned as the Republicans’ antidote to a seemingly racist Trent Lott -- is hemorrhaging political capital. The doctor who so memorably assuaged a terrified nation in the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks is now dancing to a dangerous duet of swirling stock probes.
Today, a RAW STORY investigation has turned up more intrigue surrounding Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's affiliation with his family's booming for-profit hospital chain, HCA.

Just two days before Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) stepped down as Majority Leader in 2002, the company Frist's father started quietly settled a massive Medicare fraud lawsuit for $630 million. The eleventh-hour deal -- brokered with Justice Department attorneys after a seven-year court battle -- was made as Frist (R-TN) secured the necessary votes to assume the Senate's top post.
Those close to the case tell RAW STORY that top HCA executives were scheduled to be deposed the following month. Frist's brother, Thomas Jr., would have been forced to go on the record during the opening days of the senator's tenure as leader.
The timing of the agreement could raise further questions about Frist's ties to the company. Given that the Justice Department had been investigating HCA since 1993 -- some 120 months -- the coincidence of a settlement date so close to Frist's leadership election is striking.
Whether Tennessee's most renowned cardiac surgeon is telling the truth about his ties to the company his brother steered through a massive federal fraud investigation could have bearing on an investigation into whether he had inside information when he sold his shares in June.
Frist spokewoman Amy Call vehemently denied that the senator had been in any way involved.
"Senator Frist has never worked for HCA," she told RAW STORY. "He never worked for a HCA hospital."
HCA did not return a call seeking comment.
A troubled company's money funds a senator
It was the nation's largest for-profit hospital conglomerate -- started by Frist's father and until recently run by Frist's brother -- that paved the ambitious Senator's way from Vanderbilt University's operating room to Capitol Hill. The company's stock made up most of the doctor's wealth; he spent $3.4 million of his own money in his 1994 Senate campaign.
That wealth, however, has become a thorn in the senator's side.
Frist sold his HCA shares alongside company insiders this July, two weeks before the firm issued a disappointing earnings forecast. Last week, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York subpoenaed the company with regard to Frist's sales. On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission upgraded its probe of Frist's possible insider trading to a formal investigation.
All in the family
HCA was founded by Frist's father, Thomas, in 1968. His brother, Thomas Jr., ran the company through troubled waters in the 1990s and after a short stint as vice-chairman following a merger, returned to become chairman. In the late nineties, the 300-hospital company was the seventh largest employer in the United States.
But the company was plagued by allegations of fraud, which dated from a whistleblower claim in 1993. Shortly after Thomas Jr. became CEO again in 1997, federal agents raided the company's El Paso operations. The following year, the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating whether executives gave investors accurate figures. Shareholders and insurers then began suing the company, suspecting they had been overcharged.
By 1999, eleven states were involved in litigation. Faced with the threat of a massive settlement, Thomas shed assets and amassed a legal war chest, buying back $1 billion in shares.
After an internecine legal battle, HCA settled with the Justice Department in 2001 for $840 million. The charges included bilking Medicare, Medicaid and the military’s healthcare system by intentionally misidentifying marketing expenses as reimbursable "community education," striking illegal deals with home care agencies, and claiming reimbursement that idle space in a hospital was being used for patient care.
The fraud investigation involved 30 U.S. attorneys' offices, 22 FBI field offices, inspectors general from the Health and Human Service Department and the Office of Personnel Management, Defense Department investigators and state fraud units.
More money and more litigation
But it wasn't over.
Under a 2002 settlement – announced just before Frist took his leadership post – HCA settled with the Justice Department for allegedly filing false claims and paying kickbacks to doctors so they would refer Medicare and Medicaid patients to its facilities. The settlement was $630 million -- bringing the company’s payouts for fraud to $1.7 billion, the largest in history.
This didn't, however, stop Frist from investing more in the company.
Just weeks after his election to Majority Leader, the man overseeing the senator’s "blind trust" wrote Frist to inform him that more HCA stock had been added to his trust, valued at between $15,000 and $50,000.
Two weeks later, the Tennessee senator told a television audience, "Well, I think really for our viewers it should be understood that I put this into a blind trust. So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock."
Referring to his "blind trust," valued at between $5 million and $25 million according to campaign disclosure forms, he added, "I have no control. It is illegal right now for me to know what the composition of those trusts are. So I have no idea."
At the end of the day, when the settlement was finally approved, Republican senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), asserted that the $1.7 billion deal hardly covered the awesome fraud perpetuated by HCA.
"I had to badger the Justice Department to see the math in this case,” Grassley remarked. "At the last minute, the Justice Department agreed to show my investigators why this settlement was the best the government could do. There's no way to know exactly how much HCA pocketed. This case is so complicated, and so huge, that no one will ever know exactly how much HCA took. This case is troubling because it shows how one company, with unbridled greed, systematically defrauded the government's health care programs."
HCA has given $83,450 to Frist's campaigns since 1989. The company's chief executive donated $11,000 to Frist's political action in the last two years -- some $5,000 of it this April.

President Bush Pardons 14 People including domestic terrorist

From CBS News:

President Bush granted pardons Wednesday to 14 people, including a member of the mineworkers union who was convicted for his role in bombings at a West Virginia coal mine, a counterfeiter and a bootlegger. Jesse Ray Harvey of Scarbro, W.Va., was given a 25-month sentence in 1990 after his conviction for using explosives to damage Milburn Colliery. The mine had been the target of a long strike by about 45 members of a United Mine Workers local. CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller reports that the pardons Wednesday bring to 58 the number of pardons granted by Mr. Bush. By comparison, his father, former President George H.W. Bush, granted 74 in four years; former President Bill Clinton granted 396 in eight years; former President Ronald Reagan did 393 in eight; former President Jimmy Carter did 534 in four. And former President Richard Nixon, who got one of Mr. Ford's 382 pardons, granted 863, reports Knoller. Some pardons, like the one Mr. Ford gave Nixon in 1974, protect recipients from going to jail or reduce their sentences. But Mr. Bush has granted clemency mainly to allow people who committed relatively minor offenses and served their sentences long ago to clear their names.

Others granted pardons Wednesday were:

Gene Armand Bridger, Elkhart, Ind., conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, sentenced May 29, 1963, to five years probation.

Cathryn Iline Clasen-Gage, Rockwall, Texas, misprision of a felony, sentenced Aug. 21, 1992, to 18 months in prison and a year of supervised release.

Thomas Kimble Collinsworth, Buckner, Ark., receipt of a stolen motor vehicle that had been transported in interstate commerce, sentenced Aug. 22, 1989, to three years probation and a $5,000 fine.

Morris F. Cranmer Jr., Little Rock, Ark., making materially false statements to a federally insured institution, sentenced March 30, 1988 to nine months in jail.

Rusty Lawrence Elliott, Mount Pleasant, Tenn., making counterfeit money, sentenced April 26, 1991, to a year and a day in prison, two years supervised release and a $500 fine.

Adam Wade Graham, Salt Lake City, Utah, conspiracy to deliver 10 or more grams of LSD, sentenced Nov. 23, 1992 to 30 months in prison and five years of supervised release, including 250 hours of community service.

Rufus Edward Harris, Canon, Ga., possession of tax-unpaid whiskey, sentenced June 17, 1963, to two years in prison, possession and sale of tax-unpaid whiskey. He also was on May 28, 1970 to five years in prison, later reduced to two years probation.

Larry Paul Lenius, Moorhead, Minn., conspiracy to distribute cocaine, sentenced Sept. 29, 1989, to 36 months probation and payment of $2,500 in restitution.

Larry Lee Lopez, Bokeelia, Fla., conspiracy to import marijuana, sentenced July 19, 1985 to three years probation.
Bobbie Archie Maxwell, Lansing, Mich., mailing a threatening letter, sentenced Sept. 6, 1962, to 12 months probation.

Denise Bitters Mendelkow, Salt Lake City, Utah, embezzlement by a bank employee, sentenced May 21, 1981, to two years probation.

Michael John Pozorski, Schofield, Wis., unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm, sentenced Sept. 14, 1988, to four years probation and payment of a $750 fine.

Mark Lewis Weber, Sherwood, Ark., selling Quaalude tablets, selling, using and possessing marijuana, sentenced Aug. 20, 1981, following Air Force court-martial to 30 months confinement at hard labor, forfeiture of 30 months pay at $334 a month and a dishonorable discharge.

Pentagon Analyst to Plead Guilty to Leak

From NY Times:

A Pentagon analyst charged with providing classified information to an Israeli official and members of a pro-Israeli lobbying group planned to plead guilty to one or more charges, a court said Thursday.

Lawrence A. Franklin, 58, of Kearneysville, W.Va., was one of the Pentagon's policy experts on Iran and the Middle East. He was indicted in June on charges of disclosing national defense information to people not entitled to receive it, including two members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The indictment also alleges he leaked top secret information about two unidentified Middle Eastern officials to the media.

Franklin had previously pleaded innocent, but on Thursday a change of plea hearing was added to the court calendar for next Wednesday. A statement issued by the U.S. District Court clerk's office said Franklin ''is scheduled to plead guilty to a charge or charges'' but did not specify which.

Court records include no details about Franklin's plea; such details normally are not made public until the plea is officially entered.

Four of the five counts against Franklin carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and the fifth carries a sentence of up to five years.

Prosecutors declined comment, but a Justice Department official confirmed that a plea agreement was being negotiated. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing has been filed with the court. Messages left Thursday with Franklin's lawyer, Plato Cacheris, were not immediately returned.

The two AIPAC officials who allegedly received the information, Steven Rosen of Silver Spring, Md., and Keith Weissman of Bethesda, Md., also have been charged with conspiring to obtain and disclose classified U.S. defense information. No plea hearings are scheduled in their cases.

Franklin had been cooperating with the government in its case against Rosen and Weissman as far back as July 2004, according to the indictment. Such cooperation is typically a factor in determining what sentence prosecutors will seek in connection with a plea.

According to the indictment, Franklin met periodically with Rosen and Weissman between 2002 and 2004 and discussed classified information, including information about potential attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. Rosen and Weissman would subsequently share what they learned with reporters and Israeli officials. On at least one occasion, Franklin spoke directly to an Israeli official.

The government is not charging any of the three with espionage, although the FBI has questioned at least one Israeli official.

Rosen, a top lobbyist for Washington-based AIPAC for more than 20 years, and Weissman, the organization's top Iran expert, allegedly disclosed sensitive information as far back as 1999 on a variety of topics, including al-Qaida, terrorist activities in Central Asia, the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and U.S. policy in Iran, according to the indictment.

Franklin at one time worked for the Pentagon's No. 3 official, policy undersecretary Douglas Feith, on issues involving Iran and the Middle East. Weissman and Rosen saw Franklin as a potentially valuable source of information.

U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty, whose office is prosecuting the case, has said the three were motivated by the desire to advance their careers and their own foreign-policy agendas.

According to the indictment, Franklin asked Rosen to put in a good word for him when Franklin was under consideration for a job at the National Security Council. Rosen said that such a job would put Franklin ''by the elbow of the president.''

Weissman's lawyer, John Nassikas, said he was unfamiliar with the details of Franklin's plea but said Weissman still plans to go to trial in January and that he plans to file numerous motions in coming weeks challenging the government's factual and legal claims.

''We're preparing and we're confident,'' Nassikas said.

Both AIPAC and Israel deny any wrongdoing. AIPAC fired Rosen and Weissman in April.
The long-running investigation has been closely followed in Washington, where AIPAC is an influential interest group. The case also has served as a reminder of a tense time in U.S.-Israeli relations: the 1985 scandal in which civilian Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard was caught spying for Israel.

Israel has said it imposed a ban on espionage in the United States after the Pollard scandal. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

DeLay blames politics for his indictment

Texas Republican Tom DeLay 'temporarily' stepped down from the leadership post that he had held since 2002, as required by House rules.

As a sign of loyalty to DeLay after the grand jury returned indictments against three of his associates, House Republicans last November repealed a rule requiring any of their leaders to step aside if indicted. The rule was reinstituted in January after lawmakers returned to Washington from the holidays fearing the repeal might create a backlash from voters.

DeLay, who is known as 'the Hammer' for his ability to pound out Republican majorities on tough votes, is accused of laundering funds into his
political action committee 'Texans for a Republican Majority.' Ironically, DeLay blamed the indictment on "partisan politics" and called the prosecutor a "partisan fanatic."

I am very much for open and transparent government, and so is Tom DeLay, it seems:

I wish they could have been a fly on the wall" he said of Democrats and a closed-door GOP meeting.

DeLay also said the charges amounted to "one of the weakest and most baseless indictments in American history."

Scott McClellan called DeLay "a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people." Asked about Republican corruption in general, McClellan
said the Republican Party has made policy that has improved the lives of Americans, and the White House stands by that record.

Asked when DeLay would turn himself in, DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin said, "I'm going to keep from having Tom DeLay taken down in handcuffs, photographed and fingerprinted. That's uncalled for."

Quotes are from Yahoo News

Capt. Ian Fishback letter to McCain

From Washington Post:

The following letter was sent to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sept. 16:

Dear Senator McCain:

I am a graduate of West Point currently serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Infantry. I have served two combat tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, one each in Afghanistan and Iraq. While I served in the Global War on Terror, the actions and statements of my leadership led me to believe that United States policy did not require application of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan or Iraq. On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the "spirit" of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification. For 17 months, I tried to determine what specific standards governed the treatment of detainees by consulting my chain of command through battalion commander, multiple JAG lawyers, multiple Democrat and Republican Congressmen and their aides, the Ft. Bragg Inspector General's office, multiple government reports, the Secretary of the Army and multiple general officers, a professional interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, the deputy head of the department at West Point responsible for teaching Just War Theory and Law of Land Warfare, and numerous peers who I regard as honorable and intelligent men.
Instead of resolving my concerns, the approach for clarification process leaves me deeply troubled. Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my leadership about what constitutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees. I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment. I and troops under my command witnessed some of these abuses in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

This is a tragedy. I can remember, as a cadet at West Point, resolving to ensure that my men would never commit a dishonorable act; that I would protect them from that type of burden. It absolutely breaks my heart that I have failed some of them in this regard.

That is in the past and there is nothing we can do about it now. But, we can learn from our mistakes and ensure that this does not happen again. Take a major step in that direction; eliminate the confusion. My approach for clarification provides clear evidence that confusion over standards was a major contributor to the prisoner abuse. We owe our soldiers better than this. Give them a clear standard that is in accordance with the bedrock principles of our nation.

Some do not see the need for this work. Some argue that since our actions are not as horrifying as Al Qaeda's, we should not be concerned. When did Al Qaeda become any type of standard by which we measure the morality of the United States? We are America, and our actions should be held to a higher standard, the ideals expressed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Others argue that clear standards will limit the President's ability to wage the War on Terror. Since clear standards only limit interrogation techniques, it is reasonable for me to assume that supporters of this argument desire to use coercion to acquire information from detainees. This is morally inconsistent with the Constitution and justice in war. It is unacceptable.

Both of these arguments stem from the larger question, the most important question that this generation will answer. Do we sacrifice our ideals in order to preserve security? Terrorism inspires fear and suppresses ideals like freedom and individual rights. Overcoming the fear posed by terrorist threats is a tremendous test of our courage. Will we confront danger and adversity in order to preserve our ideals, or will our courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice? My response is simple. If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is "America."
Once again, I strongly urge you to do justice to your men and women in uniform. Give them clear standards of conduct that reflect the ideals they risk their lives for.

With the Utmost Respect,

-- Capt. Ian Fishback
1st Battalion,
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
82nd Airborne Division,
Fort Bragg, North Carolina

U.S. Income Gap Widens

From SF Gate:

Making ends meet It's tougher than ever today as the well-off become better off, ranks of poor grow and lower-income workers feel pressure of high prices
Jason B. Johnson, Chronicle Staff Writer

The gap between high-income and low-income Americans is widening, the ranks of the poor in California and nationwide are swelling, and middle-class workers have lost ground compared with the 1970s, several national and state studies show.
A disturbing new picture of low- and middle-income family incomes is emerging from U.S. Census studies and from analyses of census and other data by the California Budget Project, the Brookings Institution, UC Berkeley researchers and organizations studying specific demographic or geographic groups.
"The increase in inequality in income is a longtime trend, but the pressure on middle- and low-income workers is going up rapidly," said Alice Rivlin, an economist at the Brookings Institution and vice chair of the Federal Reserve from 1996 to 1999. "Especially if they live in an area where there are high housing and gas prices, like California."
On Tuesday, the California Budget Project, a public policy research group in Sacramento, estimated that it takes $51,177 a year for a two-parent California family with two children to afford rental housing, commuting costs, food and other basics. The figure is $71,377 if both parents work and $53,987 for a single parent with two kids.
And on Labor Day, the Budget Project reported that California's highest-paid workers -- those in the top 10 percent -- earned 5.1 times more than workers making wages in the lowest 10 percent, up from 3.8 times more in 1979.
In the Bay Area, where a family with two working parents needs $79,946 a year to eke a basic living -- no car, no vacations and no home ownership -- costs are higher than the state averages.
"In California over the past two decades, we have seen an increase in inequality," said Budget Project Executive Director Jean Ross.
To get by, people work more than one job or amass credit card debt, couples work day and night shifts to avoid having to pay for child care, and adult children move back in with their parents, according to interviews with policy experts and workers.
Aurolyn Rush, 60, and her daughter, Tifannee, 27, live together in a two-bedroom Daly City apartment. They pool their annual incomes of $23,000 each as phone operators at San Francisco's Grand Hyatt hotel.
Bare-bones budgets
"We're not living on Cloud 9, but together we make it," said Rush. "She wants her own place, but seeing how hard it is with the two of us, she hasn't tried to move. I probably couldn't make it if I had to pay everything on my own."
The Budget Project totaled the costs of housing and utilities, child care, basic transportation, food, health insurance premiums and payroll and income taxes.
"We're looking at something that is one step above a bare-bones budget," Ross said of the living expenses included in the report.
In the Bay Area, her group found, a single adult needs to make $27,901 a year or $13.41 an hour to cover those expenses. A single parent with two children needs $62,969 a year or $30.27 an hour. And a single wage earner in a family where the other parent stays home -- and provides child care -- would have to make $55,740 or $26.80 an hour.
Health care costs chew up an ever-increasing proportion of salaries. And, Ross said, the less workers earn, the less likely they are to have employer-paid health coverage.
Two reports released in August by the U.S. Census found that 1.1 million more Americans fell into poverty from 2003 to 2004. The estimated national poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent of individuals in 2003 to 12.7 percent in 2004.
An estimated 37 million Americans live below the federal poverty line, which varies by household size; in 2004, the poverty line was $18,850 for a family of four. The census estimated that the median household income was $44,648 in the United States and was $51,185 in California in both 2003 and 2004.
Middle-class workers have been hit hard by the steady disappearance since the 1970s of well-paying blue-collar jobs that high school graduates without a college degree could perform, said Steven Pitts, an economist specializing in labor issues at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
African Americans in particular now face a "crisis" of low-paying jobs because those blue-collar jobs have been replaced by service-sector jobs, Pitts said.
"There were more jobs on the docks in the ports of San Francisco and Oakland," said Pitts. "In the East Bay, for instance, you saw a loss (also) of manufacturing jobs that paid well."
Blacks' wages slipping
Pitts found that the proportion of African American workers in low-wage jobs rose from 25.7 percent in 1970 to 27.8 percent in 2000. The lack of well-paying jobs makes it harder to revitalize poor urban communities, Pitts said, based on a study he released on Labor Day examining the state of African American workers in the Bay Area.
Fellow UC Berkeley economist Richard Walker said income inequality is a problem in the whole nation.
"There's two reasons: One is geographical, when you're in the middle of the fastest-growing part of the country, near these big urban centers, the richest places always have the highest costs, partly because they're successful," Walker said.
The second reason is that high-wage earners now have so much disposable income that they are pulling up prices for everyone.
"There's too much loose money," Walker said. "The world's kind of awash in capital right now."
Income inequities shrank during the late 1990s, but those gains appear to have evaporated, said Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C.
"We were making some progress, and that progress is faltering now," Duff Campbell said. "And when you put that together with the widening gaps between the income groups, then that's pretty alarming."
Executive Director Alissa Friedman at OPTIC, an East Contra Costa nonprofit agency that helps low-income people re-enter the workforce, echoed her.
"It's really heartbreaking when a person has been working hard and gets a job paying $13 an hour but still is not able to support themselves," Friedman said.

Bush wastes roughly $170,000 in jet fuel as he urges nation to conserve

From PNI Online:

Attytood exclusive: Bush wastes roughly $170,000 in jet fuel as he urges nation to conserve
Two other points I want to make is, one, we can all pitch in by using -- by being better conservers of energy. I mean, people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they're able to maybe not drive when they -- on a trip that's not essential, that would helpful. The federal government can help, and I've directed the federal agencies nationwide -- and here's some ways we can help. We can curtail nonessential travel. If it makes sense for the citizen out there to curtail nonessential travel, it darn sure makes sense for federal employees. We can encourage employees to carpool or use mass transit. And we can shift peak electricity use to off-peak hours. There's ways for the federal government to lead when it comes to conservation.
-- President George W. Bush, Sept. 26, 2005.
Just one day after President Bush urged Americans to cut back on needless travel and promised that the federal government would do the same, he boarded Air Force One for a trip to inspect hurricane damage that will burn up roughly 11,437 gallons of jet fuel, worth about $24,590 at today's record high fuel prices.
In fact, an investigation by Attytood -- using the best available numbers for Bush's travel since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, for the performance of Air Force One and for jet fuel prices -- estimates that Bush has spent $169,314 on jet fuel alone.
Bush has visited the Gulf region seven times, as well as an Air Force One flyover, since the Aug. 29 impact by Katrina, the most expensive national disaster in American history and one of the deadliest. But experts and even some White House officials have said the frequent trips have had as much or more to do with rebuilding the president's tarnished image than rebuilding the Gulf Coast.
Many of the trips seem targeted towards conveying television images of Bush as an involved leader. In fact, Bush's flight schedule last weekend was rearranged because, according to aides, Hurricane Rita had shifted course and the weather would be sunny in San Antonio. At several of the meetings that Bush has attended other officials have taken part by teleconferencing rather than by attending in person.
"Seven trips in a month -- what can he really do down there?," asked Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia political scientist and presidential pundit. He said the trips "are all about photo ops and reassurance and Clintonian moments of feeling people's pain."
The cost to taxpayers for all of Bush's storm related travel has been much higher. Some studies have placed the total cost of operating Air Force One at at least $56,800 an hour or more, meaning that Bush's hurricane related travel has cost taxpayers somewhere in the range of $2 million or more -- just for the air travel!
At the White House yesterday, presidential spokesman Scot McClellan sought to defend the seeming contradiction between Bush's call for conserving fuel and the frequent trips:
It's also for the President to not only get a first-hand account of how needs are being -- how the needs of the people are being met, but it's also important for him to provide some comfort and reassurance that we are going to do what we can to help get people back up on their feet and to lift the spirits of all those who are working around the clock to meet the enormous challenges that have been presented by these two hurricanes hitting in roughly the same area.
Here's a quick look at Bush's air travel since Hurricane Katrina. The jet fuel costs are based on today's price, according to a government survey, of $2.15 a gallon (jet fuel is less refined than gasoline and thus slightly cheaper):
Aug. 31: Air Force One flyover of Gulf region (rough estimate: 500 miles, $4,612)
Sept. 2: Trip to Mississippi, where he promised to rebuild Trent Lott's porch, and to the New Orleans airport and a damaged levee. (2,176 miles, $19,977)
Sept. 5: Trip to Baton Rouge to meet and reassure Katrina evacuees (2,288 miles, $21,101)
Sept. 11: Trip to New Orleans, where he rode throough flooded streets with La. governor and New Orleans mayor, and Gulfport (2,176 miles, $19,977)
Sept. 15: A trip to New Orleans so he could use Jackson Square as a scenic backdrop for a speech to the nation (2,176 miles, $19,977)
Sept. 20: Yet another trip to Mississippi and New Orleans (2,176 miles, $19,977)
Sept 23: Bush flies all the way to Colorado Springs to see military command, a meeting that was captured on film and appeared to be a prime candidate for videoconferencing, then onto Austin to see state emergency management for Hurricane Rita. (2,668 miles, $24,606)
Sept. 24: Bush flies to Baton Rouge for more checking out of storm operations, then home. (1,576 miles, $14,497)
Sept. 27: More storm damage inspecting in Beaumont and Lake Charles (2,666 miles [including eventual return home], $24,590). Funny, we saw a lot of storm damage, too -- by staying home and watching CNN.
Talk about your mixed messages. All Americans want a president who stays on top of a major natural disaster. But the best ways to do that are a) appointing smart people to key jobs like running FEMA and b) staying in touch with those people on the ground, preferably by telephone. It's not by wasting fuel on photo ops that demonstrate "leadership."
And we're only talking here about the jet fuel -- we haven't even gone into the White House's oversized motorcades, like the one that went to a retirement party last night for Gen Richard Myers, as described in this White House pool report (via Wonkette). The motorcade was:
was marginally shorter in the SUV category - five - than the one that traveled to the Energy Department today, with six SUVs. But it was longer in vans, four tonight, compared with three this morning. Two limos, of course.
We have one piece of advice for the White House. We know that the president likes to bicycle his way through crises, even when it appears the White House (and his wife) may be under attack.
Maybe that was the right idea, after all.
NOTE: Item updated from original to correct cost-per-hour of Air Force One.

Time for 'NY Times' to Explore Miller's Tale

From Editor & Publisher:

It's obvious that the leaders of the Times have made a decision not to order hard reporting on Judith Miller's involvement in the Plame affair. This journalistic void is in stark contrast to its editorial page's persistent calls for her release. Now it's time for the paper's public editor, Byron Calame, to take action. By William E. Jackson, Jr. (September 26, 2005) -- Surely Byron Calame, the public editor at The New York Times, has more important things to do than to scold Alessandra Stanley for unfair treatment of Geraldo Rivera. Calame might better spend his time looking into a festering controversy of much greater consequence that has internally "tied the paper in knots" -- as described to me by a senior Times employee when referring to the bizarre case of Judith Miller.But Calame has not yet written a single word about a most public Fourth Estate showdown between Miller -- serving time in jail for contempt of court in the Valerie Plame investigation -- and special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.In fact, it is obvious that the leaders of the Times have made a decision not to order hard reporting on Miller's involvement in the Plame affair even when there are important new developments. This journalistic void -- in the midst of widespread suspicion that Miller's refusal to testify before a grand jury may reflect a fear of incriminating herself rather than simply betraying a source -- is in stark contrast to the editorial page's unceasing calls for her release.How might she incriminate herself? On one thing everyone can agree: Miller had extensive sources among national security officials in the Bush White House and cabinet departments. In the early summer of 2003, she was still the lead reporter covering the WMD beat for The Times. Valerie Plame worked on weapons of mass destruction intelligence for the CIA. Miller never wrote an article about Plame. But it is quite possible that Miller discussed Plame's identity with numerous sources, and may have actually been the "carrier" of the information to some officials. A special prosecutor armed with information that would allow him to compare and contrast her discussions might very well be in a position to charge her with perjury, or even conspiracy to obstruct justice -- if she were found to be in collusion with those officials seeking to discredit Ambassador Joe Wilson by revealing the professional identity of his spouse.A veteran journalist with a major Washington news outlet expressed this understated opinion to me: "My guess is that her conversation or conversations were probably with her usual sources and touched on Wilson's Op-Ed along with their other common interests."The Times does not seem to mind getting scooped by outside rivals in the mainstream press when the revelations cut too close to the bone. After a bold but brief attempt by Doug Jehl on July 28 ("Case of C.I.A. Officer's Leaked Identity Takes New Turn") to get executive editor Bill Keller to answer some key questions about the circumstances surrounding her alleged "contemplation" of "reporting" on the exposure of Plame's identity, the paper has rolled up the carpet on investigating itself.Moreover, there have been no investigative reports of late that have probed into the particulars of the larger Plame case. Over the last two months, the only story of note in the Times concerned former Sen. Robert Dole's well-publicized visit to Miller in jail and his service in reading a letter from her after a luncheon address at the National Press Club. ("Bob Dole Issues Jailed Reporter's Plea," by Lynnette Clemetson, September 3, 2005).In the intervening time, several national newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, have run major stories. Newsday disclosed that the subpoena for Miller by the grand jury on August 20, 2004, had asked for all documents relating to any conversations “between Judith Miller and a government official whom she met in Washington D.C. on July 8, 2003, concerning Valerie Plame Wilson."The Washington Post has continued to report on the Plame case and Miller, despite the fact that two of its reporters were subpoenaed by the grand jury, but legal aspects seem to be avoided.On September 17, Carol Leonnig -- in a front-page Post story on Miller titled "Jailed Reporter Is Distanced From News, Not Elite Visitors” -- reported that for 30 minutes nearly every day, "the world comes to her" in the form of a “parade of prominent government and media officials.”One Washington reporter covering the case observed to me: "I notice that Bob Bennett is now listed as one of Miller's lawyers; that would explain the PR burst. That's how he does cases."One other press account warrants mention. Reuters' Adam Entous on Sept. 8 reported that lawyers close to the investigation were detecting signs that the 20-month-long inquiry could be wrapped up within weeks in a final flurry of negotiations and legal maneuvering. Asked if talks were under way with special prosecutor Fitzgerald to secure Miller's testimony and release, one of Miller's lawyers, attorney Floyd Abrams, said: "She made a promise and, unless properly released from her promise by her source, she has no choice but to continue to take the position that she's taking." He declined comment when asked if Miller had reached out anew to her source for a clear release from confidentiality that would allow her to testify.There is a huge elephant in the Times building on West 43rd Street, but editors and publisher act as if they do not see it. It is striking that important information that has appeared elsewhere, including certain details about Miller's meeting with Vice President Cheney's chief of staff -- which is now widely believed to be prosecutor Fitzgerald's main focus -- and John Bolton's visit to her in jail, have still not been reported in The New York Times. This permits the eminent newspaper to be scooped, not only by its leading competitors, but also by numerous online Web sites and bloggers.Has The Times opted out of covering all issues related to the role of Judith Miller in the Plame investigation, the most prominent case involving the press and national security to come along in years.? And, if this is true, should not the newspaper explain that decision to its readers, or at least be put on the spot by its public editor?
William E. Jackson, Jr. (letters@editorandpublisher.com) has written frequently for E&P Online about the Plame investigation for well over a year. A former arms control official of the State Department and legislative assistant to the Senate Democratic Whip, he writes about the press and national security from Davidson, N.C.