Thursday, November 10, 2005

Can't get enough of that Judith Miller

The Reporter's Last Take

Oh, what a tangled web.

Adam Clymer, retired political correspondent for the Times, recalls an episode during the 1988 presidential campaign, when [Judith] Miller was deputy Washington bureau chief.

Then the political editor based in New York, Clymer was awakened just after midnight one morning by a call from Miller, he says. She was demanding that a story about Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis be pulled from the paper.

The story was too soft, she complained -- and said Lee Atwater, the political strategist for Vice President George H.W. Bush, believed it was soft as well. Clymer said he was stunned to realize that Atwater apparently had either seen the story or been told about it before publication. He and Miller argued, he recalls, and he ultimately hung up on her,twice.

I believe that in 2000, Bush and Cheney referred to Clymer as a swell fella ... no wait, that wasn't it. What was it ... oh, yes. A "major league asshole."

A tangled web.

Judith Miller

Surely there is not enough bandwidth on the internets for this:

I can't explain why, but the words "sadly" and "delusional" keep popping into my little head.

And, I love diplomatic language. From Bill Keller's letter to Judy:

Second, you dispute my assertion that “Judy seems to have misled” Phil Taubman when he asked whether you were one of the reporters to whom the White House reached out with the Wilson story. I continue to be troubled by that episode. But you are right that Phil himself does not contend that you misled him; and, of course, I was not a participant in the conversation between you and Phil.

"I continue to be troubled by that episode." Translation: I still think that you are full of shit.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

On the one hand, apples. On the other hand, oranges.

C.I.A. Asks Criminal Inquiry Over Secret-Prison Article

The Central Intelligence Agency has asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation to determine the source of a Washington Post article that said the agency had set up a covert prison network in Eastern Europe and other countries to hold important terrorism suspects, government officials said on Tuesday.

I suppose there will be a lot of false equivalence thrown up about this leak investigation. In a nutshell, it will be: "if you were for the Plame leak being investigated, you have to be for this leak investigation!"

Ah, no. The Plame leak served no greater good outside of protecting the political hides of the Bush administration. The "black sites" leak reveals to us a U.S. policy that concerns due process, human rights, U.S. laws, international treaties.

Also, let's not pretend that the CIA now is the same as the CIA at the time of the Plame leak. Two words: Porter Goss.

Gimme some of that good, good torture

C.I.A. Asks Criminal Inquiry Over Secret-Prison Article

Republican leaders in Congress also jumped into the matter over The Post's article, asking the Intelligence Committees of the House and the Senate on Tuesday to investigate whether classified material had been disclosed. At the same time, the Senate rejected a Democratic call for an independent commission that would conduct an investigation into claims of abuses of detainees in American custody.

That kinda says it all, doesn't it. The Republican leaders care about the leak, presumably because they want the U.s. to maintain these "black sites" without any pesky oversight. But they don't want to talk about what is happening to detainees at those sites, or at any other detention facilities.

This puts the Congressional Republicans in the pro-torture camp, does it not? Odd, because it seemed that Congress was rejecting Cheney's pleas against the McCain amendment. Guess they decided that due process and human rights aren't all that, after all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

liberty and justice for all, and torture

Bubble Boy on Monday: "We do not torture."

Since I read those words, I have been trying to ignore them as meaningless rhetoric. Also, I knew the more I thought about it, the more angry I would get.

Unfortunately, I have thought about it and sure enough, I am angry.

It is such a simple, declarative sentence. It should be reassuring to us Americans, because I think it is only a small, sadistic minority who approve of torture and maltreatment of detainees.

Simple, declarative and completely false. A lie.

Abu Ghraib. The deaths of detainees. The "black" detention sites. The practice of rendition, delivering detainees to countries where torture is not prohibited.

Bubble Boy is telling us something false, something that we want to hear, something that we want to be true.

We do torture. Every American needs to know that and to think long and hard about whether they can believe in "liberty and justice for all," and the practice of torture.

It can't be both.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Balance of powers, schmalance of powers


There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans, and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet, we'll aggressively pursue them. But we will do so under the law. And that's why you're seeing members of my administration go and brief the Congress.

"Brief the Congress." That is Bubble Boy's characterization of Go Fuck Yourself's going to the Congress and asking for the anti-torture amendment be defeated or, at the very least, for the CIA to be exempt from that statute..

Or is Cheney briefing the Congress on how the Executive branch has now achieved a higher consciousness and is no longer bound by trivial matters such as laws or treaties.

Via first draft.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

God bless America

The FBI's Secret Scrutiny

Sing along time...

"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,

Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away.

Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. "

"National security letters," created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

God Bless America,
Land that I love.

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam

The burgeoning use of national security letters coincides with an unannounced decision to deposit all the information they yield into government data banks -- and to share those private records widely, in the federal government and beyond. In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined.

God bless America, My home sweet home.