The indictment statement is pretty damning. Talk amongst yourselves, I'm on vacation.
As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."
Today's Washington Times features a comment by someone who clearly didn't get the memo about today's Harriet Miers announcement.
Conservative activist Michael D. Brown said internal GOP polling being cited by party and administration emissaries purports to show that "70 percent of self-identified conservative voters have a favorable impression of Harriet Miers."
The emissaries are warning that ordinary Republicans beyond the Washington Beltway continue to support the nomination because they trust President Bush, even after several weeks of conservative opposition to her, according to several conservative Miers critics who have been courted by the White House.
The administration is "disappointed that conservatives inside the Beltway are fighting among ourselves over this nomination, and it fuels the fires for our enemies, for Democrats," said Mr. Brown, the former Federal Emergency Management Agency director.
Brent Scowcroft, longtime Bush family confidant and national security expert, is the focus of a New Yorker piece critical of the Bush Administration and the Iraq war. The Administration responds by sliming him.
No more blogging until Sunday, I'm off to the Great White North.
I swear Patrick Fitzgerald held off on any announcements until Friday because he knew I would be going to Alaska, and I wouldn't be able to get the news. The waiting truly is the hardest part, Tom Petty, you beholder of the truth.
"For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," Mr Wolfowitz tells the magazine.
Some White House defenders still hang their hat on this point, arguing that nothing the president said was in fact false. Anybody who got the wrong impression just didn't read the fine print.
That argument (let's call it 'the con-man defense') speaks for itself, I think.
But all of this brings us back to the question: What did the British know? They said they had good intel. The CIA didn't buy it. So what did they know?
To date the British have refused to concede that they too may have been relying on flawed or phony evidence. They stand by their claim, but refuse to disclose the source or the nature of their evidence.
Last year's Butler Report (a rough analogue to last year's Senate intelligence committee report) went to great lengths to insulate the British finding from the taint of the forgeries. In a pretty telling illustration of how tied the Butler Report was to the needs of US politics, the authors went so far as to provide the president with a specific exoneration ...
We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that:
The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa... was well-founded.
I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about how such a passage could have found its way into a British government inquiry. But let's review the story. The Brits say that they had multiple pieces of evidence upon which they based their claim. And the forged documents -- which they only found out about much later -- were not one of them. So the discreditation of the forgeries is irrelevant to their finding. The taint, shall we say, does not attach.
My assumption, and that of many others, is that the Brits are, to put it bluntly, full of it on this one. My best guess is that they are holding on to some de minimis 'other' evidence as a placeholder to get out of taking their own lumps in the Niger skullduggery.
With the claims of an intelligence agency especially, proving a negative is near impossible. So I can't prove to you that the Brits have nothing else. But I think I can make a pretty strong argument that the Butler Report was intentionally misleading on this key question.
The Butler Report wasn't the only British government inquiry into the faulty intelligence question. There was also a parliamentary committee report published in September 2003, before the question of the forgeries and Wilson and the rest of it became so intensely politicized. And a close look at this earlier report, chaired by Labour MP Ann Taylor, shows pretty clearly, I think, that the Butler Report was willfully misleading about the Brits' reliance on the forgeries.
This is really good for New Orleanians and the American worker:
The Bush administration will reinstate rules requiring that companies awarded federal contracts for Hurricane Katrina pay prevailing wages, usually an amount close to the pay scales in local union contracts.
Representative Peter King of New York was among congressmen critical of the administration's decision to waive the requirement and who met today with White House chief of staff Andrew Card. He said Card told them the wage requirement would be reinstated November eighth.
White House insiders, faced with the probability of indictments, are starting to come clean on how decisions are made there, and their displeasure with it. I agree that this kind of thing would be more powerful if it wasn't done after the fact. However, Colin Powell's chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson is best-suited to unravel this tale of monomania, ruthlessness and secrecy:
In President Bush's first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. national security — including vital decisions about postwar Iraq — were made by a secretive, little-known cabal. It was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Its insular and secret workings were efficient and swift — not unlike the decision-making one would associate more with a dictatorship than a democracy. This furtive process was camouflaged neatly by the dysfunction and inefficiency of the formal decision-making process, where decisions, if they were reached at all, had to wend their way through the bureaucracy, with its dissenters, obstructionists and "guardians of the turf."
But the secret process was ultimately a failure. It produced a series of disastrous decisions and virtually ensured that the agencies charged with implementing them would not or could not execute them well.
I watched these dual decision-making processes operate for four years at the State Department. As chief of staff for 27 months, I had a door adjoining the secretary of State's office. I read virtually every document he read. I read the intelligence briefings and spoke daily with people from all across government.
I knew that what I was observing was not what Congress intended when it passed the 1947 National Security Act. The law created the National Security Council — consisting of the president, vice president and the secretaries of State and Defense — to make sure the nation's vital national security decisions were thoroughly vetted. The NSC has often been expanded, depending on the president in office, to include the CIA director, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Treasury secretary and others, and it has accumulated a staff of sometimes more than 100 people.
But many of the most crucial decisions from 2001 to 2005 were not made within the traditional NSC process.
The administration's performance during its first four years would have been even worse without Powell's damage control. At least once a week, it seemed, Powell trooped over to the Oval Office and cleaned all the dog poop off the carpet. He held a youthful, inexperienced president's hand. He told him everything would be all right because he, the secretary of State, would fix it. And he did — everything from a serious crisis with China when a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was struck by a Chinese F-8 fighter jet in April 2001, to the secretary's constant reassurances to European leaders following the bitter breach in relations over the Iraq war. It wasn't enough, of course, but it helped.
Today, we have a president whose approval rating is 38% and a vice president who speaks only to Rush Limbaugh and assembled military forces. We have a secretary of Defense presiding over the death-by-a-thousand-cuts of our overstretched armed forces (no surprise to ignored dissenters such as former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki or former Army Secretary Thomas White).
It's a disaster. Given the choice, I'd choose a frustrating bureaucracy over an efficient cabal every time.
The referendum on the Iraqi Constitution passed today, which means we've cemented an Islamic Republic in the heart of the Sunni/Shi'a divide in the Middle East. The Ninevah province results (a majority-Sunni area which was the Ohio of Iraq) were held until the last minute, and then came in at 55% no, just short of the 67% no that would have been enough to overturn the document. There were earlier reports that the Yes vote was running 75% in Ninevah. After the fraud allegations, I guess the Iraqis took it down to a nice respectable number where they could still get their Constitution in and not be as open to fraud charges.
Farid Ayar, an official with the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said the audit had turned up no significant fraud.
But Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni Arab member of the committee that drafted the constitution, called the referendum "a farce" and accused government forces of stealing ballot boxes to reduce the percentage of "no" votes in several mostly Sunni provinces.
"The people were shocked to find out that their vote is worthless because of the major fraud that takes place in Iraq," he said on Al-Arabiya TV.
Adnan al-Dulaimi, a spokesman for the General Conference for the People of Iraq, a largely Sunni coalition of politicians and tribal leaders, said the audit took so long it left many Sunnis suspicious of possible fraud and manipulation. But he said his group "will work to educate Iraqis and get them to participate" in the December vote.
As one of the Shi'ite clerics' representatives put it the other day:
"We don't want to see equality between men and women because according to Islamic law, men should have double of women. This is written in the Quran and according to God."
Well, the New York Times just proved it can get a scoop without the help of Judy Miller:
I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.
Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.
The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war.
Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.
This is amazing information. You may ask why?
First of all, this means that Vice President Cheney has known all along that he was Scooter Libby's source -- and whether Libby had license from him or not to try and slaughter the reputation of Joe Wilson -- CHENEY KNEW.
The entire charade of President Bush stating that he wanted to get to the bottom of who leaked Plame's name -- and who was involved -- is no longer believable at any level. Cheney would not have failed to disclose this to Bush, and Bush played along as if none of his staff were involved. They confessed nothing -- accepted no responsibilty -- until forced by Fitzgerald.
According to Scooter Libby's notes, George Tenet was the source for the information about Valerie Wilson lining up the trip -- so to speak -- for her husband, but did not necessarily include the information that she was a covert operative.
This is where things get interesting. Although Fitzgerald may not need to establish this connection, it seems increasingly plausible to TWN that Tenet and Cheney had some kind of exchange regarding Joe and Valerie Wilson. Cheney then passed off the information to Libby along with a few expletives about Wilson, implying that the @#$%@%er should be done in.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I don’t know Joe Wilson. I’ve never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. I’d heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular. I get a daily brief on my own each day before I meet with the president to go through the intel. And I ask lots of question. One of the questions I asked at that particular time about this, I said, “What do we know about this?” They take the question. He came back within a day or two and said, “This is all we know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” end of statement. And Joe Wilson—I don’t who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.
What indication do we have that Cheney lied? Well, if Cheney had told the truth when he was interviewed last year, i.e., that he was Scooter Libby's source, Fitzgerald would not have needed to threaten Judy Miller and Matt Cooper with jail in order to counter Scooter Libby's testimony that he first heard about Valerie Plame's identity from journalists.
...the testimonies of Cooper and Miller were necessary to bust Libby in a lie.
The decision of Judges Tatel, Henderson and Sentelle against Judy Miller was decided on February 15, 2005 and reissued April 4, 2005. Without getting into elaborate quotes, basically they agreed that there was no other way to get the information they needed other than from these journalists. They did not resort to jailing Miller or Cooper lightly without first having exhausted all other possibilities.
Which means Fitzgerald was not sitting on some big cathartic confession from Dick Cheney at the time.
Cheney lied. Under oath. Put any Republican (and a few DINOs) in the wayback machine, and they will tell you -- this is an impeachable offense.
Except Harriet Miers.
WithdrawMiers.org has been established to urge the withdrawal of Harriet Miers from consideration as a nominee for Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.
WithdrawalMiers.org will serve as a clearinghouse for information related to the nomination along with tools for leaders, activist groups, and the general public to contact U.S. Senators and the White House to express the shared belief that Ms. Miers’ nomination should be withdrawn.
They suddenly don't think perjury is a crime:
On Meet the Press, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson picks up where Bill Kristol left off:
I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars.
Perjury is just a little technicality punishable by up to five years in prison.
Fitzgerald is expected to give final notice to officials facing charges as early as Monday and may convene the grand jury on Tuesday, a day earlier than usual, to deliver a summary of the case and ask for approval of the possible indictments, legal sources said. The grand jury is to expire on Friday unless Fitzgerald extends it.
Fitzgerald could still determine that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges, but the lawyers said that appeared increasingly unlikely.
Here's an LA Times article that came out yesterday. I'm going to block out the name of the country involved. Can you guess who it is?
Despite a desire by officials here to assume greater responsibility for the defense of their country, the United States and (blank) agreed Friday to leave a U.S. commander in charge of their combined armies [...]
(Blank's) President said recently that his country was ready to take on more control of its armed forces, and suggested altering the current arrangement that put (blank) forces under U.S. command during wartime.
After discussions Friday between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his (blank) counterpart, both sides agreed that the United States would retain "operational control" during a conflict. Yet they raised the possibility that command authority could change in the future.
"As the capabilities of (blank) grow, obviously they will assume more and more responsibility as they have been doing in recent years," Rumsfeld said after the meeting. "As that happens in an orderly way there will be adjustments in the command relationship, and those are the kinds of things allies discuss."
U.S. officials said there was no firm timetable for an eventual transfer of wartime authority, and that Washington would welcome serious negotiations on the matter.
The United States has maintained a large troop presence in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953, but in recent years the Pentagon has begun withdrawing troops from the country as part of a larger effort to reposition its forces around the globe.
The Pentagon wants to have 25,000 troops in South Korea by the end of 2008, compared to 37,500 last year, a reduction in forces that U.S. commanders say is made possible by the growing capability of South Korea's 690,000 troops.
The relationship between the Moroccan government and the nation's outspoken Islamists was wobbly long before the Casablanca suicide attacks.
Fundamentalist Islam had been gaining strength as a political force for decades in Morocco, as ideas imported from Saudi Arabia and neighboring Algeria gained traction with Morocco's young, poor and frustrated populace and as radicalized volunteers filtered home from the Afghan war against the Soviets.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has created a terror network to rival Osama bin Laden's by expanding his terrorism campaign in Iraq to extremists in two dozen terror groups scattered across almost 40 countries, US intelligence officials say.
US government officials have said the threat to US interests from Zarqawi compared with that from bin Laden, to whom Zarqawi pledged his loyalty last year.
The director of the National Counterterrorism Centre considers bin Laden a strategic plotter deep in hiding and out of regular contact with his followers, while Zarqawi is involved in planning scores of brutal attacks in Iraq.
"He is very much a daily operational threat," said Scott Redd, who is in charge of the US Government's counter-terrorism strategy and analysis.
Counter-terrorism officials say his network of contacts has grown dramatically since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and includes associates in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.