Syndicate content
Updated: 2 hours 35 min ago

Political appointees given new regulatory powers.

Tue, 2007-07-03 13:28

President Bush has signed an executive order that “would require regulators to show that private markets had failed to address a targeted problem before they went after it themselves.” It would also give political appointees in an “obscure White House office” “greater authority over how federal regulations are written.” Next week, the Senate is set to vote on legislation blocking the order, which the House has already passed.

Gates seeks to cut a deal with Congress on Iraq.

Tue, 2007-07-03 13:02

This morning, the WSJ reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is “seeking to build bipartisan political support for a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq by moving toward withdrawing significant numbers of troops from Iraq by the end of President Bush’s term.” As TPM’s Spencer Ackerman notes, “it’s basically a trade-off: cut the surge short in order to stay in Iraq indefinitely.

Snow Stonewalls On Possible Involvement Of Cheney In Libby Pardon

Tue, 2007-07-03 11:52

A recent Washington Post exposé on Dick Cheney revealed that the vice president often gives secret guidance to President Bush that frequently dictates the president’s final decision on key issues.

This morning on CNN, Joe Wilson said the Post series was an affirmation of Cheney’s negative influence throughout the administration. “I see the fine hand of Dick Cheney everywhere. I admit my bias on that,” he said. “But of course I read ‘The Washington Post’ four-part series last week, and I’ve seen the hand of the vice president in the trail of the covert identity of a CIA officer, as have the rest of the world now.”

At this afternoon’s White House press conference, reporters peppered Tony Snow with questions about Cheney’s possible involvement in the pardon, which Snow refused to answer. “Did the vice president weigh in?” one reporter asked. “I’m sure that everybody had an opportunity to share their views,” Snow replied, failing to note that Bush issued his decision without much consultation.

Later, Snow waffled on Cheney’s involvement, stating on the one hand, “I’m sure that the vice president may have expressed an opinion,” but then backtracking. “He may have recused himself. I honestly don’t know.” Watch it:

var flvsnowcheneylib32024014492 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvsnowcheneylib32024014492', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvsnowcheneylib32024014492.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvsnowcheneylib32024014492.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvsnowcheneylib32024014492.write('flvsnowcheneylib32024014492');

One reporter asked Snow if he is aware of any plans Vice President Cheney may have to bring Scooter Libby back into his office. “I don’t have any idea. This is not something that’s come up,” Snow responded.

UPDATE: Raw Story has more.

Transcript: (more…)

Specter introduces bill to ban signing statements.

Tue, 2007-07-03 11:40

“Frustrated” by President Bush’s use of presidential signing statements to challenge or ignore provisions of over 1,100 laws, “Senate Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has reintroduced legislation to rein in President Bush’s ability to use the tactic.”

Kristol: Americans ‘Screaming And Yelling’ Over Libby Commutation Are ‘Ridiculous’

Tue, 2007-07-03 10:51

On NBC’s Today Show this morning, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol defended President Bush’s decision yesterday to spare former Cheney aide “Scooter” Libby from a 2½-year prison term, saying “this was a courageous decision” because Bush had to deal with “all the screaming and yelling” from Americans opposed to the commutation. “Look at Joe Wilson’s ridiculous comments just now,” added Kristol. “Look at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the New York Times, the Washington Post…”

Host Meredith Viera cut off Kristol and interjected, “There are many people who feel that this is a travesty of justice. So those who believe that are ridiculous?” “Yeah…I do think it is ridiculous,” responded Kristol. Watch it:

var flvKristolToday32024014488 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvKristolToday32024014488', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvKristolToday32024014488.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvKristolToday32024014488.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvKristolToday32024014488.write('flvKristolToday32024014488');

Kristol believes a great majority of Americans are “ridiculous.” According to a poll taken last night by SurveyUSA, 60% of Americans say Bush should have left the judge’s prison sentence in place. Only 32% of Republicans and 20% of Independents said they agree with the president’s decision.

Additionally, Kristol’s defense of the commutation does not hold up to scrutiny. Kristol argued Libby should not serve time in jail “for having a different recollection about a conversation with Tim Russert, which is the only thing he was indicted or convicted on.” Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice, which special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said is like when “the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes,” preventing the discovery of why Valerie Plame’s covert identity was leaked.

It wasn’t only “a conversation with Tim Russert” either, as prosecution lawyer Peter Zeidenberg noted in his closing statement. In fact, Libby claimed to have forgotten “nine conversations with eight people over a four-week period,” which the jury simply did not find credible.

Digg It!

Snow: Bush’s Commutation Of Libby’s Sentence Was ‘Routine’

Tue, 2007-07-03 09:54

During the White House press briefing this morning, spokesman Tony Snow characterized President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison term as “routine.”

“The president spent weeks and weeks consulting with senior members of this White House about the proper way to proceed,” said Snow, adding, “I think it handled it in a routine manner in the sense that the president took a careful look.” Watch it:

var flvsnowcommutationprocess32024014489 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvsnowcommutationprocess32024014489', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvsnowcommutationprocess32024014489.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvsnowcommutationprocess32024014489.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvsnowcommutationprocess32024014489.write('flvsnowcommutationprocess32024014489');

There was nothing routine about this commutation. Although Snow said Bush consulted with White House advisers, the New York Times reported this morning that the decision “seemed to catch Justice Department officials, and even some of Mr. Bush’s closest aides, off guard. … They were floored.” Additionally, the Washington Post noted that Bush circumvented the normal route for commuting a sentence:

For the first time in his presidency, Bush commuted a sentence without running requests through lawyers at the Justice Department, White House officials said. He also did not ask the chief prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, for his input, as routinely happens in cases routed through the Justice Department’s pardon attorney.

Bush granted Libby clemency even though he was appealing his sentence and had not yet served any jail time. According to the Justice Department, commutation requests “‘generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence,’ and they are generally not granted to those appealing their convictions.”

Additionally, Snow’s comment that Bush “spent weeks and weeks” figuring out how to proceed on Libby is contradicted by a senior administration official who said that “Bush quickly made his decision yesterday after hearing that the U.S. Court of Appeals had refused to keep Libby out of prison while his appeal ran its course.”

UPDATE: Arlen at The Daily Background has more on Libby’s “supervised release.”

Transcript: (more…)

White House leaves door open for future pardon.

Tue, 2007-07-03 09:20

“The White House on Tuesday declined to rule out the possibility of an eventual pardon for former vice presidential aide I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby. But spokesman Tony Snow said, for now, President Bush is satisfied with his decision to commute Libby’s 2 1/2-year prison sentence. … ‘The reason I’m not going to say I’m not going to close a door on a pardon,’ Snow said, ‘Scooter Libby may petition for one.’”

UPDATE: Bush commented on a future pardon, saying, “As to the future, I rule nothing in and nothing out.” Watch it:

var flvbushlibbyspeaks32024014490 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvbushlibbyspeaks32024014490', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvbushlibbyspeaks32024014490.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvbushlibbyspeaks32024014490.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvbushlibbyspeaks32024014490.write('flvbushlibbyspeaks32024014490');

Editorials On Pardon: Bush ‘Did Not Sound Like A Leader,’ ‘Sent Terrible Message,’ ‘Indefensible’

Tue, 2007-07-03 08:45

Yesterday, President Bush spared Scooter Libby from a 2½-year prison term, issuing an order that commutes his sentence. Libby will never have to go to jail, but his felony conviction will stand, and he will still serve two years probation and owe $250,000 in fines.

In March, Americans opposed pardoning Libby by a 3 to 1 margin. Today, at least 13 major newspapers editorialized against Bush’s decision, highlighting national disapproval of of the commutation. Some examples:

The New York Times:

Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell. [Link]

The Washington Post:

We agree that a pardon would have been inappropriate and that the prison sentence of 30 months was excessive. But reducing the sentence to no prison time at all, as Mr. Bush did — to probation and a large fine — is not defensible. [Link]

Chicago Tribune:

But in nixing the prison term, Bush sent a terrible message to citizens and to government officials who are expected to serve the public with integrity. The way for a president to discourage the breaking of federal laws is by letting fairly rendered consequences play out, however uncomfortably for everyone involved. [Link]

Dallas Morning News:

Nearly a decade ago, a GOP-led House impeached President Bill Clinton for lying under oath and obstructing justice in a civil deposition. Yesterday, a Republican president commuted the sentence of former top White House staffer Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of the same thing in a criminal investigation. Republicans are known for being tough on crime. Apparently there’s an exception when the criminal is a member of President Bush’s inner circle. [Link]

San Francisco Chronicle:

In commuting the sentence of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, President Bush sent the message that perjury and obstruction of justice in the service of the president of the United States are not serious crimes. [Link]

Rocky Mountain News, Detroit Free Press, The Denver Post, New York Daily News, The Arizona Republic, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, and Seattle Post Intelligencer also condemned the President’s decision.

UPDATE: E&P has more.

Igor Volsky

Rep. Hunter: Ann Coulter Is ‘Approaching That Level Of Being A Great American’

Tue, 2007-07-03 08:06

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Hardball, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) defended Ann Coulter’s attacks on John Edwards, including that she wishes he “had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.”

He said that Elizabeth Edwards’s calls to stop making “personal attacks” against her family were attempts to “silence conservative voices.” He added that Coulter “is a very articulate spokeswoman for the conservative view” and “closely approaching that level of being a great American.” Watch it:

var flvdhuntercoulter32024014484 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvdhuntercoulter32024014484', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvdhuntercoulter32024014484.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvdhuntercoulter32024014484.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvdhuntercoulter32024014484.write('flvdhuntercoulter32024014484');

It’s hard to understand how Hunter justifies calling Coulter a “great American.” She has repeatedly made anti-gay slurs, compared Muslims to members of the Ku Klux Klan, and advocated assassinating President Clinton. These extremely hateful views aren’t what characterize a “great American,” or even the majority of conservatives.

Digg It!

Transcript: (more…)

Novak: Libby camp angry at Bush.

Tue, 2007-07-03 06:40

Robert Novak writes: “Bush is blamed by friends of Libby for losing control of the Plame investigation by putting it in the hands of a special prosecutor — the U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald. In his decision sparing Libby jail time, Bush did not say a word of criticism about Fitzgerald.”

ThinkFast: July 3, 2007

Tue, 2007-07-03 06:06

“For the first time in his presidency, Bush commuted a sentence without running requests through lawyers at the Justice Department, White House officials said. He also did not ask the chief prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, for his input, as routinely happens in cases routed through the Justice Department’s pardon attorney.”

The Washington Post reports House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is “expected to move swiftly to conduct hearings on the commutation, congressional sources said.”

“Seeking a legal path to shutting down the Guantánamo detention facility, senior advisers to President Bush are exploring whether the White House and Congress can agree to legislation that would permit the long-term detention of foreign terrorism suspects on American soil.”

“The U.S. yesterday publicly accused Iran of intervening in the Iraq conflict, claiming that its Revolutionary Guard played a role in an attack that killed five Americans and was using Lebanese militants to train Iraqi insurgents.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) responded by beating the war drum. “The fact is that the Iranian government has by its actions declared war on us,” he said. While stopping short of advocating an immediate military strike, he claimed “our diplomatic efforts are only likely to succeed if backed by a credible threat of force.” (more…)

Fitzgerald to continue with appeals process for Libby.

Mon, 2007-07-02 17:31

The Next Hurrah has a statement from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s spokesperson:

We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.

We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as “excessive.” The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.

Although the President’s decision eliminates Mr. Libby’s sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process.

Thompson reacts to Libby clemency.

Mon, 2007-07-02 16:59

Former senator Fred Thompson, who serves on Scooter Libby’s Legal Defense Fund, today said he is “happy” by President Bush’s decision to commute Libby’s sentence:

I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children.

While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the president’s decision.

This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.

Fox sued for airing fake ‘ham sandwich’ story.

Mon, 2007-07-02 16:39

In April, Think Progress noted that Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” aired at least eight segments about a fake news story claiming a school in Maine had formed “an anti-ham ‘response plan’” after a Muslim student complained of being harassed with a ham steak. After the Fox report, the school’s superintendent received threatening calls and hate mail. He’s now suing Fox News:

Lewiston School Superintendent Leon Levesque is seeking $75,000 in federal court in Portland to deter what his attorney Bernard J. Kubetz characterized as irresponsible reporting by Fox News Channel. […]

“It appears to me that Fox News acted in a grossly irresponsible way and took some information that was really not very plausible, did not do any substantial fact-checking, and put it out as hard news,” Kubetz said. […]

Fox did a brief on-air retraction, but Levesque called it unsatisfactory. A Fox News spokesman in New York said the company does not comment on pending lawsuits.

BREAKING: Bush Commutes Libby Sentence

Mon, 2007-07-02 14:51

President Bush has spared Scooter Libby from a 2½-year prison term, issuing an order that commutes his sentence, the AP reports. Libby will never have to go to jail, but his felony conviction will stand, and he will still serve two years probation and owe $250,000 in fines.

The Politico reported on June 17:

White House loyalists have begun arguing that clemency for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby — either a pardon or a commuted sentence — would be a way for an embattled President Bush to reassert himself, particularly among conservatives.

The White House has not ruled out a pardon for Libby, sources say. But several Republicans, who sense a movement in Libby’s favor, said a more likely possibility might be a presidential commutation — a reduction or elimination of Libby’s 2½-year federal prison sentence. Such a move, they said, would be less divisive for the country.

UPDATE: On June 5, White House spokesperson Dana Perino said that the President was “not going to intervene.”

UPDATE II: From Bush’s statement today:

I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.

The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.

UPDATE III: In March, Americans opposed pardoning Libby by a 3 to 1 margin.

UPDATE IV: Weekly Standard’s William Kristol predicted it all along. From Fox News Sunday, June 10, 2007:

KRISTOL: I think [the president] will not let Scooter Libby go to jail. He may not pardon him. He may commute the sentence, the prison sentence — in other words, say no prison sentence, but let Libby pay the $250,000 fine that Judge Walton imposed and therefore not overturn the actual verdict.

That way, he can say, “Look, a jury found that he made false statements. I’m not going to challenge that. But this man does not deserve to go to jail. The official recommendation was for a much shorter sentence. Judge Walton for some reason went for the maximum sentence. That’s not right. And therefore, I’m going to remove the prison sentence, commute the prison sentence but maybe let the fine go ahead.”

UPDATE V: Bloomberg notes, “Bush has granted fewer pardons — 113 — than any president in the past 100 years, while denying more than 1,000 requests, said Margaret Colgate Love, the Justice Department’s pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997. In addition, Bush has denied more than 4,000 commutation requests, and hundreds of requests for pardons and commutations are still pending, Love said.”

UPDATE VI: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “The President’s decision to commute Mr. Libby’s sentence is disgraceful. Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War. Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone.”

UPDATE VII: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “The President’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people.” More statements from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Judiciary chairman John Conyers (D-MI), and Rules chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY).

UPDATE VIII: Statement from Vice President Cheney: “I have always considered him [Libby] to be a man of the highest intellect, judgment and personal integrity — a man fully committed to protecting the vital security interests of the United States and its citizens. … The defense has indicated it plans to appeal the conviction in the case. Speaking as friends, we hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man.”

UPDATE IX: Politico’s Crypt notes that House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) “was one of the few - and perhaps only - Republicans to applaud President Bush’s decision” to commute Libby’s sentence. Reaction by former senator Fred Thompson HERE.

UPDATE X: The New York Times editorial board writes, “Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.”

UPDATE XI: Bob Geiger has compiled the reaction of the Democratic presidential candidates HERE.

Generals: Army spending too much time fighting insurgents.

Mon, 2007-07-02 14:30

A report in Inside Army finds that some generals are worried “the new emphasis on…counterinsurgency may be undermining conventional [big war] capabilities“:

Gen. Richard Cody, the Army vice chief of staff, was the first to sound the alarm publicly late last year. He warned that soldiers need more than 12 months between deployments so that they can complete a full range of combat training.

“We need to reset the sergeants and send them to schools, the lieutenants and captains and send them off, so that we don’t erode and become an Army that only can fight a counterinsurgency,” Cody told reporters. He added that North Korea’s Oct. 3 nuclear test “reminds us all that we may not just be in a counterinsurgency fight and we have to have full-spectrum capability.”

Danger Room’s Noah Shachtman responds, “Excuse me, General. But when the Army has spent the last five years or so fighting a pair of insurgencies — and not exactly burnt out the scoreboard with its performance — isn’t it time to make counterinsurgency a core competency?”

McCain Panders To The Right Wing, Drops Calls For Media Diversity

Mon, 2007-07-02 13:14

A recent report by the Center for American Progress and Free Press confirms that talk radio, one of the most widely used media formats in America, is dominated almost exclusively by conservatives. It also finds that ownership diversity is needed to ensure balance:

Ownership diversity is perhaps the single most important variable contributing to the structural imbalance based on the data. … [S]tations controlled by group owners — those with stations in multiple markets or more than three stations in a single market — were statistically more likely to air conservative talk.

A few days after the release of the report, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced a bill in the House blocking the resurrection of the Fairness Doctrine. On Friday, McCain joined him, introducing the Broadcaster Freedom Act:

With the great number of media sources available today, divergent viewpoints do not have to be offered on the same radio or television show, but can be found simply by channel surfing, reading a newspaper or browsing an Internet blog.

Despite these alarms by McCain and others on the right wing, the Fairness Doctrine is not likely to be reinstated. In fact, the CAP/Free Press report specifically states, “Simply reinstating the Fairness Doctrine will do little to address the gap between conservative and progressive talk unless the underlying elements of the public trustee doctrine are enforced.”

McCain’s bill is nothing more than a pander to the right wing. In the past, the senator has repeatedly advocated greater media diversity. In 2002, he introduced the Telecommunications Ownership Diversification Act to level “the playing field between small business owners and CEOs of huge corporations trying to purchase a telecommunications business.” Some other highlights:

“I think that’s [the number of minority-owned radio and broadcasting stations] an important factor because that’s where people get their news and information and everybody should have the right to get different messages of different kinds and this is really what this is all about.” [Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing, 1/30/03]

When one corporation owns all the stations in one market, that becomes a problem for us all,” he said. [National Journal Congress Daily, 5/22/03]

Echoing McCain’s concerns about media consolidation, one of the remedies in the CAP/Free Press report is to restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.

McCain has sacrificed his “maverick” position on ownership caps in favor of pandering to the right wing on a non-issue.

Four Years Later: “Bring ‘Em On”

Mon, 2007-07-02 12:13

Four years ago today, President Bush issued this challenge to the Iraqi insurgents:

There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on.

Watch it:

var flvbringemon32024014462 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvbringemon32024014462', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvbringemon32024014462.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvbringemon32024014462.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvbringemon32024014462.write('flvbringemon32024014462');

On July 2, 2003, just over 200 U.S. soldiers had died in Iraq. Today, the number stands at 3,583. In July 2003, Gallup reported that the number of Americans who believed things were going badly in Iraq had risen to 42 percent, up from 29 percent in June. Today, fully 77 percent of the American public believe the war is going badly.

This afternoon, Americans Against Escalation In Iraq, MoveOn, VoteVets, and other groups gathered at the White House to remind President Bush of his blunder:

VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran, writes about today’s anniversary:

If there’s anything positive that can come of it, let it be that on the blogs and in the media, we take today to recognize that four years ago today, the President proved just how out of touch he was with those of us in the military. Let us remember that since then, there’s been many more “Bring it on” days, and recognize that if we are ever to protect our troops and save our military, Congress absolutely must step in and rein in this inept and dangerous President who continually proves that he just doesn’t get it.

National Security Network and AmericaBlog have more.

CREW: Bush administration is ‘crossing the line.’

Mon, 2007-07-02 11:40

CREW released a report today called Crossing the Line: The Bush Administration’s Efforts to Expand Its Powerful Reach, “which details the Bush administration’s repeated constitutional overreaching and abuse of executive power and prerogative.” Some highlights:

– Recently it was revealed that the vice president has unilaterally exempted himself and his office from the executive order that governs the safeguarding of classified national security information.

– In response to a suit filed by Valerie and Joseph Wilson against Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials, Mr. Cheney argued that as vice president he is entitled to absolute immunity from suit.

– In a suit filed by CREW over a FOIA request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Hurricane Katrina-related documents, the government invoked the presidential communications privilege, suggesting an attempt to cover-up what President Bush actually knew before, during and after the hurricane devastated the Gulf Coast.

Chertoff: ‘Lieberman Is Dead Right’ In Calling For Increased Wiretapping

Mon, 2007-07-02 10:31

Yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) used the foiled terror attempts in London to call for greater domestic spying in the United States. “I hope these terrorist attacks in London wake us up here in America to stop the petty partisan fighting going on about…electronic surveillance,” Lieberman said, referencing the Senate Judiciary Committee’s recent subpoenas of documents related to Bush’s wiretapping program that the White House has refused to release.

Today, on Fox and Friends, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff echoed Lieberman’s call, arguing that Lieberman was “dead right” in calling for increased domestic surveillance:

CHERTOFF: I’m concerned about losing the tools that I can tell you we use every single day to catch the kind of plotting which we’ve just seen, obviously, give rise to the attempted bombings in London. I think Joe Lieberman is dead right.

Watch it:

var flvchertoffwiretap83232024014465 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvchertoffwiretap83232024014465', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvchertoffwiretap83232024014465.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvchertoffwiretap83232024014465.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvchertoffwiretap83232024014465.write('flvchertoffwiretap83232024014465');

British surveillance did not prevent the London attacks. In fact, “[t]here had been no prior intelligence of planned attacks from the terror organization.” Instead, vigilant citizens helped prevent the bombings:

The events unfolded when police were called to Haymarket, south of Piccadilly Circus, after a man fell at the nightclub Tiger Tiger, injuring his head, prompting a call for an ambulance around 1:30 a.m. Friday. When crews arrived, they noticed smoke coming from a green Mercedes parked in front of a club. […]

The announcement of the second bomb came about 20 hours later … [a car] had been towed across town to an impound lot; the attendants there, on the alert after news of the first foiled car bombing, smelled gasoline and alerted authorities.

Currently, the White House is refusing to cooperate with Congress by not explaining why current surveillance methods are insufficient and why it feels it needs even more intrusive spying on American citizens.