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Impeachable Offenses Page 11

Impeachable Offense
February 23, 2008

The Three Trillion Dollar War

The Bush Administration was wrong about the benefits of the war and it was wrong about the costs of the war. The president and his advisers expected a quick, inexpensive conflict. Instead, we have a war that is costing more than anyone could have imagined.

The cost of direct US military operations - not even including long-term costs such as taking care of wounded veterans - already exceeds the cost of the 12-year war in Vietnam and is more than double the cost of the Korean War.

And, even in the best case scenario, these costs are projected to be almost ten times the cost of the first Gulf War, almost a third more than the cost of the Vietnam War, and twice that of the First World War. The only war in our history which cost more was the Second World War, when 16.3 million U.S. troops fought in a campaign lasting four years, at a total cost (in 2007 dollars, after adjusting for inflation) of about $5 trillion (that's $5 million million, or £2.5 million million). With virtually the entire armed forces committed to fighting the Germans and Japanese, the cost per troop (in today's dollars) was less than $100,000 in 2007 dollars. By contrast, the Iraq war is costing upward of $400,000 per troop.

Impeachable Offense
February 21, 2008

The nexus of politics and terror

Transcript: OLBERMANN: Our third story on the COUNTDOWN: The nexus of politics and terror, again. After several days in which he had kept his hysteria in check and the conservative bastions like Kato Institute and "The Washington Times" insisted he had credibility on this issue of Chicken Little. President Bush lost it anew this afternoon on his flight home from Liberia. It's the so-called Protect America Act which is not yet been renewed by the House because the president first refused a temporary extension of it and then, refused the permanent extension that does not include immunity for the telecom companies who helped him break the law. "If we do not give liability protection to those who are helping us, they won't help us," he said today. "And if they don't help us, there will be no program. And if there's no program, America is more vulnerable." Mr. Bush then presented two comparatively new "red herrings". "These companies are going to be subject to multi-billion dollar lawsuits by trial lawyers, plaintiffs' attorneys and it's going to drive them away from helping us—unless they get liability protection—prospective and retroactive." So, it's official, this is not just about laws they broke in the past, it's about laws they will break in the future. Plus: The suits against the telecoms where mostly by outfits like ACLU, with lawyers volunteering their time. So, you can drop that money-making crap, too.

Impeachable Offense
February 25, 2008

An indefensible defense budget

As President Bush backs out the White House door, he is asking Congress to appropriate enough money for the coming fiscal year to enable the Pentagon and its government sidekicks to spend $1.2 million a minute on what is loosely called national defense.

Bush does not propose raising taxes, canceling any major weapons or getting out of the Iraq and Afghanistan quagmires to reduce the mountain of debt that this biggest binge of defense spending since World War II will pile up.

So the new president will be waterboarded by red ink next year unless Congress intercedes this year. Which it won't.

Impeachable Offense
February 24, 2008

Western oil giants are poised to move into Basra

Western oil giants are poised to enter southern Iraq to tap the country's vast reserves, despite the ongoing threat of violence, according to Gordon Brown's business emissary to the country.

Michael Wareing, who heads the new Basra Development Commission, acknowledged that there would be concerns among Iraqis about multinationals exploiting natural resources.

Impeachable Offense
February 21, 2008

U.S. says sorry to UK on rendition flights

Miliband told Britain's parliament earlier on Thursday that contrary to earlier U.S. assurances, two planes used for "rendition flights" in 2002 had refueled at a U.S. base on the British Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

The British government had previously insisted it was not aware of any British territory being used to transfer terrorism suspects outside normal extradition procedures since U.S. President George W. Bush took office in 2001.

Impeachable Offense
February 23, 2008

White House wrote multibillion-dollar loophole for corrupt business practices

The White House has written a multibillion-dollar loophole into a proposed crackdown on contract fraud, drawing the attention of the government's top watchdog of U.S. spending in Iraq.

The loophole would allow companies performing government work overseas to avoid having to report contract abuse. A review of documents shows it was added by Bush administration policy writers after they received a draft of the proposed rule from the Justice Department.

Impeachable Offense
February 19, 2008

FEMA Spent Millions Fraudulently

(AP) The Federal Emergency Management Agency misspent millions of dollars it received from selling used travel trailers, government investigators have found.

Instead of buying more trailers - as allowed under the law - FEMA used more than $13 million toward fully loaded sport utility vehicles, travel expenses and purchase card accounts, according to a draft report by the Homeland Security Department's inspector general obtained by The Associated Press. The report is to be released Friday.

Impeachable Offense
February 20, 2008

Anti-US cleric's cease-fire in doubt

BAGHDAD - With deadly attacks against U.S. targets increasing around Baghdad, anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr raised the possibility Wednesday that he may not renew a six-month cease-fire widely credited for helping slash violence.

The cease-fire is due to expire Saturday, and there were fears, especially among minority Sunni Arabs, that the re-emergence of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia could return Iraq to where it was just a year ago — with sectarian death squads prowling the streets of a country on the brink of civil war.

Impeachable Offense
February 20, 2008

Court Rejects ACLU Challenge to Wiretaps

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to civil rights and privacy advocates who oppose the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. The justices, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union to let it pursue a lawsuit against the program that began shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The action underscored the difficulty of mounting a challenge to the eavesdropping, which remains classified and was confirmed by President Bush only after a newspaper article revealed its existence.

Impeachable Offense
February 14, 2008

Feds admit mistakenly jailing citizens as illegal immigrants

Unlike suspects charged in criminal courts, detainees accused of immigration violations don't have a right to an attorney, and three-quarters of them represent themselves.

Last month, Thomas Warziniack, a U.S. citizen who was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, was mistakenly detained for weeks in an Arizona immigration facility and told that he was going to be deported to Russia.

But Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the committee, said that after hearing such stories, she feared an "overzealous government is interrogating, detaining and deporting its own citizens."

Impeachable Offense
February 12, 2008

Bush Administration Doesn't Turn Over FDA Documents

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The Bush administration failed to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking documents related to Sanofi-Aventis SA's antibiotic Ketek.

An investigative subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sought briefing papers used to prepare Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach for testimony he gave at a hearing on the drug in March. The administration's response was released today by the panel.

The subcommittee last year began investigating whether von Eschenbach gave misleading testimony on Ketek at the hearing. The commissioner and the FDA are under scrutiny from lawmakers who say the agency hasn't done enough to ensure the safety of Ketek and other medications. The subcommittee held a hearing today on Ketek, which has been linked to fatal side effects.

Impeachable Offense
February 14, 2008

House holds Bush confidants in contempt

WASHINGTON - The House has voted to hold two of President Bush's confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether federal prosecutors were ousted for political reasons.

Angry Republicans boycotted the vote and staged a walkout.

The 223-32 vote Thursday targets presidential chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers. The citations charge Miers with failing to testify and accuse her and Bolten of refusing Congress' demands for documents related to the 2006-2007 firings.

Impeachable Offense
February 9, 2008

US Military Can't Respond to New Crisis

WASHINGTON - A classified Pentagon assessment concludes that long battlefield tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with persistent terrorist activity and other threats, have prevented the U.S. military from improving its ability to respond to any new crisis, The Associated Press has learned.

Despite security gains in Iraq, there is still a "significant" risk that the strained U.S. military cannot quickly and fully respond to another outbreak elsewhere in the world, according to the report.

Last year the Pentagon raised that threat risk from "moderate" to "significant." This year, the report will maintain that "significant" risk level — pointing to the U.S. military's ongoing struggle against a stubborn insurgency in Iraq and its lead role in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan.

Impeachable Offense
February 11, 2008

Army Buried Study Faulting Iraq Planning

After 18 months of research, RAND submitted a report in the summer of 2005 called "Rebuilding Iraq." RAND researchers provided an unclassified version of the report along with a secret one, hoping that its publication would contribute to the public debate on how to prepare for future conflicts.

But the study's wide-ranging critique of the White House, the Defense Department and other government agencies was a concern for Army generals, and the Army has sought to keep the report under lock and key.

Impeachable Offense
February 8, 2008

Court strikes down EPA's plan on mercury

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court said Friday the Bush administration ignored the law when it imposed less stringent requirements on power plants to reduce mercury pollution, which scientists fear could cause neurological problems in 60,000 newborns a year.

A three-judge panel unanimous struck down a mercury-control plan imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency three years ago. It established an emissions trading process in which some plants could avoid installing the best mercury control technology available by buying pollution credits.

Impeachable Offense
February 5, 2008

Time Runs Out, POW Dies

KABUL, Afghanistan — Abdul Razzaq Hekmati was regarded here as a war hero, famous for his resistance to the Russian occupation in the 1980s and later for a daring prison break he organized for three opponents of the Taliban government in 1999.

Afghan officials, and some Americans, complain that detainees are effectively thwarted from calling witnesses in their defense, and that the Afghan government is never consulted on the detention cases, even when it may be able to help. Mr. Hekmati's case, officials who knew him said, shows that sometimes the Americans do not seem to know whom they are holding. Meanwhile, detainees wait for years with no resolution to their cases.

Impeachable Offense
February 9, 2008

Court Orders EPA To Follow the Law

A federal appeals court yesterday threw out the Environmental Protection Agency's approach to limiting mercury emitted from power-plant smokestacks, saying the agency ignored laws and twisted logic when it imposed new standards that were favorable to plant owners.

The ruling, issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was another judicial rejection of the Bush administration's pollution policies. It comes less than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the administration and the EPA for refusing to regulate greenhouse gases.

Impeachable Offense
January 30, 2008

9th Infantry: Stryker Doesn't Work

"I wish [the enemy] would just blow mine up so I could be done with it," said Spec. Kyle Handrahan, 22, of Anaheim, Calif., a tanker assigned to Alpha Company, 4/9's MGS platoon.

"It's a piece," another MGS platoon member chimed in. "Nothing works on it."

The gripes stem from a litany of problems, including a computer system that constantly locks up, extremely high heat in the crew compartment and a shortage of spare parts. In one case, a key part was held up in customs on its way to Iraq, a problem one Soldier recognizes is a result of a new system being pushed into service before it's ready.

Impeachable Offense
February 9, 2008

No Funds in Bush Budget For Troop-Benefits Plan

President Bush drew great applause during his State of the Union address last month when he called on Congress to allow U.S. troops to transfer their unused education benefits to family members. "Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them," he said.

A week later, however, when Bush submitted his $3.1 trillion federal budget to Congress, he included no funding for such an initiative, which government analysts calculate could cost $1 billion to $2 bill

Impeachable Offense
February 8, 2008

UN: Waterboarding should be prosecuted as torture

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The controversial interrogation technique known as waterboarding and used by the United States qualifies as torture, the U.N. human rights chief said on Friday.

"I would have no problems with describing this practice as falling under the prohibition of torture," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told a news conference in Mexico City.

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

White House defends use of torture

WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday defended the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, saying it is legal — not torture as critics argue — and has saved American lives.

President Bush could authorize waterboarding for future terrorism suspects if certain criteria are met, a spokesman said.

A day earlier, the Bush administration acknowledged publicly for the first time that the tactic was used by U.S. government questioners on three terror suspects. Testifying before Congress, CIA Director Michael Hayden said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002 and 2003.

Waterboarding involves strapping a suspect down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning. It has been traced back hundreds of years, to the Spanish Inquisition, and is condemned by nations around the world.

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

Manufacturer Fined $2 Million then Awarded New Military Contract

A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit saying it had repeatedly shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including those for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Twelve days before the settlement with the Justice Department was announced, the company, Sioux Manufacturing of Fort Totten, was given a new contract of up to $74 million to make more armor for helmets to replace the old ones, which were made from the late 1980s to last year.

Impeachable Offense
February 4, 2008

U.S. Says No One Too Young for Guantanamo Court

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - A Canadian accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan should not be tried as a war criminal because he was a child soldier for al Qaeda, too young to voluntarily join its forces, his military defense lawyer told a U.S. war court on Monday.

Navy Lt. William Kuebler asked a military judge to throw out the charges against Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, who was shot and captured at age 15 in a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

"He is a victim of al Qaeda, not a member of al Qaeda," Kuebler said.

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

More Iraqis heading to Syria than returning home

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqis are once again leaving Iraq for Syria in greater numbers than are returning, despite the lower level of bloodshed in their homeland, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.

A report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, citing Syrian immigration officials, said that in late January an average of 1,200 Iraqis entered Syria every day compared with around 700 who returned.

Impeachable Offense
February 7, 2008

Gitmo detainee breaking down

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Confined alone in his Guantanamo cell nearly around the clock, a Yemeni prisoner and former driver for Osama bin Laden has begun to break down mentally and cannot focus on preparing for his upcoming war-crimes trial, his attorneys say.

Lawyers for Salim Ahmed Hamdan asked in a motion ahead of pretrial hearings beginning Thursday for his military tribunal to be halted until his living conditions improve.

"I do not believe that Mr. Hamdan will be able to materially assist in his own defense if his conditions do not improve," wrote one of his civilian attorneys, Andrea Prasow.

Impeachable Offense
February 7, 2008

US admiral confirms secret camp at Gitmo

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Somewhere amid the cactus-studded hills on this sprawling Navy base, separate from the cells where hundreds of men suspected of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban have been locked up for years, is a place even more closely guarded — a jailhouse so protected that its very location is top secret.

For the first time, the top commander of detention operations at Guantanamo has confirmed the existence of the mysterious Camp 7. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rear Adm. Mark Buzby also provided a few details about the maximum-security lockup.

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

U.S. money for Russia is linked to Iran nuclear plant

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Energy Department is subsidizing two Russian nuclear institutes that are building key parts of a reactor in Iran that the United States spent years trying to stop, according to a House committee.

The institutes, both in Nizhny Novgorod, gave U.S. officials sales presentations describing their capabilities, and listing the Bushehr reactor, which Russia has agreed to fuel, as one of their projects. One institute is providing control systems, including control room equipment, and the other is providing hundreds of pumps and ventilation fans.

Impeachable Offense
February 1, 2008

Bush legacy: Setting a standard in fear-mongering

When I left the Bush administration in 2003, it was clear to me that its strategy for defeating terrorism was leaving our nation more vulnerable and our people in a perilous place. Not only did its policies misappropriate resources, weaken the moral standing of America, and threaten long-standing legal and constitutional provisions, but the president also employed misleading and reckless rhetoric to perpetuate his agenda.

This week's State of the Union proved nothing has changed.

Besides overstating successes in Afghanistan, painting a rosy future for Iraq, and touting unfinished domestic objectives, he again used his favorite tactic - fear - as a tool to scare Congress and the American people. On one issue in particular - FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) - the president misconstrued the truth and manipulated the facts.

Impeachable Offense
January 28, 2008

Seven Years Of Decline

Boy, have times changed.

As 2007 drew to a close, a Newsweek International cover featured the image of a bruised Uncle Sam slumped in a boxing ring, under the headline: "Can America Get Back on Top?"

So what happened? How did we go from dominant military, economic and cultural superpower to battered fighter in the corner?

Bush inherited a military that had all active-duty Army divisions rated at the highest readiness levels and that was capable of fighting a two-front war. He will leave behind a military facing the worst readiness crisis in a generation, with not a single active-duty or reserve brigade "fully combat ready."

Impeachable Offense
January 29, 2008

Bush Issues Signing Statement Waiving Ban On Permanent Bases In Iraq

President Bush yesterday signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act after initially rejecting Congress's first version because it would have allegedly opened the Iraqi government to "expensive lawsuits."

Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush's signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law "could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations." CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard:

Impeachable Offense
January 30, 2008

Ex-9/11 Panel Chief Held Secret Meetings With White House

The charges are said to be contained in New York Times reporter Philip Shenon's unreleased book, "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation," according to Max Holland, an author and blogger, and generally confirmed by the book's publisher. Although the book is not slated to hit stores until early next month, Holland says he bought a copy of the audio version at a bookstore. (Attempts to purchase the book, in any format, at the Barnes & Noble across the street from ABC News headquarters were unsuccessful.)

9/11 Commission co-chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton hired former Condoleezza Rice aide Philip Zelikow to be executive director, Zelikow failed to tell them about his role helping Rice set up President George W. Bush's National Security Council in early 2001 – and that he was "instrumental" in demoting Richard Clarke, the onetime White House counterterrorism czar who was fixated on the threat from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, according to Holland's version of Shenon's tome.

Impeachable Offense
January 29, 2008

Justice Dept. accused of blocking Gonzales probe

WASHINGTON -- The government agency that enforces one of the principal laws aimed at keeping politics out of the civil service has accused the Justice Department of blocking its investigation into alleged politicizing of the department under former Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales.

Scott J. Bloch, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, wrote Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey last week that the department had repeatedly "impeded" his investigation by refusing to share documents and provide answers to written questions, according to a copy of Bloch's letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Impeachable Offense
January 29, 2008

Mukasey Won't Comment on Waterboarding

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday he will refuse to publicly say whether the interrogation tactic known as waterboarding is illegal, digging in against critics who want the Bush administration to define it as torture.

In a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, Mukasey said he has finished a review of Justice Department memos about the CIA's current methods of interrogating terror suspects and finds them to be lawful. He said waterboarding currently is not used by the spy agency.

Impeachable Offense
January 28, 2008

John Negroponte: U.S. used waterboarding

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States used waterboarding in terrorism interrogations but no longer does, a former U.S. spy chief said in the Bush administration's clearest confirmation of the technique's use.

U.S. officials have been reluctant to acknowledge the CIA's use of the simulated drowning technique, which human rights groups call an illegal form of torture.

The remarks by former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte in an interview with National Journal magazine come as senators are expected on Wednesday to grill Attorney General Michael Mukasey on a promised review of the legality of interrogation methods.

Impeachable Offense
January 26, 2008

FISA Law Undermines Democracy

The House has passed a reasonable new bill — fixing FISA without further endangering civil liberties. But Mr. Bush wants to weaken FISA as much as he can. And the Senate leadership has been only too happy to oblige.

With the help of Republican senators and the misguided chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, the White House got a bill that, once again, reduces court supervision of wiretapping. It also adds immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the illegal spying.

Mr. Bush says without amnesty, the government won't get cooperation in the future. We don't buy it. The real aim is to make sure the full story of the illegal wiretapping never comes out in court.

Impeachable Offense
January 2008

False Pretenses

Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

Impeachable Offense
January 22, 2008

FBI Coverup: government officials stealing nuclear secrets

She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.

Impeachable Offense
January 18, 2008

White House Study Found 473 Days of E-Mail Gone

The White House possesses no archived e-mail messages for many of its component offices, including the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President, for hundreds of days between 2003 and 2005, according to the summary of an internal White House study that was disclosed yesterday by a congressional Democrat.

The 2005 study -- whose credibility the White House attacked this week -- identified 473 separate days in which no electronic messages were stored for one or more White House offices, said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).

Impeachable Offense
January 17, 2008

Opium fields spread across Iraq

The cultivation of opium poppies whose product is turned into heroin is spreading rapidly across Iraq as farmers find they can no longer make a living through growing traditional crops.

Afghan with experience in planting poppies have been helping farmers switch to producing opium in fertile parts of Diyala province, once famous for its oranges and pomegranates, north- east of Baghdad.

At a heavily guarded farm near the town of Buhriz, south of the provincial capital Baquba, poppies are grown between the orange trees in order to hide them, according to a local source.

Impeachable Offense
January 16, 2008

WH Admits It Destroyed Email

Yesterday's midnight filing by the White House in CREW v. Executive Office of the President, a lawsuit challenging the failure of the White House to preserve and restore millions of missing emails, raises some very troubling questions that the White House clearly does not want to answer.

The White House has now admitted that it does not have an effective system for storing and preserving emails. This is no mere technicality; it is this failure that led to the likely destruction of over 10 million email. What the White House has not explained is why it abandoned the electronic record-keeping system used by the prior administration -- a system that properly preserved White House email -- but did not replace it with another effective and appropriate system.

Impeachable Offense
January 19, 2008

Canada Adds U.S. to List Of Nations That Torture

In Canada, the United States has joined a notorious group of countries -- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan and China, among others -- as a place where foreigners risk torture and abuse, according to a training manual for Canadian diplomats that was accidentally given this week to Amnesty International lawyers.

The manual is intended to create "greater awareness among consular officials to the possibility of Canadians detained abroad being tortured." Part of the workshop is devoted to teaching diplomats how to identify people who have been tortured. It features a section on "U.S. interrogation techniques," including forced nudity, hooding and isolation.

An Impeachable Offense
January 4, 2008

The Justice Department's Payback

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department's criminal inquiry into the destruction of the Central Intelligence Agency interrogation tapes will be carried out largely by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has been sharply at odds with the C.I.A. over the agency's interrogation practices.

In some law enforcement circles the prospect of the F.B.I. interviewing high-level C.I.A. officials, under the plan announced on Wednesday, and rummaging around the files of the agency's secret interrogation programs represents a payback moment in the rich history of rivalry between the agencies.

An Impeachable Offense
January 2, 2008

Stonewalled by the C.I.A.

There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission's interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

When the press reported that, in 2002 and maybe at other times, the C.I.A. had recorded hundreds of hours of interrogations of at least two Qaeda detainees, we went back to check our records. We found that we did ask, repeatedly, for the kind of information that would have been contained in such videotapes.

A meeting on Jan. 21, 2004, with Mr. Tenet, the White House counsel, the secretary of defense and a representative from the Justice Department also resulted in the denial of commission access to the detainees. Once again, videotapes were not mentioned.

An Impeachable Offense
January 3, 2008

Angry Bush will stonewall CIA probe

President George W. Bush tried to stop Attorney General Michael Mukasey from launching a criminal investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency"s destruction of tapes showing torture of a prisoner and has ordered top White House officials to stonewall the probe, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

Bush is reportedly "livid" that Mukasey went ahead with the investigation and even discussed firing the attorney general but senior administration officials talked the President out of taking an action that would add fuel to suspicions of a cover-up.

An Impeachable Offense
January 1, 2008

Legal voters thrown off rolls

Five years after passage of a federal law to create electronic registration databases to deter voter fraud, the new technology is posing hurdles that could disenfranchise thousands of legal voters, a USA TODAY examination finds.

From Florida to Washington, voters have been challenged because names or numbers on their registration forms did not exactly match other government databases, such as Social Security and motor vehicle agencies. "We know that eligible people have been thrown off the rolls," says Justin Levitt, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

An Impeachable Offense
December 23, 2007

CIA chief to drag White House into torture cover-up storm

It has emerged that at least four White House staff were approached for advice about the tapes, including David Addington, a senior aide to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, but none has admitted to recommending their destruction.

Vincent Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, said it was impossible for Rodriguez to have acted on his own: "If everybody was against the decision, why in the world would Jose Rodriguez – one of the most cautious men I have ever met – have gone ahead and destroyed them?"

An Impeachable Offense
December 31, 2007

Looking at America

There are too many moments these days when we cannot recognize our country. Sunday was one of them, as we read the account in The Times of how men in some of the most trusted posts in the nation plotted to cover up the torture of prisoners by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators by destroying videotapes of their sickening behavior. It was impossible to see the founding principles of the greatest democracy in the contempt these men and their bosses showed for the Constitution, the rule of law and human decency.

It was not the first time in recent years we've felt this horror, this sorrowful sense of estrangement, not nearly. This sort of lawless behavior has become standard practice since Sept. 11, 2001.

The country and much of the world was rightly and profoundly frightened by the single-minded hatred and ingenuity displayed by this new enemy. But there is no excuse for how President Bush and his advisers panicked — how they forgot that it is their responsibility to protect American lives and American ideals, that there really is no safety for Americans or their country when those ideals are sacrificed.

Out of panic and ideology, President Bush squandered America's position of moral and political leadership, swept aside international institutions and treaties, sullied America's global image, and trampled on the constitutional pillars that have supported our democracy through the most terrifying and challenging times. These policies have fed the world's anger and alienation and have not made any of us safer.

In the years since 9/11, we have seen American soldiers abuse, sexually humiliate, torment and murder prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. A few have been punished, but their leaders have never been called to account. We have seen mercenaries gun down Iraqi civilians with no fear of prosecution. We have seen the president, sworn to defend the Constitution, turn his powers on his own citizens, authorizing the intelligence agencies to spy on Americans, wiretapping phones and intercepting international e-mail messages without a warrant.

We have read accounts of how the government's top lawyers huddled in secret after the attacks in New York and Washington and plotted ways to circumvent the Geneva Conventions — and both American and international law — to hold anyone the president chose indefinitely without charges or judicial review.

An Impeachable Offense
December 22, 2007

9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes

WASHINGTON — A review of classified documents by former members of the Sept. 11 commission shows that the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of Al Qaeda, and were told by a top C.I.A. official that the agency had "produced or made available for review" everything that had been requested.

The review was conducted earlier this month after the disclosure that in November 2005, the C.I.A. destroyed videotapes documenting the interrogations of two Qaeda operatives.

An Impeachable Offense
January 2, 2008

Criminal Probe Opened Over CIA Tapes

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department opened a full criminal investigation Wednesday into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, putting the politically charged probe in the hands of a mob-busting public corruption prosecutor with a reputation for being independent.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that he was appointing John Durham, a federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to oversee the investigation of a case that has challenged the Bush administration's controversial handling of terrorism suspects.

The CIA acknowledged last month that in 2005 it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects. The acknowledgment sparked a congressional inquiry and a preliminary investigation by Justice into whether the CIA violated any laws or obstructed congressional inquiries such as the one led by the Sept. 11 Commission.

An Impeachable Offense

Tax Cuts Don't Boost Revenues

If there's one thing that Republican politicians agree on, it's that slashing taxes brings the government more money. "You cut taxes, and the tax revenues increase," President Bush said in a speech last year. Keeping taxes low, Vice President Dick Cheney explained in a recent interview, "does produce more revenue for the Federal Government." Presidential candidate John McCain declared in March that "tax cuts ... as we all know, increase revenues." His rival Rudy Giuliani couldn't agree more. "I know that reducing taxes produces more revenues," he intones in a new TV ad.

If there's one thing that economists agree on, it's that these claims are false. We're not talking just ivory-tower lefties. Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during the past six years have not paid for themselves--and were never intended to. Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005, even devotes a section of his best-selling economics textbook to debunking the claim that tax cuts increase revenues.

An Impeachable Offense
December 16, 2007

'Army Times' Article Describes U.S. Troop 'Mutiny' in Iraq

"We said, 'No.' If you make us go there, we're going to light up everything," DeNardi said. "There's a thousand platoons. Not us. We're not going."

They decided as a platoon that they were done, DeNardi and Cardenas said, as did several other members of 2nd Platoon. At mental health, guys had told the therapist, "I'm going to murder someone." And the therapist said, "There comes a time when you have to stand up," 2nd Platoon members remembered. For the sake of not going to jail, the platoon decided they had to be "unplugged."

An Impeachable Offense
December 17, 2007

Judge: White House Logs Are Public

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House visitor logs are public documents, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting a legal strategy that the Bush administration had hoped would get around public records laws and let them keep their guests a secret.

The ruling is a blow to the Bush administration, which has fought the release of records showing visits by prominent religious conservatives.

Visitor records are created by the Secret Service, which is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. But the Bush administration has ordered the data turned over to the White House, where they are treated as presidential records outside the scope of the public records law.

An Impeachable Offense
December 12, 2007

Congress Investigates Second Rape Charge Against KBR

Congress is asking questions about another ex-employee of government contracting firm KBR who claims she was raped in Iraq.

Letters to the Pentagon and the Justice Department today from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. underscore congressional concern about a second alleged assault, this time of a woman from Florida who reportedly worked for a KBR subsidiary in Ramadi, Iraq in 2005.

"I am deeply troubled by recent reports that at least two women who worked in Iraq under contractors for the Department of Defense were sexually assaulted by male coworkers," Nelson wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday.

An Impeachable Offense
December 11, 2007

Did Torture Work?

In interviews yesterday and this morning, a former CIA agent called waterboarding what it is. Not "enhanced interrogation" or "harsh tactics." Simply: torture.

It's a notable achievement in the battle against the Orwellian doubletalk infesting the national discourse and the news coverage about this important issue.

John Kiriakou, who participated in the capture and questioning of the first al-Qaeda terrorist suspect to be waterboarded, also made clear that every decision leading to the torture of CIA detainees was documented and approved in cables to and from Washington. That's a step forward for accountability after two gigantic steps back last week, when it emerged that the CIA had destroyed videotapes of two of its torture sessions.

An Impeachable Offense
December 12, 2007

White House Pressured EPA to Weaken Standard

WASHINGTON - The White House pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken requirements that companies annually disclose releases of toxic chemicals, congressional auditors said Wednesday.

The Government Accountability Office said the changes mean that industry will have to file 22,000 fewer reports each year, reducing an important public monitoring tool on industrial emissions.

The EPA rushed to complete the changes because of "pressure" from the White House Office of Management and Budget to reduce the regulatory burdens on industry, says the study obtained by The Associated Press and later released by the GAO. The White House overstated the cost-savings to industry of making the changes, it added.

An Impeachable Offense
December 12, 2007

CIA destroyed tapes despite court orders

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration was under court order not to discard evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA destroyed videotapes that revealed some of its harshest interrogation tactics.

Normally, that would force the government to defend itself against obstruction allegations. But the CIA may have an out: its clandestine network of overseas prisons.

An Impeachable Offense
December 10, 2007

Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR

A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.

"Don't plan on working back in Iraq. There won't be a position here, and there won't be a position in Houston," Jones says she was told.

An Impeachable Offense
December 7, 2007

C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency's custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said.

An Impeachable Offense
December 11, 2007

Waterboarding Ok'd at the Top

Kiriakou did not explain how he knew who approved the interrogation technique but said such approval comes from top officials.

"This isn't something done willy nilly. This isn't something where an agency officer just wakes up in the morning and decides he's going to carry out an enhanced technique on a prisoner," he said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show. "This was a policy made at the White House, with concurrence from the National Security Council and Justice Department."

An Impeachable Offense
December 5, 2007

Bush told in August about Iranian nuke program

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush was told in August that Iran's nuclear weapons program "may be suspended," the White House said Wednesday, which seemingly contradicts the account of the meeting given by Bush Tuesday.

Adm. Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, told Bush the new information might cause intelligence officials to change their assessment of the Iranian program, but said analysts needed to review the new data before making a final judgment, White House press secretary Dana Perino said late Wednesday.

"Director McConnell said that the new information might cause the intelligence community to change its assessment of Iran's covert nuclear program, but the intelligence community was not prepared to draw any conclusions at that point in time, and it wouldn't be right to speculate until they had time to examine and analyze the new data," Perino said in a statement issued by the White House.

An Impeachable Offense
December 7, 2007

'Millions missing' from Iraq fund

A $5.2bn (£2.6bn) fund used to train and equip Iraqi security forces cannot be shown to have been used properly, US military auditors say in a new report.

Sloppy accounting by the US army command meant there was no paper trail for much of the spending, they say.

The report, based on a visit from March to May this year, said high levels of violence made it hard to oversee management of the fund.