Impeachable Offenses Page 9

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An Impeachable Offense
September 5, 2007

Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction

Sept. 6, 2007 | On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.

Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.

An Impeachable Offense
September 4, 2007

Pattern Cited in Killings of Civilians by U.S

Newly released documents regarding crimes committed by United States soldiers against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan detail a pattern of troops failing to understand and follow the rules that govern interrogations and deadly actions.

The documents, released today by the American Civil Liberties Union ahead of a lawsuit, total nearly 10,000 pages of courts-martial summaries, transcripts and military investigative reports about 22 cases. They show repeated examples of troops believing they were within the law when they killed local citizens.

The killings include the drowning of a man soldiers pushed from a bridge into the Tigris River as punishment for breaking curfew, and the suffocation during interrogation of a former Iraqi general believed to be helping insurgents.

An Impeachable Offense
August 29, 2007

U.S. weapons end up in Turkey

WASHINGTON: Weapons that were originally given to Iraqi security forces by the American military have been recovered over the past year by the authorities in Turkey after being used in violent crimes in that country, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The discovery that serial numbers on pistols and other weapons recovered in Turkey matched those distributed to Iraqi police units has prompted growing concern by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that controls on weapons being provided to Iraqis are inadequate. It was also a factor in the decision to dispatch the department's inspector general to Iraq next week to investigate the problem, the officials said.

Whatever happened to "name, rank and serial number?"

An Impeachable Offense
August 13, 2007

Black Sites - The C.I.A.'s war crimes

The use of psychologists was also considered a way for C.I.A. officials to skirt measures such as the Convention Against Torture. The former adviser to the intelligence community said, "Clearly, some senior people felt they needed a theory to justify what they were doing. You can't just say, 'We want to do what Egypt's doing.' When the lawyers asked what their basis was, they could say, 'We have Ph.D.s who have these theories.' " He said that, inside the C.I.A., where a number of scientists work, there was strong internal opposition to the new techniques. "Behavioral scientists said, 'Don't even think about this!' They thought officers could be prosecuted."

Zubaydah told the Red Cross that he was not only waterboarded, as has been previously reported; he was also kept for a prolonged period in a cage, known as a "dog box," which was so small that he could not stand. According to an eyewitness, one psychologist advising on the treatment of Zubaydah, James Mitchell, argued that he needed to be reduced to a state of "learned helplessness." (Mitchell disputes this characterization.)

Steve Kleinman, a reserve Air Force colonel and an experienced interrogator who has known Mitchell professionally for years, said that "learned helplessness was his whole paradigm." Mitchell, he said, "draws a diagram showing what he says is the whole cycle. It starts with isolation. Then they eliminate the prisoners' ability to forecast the future—when their next meal is, when they can go to the bathroom. It creates dread and dependency.

The C.I.A.'s interrogation program is remarkable for its mechanistic aura. "It's one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture ever," an outside expert familiar with the protocol said. "At every stage, there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to say, because you've heard it before. It was almost automated. People were utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just chilling."

In addition to keeping a prisoner awake, the simple act of remaining upright can over time cause significant pain. McCoy, the historian, noted that "longtime standing" was a common K.G.B. interrogation technique. In his 2006 book, "A Question of Torture," he writes that the Soviets found that making a victim stand for eighteen to twenty-four hours can produce "excruciating pain, as ankles double in size, skin becomes tense and intensely painful, blisters erupt oozing watery serum, heart rates soar, kidneys shut down, and delusions deepen."

Mohammed is said to have described being chained naked to a metal ring in his cell wall for prolonged periods in a painful crouch. (Several other detainees who say that they were confined in the Dark Prison have described identical treatment.) He also claimed that he was kept alternately in suffocating heat and in a painfully cold room, where he was doused with ice water. The practice, which can cause hypothermia, violates the Geneva Conventions, and President Bush's new executive order arguably bans it.

An Impeachable Offense
August 28, 2007

Leaked Red Cross report sets up Bush team for international war-crimes trial

If we, the people, are ultimately condemned by a world court for our complicity and silence in these war crimes, we can always try to echo those Germans who claimed not to know what Hitler and his enforcers were doing. But in Nazi Germany, people had no way of insisting on finding out what happened to their disappeared neighbors.

We, however, have the right and the power to insist that Congress discover and reveal the details of the torture and other brutalities that the CIA has been inflicting in our name on terrorism suspects.

An Impeachable Offense
August 27, 2007

Iraqi insurgents taking cut of U.S. rebuilding money

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they've extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province.

The payments, in return for the insurgents' allowing supplies to move and construction work to begin, have taken place since the earliest projects in 2003, according to Iraqi contractors, politicians and interpreters involved with reconstruction efforts.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Whistleblowers on Fraud Facing Penalties

One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

Many of the following articles prove Bush has been lying about the situation in Iraq. Lying to the American people was considered an impeachable offense when Richard Nixon was about to be impeached.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Intelligence report at odds with U.S. policies on Iraq

BAGHDAD: The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate has effectively discredited the dominant American hypothesis of the past seven months: that safer streets, secured by additional troops, would create enough political calm for Iraq's leaders to reconcile.

They have failed to do so in part, suggests the report, which was released Thursday, because the security gains remain too modest to reverse Iraq's dynamic of violence and fear. Baghdad after all, remains a place where women at the market avoid buying river fish for fear that they've been eating bodies.

But just as important, according to Iraqi political analysts and officials, Iraq has become a cellular nation, dividing and redividing, where the constituency for chaos now outnumbers the constituency for compromise.

Bush could have asked for new legislation, but instead chose to break the law.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Spy boss undercuts security case by confirming AT&T role

A newspaper interview by the nation's spymaster, confirming that telecommunications companies have helped the Bush administration's clandestine surveillance program, has undermined the government's attempt to shield AT&T for its role in the effort, a lawyer for customers of the company said Thursday.

The director of national intelligence, Michael McConnell, said under oath three months ago that it would cause "exceptionally grave harm to the national security" to confirm or deny that telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Verizon had helped the government in "alleged intelligence activities."

But in an interview published Wednesday by the El Paso Times, McConnell said the companies "had assisted us" in an electronic surveillance program and should be protected by Congress from lawsuits pending in a San Francisco federal court.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Anti-American Sentiment Grows Worldwide

In a March 2007 survey of 28,000 people in 27 countries conducted for the BBC World Service by GlobeScan and the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, only Israel, Iran and North Korea were perceived as having a more negative influence than the United States on world affairs. During 2002-06, European views of the desirability of U.S. leadership in world affairs has declined from 64% to 37%, while its undesirability has risen from 31% to 57%. Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski gives Bush an "F" for his "catastrophic leadership" in world affairs in his new book, Second Chance.

Particularly dramatic are E.U. and world perceptions of Bush. Confidence in the U.S. president has declined in all countries, mirroring similar declines in the United States itself.

The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations' Task Force on Public Diplomacy has pointed to a perceived lack of U.S. empathy for other people's pain and hardship (for example, U.S. reluctance to intervene in Liberia's civil war), arrogance and self-indulgence. The E.U. is the world's largest bilateral aid donor, providing twice as much aid to poor countries as the United States.

MRAPs are 1970s technology and the US military is only now getting it.

An Impeachable Offense
August 23, 2007

Year-end MRAP delivery to be 1,500, not 3,900

At least 1,500 will be in Iraq by Dec. 31, according to Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell. But the figure is less than half of the 3,900 an official previously said would be delivered.

The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle is Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' top program priority. During a July 18 press conference at the Pentagon, John Young, chairman of DoD's MRAP Task Force, had said — "ambitiously," according to Morrell — that 3,500 to 3,900 would be delivered to Iraq in that time.

It's worth noting that while lower courts are forcing the WH to follow the law, the very conservative US Supreme Court is making it harder for anyone to sue the Bush government.

An Impeachable Offense
August 22, 2007

Environmentalists win White House suit

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge ordered the Bush administration to issue two scientific reports on global warming, siding with environmentalists who sued the White House for failing to produce the documents.

U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong ruled Tuesday that the Bush administration had violated a 1990 law when it failed to meet deadlines for an updated U.S. climate change research plan and impact assessment.

An Impeachable Offense
August 22, 2007

Federal No-Bid Contracts On Rise

Though small by government standards, the counter-narcotics contract illustrates the government's steady move away from relying on competition to secure the best deals for products and services.

A recent congressional report estimated that federal spending on contracts awarded without "full and open" competition has tripled, to $207 billion, since 2000, with a $60 billion increase last year alone. The category includes deals in which officials take advantage of provisions allowing them to sidestep competition for speed and convenience and cases in which the government sharply limits the number of bidders or expands work under open-ended contracts.

An Impeachable Offense
August 21, 2007

Pentagon ditches TALON security database

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Tuesday it would close a controversial database tracking suspicious activity around U.S. military bases that critics complained had been used to spy on peaceful antiwar activists.

Officials decided the TALON program would end on September 17 not in response to public criticism but because the amount and quality of information being gathered had declined, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon said in April last year that a review had found the database included reports on peaceful protests and anti-war demonstrations that should have been deleted.

An Impeachable Offense
August 20, 2007

How lawyer navigates sea of secrecy in bizarre case

But in the Al-Haramain case, the Treasury Department inadvertently disclosed National Security Agency call logs stamped "top secret" indicating that the charity and two of its attorneys had been surveilled. Last year, U.S. District Judge Garr King ruled that the logs -- referred to in the court papers as "The Document" — gave the charity standing to sue in federal court.

Today, Eisenberg and Justice Department lawyer Thomas Bondy will each have 20 minutes to argue over King's decision before a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the argument will be conducted in public, much of the information in the case, including what was in "the Document," remains veiled in mystery.

Many of the government's motions have been filed under seal, and those lodged publicly contain gaps; one government brief reads: "REDACTED TEXT. PUBLIC TEXT CONTINUES ON PAGE 6."

Some of Eisenberg's briefs have been redacted as well, because they are considered too sensitive for the public to see. But although Justice Department lawyers can see Eisenberg's redactions, he isn't allowed to see theirs.

In the Al-Haramain case, Eisenberg has had to respond to a government filing he was not allowed to see.

An Impeachable Offense
August 17, 2007

Military Interrogators are Posing as Lawyers at Gitmo

Military interrogators posing as "lawyers" are attempting to trick Guantanamo prisoners into providing them with information, The Catholic Worker (TCW) reports.

This incredible and illegal practice contributes "to the prisoners' suspicions that the (real) lawyers are not to be trusted and could be aiding the government," TCW says in its July issue.

This subterfuge is only one of the many treacherous tactics the government is employing to sabotage the efforts of lawyers to represent their clients.

After meeting with their clients at Guantanamo, Newsday reported, lawyers must turn their interview notes over to guards, who send them on to the Pentagon facility in Virginia that is the only place lawyers can go to write their motions. There, the military tries to edit out detainees' claims of mistreatment from the public record.

Some military lawyers have been gagged from speaking to the media after they made allegation that guards are routinely beating Guantanamo prisoners. Australian Broadcasting reported defense lawyer Lt. Col. Colby Vokey and legal aide Sgt. Heather Cerveny, who represent a Gitmo prisoner, were ordered not to talk to reporters after they filed a formal complaint to the Pentagon about the beatings.

An Impeachable Offense
August 20, 2007

Contractors in Iraq Have Become U.S. Crutch

When years from now historians and government officials reexamine precedents set by the U.S. experience in Iraq, many "firsts" are likely to pop up.

One still playing out is the extraordinarily wide use of private contractors. A Congressional Research Service report published last month titled "Private Security Contractors in Iraq: Background, Legal Status, and Other Issues," puts it this way: "Iraq appears to be the first case where the U.S. government has used private contractors extensively for protecting persons and property in potentially hostile or hostile situations where host country security forces are absent or deficient."

It quotes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data that show "an increasing proportion of registered supply convoys has been attacked." In the first 18 weeks of 2007, 14.7 percent of the convoys were struck, according to the data, while only 5.5 percent were hit in 2005. Earlier this month, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) reported that Labor Department figures show 1,001 civilian contractors had died in Iraq as of June 30, 2007.

An Impeachable Offense
August 19, 2007

Defense Agency Proposes Outsourcing More Spying

The Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years, an amount that would set a record in the outsourcing of such functions by the Pentagon's top spying agency.

The proposed contracts, outlined in a recent early notice of the DIA's plans, reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense Department's intelligence-related work and fit a well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to private contractors.

An Impeachable Offense
August 17, 2007

Commerce, Treasury funds helped boost GOP campaigns

WASHINGTON — Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.

Political appointees in the Treasury Department received at least 10 political briefings from July 2001 to August 2006, officials familiar with the meetings said. Their counterparts at the Commerce Department received at least four briefings — all in the election years of 2002, 2004 and 2006.

An Impeachable Offense
August 16, 2007

Feds pay $80,000 over anti-Bush T-shirts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. --A couple arrested at a rally after refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.

Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The ACLU said in a statement that a presidential advance manual makes it clear that the government tries to exclude dissenters from the president's appearances. "As a last resort," the manual says, "security should remove the demonstrators from the event."

An Impeachable Offense
August 17, 2007

FBI Director's Notes Contradict Gonzales's Version Of Ashcroft Visit

Then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft was "feeble," "barely articulate" and "stressed" moments after a hospital room confrontation in March 2004 with Alberto R. Gonzales, who wanted Ashcroft to approve a warrantless wiretapping program over Justice Department objections, according to notes from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III that were released yesterday.

One of Mueller's entries in five pages of a daily log pertaining to the dispute also indicated that Ashcroft's deputy was so concerned about undue pressure by Gonzales and other White House aides for the attorney general to back the wiretapping program that the deputy asked Mueller to bar anyone other than relatives from later entering Ashcroft's hospital room.

An Impeachable Offense
August 16, 2007

Whose Report Is It, Anyway?

The "Petraeus Report" -- the supposedly trustworthy mid-September reckoning of military and political progress in Iraq by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker -- is instead looking more like a White House con job in the making.

The Bush administration has been trying for months to restore its credibility on Iraq (as well as stall for time) by focusing on Petraeus -- President Bush's "main man" in Iraq -- and his report to Congress. But now it turns out it that White House aides will actually write the "Petraeus Report," not the general himself.

And although Petraeus has a long history of literally and figuratively playing the good soldier for Bush, it appears that the president still doesn't trust him enough to stay on message under the congressional klieg lights.

Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel wrote in yesterday's Los Angeles Times: "Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government."

An Impeachable Offense
August 14, 2007

NSA and AT&T joined forces: The illegal wiretapping of Americans

In 2003, Room 641A of a large telecommunications building in downtown San Francisco was filled with powerful data-mining equipment for a "special job" by the National Security Agency, according to a former AT&T technician. It was fed by fiber-optic cables that siphoned copies of e-mails and other online traffic from one of the largest Internet hubs in the United States, the former employee says in court filings.

What occurred in the room is now at the center of a pivotal legal battle in a federal appeals court over the Bush administration's controversial spying program, including the monitoring that came to be publicly known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

An Impeachable Offense
August 16, 2007

An Early Clash Over Iraq Report

Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense.

White House officials did not deny making the proposal in informal talks with Congress, but they said yesterday that they will not shield the commanding general in Iraq and the senior U.S. diplomat there from public congressional testimony required by the war-funding legislation President Bush signed in May. "The administration plans to follow the requirements of the legislation," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in response to questions yesterday.

An Impeachable Offense
August 15, 2007

U.S. to Expand Domestic Use Of Spy Satellites

The U.S.'s top intelligence official has greatly expanded the range of federal and local authorities who can get access to information from the nation's vast network of spy satellites in the U.S.

The decision, made three months ago by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, places for the first time some of the U.S.'s most powerful intelligence-gathering tools at the disposal of domestic security officials. The move was authorized in a May 25 memo sent to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking his department to facilitate access to the spy network on behalf of civilian agencies and law enforcement.

An Impeachable Offense
August 8, 2007

Smithsonian Official Resigns After Records Destroyed

A top Smithsonian official has resigned after he destroyed records from a key Smithsonian Board of Regents meeting.

James M. Hobbins, 64, executive assistant to the secretary of the Smithsonian, has acknowledged destroying transcripts from a meeting in January when regents discussed then-Secretary Lawrence M. Small's compensation, housing allowance and travel expenses among other things, according to people who insisted on remaining anonymous because of the sensitivity of the case.

The sources said the documents were destroyed after Smithsonian General Counsel John Huerta sent a memo to employees in March to retain documents. The directive came after the Senate Finance Committee began investigating the Smithsonian in early February and an independent review committee established by the regents later that month specifically requested the minutes and other records from meetings.

An Impeachable Offense
August 12, 2007

Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq

Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis.

Lieutenant Clay Hanna looks sick and white. Like his colleagues he does not seem to sleep. Hanna says he catches up by napping on a cot between operations in the command centre, amid the noise of radio. He is up at 6am and tries to go to sleep by 2am or 3am. But there are operations to go on, planning to be done and after-action reports that need to be written. And war interposes its own deadly agenda that requires his attention and wakes him up.

When he emerges from his naps there is something old and paper-thin about his skin, something sketchy about his movements as the days go by.

An Impeachable Offense
August 12, 2007

U.S. Pays Millions In Cost Overruns For Security in Iraq

The private security industry has surged in Iraq because of troop shortages and growing violence. After the March 2003 invasion, hundreds of foreign and Iraqi companies, many of them new, signed contracts with the U.S. and British militaries, the State Department, the Iraqi government, media and humanitarian organizations and other private companies.

The size of this force and its cost have never been documented. The Pentagon has said that about 20,000 security contractors operate in Iraq, although some estimates are considerably higher. Private security contractors have been used in previous wars, but not on this scale, according to military experts. Several lawmakers have recently sought to regulate the private security industry and account for billions of dollars spent on outsourcing military and intelligence tasks that once were handled exclusively by the government.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee who was briefed by Aegis and the Corps of Engineers during a February visit to Iraq, said lawmakers are only now realizing the scope of private security there. "We're in the wake of this speedboat. We can't even catch up to the contracts," said Kaptur, who opposes the use of private forces and initiated an audit of Aegis by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the second the agency has conducted.

An Impeachable Offense
August 11, 2007

"Intentional Manipulation Of The Facts" To Get Surveillance Act Passed

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — At a closed-door briefing in mid-July, senior intelligence officials startled lawmakers with some troubling news. American eavesdroppers were collecting just 25 percent of the foreign-based communications they had been receiving a few months earlier.

"There was an intentional manipulation of the facts to get this legislation through," said Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who voted against the plan.

"There was an intentional manipulation of the facts to get this legislation through," said Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who voted against the plan.

An Impeachable Offense
August 11, 2007

Iraq contractors avoid legal restraints

There are now nearly as many private contractors in Iraq as there are U.S. soldiers — and about half of them are private security guards equipped with automatic weapons, body armor, helicopters and bullet-proof trucks.

They operate with little or no supervision, accountable only to the firms employing them. And as the country has plummeted toward anarchy and civil war, this private army has been accused of indiscriminately firing at American and Iraqi troops, and of shooting to death an unknown number of Iraqi citizens who got too close to their heavily armed convoys.

Not one has faced charges or prosecution.

An Impeachable Offense
August 9, 2007

British resident cleared to leave Guantanamo

MIAMI (Reuters) - One of the five British residents London wants freed from the Guantanamo prison camp has already been cleared for release but will not be sent to his native land because of fears he would be abused there, a Pentagon official said on Thursday.

The detainees in question are Shaker Aamer, a Saudi national; Jamil el-Banna, who is Jordanian; Omar Deghayes, a Libyan; Binyam Mohamed from Ethiopia; and Abdennour Sameur, an Algerian.

An Impeachable Offense
August 8, 2007

UN urged to withdraw Iraq staff

The United Nations should withdraw all of its workers from Iraq until the security situation improves, the body's staff union has said.

The union believes UN personnel will not be properly protected by US-led forces in the country.

The call comes as UN officials prepare to pass a draft resolution giving the organization an expanded role in Iraq.

The UN has had a low-key presence there since a truck bomb devastated its Baghdad headquarters in August 2003.

An Impeachable Offense
August 7, 2007

Kill Or Convert, Brought To You By the Pentagon

"The constitution has been assaulted and brutalized," Mikey Weinstein, former Reagan Administration White House counsel, ex-Air Force judge advocate (JAG), and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, told me. "Thanks to the influence of extreme Christian fundamentalism, the wall separating church and state is nothing but smoke and debris. And OSU is the IED that exploded the wall separating church and state in the Pentagon and throughout our military." Weinstein continued: "The fact that they would even consider taking their crusade to a Muslim country shows the threat to our national security and to the constitution and everyone that loves it."

An Impeachable Offense
August 6, 2007

Lost Iraqi weapons came from private contractors

During the Bosnian conflict, the United States provided about $100 million in defense equipment to the Bosnian Federation Army, and the GAO found no problems in accounting for those weapons.

Much of the equipment provided to Iraqi troops, including the AK-47s, originates from countries in the former Soviet bloc. In a report last year, Amnesty International said that in 2004 and 2005 more than 350,000 AK-47 rifles and similar weapons were taken out of Bosnia and Serbia, for use in Iraq, by private contractors working for the Pentagon and with the approval of NATO and European security forces in Bosnia.

An Impeachable Offense
August 13, 2007

A rare look inside the C.I.A.'s secret interrogation program

A surprising number of people close to the case are dubious of Mohammed's confession. A longtime friend of Pearl's, the former Journal reporter Asra Nomani, said, "The release of the confession came right in the midst of the U.S. Attorney scandal. There was a drumbeat for Gonzales's resignation. It seemed like a calculated strategy to change the subject. Why now? They'd had the confession for years." Mariane and Daniel Pearl were staying in Nomani's Karachi house at the time of his murder, and Nomani has followed the case meticulously; this fall, she plans to teach a course on the topic at Georgetown University. She said, "I don't think this confession resolves the case. You can't have justice from one person's confession, especially under such unusual circumstances. To me, it's not convincing." She added, "I called all the investigators. They weren't just skeptical—they didn't believe it."

Nevertheless, the SERE experts' theories were apparently put into practice with Zubaydah's interrogation. Zubaydah told the Red Cross that he was not only waterboarded, as has been previously reported; he was also kept for a prolonged period in a cage, known as a "dog box," which was so small that he could not stand. According to an eyewitness, one psychologist advising on the treatment of Zubaydah, James Mitchell, argued that he needed to be reduced to a state of "learned helplessness." (Mitchell disputes this characterization.)

Steve Kleinman, a reserve Air Force colonel and an experienced interrogator who has known Mitchell professionally for years, said that "learned helplessness was his whole paradigm." Mitchell, he said, "draws a diagram showing what he says is the whole cycle. It starts with isolation. Then they eliminate the prisoners' ability to forecast the future—when their next meal is, when they can go to the bathroom. It creates dread and dependency. It was the K.G.B. model. But the K.G.B. used it to get people who had turned against the state to confess falsely. The K.G.B. wasn't after intelligence."

An Impeachable Offense
August 3, 2007

Ruling Limited Spying Efforts

A federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration's wiretapping efforts illegal, according to a lawmaker and government sources, providing a previously unstated rationale for fevered efforts by congressional lawmakers this week to expand the president's spying powers.

The judge, whose name could not be learned, concluded early this year that the government had overstepped its authority in attempting to broadly surveil communications between two locations overseas that are passed through routing stations in the United States, according to two other government sources familiar with the decision.

An Impeachable Offense
July 29, 2007

MI5's role in torture flight hell

An Iraqi who was a key source of intelligence for MI5 has given the first ever full insider's account of being seized by the CIA and bundled on to an illegal 'torture flight' under the programme known as extraordinary rendition.

He was thrown into the CIA's 'Dark Prison,' deprived of all light 24 hours a day in temperatures so low that ice formed on his food and water. He was taken to Guantanamo in March 2003 and released after being cleared of any involvement in terrorism by a tribunal.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

Number of environmental cops decreasing

Fewer U.S. environmental cops are tracking criminal polluters these days, their numbers steadily dropping below levels ordered by Congress. They are pursuing fewer environmental crimes in a strategy by the Bush administration to target bigger polluters.

The number of the Environmental Protection Agency's criminal investigators has dropped this year to 174, below the 200-agent minimum required by Congress, even as the EPA's overall criminal enforcement budget rose nearly 25 percent over three years to $48 million, according to EPA records.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

Analyst counters Bush on Al Qaeda

WASHINGTON -- A day after President Bush sought to present evidence showing that Iraq is now the main battlefront against Al Qaeda, the chief US intelligence analyst for international terrorism told Congress that the network's growing ranks in Pakistan and Afghanistan pose a more immediate threat to the United States.

In rare testimony before two House committees, Edward Gistaro, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, said that Al Qaeda terrorists operating in South Asia are better equipped to attack the United States than the network's followers in Iraq are.

An Impeachable Offense
July 27, 2007

Democrats seek perjury investigation of Gonzales, subpoena Rove

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Thursday called for a special prosecutor to launch a perjury investigation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and subpoenaed White House political adviser Karl Rove.

The moves against two of President Bush's longest-tenured confidantes raised the temperature in what already was a heated political battle between the Democratic-led Congress and the Republican administration.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

FBI director appears to contradict Gonzales' testimony

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress Thursday that the confrontation between then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in Ashcroft's hospital room in 2004 concerned a controversial surveillance program -- an apparent contradiction of Senate testimony given Tuesday by Gonzales.

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Mueller said he spoke with Ashcroft soon after Gonzales left the hospital and was told the meeting dealt with "an NSA [National Security Agency] program that has been much discussed, yes."

An Impeachable Offense
July 25, 2007

Senators say Gonzales lied

"How can we trust your leadership when … you just constantly change the story, seemingly to fit your needs to wiggle out of being caught, frankly, telling mistruths?" Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) blasted Gonzales for saddling the Department of Justice (DoJ) with "a lack of credibility — candidly, your personal credibility."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lamented that Gonzales' performance has so compromised his agency that "it's almost as it the walls were actually crumbling on this huge department."

"There's a discrepancy here in sworn testimony," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who earned a clamor of applause from protesters after telling Gonzales to "be fair to the truth."

An Impeachable Offense
July 25, 2007

Experts challenge Bush's al Qaeda assertions

Bush's comments were met with skepticism by some terrorism experts and former U.S. intelligence officials, who said the president exaggerated or even misrepresent the facts in Iraq.

"I think what the president is saying is in some sense fundamentally misleading," said Robert Grenier, former head of the counter-terrorism center at the CIA as well as the agency's mission manager for the war in Iraq. "If he means to suggest the invasion of Iraq has not created more jihadists bent on killing Americans, and that if Iraq hadn't been there as a magnet they would have been attracted somewhere else, that's completely disingenuous."

The war "has convinced many Muslims that the United States is the enemy of Islam and is attacking Muslims, and they have become jihadists as a result of their experience in Iraq," Grenier said.

An Impeachable Offense
July 24, 2007

Gonzales Digs a Deeper Hole

Specter later circled back to Gonzales on the matter, warning him: "My suggestion to you is you review your testimony to find out if your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable," Specter said. The maximum penalty for being caught lying to Congress is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 per count. Specter wryly noted to reporters during a break that there is a jail in the Capitol complex.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, who was involved in the briefings at the time of the hospital visit, said the so-called Gang of Eight — the eight top bipartisan members of Congress on intelligence issues — were not briefed about any sunset the program was facing, as Gonzales claimed. He also emphatically refuted Gonzales' statements that there was more than one program under discussion at the time and that the Gang of Eight had agreed the program was so important that if it had been allowed to lapse they were considering emergency legislation.

An Impeachable Offense
July 24, 2007

Diplomats Received Political Briefings

White House aides have conducted at least half a dozen political briefings for the Bush administration's top diplomats, including a PowerPoint presentation for ambassadors with senior adviser Karl Rove that named Democratic incumbents targeted for defeat in 2008 and a "general political briefing" at the Peace Corps headquarters after the 2002 midterm elections.

The briefings, mostly run by Rove's deputies at the White House political affairs office, began in early 2001 and included detailed analyses for senior officials of the political landscape surrounding critical congressional and gubernatorial races, according to documents obtained by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

An Impeachable Offense
July 20, 2007

Rockefeller Accuses Gonzales of perjury

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy threatened yesterday to request a perjury investigation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, as Democrats said an intelligence official's statement about a classified surveillance program was at odds with Gonzales's sworn testimony.

The latest dispute involving public remarks by Gonzales concerned the topic of a March 10, 2004, White House briefing for members of Congress. Gonzales, in congressional testimony Tuesday, said the purpose of the briefing was to address what he called "intelligence activities" that were the subject of a legal dispute inside the administration.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

Documents Contradict Gonzales Senate Testimony

"Not the TSP?" responded Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). "Come on. If you say it's about other, that implies not. Now say it or not."

"It was not," Gonzales answered. "It was about other intelligence activities."

A four-page memo from the national intelligence director's office says the White House briefing with the eight lawmakers on March 10, 2004, was about the terror surveillance program, or TSP.

An Impeachable Offense
July 20, 2007

DeFazio asks, but he's denied access to classified information

WASHINGTON -- Oregonians called Peter DeFazio's office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.

As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.

On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.

An Impeachable Offense
July 18, 2007

Taliban growing stronger in Afghanistan

LONDON (Reuters) - NATO countries are not giving the international force securing Afghanistan enough support and there are worrying signs that the Taliban are growing stronger, a detailed study by Britain's parliament has found.

The report, by the House of Commons Defence Committee, highlighted a series of concerns, from a lack of training for Afghan police and armed forces to an unclear policy on eradicating the country's vast opium poppy fields.

But the chief preoccupation was a lack of support from other NATO countries to provide more troops to the 36,000-strong ISAF mission and evidence that violence, including Iraq-style suicide bombings, was growing as Taliban and al Qaeda-linked insurgents expand their sphere of influence outwards from the south.

An Impeachable Offense
July 18, 2007

Intelligence Puts Rationale For War on Shakier Ground

A new National Intelligence Estimate concludes that al-Qaeda "has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability" by reestablishing a haven in Pakistan and reconstituting its top leadership. The report also notes that al-Qaeda has been able "to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks," by associating itself with an Iraqi subsidiary.

Although only a portion of the instability in Iraq is attributed to al-Qaeda and the group had no substantial power base there before the U.S. invasion, Bush again cast the war as a battle against its members, whom his aides have described as key provocateurs there.

An Impeachable Offense
July 16, 2007

Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll

BAQUBA, Jul 17 (IPS) - The largest morgue in Diyala province is overflowing daily. Officials told IPS they have had to dig mass graves to dispose of bodies.

"The morgue receives an average of four or five bodies everyday," Nima Jima'a, a morgue official, told IPS. "Many more are dropped in rivers and farms -- or it is sometimes the case they are buried by their killers for other reasons. The number we record here is only a fraction of those killed."

Ambulances, now able to move again after weeks of restrictions, have been removing bodies of victims from the current fighting. But they have also found skulls and bones, evidence of other killings long ago.

A Possible Impeachable Offense
July 16, 2007

44 Former State's Attorney's Ask Congress to Investigate Political Prosecution

(AP) Forty-four former state attorneys general have asked Congress to investigate whether politics at the Justice Department influenced the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges.

Last month, a Republican lawyer who worked on the campaign of Siegelman's opponent in 2006 signed a sworn affidavit saying that she overheard conversations among GOP operatives suggesting that the White House was involved in Siegelman's prosecution.

The group includes Democrats and Republicans and is led by Jeff Modisett, an Indiana Democrat, Bob Abrams, a New York Democrat, Bob Stefan, a Kansas Republican, and Grant Woods, an Arizona Republican.

A Possible Impeachable Offense
July 16, 2007

20.5M decisions to classify documents

WASHINGTON -- There were 20.5 million decisions to classify government secrets last year, and a report to the president found serious shortcomings in the process.

The Information Security Oversight Office said more than 1 in 10 documents it reviewed lacked a basis for classification, "calling into question the propriety" of the decisions to place them off limits to public disclosure.

The report comes as the office of Vice President Dick Cheney is refusing to cooperate with the office of the National Archives. The report noted that Cheney's office "did not report data to ISOO this year."

An Impeachable Offense
July 17, 2007

Pentagon Refused Requests For Safer Vehicles

As early as December 2003, when the Marines requested their first 27 MRAPs for explosive disposal teams, Pentagon analysts sent detailed information about the superiority of the vehicles to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, e-mails obtained by USA TODAY show. Later pleas came from Iraq, where commanders saw that the approach the Joint Chiefs embraced— adding armor to the sides of Humvees, the standard vehicles in the war zone — did little to protect against blasts beneath the vehicles.

Despite the efforts, the general who chaired the Joint Chiefs until Oct. 1, 2005, says buying MRAPs "was not on the radar screen when I was chairman." Air Force general Richard Myers, now retired, says top military officials dealt with a number of vehicle issues, including armoring Humvees. The MRAP, however, was "not one of them." Something related to MRAPs "might have crossed my desk," Myers says, "but I don't recall it."

Why the issue never received more of a hearing from top officials early in the war remains a mystery, given the chorus of concern. One Pentagon analyst complained in an April 29, 2004, e-mail to colleagues, for instance, that it was "frustrating to see the pictures of burning Humvees while knowing that there are other vehicles out there that would provide more protection."

The analyst was referring to the MRAP, whose V-shaped hull puts the crew more than 3 feet off the ground and deflects explosions. It was designed to withstand the underbelly bombs that cripple the lower-riding Humvees. Pentagon officials, civilians and military alike, had been searching for technologies to guard against improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. The makeshift bombs are the No. 1 killer of U.S. forces.

An Impeachable Offense
July 13, 2007

White House Refuses To Give Congress Records on Tillman's Death

House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Tom Davis, R-Va., the committee's top-ranking Republican, said Friday the documents were inadequate. They insisted that the Defense Department turn over the additional material by July 25 and asked that the White House do likewise.

Although Pentagon investigators determined quickly that he was killed by his own troops, five weeks passed before the circumstances of his death were made public. During that time, the Army claimed he was killed by enemy fire.

An Impeachable Offense
July 15, 2007

In Intelligence World, A Mute Watchdog

The President's Intelligence Oversight Board -- the principal civilian watchdog of the intelligence community -- is obligated under a 26-year-old executive order to tell the attorney general and the president about any intelligence activities it believes "may be unlawful." The board was vacant for the first two years of the Bush administration.

The FBI sent copies of its violation reports directly to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. But the board's mandate is to provide independent oversight, so the absence of such communications has prompted critics to question whether the board was doing its job.

"It's now apparent that the IOB was not actively employed in the early part of the administration. And it was a crucial period when its counsel would seem to have been needed the most," said Anthony Harrington, who served as the board's chairman for most of the Clinton administration.

The board now in place is led by former Bush economic adviser Stephen Friedman. It includes Don Evans, a friend of the president and a former commerce secretary; former Adm. David Jeremiah; and lawyer Arthur B. Culvahouse.

An Impeachable Offense
July 12, 2007

U.S. agency threatened whistleblowers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Managers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences may have threatened employees about testifying to Congress about problems there, Chuck Grassley, ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, said on Thursday.

He asked National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni to ensure that employees at the agency know they are free to testify.

"Several people, both inside and outside of NIEHS, alerted my staff to the fact that NIEHS employees have recently had discussions with management that left them with the impression that there would be retaliation if it was discovered that they had provided information to among others, congressional investigators," Grassley, an Iowa Republican, wrote in the letter.