the nation into war, according to a new NBC News/WSJ poll.
Senators Patrick Leahy, Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin just sent a letter to Attorney General Gonzales with some important questions about Ahmed Chalabi’s visit to Washington D.C. The Senators appear concerned that Chalabi’s visit could compromise the FBI investigation into allegations that Chalabi passed classified information to Iran:
1. In light of the ongoing FBI investigation, were you notified by the White House of Mr. Chalabi’s visit? Before his schedule was finalized, did you have an opportunity to advise the White House about whether it was appropriate for Mr. Chalabi to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Treasury Secretary John Snow, and possibly with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and Vice President Richard Cheney?
2. What steps, if any, have been taken to ensure that Mr. Chalabi’s meetings with senior administration officials do not compromise or prejudice the ongoing FBI investigation into allegations that Mr. Chalabi passed classified national security information to Iran?
3. Will the FBI interview Mr. Chalabi during his visit to the United States? If not, why not?
4. What is the current status of the FBI’s investigation into Mr. Chalabi’s conduct?
You can read the full text of the letter here.
from the New York Times.
Pew poll respondents were asked what one word best described their reaction to the Libby indictment. “The top responses, in order of their frequency: Not surprised/unsurprised; Surprised; Shocked; Disappointed; Disgusted; Expected; Good; Disbelief/unbelievable; Finally; About time; Traitor/treason; Guilty; Typical; and Wow.”
When the going gets tough, the Bush administration launches a public relations campaign.
The latest [CNN, 11/8/05]:
Top White House officials say they’re developing a “campaign-style” strategy in response to increasing Democratic allegations that the Bush administration twisted intelligence to make its case for war. White House aides, who agreed to speak to CNN only on the condition of anonymity, said they hoped to increase what they called their “hit back” in coming days…
Washington Post, 9/30/04:
The Bush administration, battling negative perceptions of the Iraq war, is sending Iraqi Americans to deliver what the Pentagon calls “good news” about Iraq to U.S. military bases, and has curtailed distribution of reports showing increasing violence in that country. The unusual public-relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development comes as details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush’s reelection campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
There is a brewing controversy about what exactly was said at the White House press conference on October 31. Everyone agrees NBC’s David Gregory said this:
Q Whether there’s a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.
Congressional Quarterly and FNS both transcribed Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s answer as “That’s accurate.” The White House transcript lists McClellan’s answer as “I don’t think that’s accurate.”
We’ve isolated the clip so you can judge for yourself:
If you listened to the clip, it’s clear McClellan says “that’s accurate.” Nevertheless, the White House is trying to get CQ and FNS to change their transcripts. They’ve refused.
Recently, Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss visited Congress to argue that the CIA needs an exemption to legislation banning torture to have “maximum flexibility in dealing with the global war on terrorism.”
Several right-wing talking heads have argued in support of the Cheney proposal:
John Gibson: However, I don’t think Vice President Cheney is out of line asking for an exemption for the CIA from a law that will make torture by the U.S. government agents illegal. [Fox News, 11/7/05]
Bill O’Reilly: Now I agree that the military shouldn’t torture under any circumstances no branch of the military, but I would make the CIA exception because of weapons of mass destruction scenarios. [Fox News, 11/2/05]
CIA experts disagree. In an op-ed today, former CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith argued forcefully against the exemption:
Americans do not join the CIA to commit torture. Yet that could be the result if a proposal advanced by Vice President Cheney becomes law. “¦ McCain wisely rejected that proposal. So should the [Defense bill] conferees. [Washington Post, 11/9/05]
chair of the commerce committee, refused to have oil executives swear to tell the truth before their hearing today.
Members of Congress are spending big on their congressional offices, giving them the “ultimate pimp-over.”
The Hill notes that each “lawmaker is given an average of $1.2 million a year for his or her member representational account (MRAs), which pays the salaries of 18 full-time aides, travel, mass mailings, leased cars, bottled water, coffee and everything else a modern office needs.”
Members are pimping out their offices with $5,700 plasma-screen tvs, $823 ionic air fresheners, $975 window blinds, and $623 popcorn machines.
Roll over the image below to pimp your congressional office. (Make sure your speakers are cranked up.)
(If you’re not part of the MTV generation, here’s what we’re talking about.)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet this week with Ahmed Chalabi, who is suspected of leaking national security secrets to Iran. At yesterday’s State Department press briefing, spokesman Adam Ereli tried to downplay the meeting:
U.S. Government officials regularly meet with Dr. Chalabi. They meet with him when they go to Iraq and they meet with him in — outside of Iraq in international fora and they’re going to meet with him when he comes here — Secretary Rice and others.
It’s the Dr. Seuss school of diplomacy:
I would meet him in a boat!
I would meet him with a goat!
I would meet him in the rain!
And in the dark. And in Bahrain.
And in a car. And in a tree.
He is so good, so good, you see!