“The revelation that President Bush authorized former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to divulge classified information about Iraq fits a pattern of selective leaks of secret intelligence to further the administration’s political agenda,” Knight Ridder reports.
The House of Representatives has “abandoned” its efforts to reach an agreement on a budget. The members are instead going home for a two-week break.
In one sense it’s a good thing. The Bush-inspired budget under consideration — which “reject[ed] the administration’s call to cut Medicare spending while endorsing its proposal to cut much of the rest of the budget” — sets the wrong priorities for the nation. The House’s budget was generally based on Bush’s proposal that underfunded health, education, and national investments. Even so, since it included more tax cuts, it would have added $3 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.
But passing a budget is one of the most fundamental congressional duties. Failure to set an annual budget is a gross negligence of their public responsibility and an “embarrassment to a new Republican leadership.” This leaves the Congress with “deficits on the rise and no plan in place to contain them.”
Average Americans aren’t allowed to drop their work and go on vacation — lawmakers shouldn’t be any different.
- John Irons
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, 12:59 PM, refusing to talk about a legal filing:
The second part of your question is referring to an ongoing legal proceeding and referring to a filing in that legal proceeding. We have had a policy in place, going back to the October time period of 2003 that we are not going to comment on an ongoing investigation or an ongoing legal proceeding. That policy remains unchanged.
McClellan, 1:08 PM, referring a reporter to a legal filing:
Actually, go back and look at the filing that was made by Mr. Fitzgerald, because Mr. Fitzgerald talks about that very issue in his filing, and contradicts what you’re suggesting.
According to the White House, when the President authorized Scooter Libby to leak the classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to reporters “sometime before July 8, 2003 — it was declassified. But on July 18, 2003, Scott McClellan was asked when the NIE was declassified. McClellan said, “It was officially declassified today.”
Today, the White House press corps pounded McClellan about the glaring inconsistency. Watch it:
Transcript: Read more
Robert Novak on Fox today: “I’ll tell you what the problem is, that without DeLay, the House of Representatives under the Republicans — the wheels have come off the cart. … It is chaos up there, and they’re going for their Easter recess without a budget bill, without a tax bill. Without DeLay, it hasn’t been working very well and it really worked at its worst this week.”
After two difficult weeks of work, Congress will recess this afternoon for two more weeks off. Knowing members will return home to face constituents alarmed about gas prices that may top $3.00 per gallon during summer vacation time, Big Oil took the opportunity this morning to pass along some misinformation to Congress about why it is not responsible for hig gas prices.
[Refiners] face complicated challenges in switching to ethanol, which has numerous logistical difficulties in its transport. Unlike MTBE, ethanol cannot be shipped through pipelines. Ethanol is also currently more expensive than gasoline, and imports face a 54 cent per gallon tariff.
These factors place further pressure on a gasoline marketplace in which demand is already chasing an increasingly tight supply.
So, be prepared when your local MSM starts touting the oil company line that ethanol — a fuel additive grown in America by American farmers and that reduces greenhouse gas emissions from cars by 20% — is the reason you are paying $3.00 a gallon. It’s not true. Read more
Brian Doyle, the DHS spokesman who was arrested earlier this week for seducing a minor over the internet, had misused company equipment to download pornography in his previous employment at Time magazine. Rep. Peter King (R-NY: “[I]f there was an incident at Time magazine, Homeland Security above all should have found it.”
“A high-ranking Defense Department IT official has been arrested and indicted on child pornography charges. … [C]ourt documents allege that Lynch had been operating a peer-to-peer file-sharing program on a computer in his office at DISA. Agents confiscated several computers and more than 1,000 CDs from Lynch’s office.”
UPDATE: The charges have been dropped but the criminal investigation is ongoing.
A court filing by Patrick Fitzgerald yesterday revealed that, in the summer of 2003, President Bush personally authorized Scooter Libby to leak classified information to New York Times reporter Judy Miller as part of an effort to discredit former ambassador Joe Wilson.
A few months later, President Bush – publicly and repeatedly – condemned the leaking of classified information. He also pretended to have no idea who might be responsible for leaking classified information to discredit Joe Wilson. Watch the video from October 2003:
Transcript: Read more
In House testimony yesterday, Attorney General Gonzales “left open the possibility” that calls occuring “solely within the United States” could be wiretapped without a warrant — “a move that would dramatically expand the reach of a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.”
40 percent: Public approval rating of how President Bush is handling foreign policy and the war on terror, a record low, in a AP-Ipsos poll.
Still hammering away. Atrios has video of DeLay supporters crashing a political event yesterday. “I got pushed. I got hit. I got a sign wadded up in my face and my hat pulled down over my eyes,” one witness said. “They just did it to be nasty.”
U.S. public diplomacy czar Karen Hughes announced a recent “discovery” on NPR: that “Americans and foreigners must stand in separate lines in airport immigration, and that the process as a whole is not very ‘welcoming.’”
Do Nothing Congress: Despite controlling both branches of Congress, conservatives “suffered two major setbacks on Thursday when their fiscal 2007 budget plan collapsed and they failed to put the finishing touches on $70 billion in tax cuts.” Read more