Tonight on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, MSNBC reporter David Shuster said he was “convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted.” He made three points to support his position:
1. Rove wouldn’t have testified for the 5th time unless he believed it was the only way he could avoid indictment. At this point, according to Shuster, the burden is on Rove to stop it.
2. It’s been 13 days since Rove testified and he has not heard that he is clear. Lawyers Shuster talked to say that if Rove would have gotten himself out of the jam, he would have heard by now.
3. Rove is referred to in the Libby indictment as “Official A.” According to Schuster, every time Fitzgerald has named somebody as “Official A” that person has been indicted.
Shuster also says Rove’s lawyers expect a decision from Fitzgerald within the next two weeks.
Transcript: Read more
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) “believes they should not have a military person leading the CIA, a civilian agency,” Ron Bonjean, Hastert’s communications director, told TIME.
Confirmation hearings for Gen. Michael Hayden to be CIA Director are sure to renew the debate over President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance and the balance between civil liberties and national security.
Prominent conservatives working to stifle oversight of the program, including Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and John Cornyn (R-TX), have taken to repeating the line that civil liberties don’t matter much “after you’re dead.” Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned this past February that “terrorists and criminals…would exploit our open society to do us harm.”
John Gannon, former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence, has a different view. In testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gannon said that Americans’ Constitutional freedoms “work against the development of domestic terrorist networks that could be exploited by foreigners.” In an email published today to the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News, he offered some more thoughts:
Americans have unparalleled Constitutional and legal protections to express grievances and to openly criticize government at all levels. … It means that the terrorists or other extremists would find less fertile ground to build networks in the US because local support would be harder to come by and because local opposition would be more certain.
In this sense, our liberties are a powerful antidote to violent extremism.
This is not an academic point for me. It is an observation from a career of watching the domestic consequences of repressive regimes elsewhere in the world–including US-friendly Islamic governments such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Read Gannon’s full statement HERE.
Over the weekend, Newsweek magazine revealed the identity of another CIA official — previously known only as “Nine Fingers” — who reportedly attended the poker parties, that allegedly featured prostitutes, thrown by corrupt defense contractor Brent Wilkes
His name is Brant Bassett. He is identified by Newsweek only as “a former Goss aide,” but that’s an understatement. Congressional expenditure reports show he was actually the staff director of the House Intelligence Committee while Porter Goss was committee chairman. Bassett is the second Goss aide to be linked to the parties, in addition to Kyle “Dusty” Foggo.
What’s important to keep in mind is the heavy role that top aides have played in influencing Goss’ decisions. Both in Congress and while heading the CIA, news reports have suggested that Goss played a hands-off role, delegating his responsibilities to powerful staffers like Patrick Murray. Weeks after Goss was initially appointed as CIA Director, “Goss’ closest aides” were already being accused of wanting “to micromanage decisions.” Goss rewarded those aides by creating powerful, high-profile positions for them to fill:
Goss didn’t just give them top positions in the agency, he invented new posts for them, as mediators between the DCI and the intelligence and operations directorates. “They are not positions that are rigorously defined in agency regulations,” observes Steven Aftergood, an intelligence policy expert with the Federation of American Scientists. “Rather, they are invested with whatever authority Goss wants to give them, which means they could be very important indeed.”
So, there are now two powerful Goss aides, Basset and Foggo, that were squarely within Wilkes’s sphere of influence and are linked to parties being aggressively investigated by the FBI.
Yet, the White House wants the media and the public to believe that Goss’s sudden resignation had nothing to do with the emerging bribery and postitution scandal. The more we learn, the more implausiable the official version of the story becomes.
Today on Good Morning America, Mary Cheney praised her father for his stance on the Federal Marriage Amendment, banning gay marriage:
“My father has made it very clear. “¦ That freedom means freedom for everyone,” Mary Cheney said. “He’s stated “¦ his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which I think is a very big deal.”
Ms. Cheney is right, her father did state his personal opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which was commendable. The big problem was that he also supported President Bush, who argued strongly in favor of the amendment. From the October 2004 Vice-Presidential debate:
CHENEY: Gwen, you’re right, four years ago in this debate, the subject came up. And I said then and I believe today that freedom does mean freedom for everybody. People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It’s really no one else’s business…
Traditionally, that’s been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference.
In effect, what’s happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of — the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage.
And the fact is that the president felt that it was important to make it clear that that’s the wrong way to go, as far as he’s concerned.
Now, he sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president.
It’s not too late for Cheney. The Senate is expected to vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment on June 6. If Cheney truly believes that “freedom means freedom for everyone” he should speak out in opposition to the amendment.
President Bush’s approval rating, another record low, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.
“Dusty Foggo, the executive director of the CIA linked to a bribery investigation, is expected to resign soon, according to CIA officials and his associates,” ABC News reports. More on Foggo’s role in the Cunningham scandal HERE.
the defense firm founded by Cunningham-linked contractor Mitchell Wade, according to TPM Muckraker: “While director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Michael V. Hayden contracted the services of a top executive at the company at the center of the Cunningham bribery scandal, according to two former employees of the company.”
Last December, Senate Majority Leader Bill First (R-TN) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert inserted a provision in the Defense Appropriations bill that granted vaccine manufactures near-total immunity for injuries or deaths (even in cases of “gross negligence”) caused by their drugs during a viral pandemic, such as an outbreak of the avian flu. The legislation was “worth billions of dollars” to a small group of drug makers.
The provision was inserted in the dead of the night, after House and Senate conferees had agreed the provision would not be included in the bill. According to Roll Call, the brazen move was completely unprecedented.
Vaccine industry officials helped shape legislation behind the scenes that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist secretly amended into a bill to shield them from lawsuits, according to e-mails obtained by a public advocacy group.
E-mails and documents written by a trade group for the vaccine-makers show the organization met privately with Frist’s staff and the White House about measures that would give the industry protection from lawsuits filed by people hurt by the vaccines.
The final language of the provision was exactly what the vaccine manufactures requested in thier emails and meetings.
How did the industry get such VIP treatment from First and Hastert? Generous campaign contributions always help. Another key component: the vaccine industry was represented by a lobbying team that included three former Frist staffers and Dennis Hastert’s son, Joshua Hastert.