Strikingly, the big “sweep” against al-Qaeda failed for the exact same reasons that this technique always fails, both in previous iterations in Iraq, and also in other counterinsurgency situations around the world and throughout history.
There were more than 35,000 pictures of FDR taken. Two show him in a wheelchair. Why? Because the press almost unanimously agreed that — despite the huge news value — depicting FDR as a cripple would be bad for the war effort. The few dissenting photographers from that consensus were routinely blocked or deliberately jostled by the senior photographers so as to shield FDR from embarrassment and the public from its “right to know.”
Okay, this is a subject I know virtually nothing about. I do, however, know that FDR became president in 1933 after winning the 1932 election. The war in Europe didn’t begin until 1939, and the United States didn’t enter the war until 1941. Under the circumstances, that “depicting FDR as a cripple would be bad for the war effort” can’t be the primary reason nobody ever did it.
Vice President Cheney has exempted his office from a presidential executive order designed to safeguard classified national security information by claiming that the Office of the Vice President is not an “entity within the executive branch.” Today the LA Times reveals that the President has also exempted himself:
The White House said Friday that, like Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, President Bush’s office is not allowing an independent federal watchdog to oversee its handling of classified national security information.
An executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 — amending an existing order — requires all government agencies that are part of the executive branch to submit to oversight. Although it doesn’t specifically say so, Bush’s order was not meant to apply to the vice president’s office or the president’s office, a White House spokesman said.
Some random stuff:
- Someone needs to tell TNR that Ira Newble is not an NBA star.
- Someone needs to tell Bush not to wear socks with sandals.
- 87 percent of college women prefer a circumcised penis.
- Giuliani campaign not worried by recent polling collapse, says Giuliani campaign.
- Awesome Canadian hip-hop.
Yesterday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino defended Dick Cheney’s claim of existing outside the Executive Order (EO) that governs the preservation of classified data, a directive which applies to all Executive Branch officials.
Dismissing the topic as “a little bit of a nonissue,” Perino said President Bush “gets to decide whether or not [Cheney] should be treated separately, and he’s decided that he should.” She then suggested there was textual evidence in the 2003 Executive Order to support the claim that it was not applicable to Cheney:
PERINO: If you look on page 18 of the EO, when you have a chance, there’s a distinction regarding the Vice President versus what is an agency. And the President also, as the author of an EO, and the person responsible for interpreting the EO, did not intend for the Vice President to be treated as an agency, and that’s clear.
Last night, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reported that his staff fact-checked Perino’s claim, looked at page 18 of the order, and found Perino’s claim to be false:
OLBERMANN: No exemption at all for the Vice President on page 18. So we emailed the White House, which referred us to section 1.3 — which is about something else altogether — and 5.2 — which makes no mention of the Vice President. In fact, there is no exemption for the President or the Vice President when it comes to reporting on classified material.
Sec. 6.1(b) of Bush’s 2003 executive order governing classified material explicitly states that it applies to any “‘Executive agency…any ‘Military department’…and any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.” Olbermann concluded that Cheney’s defiance must lead to the following conclusion: “He’s no longer an entity of any kind.”
Nearly two weeks after the Office of Special Counsel recommended the firing of General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan for “serious violations of the Hatch Act,” the White House says it is still reviewing the report:
A White House spokeswoman said today that the Office of Special Counsel report finding General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan guilty of violating the Hatch Act is still being reviewed. … The spokeswoman also noted that there is no deadline for the White House to meet in completing its review of the OSC findings that Doan violated the law that limits political activity in federal agencies.