Archive for November 14th, 2006

In response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, the CIA has finally acknowledged the existence of a presidential order authorizing the agency to detain and interrogate terror suspects overseas.

“For more than two years, the CIA had refused to either deny or confirm the existence of the documents and had argued in court that doing so could jeopardize national security,” the ACLU notes in a press release received by RAW STORY.

Along with a memorandum written by President Bush to the agency’s director, the CIA also referred to a Justice Department legal analysis sent to the CIA’s general counsel which specified interrogation methods which could be used against top Al-Qaeda members.

However, the CIA wouldn’t release either of the documents.

“The documents are withheld in their entirety because there is no meaningful non-exempt information that can be reasonably segregated from the exempt information,” said the CIA letter signed by Associate General Counsel John L. McPherson (which can be read in full at this pdf link).

“The CIA’s sudden reversal on these secret directives is yet more evidence that the Bush administration is misusing claims of national security to avoid public scrutiny,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero stated in the press release. “Confusion about whether such a presidential order existed certainly led to the torture and abuse scandal that embarrassed America.”

Romeros argues that “with a new Congress and renewed subpoena power, we now need to look up the chain of command.”

The ACLU intends to keep pressing until both documents are released in full.

“If President Bush and the Justice Department authorized the CIA to torture its prisoners, the public has a right to know,” ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer stated.

Excerpts from ACLU press release:

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Democrats choose Senate leadership

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) will continue to lead his party in the Senate into the next term.

Senate Democrats, now the majority party, today voted for leadership posts within the legislative body. The group also named Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) as President Pro Tem, and Dick Durbin (D-IL), former Minority Whip, as Assistant Majority Leader.

Barbara Boxer of California will be Chief Deputy Whip, leading Deputy Whips Thomas Carper, Bill Nelson, and Russ Feingold.

On Thursday, Democrats in the House will meet to choose their new leaders, with most eyes on the race for Majority Leader. Soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Rep. John Murtha, even though Congressman Steny Hoyer is in line for the position, and the two Democrats have been lobbying for support from their colleagues.

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Dick Morris: Investigations are a comin’

Dick Morris:

The Democrats, for their part, will use their new House majority to plague the administration with investigations. While the left would be appeased by investigations into why we invaded Iraq in the first place, it is financial scandals that will do the greatest damage to Bush and the Republicans.

Democratic committee chairmen will examine Halliburton contracts in Iraq, royalty deals for offshore oil drilling, defense procurement scandals, and resource leases in national forests and wilderness areas. They will examine the nexus between campaign contributions and favors from the trough of the executive branch.

The last two years of the Bush administration will most closely resemble the Clinton years, where scandal after scandal after scandal battered the president’s image and ratings. But, unlike the GOP assault on Clinton, the Democrats will stay on financial issues rather than stray into the personal. The results will be devastating for the Republicans and their prospects in 2008.


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