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Ex-CIA directors urge Obama to drop abuse probe

AFP

WASHINGTON — Seven former CIA directors have called on US President Barack Obama to end a probe into claims the agency abused terror suspects, warning it will cause “serious damage” to intelligence operations.

The former intelligence chiefs, appointed by both Democrat and Republican presidents, in a letter to Obama called on him to end the Justice Department inquiry, warning it would make agents more reticent to act for fear of prosecution.

“This approach will seriously damage the willingness of many other intelligence officers to take risks to protect the country,” the group stated.

Warning of “endless criminal investigations,” the seven said allegations of detainee abuse had already been probed, with the supervision of federal prosecutors.

“Attorney General (Eric) Holder’s decision to re-open the criminal investigation creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy for those whose cases the Department of Justice had previously declined to prosecute,” the letter read.

The signatories warned that the investigation could jeopardize relations with other nations that had co-operated with investigations, on the proviso of secrecy.


Though not a signatory to the letter, current CIA Director Leon Panetta also opposed Holder’s investigation.

“I think the reason I felt the way I did is because I don’t believe there’s a basis there for any kind of additional action,” Panetta said.

“My concern is … that we don’t get trapped by the past. My feeling is ultimately, we’re going to be able to move on,” he told reporters this week after a speech in Michigan.

Is Leon Panetta up to the job?

I think not!

…………zzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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Emails Show Rove’s Role In U.S. Attorney Firings

TPM Muckraker- By Zachary Roth – July 30, 2009, 3:14PM

Karl Rove did his second and final day of testimony before Congress about his role in the U.S. attorney firings today. And we’re getting more confirmation that that role was more extensive than he’s yet let on.

The Washington Post and New York Times have obtained emails that offer glimpses into Rove’s role in the firing of certain of the U.S. attorneys. They jibe closely with many similar emails that were released last year as part of a Justice Department inspector general report which essentially found that the firings were engineered by Rove and other White House officials.

In one email, from November 2006, just a month before the firings, Rove commanded his deputy:

Give me a report on what U.S. Attorneys slot are vacant or expected to be open soon.

The deputy, Scott Jennings, replied: “Yes, sir.”

Another of the new emails shows Rove’s office discussing a GOP senator’s request that David Iglesias be fired, and appearing to suggest that the White House itself, rather than the Justice Department, would be responsible for doing so.

The Post reports:

In an Oct. 10, 2006, e-mail from White House political affairs aide Scott Jennings to Rove, Jennings reported:”I received a call from Steve Bell tonight. . . . Last week Sen. Domenici reached the chief of staff and asked that we remove the U.S. Atty. Steve wanted to make sure we all understood that they couldn’t be more serious about this request.”

A second group of emails shows Rove suggesting that a protege of his, Tim Griffin, might be a good candidate for a U.S. attorney post in Arkansas. The man holding the job at the time, Bud Cummins, was later one of the victims of the firings, and the White House attempted to appoint Griffin in his place.

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by Geezer Power

TPM

By Elana Schor – March 16, 2009, 2:52PM

I just spoke with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), a freshman on the House Financial Services Committee who’s become a fast-rising star thanks to his tenacious advocacy for transparency in bailout lending by the Federal Reserve.

Grayson joined fellow Democrats as well as Republicans in blasting AIG for its refusal to give up hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus payments. He painted the government’s choice as a stark one, using the metaphor of treating a wound versus amputating a limb.

“It’s not clear to me at all that we’re taking the correct approach by allowing AIG to continue to operate, regardless of who owns it,” Grayson told me. “At this point, ownership is becoming an amorphous concern when comes to a company that borrows millions and millions without any prospect of paying it back. … Do we continue to allow the bleeding or not?”

Converting AIG from a ward of the state in all but name to an outright arm of the government would be a politically controversial move, given the level of apprehension in Washington over calls to nationalize failing banks.

But Grayson views the dilemma facing lawmakers as a common-sense decision: AIG executives who made more than a million dollars while running the company into the ground should immediately be fired. “The people who caused the problem are not going to be able to solve it,” he said.

Article

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Rove agrees to be deposed under oath after three subpoenas

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Wednesday March 4, 2009

The House Judiciary Committee announced late Wednesday afternoon that they had secured the agreement of former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify in transcribed depositions under threat of perjury.

The Committee did not immediately announce what terms, if any, had been reached with Rove, but said the agreement had been made with representatives of the former Bush Administration.

They did say that they would get access to Administration documents, and that Rove and Miers had agreed to testify publicly if called. But the announcement left open the possibility that Rove and Miers could testify in private.

“The Committee has also reserved the right to have public testimony from Rove and Miers,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) said in a statement.

MORE HERE

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Nadler: If Rove won’t testify, he’s ‘presumably’ jail-bound

Raw Story- David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Friday January 30, 2009

According to Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), should Karl Rove continue refusing to give testimony, the House of Representatives will “presumably” hold him in contempt, landing Rove in jail.

When House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) issued a Monday subpoena against former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove regarding his alleged involved in the political prosecution of an Alabama governor, and the firings of nine US Attorneys, he likely expected a fight.

And when Rove went on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Factor Wednesday, the right-wing editorialist even jokingly expected a flight, and offered the embattled politico a “place to hide out.”

“We have all kinds of tunnels and places we can put you …” began O’Reilly.

“I don’t need to hide,” exclaimed Rove. “I don’t need to hide.”

But if Rep. Nadler is correct, and Rove doesn’t appear before the Judiciary Committee, he’ll likely need to pack.

Rove’s Washington, D.C. lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in a Tuesday statement, “It’s generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term. We’ll solicit the views of the new White House counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved among the courts, the president and the former president.”

Joining MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann Thursday night, Rep. Nadler, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, shot down Rove’s legal wrangling on the issue of executive privilege, and stated rather bluntly the process to follow.

“If he refuses to show up, we’re going to have to vote a contempt citation,” which would require the ballots of the House at large, he said. The Democratic-led Hosue would “presumably” carry the measure.

The contempt citation is then given to a US Attorney with the Department of Justice, said Nadler quoting the law, “whose duty it shall be to deliver it to the grand jury.

“In other words, he must enforce and prosecute the subpoena. Now, President Bush, as in so many other things, simply ignored the law and instructed the US Attorney not to obey the law, and not to enforce the subpoena. I imagine President Obama will not do the same.”

The subpoena, approved by an earlier vote of the House, was issued pursuant to “authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009.”

Specifically, it enjoins Rove “to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration’s politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.”

Siegelman, who was convicted of corruption charges in 2006, was released on bail last April pending appeal after media reports — including those of Raw Story — revealed myriad irregularities surrounding his prosecution.

Among the revelations: the husband of the US Attorney who prosecuted Siegelman was a close associate of former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and worked as campaign manager for one of Siegelman’s gubernatorial opponents. An Alabama Republican whistleblower said that Siegelman was deliberately targeted and fingered Rove, asserting that he’d said he’d push the Justice Department to end Siegelman’s political career.

“Chairman Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena of Karl Rove
gives hope to those who want to know the extent of Karl Rove’s abuse of
power and his misuse of the Department of Justice as a way to win elections,” Siegelman told Raw Story on Monday evening. “Chairman Conyers’ action gives meaning to the change that has been ushered in by the election of President Obama.”

Asked if he had communicated with the Obama administration on the matter, Nadler said that is “premature,” then backtracked to correct Olbermann’s understanding of what follows a contempt vote.

“Normal contempt is, you simply arrest him,” he said. “The grand jury indicts him, you arrest him for contempt and you put him in jail until he is prepared to testify, to obey the subpoena.”

Nadler added that there is no precedent in US history — save for President Bush’s one-time Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and former Bush White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten — where a presidential adviser has been granted executive privilege when Congress wished to speak with them. He also took the opportunity to call out Miers and Bolten as facing similar contempt citations.

“Mr. Rove has previously refused to appear in response to a Judiciary Committee subpoena, claiming that even former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress,” Conyers’ office wrote in a release. “That ‘absolute immunity’ position was supported by then-President Bush, but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge John Bates and President Obama has previously dismissed the claim as ‘completely misguided.'”

Ultimately, explained Nadler, the outcome of the process will be Karl Rove going to court and being sentenced to jail until he decides to testify.

“There is simply no ability to thumb your nose at Congress and say I’m not gonna show up,” he said.

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Jan. 29, 2009.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Days before leaving office, Bush’s lawyer told Rove not to turn over any documents

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Friday January 30, 2009

Four days before leaving office, and ten days before House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) subpoenaed him to testify, President Bush’s White House Counsel instructed Karl Rove not to appear before Congress or turn over any documents relating to his time at the White House.

The letter, on White House stationery, was addressed to Rove’s  D.C. lawyer, Robert Luskin, and addressed questions of whether the former White House Deputy Chief of Staff was obligated to appear before Congress relating to the firing of nine US Attorneys.

“Please advise Mr. Rove (i) that the President continues to direct him not to provide information (whether in the form of testimony or documents) to the Congress in this matter… and not to appear before Congress in this matter,” then-White House Counsel Fred Fielding wrote.

The Jan. 16, 2009 letter was acquired by Newsweek‘s Michael Isikoff and printed online Thursday evening.

At its heart, Fielding’s letter reflects President George W. Bush’s decision to continue to argue that “[t]he President and his immediate advisors are absolutely immune from testimonial compulsion by a congressional committee,” even after leaving office, citing a 2007 memorandum the Justice Department prepared. Ironically, the memo was prepared by the very department that Congress is trying to garner information about.

MORE HERE

This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Jan. 29, 2009.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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