Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Other items

Porter J. Goss, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, delivered a long-awaited internal report to Congress on Monday night that is said to give a harsh assessment of the agency's performance before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
[. . .]
The report was prepared by the C.I.A.'s inspector general, John L. Helgerson, in response to a request in December 2002 from the joint Congressional inquiry into the attacks. By statute, Mr. Helgerson, who joined the C.I.A. in 1971 and became inspector general in 2002, is the agency's independent watchdog, reporting to Congress as well as to the agency.
A draft report was given to Mr. Goss in October, but he postponed its release so that people criticized for their role in the failure to prevent the 2001 attacks could review and respond to the accusations. Officials and former officials named in the report gave their responses to Mr. Helgerson before he completed the report in late June.

The above is from Scott Shane's "Congress Given Internal Report on C.I.A. Role" in this morning's New York Times. Not really sure why an "independent watchdog" needs to put out a report that includes responses from individuals criticized in the report, but then I don't really believe that's why Goss postponed the release in October. (Magic 8 Ball says "Election.")

Shane notes that Jane Harman feels the report was done to inform the public so declassifcation of as much of it as can be declassified should be done promptly. Pat Roberts takes a wait and see attitude. (Neither have read the report. It was locked up yesterday and they only Free Willy today.)

Barry e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Bush Goes to the VFW" (The Progressive):

For some reason, George Bush found it easier to fly to Salt Lake City to discuss the war than to talk about it in a ditch outside ofCrawford.
Of course, he was guaranteed a more sympathetic audience at the VFW National Convention than at Camp Casey.
And that's all Bush ever seeks out: one sympathetic, pre-screened audience after another.
Next he'll probably be talking to the annual meeting of Halliburton.
With his approval rating plummeting to 36 percent, he needed to go to the VFW to find enthusiastic supporters of his war.
He took the occasion to make easy plugs not only for the Patriot Act but for the constitutional amendment banning flag-burning.
After tossing that red meat into the crowd, Bush got down to business: justifying the ongoing Iraq War.

While Bully Boy couldn't leave his chicken coop ranch in Crawford to walk over to Camp Casey, it should be noted that, as reported by the Associated Press' Christopher Smith in "Bush Bikes, Boats During Idaho Vacation," mountain biking and fishing at a resort -- a resort -- in Idaho fit nicely into his "heavy" schedule. We are at war, right?

This is a good place to note an item George e-mailed -- Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest Editor's Cut (The Nation) entitled "Ground Control to Major George:"

There is something profoundly disturbing about the fact that the Commander in Chief is in better shape than his Army, that he has time to ride his bike around his ranch for hours while the wheels are coming off the war in Iraq, that he had time to attend fundraisers but not to meet Cindy Sheehan.
Bush's disengagement from reality is reaching the freakish level. In America, Republicans are abandoning his war as they face re-election in '06.
Chuck Hagel compared Iraq to Vietnam. More than 60 percent of Americans think the invasion was a mistake, and we are not winning. And now the first Democratic senator, Russell Feingold, has broken ranks and called for a timeline for withdrawal.

Jill e-mails to note that she enjoys it when Todd S. Purdum is "taken to task, smelly jock strap and all" and asks that we note this from FAIR's magazine Extra!, Julie Hollar and Peter Hart's "When 'Old News' Has Never Been Told: U.S. media produce excuses, not stories, on Downing Street Memo:"

The New York Times' Todd Purdum (6/14/05) echoed the "we-already-knew-this" angle. Though Bush and Blair opponents "see the documents as proof that both men misled their countries into war," Purdum argued, "the documents are not quite so shocking. . . . The memos are not the Dead Sea Scrolls." The notion that Bush was determined to oust Hussein, he explained, was "conventional wisdom" at the time the memos were written, and "there has been ample evidence for many months, and even years, that top Bush administration figures saw war as inevitable by the summer of 2002." Purdum's argument, like the similar arguments of his colleagues, is revealing: By acknowledging the "ample evidence" that indicates a secret, publicly denied Bush administration decision to invade Iraq, but then dismissing it as old news, journalists manage to avoid saying that the Bush administration lied to the American public—something they are exceedingly reluctant to do (Extra!, 1–2/05).

[Jill's referring to "Editorial: Still Timid, the Times takes a dive" and "NYT: The fumes from his smelly jock k.o. Todd Purdum yet again."]

A lot of you are e-mailing in to express delight with Kat's latest Kat's Korner album review ("Kat's Korner: The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-71") so, heads up, she has a mini-essay on Joan Baez here.

The e-mail address for this site is