Monday, February 13, 2006

NYT: Not a whole lot making the paper, it's a Monday

After the accident, Mr. Cheney's medical attendants helped Mr. Whittington, treating his wounds and covering him in blankets so he would not go into shock, Ms. Armstrong said. He did not lose consciousness. She described Mr. Cheney's immediate response to the shooting as "very appropriate."

His medical attendents???? The above is from Anne E. Kornblut's "Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter in Mishap on a Texas Ranch" in this morning's New York Times. We noted last night how some press reports were refusing to state the obvious. Kornblut semi-sort-of states it. His medical attendents. No need for panic, no cause for alarm. They're his attendents. He's just a princess. Not a man with a very grave health condidition.

We'll again note what Gareth noted last night, Dan Glaister's "Cheney shoots lawyer in hunt accident" (The Guardian of London):

Fortunately for Mr Whittington, a millionaire lawyer from Austin, the vice-president's medical team, on permanent call due to his sometimes fragile physical condition, were nearby.
"Fortunately, the vice-president has got a lot of medical people round him and they were right there," Mrs Armstrong said."He has an ambulance permanently on call and it came immediately."

Same Armstrong that Kornblut quotes. But apparently, we must not state the obvious in the Times regarding Cheney or really anything. "Medical attendents."

What else? Raymond Hernandez continues his war on Hillary Clinton. (Well, it's not really "his" war. It's the paper's efforts to box her in. And no blazing liberal she. But they prefer their Dem's on the lite.) Eric Lipton's finally gotten around to reading the Washington Post (the Hurricane Katrina report due out Weds. -- see last night's entry). Neil A. Lewis was on "pajamas media" duty yesterday and "reports" on the Sunday chat and chews in "Democrat Questions Cheney's Role in Leak." We're not quoting. When a Times reporter is on "light duty" expect them to still muck it up. Check out Bill Scher today for a rundown of what happened. Unlike timid Lewis, Scher won't start from the assumption that Howard Dean's confused.

We'll note this from Tim Golden's "Years After 2 Afghans Died, Abuse Case Falters:"

The two Afghans were found dead within days of each other, hanging by their shackled wrists in isolation cells at the prison in Bagram, north of Kabul. An Army investigation showed they were treated harshly by interrogators, deprived of sleep for days, and struck so often in the legs by guards that a coroner compared the injuries to being run over by a bus.
But more than a year after the Army began a major push to prosecute those responsible for the abuse of the two men and several other prisoners at Bagram, that effort has faltered badly.
Of 27 soldiers and officers against whom Army investigators had recommended criminal charges, 15 have been prosecuted. Five of those have pleaded guilty to assault and other crimes; the stiffest punishment any of them have received has been five months in a military prison. Only one soldier has been convicted at trial; he was not imprisoned at all.

And that's really it from the e-mails and my own quick scanning of the paper today. Most of the items were noted yesterday (in last night's entry) and more that was noted in that entry isn't in the paper. It's a Monday paper. Typical for the Times.

Now one highlight. Via Brady. Because it's worth focusing on, Sibel Edmonds's "Porter Goss' Op-ed: 'Ignoturn per Ignotius'!" (BuzzFlash):

Sir, as you must very well know after your years in congress as a representative and as a member of the intelligence committee, there are no meaningful legal protections for whistleblowers. What is troubling is that while you are well aware of the fact that there are no meaningful or enforceable laws that provide protection to national security whistleblowers, you nevertheless state that such workers are covered by existing laws. That is simply false. You state that "the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act was enacted to ensure that current or former employees could petition Congress, after raising concerns within their respective agency, consistent with the need to protect classified information." The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, which appears to be the legal channel provided to national security employees, turns out on closer inspection to be toothless. Please refer to the recent independent report issued by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on National Security Whistleblowers on December 30, 2005. The report concludes that there currently are no protections for national security whistleblowers - period. Let me provide you with a recent example illustrating the fallacy of your claim:
In December 2005, Mr. Russ Tice, former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst and action officer, sent letters to the chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and requested meetings to brief them on probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while he was an intelligence officer with the NSA and DIA. In his letter Mr. Tice, as a law abiding and responsible intelligence officer, stated "Due to the highly sensitive nature of these programs and operations, I will require assurances from your committee that the staffers and/or congressional members to participate retain the proper security clearances, and also have the appropriate SAP cleared facilities available for these discussion." On January 9, 2006, the NSA sent an official letter to Mr. Tice stating "neither the staff nor the members of the House or Senate Intelligence committees are cleared to receive the information.
Now, Mr. Goss, please explain this to the American public: What happened to your so-called appropriate congressional channels and protections available to national security whistleblowers? Mr. Goss, what "protected disclosure to congress" According to the NSA no one in the United States Congress is "cleared enough" to hear reports from national security whistleblowers. Please name one whistleblower to date who has been protected after disclosing information to the United States Congress; can you name even a single case? Or, is that information considered classified? How do we expect the United States Congress to conduct its oversight responsibility and maintain the necessary checks on the Executive Branch, when agencies such as yours declare the members of congress "not cleared enough" to receive reports regarding conduct by these agencies? Where do you suggest employees like Mr. Tice go to report waste, fraud, abuse, and/or illegal conduct by their agencies? Based on your administration's self-declared claim of inherent power and authority of the executive branch overriding courts and the United States Congress, what other channels are left to pursue?
Okay, now let's move to this notion you and the administration seem to be so very keen on: Classified & Sensitive Information. Let's start by asking how we define "classified & sensitive information," and who decides what is classified and sensitive? According to the statement by Thomas S. Benton, National Security Archive, on March 2, 2005, during the congressional hearing on "Emerging Threats: Overclassification & Pseudo-Classification," the deputy undersecretary of defense for counterintelligence and security declared that 50% of the Pentagon's information was over-classified, and the head of the Information Security Oversight Office said it was even worse, "even beyond 50%." Don't you find the percentage of falsely classified information appalling? Well, you should; it is your responsibility, because the executive branch, under the office of the United States President, is solely responsible for classification or pseudo-classification of information. Now, based on this knowledge, what should happen when you tell the public, when you tell the United States Congress and the media "Oh, you are not allowed to have this information; this information is highly sensitive and classified"? This is what should happen: we, the people, the Congress, and the media, should first ask you for the merits of the classification; have you prove to us that the information in question should in fact be classified; and you, the executive branch, have the obligation to truthfully respond.

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