Thursday, March 09, 2006

Other Items

The Federal Bureau of Investigation found apparent violations of its own wiretapping and other intelligence-gathering procedures more than 100 times in the last two years, and problems appear to have grown more frequent in some crucial respects, a Justice Department report released Wednesday said.
[. . .]
The inspector general's findings come at a time of fierce Congressional debate over the program of wiretapping without warrants that the National Security Agency has conducted. That program, approved by President Bush, is separate from the F.B.I. wiretaps reviewed in the report, and the inspector general's office concluded that it did not have the jurisdiction to review the legality or operations of the N.S.A. effort.

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Justice Dept. Report Cites F.B.I. Violations" in this morning's New York Times. So what are the areas of violations? Administrative subpoenas and the use of the material witness status to hold people.

From the article:

Mr. [John] Conyers said that "despite the Bush administration's attempt to demonize critics of its antiterrorism policies as advancing phantom or trivial concerns, the report demonstrates that the independent Office of Inspector General has found that many of these policies indeed warrant full investigations."

And they do warrant full investigation but with Pat Roberts giving feather kisses and reach arounds to the White House, it's doubtful they'll get any sort of investigation. But look for love slaves Chuck and Olympia to maintain that they are "independent" when the news reaches them.

Remember Democracy Now! is in London (today and tomorrow). Be sure to listen, watch or read.

Cindy notes John R. MacArthurt's "UAE Paymaster For Bushes and Clinton" (Providence Journal via Common Dreams):

It's hard not to chuckle at the Democratic Party cash-in on "Portgate," the proposed sale of big East Coast port operations to Dubai Ports World. (The company is owned by the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part.) The other day a Washington-based friend -- formerly employed by a Democratic senator -- called to share his amusement over the spectacle of politicians, most of them professed free-traders, demagogically accusing President Bush of reckless disregard for America's security.
"They got kicked in the head so many times they finally woke up," he told me with mirthful sarcasm. "Now, all they have to do is say it every day until November: 'He's selling our ports to terrorists!' "
To be sure, the Dubai Ports World controversy is replete with irony. Since 9/11, neither major political party has shown much interest in port security -- retired Coast Guard Commander Stephen Flynn notes that Congress has declined to spend anything close to the $5.6 billion estimated by the Coast Guard as necessary "to make ports minimally secure."
Moreover, the leadership of both parties supported the Clinton-backed "free-trade" agreement in 2000 with China, which caused a huge increase in container traffic -- conceivably bomb-laden -- into the U.S.
There is also something comical about the "opposition" party suddenly getting tough after caving in to Bush on so many issues -- from invading Iraq to tax cuts favoring the rich to assaults on civil liberties. I can't take the Democrats seriously when it's revealed that their fundraiser-in-chief, Bill Clinton, husband of Senate Portgate critic Hillary, advised Dubai's leaders last month on how best to navigate the ports crisis. He was paid $450,000 in 2002 to give speeches in Dubai, and his presidential library, in Little Rock, has received at least $500,000 from officials of the United Arab Emirates.
But beneath all the posturing lie serious questions and misdeeds by the president. For one thing, the initial decision not to invoke the 45-day review period required by law is more evidence that George Bush is running an imperial presidency that would make Richard Nixon envious.
Considering the president's inattention to Richard Clarke's warnings about al-Qaida before 9/11, I suppose it's possible that the president wasn't aware of the sale. But it's just as likely that his overweening arrogance makes him think that he can get away with anything.

Brady notes William Greider's "Will Greenspan Tell the Truth?" (The Nation):

Like others who write for money, I immediately started calculating author Alan Greenspan's word rate. He is writing an $8 million book. Suppose it's 500 pages long: That's $16,000 a page. If the computer is set properly, he will earn $500 a word. This calculation is not made in envy but for vicarious pleasure. Imagine sitting at the keyboard, you type a word--ka-ching--another $500 richer.
But is Greenspan really worth the money? Adulation can have a short shelf life for public officials, especially for a former Federal Reserve chairman. I imagine the editors at Penguin getting a little nervous about what they purchased, especially when they read the first draft of Greenspan double-talk.
Alan, can you touch it up a bit? Maybe a little personal warmth that makes you sound, well, human? Tell us if Bush is as clueless as he seems. Or give an anecdote or two that reveals that unknown towering intellect. Or Bill Clinton: How did you charm him into dumping his working-class constituents and embracing your bond-market economics? Did he cry when you won the argument? Stuff like that.

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