Tim Golden and Eric Schmitt for The New York Times wrote:
A central player in the fight over the directive is David S. Addington, who was the vice president's counsel until he was named on Monday to succeed I. Lewis Libby Jr. as Mr. Cheney's chief of staff. According to several officials, Mr. Addington verbally assailed a Pentagon aide who was called to brief him and Mr. Libby on the draft, objecting to its use of language drawn from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
"He left bruised and bloody," one Defense Department official said of the Pentagon aide, Matthew C. Waxman, Mr. Rumsfeld's chief adviser on detainee issues. "He tried to champion Article 3, and Addington just ate him for lunch."
A spokesman for the vice president, Stephen E. Schmidt, said Mr. Addington would have no comment on his reported role in the policy debates. A Defense Department spokesman, Bryan Whitman, also would not discuss Mr. Waxman's role except to say it was "certainly an exaggeration" to characterize him as having been bloodied by Mr. Addington.
In his time of need, he has counted on the help of at least one unswervingly faithful aide. With Libby sidelined, the vice president has elevated David Addington, a loyal acolyte, to be his new chief of staff. Addington has been at the vice president's side since the 1980s, when Cheney was a congressman and Addington a lawyer for the House intelligence committee. When Cheney became secretary of Defense during the first Bush presidency, Addington went with him. A skilled bureaucratic infighter who uses his temper strategically to stun foes into submission, Addington, now 48, has matured into a classic Washington type: the most powerful man you've never heard of. As Cheney's counsel, Addington—a private workaholic who, unlike Libby, shuns reporters—was one of the most forceful voices for tough treatment of terror suspects. It was Addington who drafted the January 2002 Alberto Gonzales memo which argued that captured Taliban and Qaeda fighters shouldn't be covered by the Geneva Conventions. He was behind the presidential order establishing military tribunals. And he passionately argued that in wartime the president has almost unlimited power—a point of view that was spelled out in the "torture memo" that the administration was eventually forced to rescind under public pressure.
Now those policies have become a burden for the White House. When Bush began his second term in 2004, a group of top administration officials, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, began a quiet campaign to back off some controversial detention and interrogation methods that were damaging U.S. credibility around the world. At White House meetings, Rice openly worried that in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib "these policies threatened to be the president's legacy," says an administration official who was present but asked for anonymity about the private sessions. Among the proposals seriously considered inside the bureaucracy: shutting down the prison at Guan-tanamo Bay, allowing U.N. inspectors to tour Gitmo and pledging to follow Article III of the Geneva Conventions, which bars "cruel, degrading and inhumane" treatment of prisoners. Among Rice's supporters were two staunch defenders of the war on terror: national-security adviser Stephen Hadley, and Gordon England, Donald Rumsfeld's new deputy—an important shift that suggested Rumsfeld had qualms of his own.
Staffers were dispatched to write up the new policies. But in the end, nothing came of them. Cheney and Addington, who usually stayed silent at meetings, used their influence afterward to kill the ideas, according to three administration officials who asked for anonymity to avoid crossing the vice president. "Each time, [we] hit a brick wall—the vice president's office and Addington," says one of the officials. The vice president's office declined to comment for this story beyond saying that Cheney "is motivated first and foremost in support of policies that will save American lives from a brutal enemy that has declared war on us."
Cheney relied on Addington to help him wrestle with the bureaucracy. "He knows it inside and out," says Juleanna Glover Weiss, Cheney's former press secretary. "He's a master of the Rube Goldberg-esque workings of the executive branch." Friends marvel at his ability to wade through hundreds of pages of turgid government reports to seize upon the one fact he needs to win an argument. "If you threw the entire U.S. budget into the air, David Addington could read it and mark it up before it ever hit the ground," says David Gribbin, a former Pentagon colleague. He could also be unforgiving. When a young Justice Department lawyer named Pat Philbin crossed Addington in a policy dispute, Addington made it his mission to block Philbin's promotion to a top Justice job. Addington let it be known that Philbin was a "marked man," says a colleague who spoke anonymously to avoid clashing with Addington. (Addington and Philbin declined to comment.)
Cheney and Addington's single-minded devotion to the idea of a powerful wartime presidency has, at times, led them to ignore important political realities. In 2002, administration lawyers tried to persuade Cheney and Addington to back off from the policy of denying U.S. "enemy combatants" access to legal counsel. But Cheney and Addington refused. But by 2004, the case had reached the Supreme Court and the administration wound up abandoning the position anyway, before the Justices could knock it down as unconstitutional. "David could be principled to a fault," says Bradford Berenson, a former White House colleague. It's a quality the vice president and his loyal aide admire most about one another—and one that will help define the battles to come.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
Q. Is Mr. Rove's status the same? I mean, the reports say that he remains under investigation. He was not indicted today. Is there anything —
MR. McCLELLAN: Anything — go ahead.
Q. Any change in his status? Has he talked to the President about the continuing investigation?
MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about change in his legal status? Is that what you're — I mean, it's —
Q. Does he still — he still works here, correct?
MR. McCLELLAN: That would be a Q.uestion to direct to his personal attorney.
Q. No, but he still works here, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw his personal attorney put out a statement earlier today. But, yes, he has been here doing his work.
Richard Schragger wrote:
[The law] required a married woman to notify her spouse if she was planning to have an abortion unless she swore that her spouse was not the father of the child, her husband could not be located after diligent effort, the pregnancy was a result of a sexual assault that had been reported to the authorities, or she had reason to believe that notification would likely result in infliction of bodily injury.
In 15 years on the federal bench, Judge Samuel Alito often has sided with positions backed by business leaders — and shown himself a strict interpreter of contracts — in cases ranging from employment discrimination and commercial speech to shareholder suits. ... One of the best-known is a 1997 dissent in which Judge Alito argued against a racial-discrimination claim made by a black housekeeping manager who was denied promotion to a job at a Marriott International Inc. hotel. The position, at a hotel in Park Ridge, N.J., went to a white woman. While the court ruled the woman could take the case to a jury, Judge Alito argued that, although she might be able to claim she had been treated unfairly, that wasn't enough to let her sue. "What we end up doing then is...allowing disgruntled employees to impose the cost of trial on employers who, although they have not acted with the intent to discriminate, may have treated their employees unfairly," he wrote. "This represents an unwarranted extension of the anti-discrimination laws." ... Last year, Judge Alito wrote an opinion striking down a Pennsylvania law that barred alcoholic-beverage advertising in college newspapers. The law violated advertisers' First Amendment rights, he found, while doing little to prevent underage drinkers from seeing liquor ads, since they were prevalent in many other media to which students had access. ... And in 1997, Judge Alito affirmed the dismissal of a shareholder class action filed against Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., of Burlington, N.J., after its earnings fell far short of its projections and its stock fell 30% in one day. He ruled that shareholder plaintiffs had failed to specify how the company's performance amounted to fraud, in a close reading of applicable statutes. Judge Alito has insisted on enforcement of contract terms challenged as unfair or otherwise as void, such as provisions that require consumers to use arbitration rather than lawsuits to pursue complaints, said Larry E. Ribstein, a law professor at the University of Illinois
Richard Schragger wrote:
Alito's unequivocal abortion decisions. Nov. 1, 2005, at 4:08 PM ET
Supporters of Judge Samuel Alito are out in full force today, arguing that he is conservative but not extreme; principled but not overzealous. The example being widely touted: He may have voted against a broad right to abortion in one case, but he struck down an abortion regulation in another. In one article after another it is suggested that Alito has taken a middle-of-the-road position in abortion cases. Now, let's be very clear: Judge Alito might be ambivalent about many things, but he is not ambivalent about abortion. Seeking to cloud this issue by pointing out that Alito authored opinions on both sides of the issue is nonsense. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In 1991, Alito was very clear. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey—the very case the Supreme Court later used to affirm Roe v. Wade—Alito joined the majority in holding that it is not an undue burden on a woman's right to choose to require women to wait 24 hours for an abortion, to require minors to obtain parental consent, or to require that abortion providers give women information about alternatives to abortion and comply with certain disclosure and public-reporting requirements. But Alito went even further than the majority in that case. Though he joined the other two judges in upholding most of Pennsylvania's law, he disagreed with them that the spousal notification portion of the statute was unconstitutional. Alito would have upheld the entire statute, including the spousal notification provision, on the grounds that it did not constitute an undue burden. It was this part of the statute the Supreme Court struck down in Casey.
Nine years later, in 2000, in Planned Parenthood v. Farmer, Alito faced a Pennsylvania statute banning the so-called partial-birth abortion procedure. But this time he did not get a chance to rule. The Supreme Court had granted review on an almost identical Nebraska statute, and the 3rd Circuit postponed handing down its own decision until it could hear from the Supreme Court. Alas, the Supreme Court struck down the Nebraska statute in Stenberg v. Carhart. Therefore the Pennsylvania statute had to fall as well. Alito had no choice: To do otherwise would have been to ignore a direct command of the Supreme Court.
What is interesting, however, is that Alito did not join the majority opinion in Farmer. He wrote separately. Why? Here's a very good guess: The majority opinion in Farmer had been drafted before the Supreme Court had issued its decision in Carhart; indeed, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who wrote it, expressly noted as much. Instead of rewriting the draft opinion, Barry simply tacked on the Carhart precedent to the beginning of her existing decision, observing that her opinion was essentially in agreement with the Supreme Court's. Had Alito originally agreed with Barry, it is a good guess he would have gone along with this shortcut, since the outcome was exactly the same. But I suspect that he didn't agree with the majority and certainly did not want some reasoning lurking out there that might have been even marginally broader than the Supreme Court's. So, Alito went out of his way to distance himself from Barry's opinion, which, he observed in concurrence, "was never necessary and is now obsolete."
Alito's snub of the Barry majority opinion echoes his logic in Casey, in which he rejected the majority's application of the undue burden test to Pennsylvania's spousal notification provision. That provision required a married woman to notify her spouse if she was planning to have an abortion unless she swore that her spouse was not the father of the child, her husband could not be located after diligent effort, the pregnancy was a result of a sexual assault that had been reported to the authorities, or she had reason to believe that notification would likely result in infliction of bodily injury.
The 3rd Circuit majority in Casey accepted expert testimony that this provision—even with its exceptions—would impose an undue burden on a woman's right to choose to undergo an abortion. The majority observed that most married women would voluntarily tell their husbands of their plans, but that in circumstances where they would not, requiring notification could result in spousal coercion. The exception for bodily harm, reasoned the majority, did not take into account the myriad forms of psychological coercion a husband could apply to a wife, including withdrawal of financial support or threats to dissolve the marriage. Moreover, the exception for spousal sexual abuse required that women report their abuser to the police, an action experts testified was likely to lead to further abuse and one a battered woman was unlikely to take. The majority of the Casey judges, taking account of the "real world consequences of forced notification," concluded that "because of the nature of the marriage relationship and the emotional character of the human response to pregnancy and abortion, the number of different situations in which women may reasonably fear dire consequences from notifying their husbands is potentially limitless."
But Alito rejected this "real world" approach, arguing that the plaintiffs had not sustained their burden of proving that the spousal notification provision would result in spousal coercion. Alito's interpretation of "undue burden" is noticeably crabbed: It is not enough, he argued, to show "that a law will have a heavy impact on a few women." Rather, those challenging the law must prove a "broader inhibiting effect." Alito thus demanded that the plaintiffs provide the court with a rough number of how many women would be inhibited from obtaining an abortion by the requirement of spousal notice. The majority's common-sense reasoning was not enough; the "undue burden" test required the plaintiffs to provide actual evidence that coerced spousal notification would inhibit some actual number of women's decision-making.
Of course, that kind of evidence is almost impossible to obtain. How would one begin to figure out just how many women would have sought an abortion but did not because they were required to notify their spouse? The plaintiffs provided expert evidence that women are often coerced physically and emotionally by abusive husbands; that the abortion decision presents them with a terrifying choice in those circumstances; and that required notification adds to the burden of an already difficult decision by holding out the threat of spousal reprisal. For Alito, this was not enough, and so he dissented.
That Alito was on the wrong side of the 3rd Circuit majority and the Supreme Court should be enough for those who are full-throated supporters of a woman's right to choose. But this fact is also important for anyone who finds themselves in the middle on this issue: Note that the judges who joined the 3rd Circuit opinion in Casey—Judges Walter Stapleton and Collins Seitz—were not radical, bra-burning feminists of any sort. Stapleton—who wrote Casey—was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and Seitz was a Johnson appointee; one can only characterize their jurisprudence as emphatically moderate and mainstream. And remember that the swing justices who upheld Casey and reaffirmed Roe—Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor—were also appointed by Republicans and are also moderate and well within the mainstream of judicial attitudes.
If Alito replaces O'Connor, both of his crucial abortion opinions in the 3rd Circuit indicate that he will not take her centrist path. But this time, there will be no moderate Supreme Court above him to put on the brakes.
Richard Schragger is an associate professor at the University of Virginia Law School.
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2129230/
Alito Distances Himself From 1985 Memos Senator Says Nominee Drew a Line Between Expressed Views and Potential Rulings
By Charles Babington Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, December 3, 2005; Page A01
Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. yesterday tried to tamp down criticisms of several past statements — including his assertion that the Constitution does not protect the right to abortion — by saying they were personal views or an advocate's work and not necessarily indications of how he might rule if confirmed, according to a key senator who quizzed him for more than an hour.
Alito's effort to distance himself from the recently disclosed 1985 documents came as liberal groups said the writings show him to be much more conservative than the newly confirmed chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr. Alito's explanation was meant to lessen the documents' impact, but it may expose him to accusations of insincerity or irresolution, advocates said. Document
In this May 30, 1985, memorandum, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito, Jr., then a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration, outlined his strategy for attacking the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling:
President Bush nominated Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court on Oct. 31, 2005. If confirmed, Alito will fill the seat currently held by retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Left-leaning groups, and at least one prominent conservative, said it is ludicrous for Alito to play down the significance of memos he wrote as a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration in which he said he was "particularly proud" of fighting affirmative action programs and was looking forward to the day the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling is overturned.
Alarmed that commentary on Alito, from the political left and right, was getting increasingly negative, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) asked the nominee this week to answer several questions in writing. The White House asked Specter to meet with Alito, instead, and then relay his comments, which the senator did in a news conference at the Capitol.
At issue are two memos that Alito, 55, wrote in 1985. In the first, a bid for a promotion, Alito wrote that he was "particularly proud" of contributing to cases arguing "that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." He was pleased, he wrote, "to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly."
In the second memo, he outlined a strategy for attacking the landmark 1973 court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. "What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?" he wrote, after volunteering to help in the matter.
Specter, referring to notes as he briefed reporters, said Alito discussed both memos "and raised a sharp distinction, as he put it, between his role as an advocate and his role as a judge." Especially concerning the second memo, Specter said, Alito "said he was writing it as an advocate; that his role as a judge would be different."
As for the earlier memo, the senator said, "I asked him about the line here, 'The Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.' And he identifies that as a personal opinion . . . and he said that his personal opinion would not be a factor in his judicial decision."
Asked whether Alito's explanations satisfied him, Specter said, "I'm here to report on his answers. . . . I am not satisfied; I am not dissatisfied."
Specter, who supports abortion rights, said Alito appeared sympathetic to the argument that Roe should be treated with great respect because it has been the law for 32 years. "Judge Alito says that when a matter is embedded in the culture, it's a considerable factor in the application of stare decisis ," Latin for "to stand by that which is decided," Specter said. Asked for details, Specter said: "I'm not going to interpret his words. I think those words are very meaningful as to jurisprudence and as to weight." He added: "I did not ask him whether he would push to overturn Roe v. Wade. "
Several liberal groups said it was absurd for Alito, a federal appeals court judge, to try to distance himself from the memos because he clearly described his views as deeply held. Judith C. Appelbaum of the National Women's Law Center said Alito applied his sentiments about abortion rights in 1991, when he ruled in a major case — Casey v. Planned Parenthood — that a married woman must inform her husband before having an abortion. The Supreme Court in 1992 overturned that provision of a law.
Conservative lawyer Bruce Fein, who was a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration, said he is baffled that Alito is pulling back from his well-argued 1985 memos. "I think the administration is misreading the Senate and the public, because you end up losing more if your credibility is strained and people think you're playing them for dupes," Fein said.
But Janet M. LaRue of the conservative group Concerned Women for America said she is not bothered that Alito is putting space between himself and his 20-year-old memos. "I would have been surprised if he had said anything else," she said. All her group wants, she said, is a judge "to make an objective ruling based on the law and the facts. It's a joke for the left to pretend that none of their favorite judges have deeply held beliefs."
Several conservative groups, meanwhile, plan a major push beginning Monday to portray Alito's opponents as anti-God. Talking points for the effort, which will involve ads and grass-roots organizations, were laid out in a strategy memo by Grassfire.org, which opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. Alito's opponents are united by "an agenda to purge any and all references to religion from our public life," the memo says.
The coalition, which includes the Judicial Confirmation Network, plans to send 2.3 million e-mails on the subject and hopes to "flood Senate offices with letters, faxes and phone calls." It will be joined in the effort by Fidelis, a Roman Catholic organization that describes itself as "pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty."
Staff writer Jo Becker contributed to this report.
Q. Can I ask you a quick one on another subject? Why does the administration feel it's necessary to maintain a network of secret detention centers around the world, out of sight of the Congress and the American people, and out of reach of American law and values?
MR. HADLEY: There have been some press reports this morning that have touched on that subject. And as you can appreciate, they raise some issues about possible intelligence operations. And as you know, we don't talk about intelligence operations from this podium.
Q. Don't they also raise issue of our values and our reputation in the world?
MR. HADLEY: Right, and I think the President has been pretty clear on that, that while we have to do what we — do what is necessary to defend the country against terrorists attacks and to win the war on terror, the President has been very clear that we're going to do that in a way that is consistent with our values. And that is why he's been very clear that the United States will not torture. The United States will conduct its activities in compliance with law and international obligations.
And in some of the issues involving detainees and the like, as you know, where there have been allegations that people have not met the standard the President has set, there have been investigations, and they have been of two forms. There are over a dozen investigations that have been done in the Department of Defense to find out what has been going on. Two things have happened as a result. There have been revisions of procedures and practices to ensure that the standard the President set is met; and then there have been investigations, prosecutions, and people punished for the failure to meet those standards. So we think that, consistent with the President's guidance, we are both protecting the country against the terrorists and doing it in a way that is consistent with our values and principles.
Q. If I could just press you on that, how do those self-correcting mechanisms that affirm our values and our laws, how do they work if the sites are secret to begin with?
MR. HADLEY: Well, the fact that they are secret, assuming there are such sites, does not mean that simply because something is — and some people say that the test of your principles are what you do when no one is looking. And the President has insisted that whether it is in the public, or is in the private, the same principles will apply, and the same principles will be respected. And to the extent people do not meet up, measure up to those principles, there will be accountability and responsibility.
Raw Story at mediachannel.org wrote:
Senator Tells CNN He Believes Republican Leaked Info on CIA Jails
Submitted by editor4 on November 9, 2005 - 2:55pm. Source: Raw Story
Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) told CNN's Ed Henry Tuesday afternoon that he believed it was a Republican senator who gave information about secret CIA jails abroad to the Washington Post, RAW STORY can report.
Lott said that much of the information contained in the Post report — which stated that the U.S. was holding terrorist suspects in secret CIA jails overseas — was discussed at a meeting of Republican senators last Tuesday.
The revelation appears to torpedo the political gambit of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) who called on the Senate and House intelligence committees to investigate who leaked the information to the Post.
The Post story cited as sources "U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement."
CNN's Ed Henry: "Trent Lott stunned reporters by declaring that this subject was actualy discussed at a Senate Republican luncheon, Republican senators only, last tuesday the day before the story ran in the Washington Post. Lott noted that Vice President Cheney was also in the room for that discussion and Lott said point blank "a lot of it came out of that room last tuesday, pointing to the room where the lunch was held in the capitol." He added of senators "we can't keep our mouths shut." He added about the vice president, "He was up here last wek and talked up here in that room right there in a roomful of nothing but senators and every word that was said in there went right to the newspaper." He said he believes when all is said and done it may wind up as an ethics investigation of a Republican senator, maybe a Republican staffer as well. Senator Frist's office not commenting on this development. The Washington Post not commenting either."
Q. Hi, Mr. President. Thank you. Did Karl Rove tell you the truth about his role in the CIA leak case? And do you owe the American people an apology for your administration's assertations that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby weren't involved?
THE PRESIDENT: We're going through a very serious investigation. And I will — have told you before that I'm not going to discuss the investigation until it's completed. And we have got a — my obligation is to set an agenda, and I've done that. And the agenda is fighting and winning the war on terror, and keeping the economic vitality and growth alive, dealing with the energy problem, nominating people to the Supreme Court that adhere to the philosophy that I can depend on — Judge Alito being such a person. I noticed today that they've got a date. I'm disappointed in the date, but happy they do have a firm date for his confirmation hearing. We've got to recover from the hurricanes. So I've got a lot to do, and will continue to focus on the people's business.
Q. You've taken a beating in recent weeks, sir. What are you going to do for a fresh start? Are there going to be any staff changes? Would it help if the special prosecutor would wrap up his probe quickly?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, again, you're trying to get me to comment on the investigation, which I'm not going to do. And I hope you understand that. It's a serious investigation, and it's an important investigation. But it's not yet over.
I think it's important for the American people to know that I understand my job is to set clear goals and deal with the problems we face. Now, look, we've got an ongoing war on terror. And my administration is working with friends and allies to find these terrorists and bring them to justice before they strike us again. We're fighting the terrorists in Iraq. And, as you know, we've got a two-pronged strategy, an important strategy, that one — on the one hand, has a political solution to it, on the other hand has a security solution to it. And we're working hard to achieve those objectives. We're laying what I have called the foundation for peace, because democratic nations don't war; democratic nations will be allies with each other in fighting off an ideology that is dark and grim in its vision, and is willing to use murder as its tool.
Q. Okay, this is not a question about the investigation, but it's about Karl.
THE PRESIDENT: It sounds like one, though.
Q. Are there discussions in the White House about whether or not Karl will remain in his job?
THE PRESIDENT: Elisabeth, the investigation on Karl, as you know, is not complete. And, therefore, I will not comment upon — about him and/or the investigation. Again, I understand the anxiety and angst by the press corps to talk about this. On the other hand, it is a serious investigation and we take it seriously and we're cooperating to the extent that the special prosecutor wants us to cooperate.
Q. The American people, though — sir, the American people, though, are beginning to question your honesty, according to the polls, 58 percent. And your approval rating is at an all-time low, primarily because, it seems, of this investigation. They are wondering whether you can keep on track and whether to believe you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, no, I understand there is a preoccupation by polls and by some. I think this may be — I think we've got — this is maybe the fourth or fifth consecutive semi-press conference — press conference or semi-press conference that I've been asked about polls. The way you earn credibility with the American people is to declare an agenda that everybody can understand, an agenda that relates to their lives, and get the job done. And the agenda that I'm working on now is one that is important to the American people.
First of all, it's to protect our country; it's to understand that we're at war with a radical ideology that wants to inflict harm on America and, at the same time, use that harm they inflict to achieve territorial ambition. I've talked a lot recently about the Zawahiri letter to Zarqawi, which is a clear statement of purpose by these terrorists. It should be viewed for what it is: an open warning to the free world that this is a very vital war and we need to win it. So I spend a lot of time talking about that — and more than talking about it, acting on it.
Secondly, you know, our economy has shown amazing resilience in the face of natural disaster, as well as rising energy prices. But we've got to have policies in place that make it possible for the economy to continue to grow. You know, we're down here talking about trade — it's hard to trade with somebody if they're broke. And I've told our partners that we've got good economic growth now. But what we need to do is to work with Congress to make sure that we deal with the energy crisis — what can we do to deal with the energy crisis? Well, we can expand refinery capacity in the United States. I mean, it should be apparent to the members of Congress that when the Katrina hit there was massive disruptions of our own capacity to make gasoline, which put us in a precarious position for the consumers — which would affect the economy, by the way.
And so we'll be talking to Congress about a further energy initiative to make sure we've got economic growth. We've obviously got work to do with Katrina and Rita, the damage from those hurricanes.
And I mentioned the Supreme Court. This is a very vital issue for the United States Senate and for the country. Sam Alito, Jr., is an incredibly intelligent, well qualified person who should be on the Court. I told the leadership I thought it would be best to have the hearings before Christmas. They didn't feel like they could get the job done. I talked to Chairman Specter, and the reason why, at least he explained to me, that he couldn't get the hearings done before Christmas is because Alito had written so many opinions and he wanted to make sure he had time to read them. And they made that decision. Fortunately, there is a firm date and we look forward to working on that date.
And, finally, an issue that is of concern to the American people is the border, is border security. I signed an appropriations bill for border security and during that signature ceremony talked about our strategy to use technology and border patrol and wise policies to do our job, which is to prevent people from illegally — not only people, but, by the way, contraband, guns and drugs — from coming into our country illegally. And so that's the agenda before us, and that's the agenda that I will continue to work on.
STEPHEN LABATON wrote:
November 5, 2005 Spending Inquiry for Top Official on Broadcasting
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 - Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the head of the federal agency that oversees most government broadcasts to foreign countries, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, is the subject of an inquiry into accusations of misuse of federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees, officials involved in that examination said on Friday.
Mr. Tomlinson was ousted from the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on Thursday after its inspector general concluded an investigation that was critical of him. That examination looked at his efforts as chairman of the corporation to seek more conservative programs on public radio and television.
But Mr. Tomlinson remains an important official as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The board, whose members include the secretary of state, plays a central role in public diplomacy. It supervises the government's foreign broadcasting operations, including Radio Martí, Radio Sawa and al-Hurra; transmits programs in 61 languages; and says it has more than 100 million listeners each week.
The board has been troubled lately over deep internal divisions and criticism of its Middle East broadcasts. Members of the Arab news media have said its broadcasts are American propaganda.
People involved in the inquiry said that investigators had already interviewed a significant number of officials at the agency and that, if the accusations were substantiated, they could involve criminal violations.
Last July, the inspector general at the State Department opened an inquiry into Mr. Tomlinson's work at the board of governors after Representative Howard L. Berman, Democrat of California, and Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, forwarded accusations of misuse of money.
The lawmakers requested the inquiry after Mr. Berman received complaints about Mr. Tomlinson from at least one employee at the board, officials said. People involved in the inquiry said it involved accusations that Mr. Tomlinson was spending federal money for personal purposes, using board money for corporation activities, using board employees to do corporation work and hiring ghost employees or improperly qualified employees.
Through an aide at the broadcasting board, Mr. Tomlinson declined to comment Friday about the State Department inquiry.
In recent weeks, State Department investigators have seized records and e-mail from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, officials said. They have shared some material with the inspector general at the corporation, including e-mail traffic between Mr. Tomlinson and White House officials including Karl Rove, a senior adviser to President Bush and a close friend of Mr. Tomlinson.
Mr. Rove and Mr. Tomlinson became friends in the 1990's when they served on the Board for International Broadcasting, the predecessor agency to the board of governors. Mr. Rove played an important role in Mr. Tomlinson's appointment as chairman of the broadcasting board.
The content of the e-mail between the two officials has not been made public but could become available when the corporation's inspector general sends his report to members of Congress this month.
That inspector general examined several contracts that were approved by Mr. Tomlinson but not disclosed to board members. The contracts provided for payments to a researcher who monitored the political content of several shows, including "Now" with Bill Moyers, and payments to two Republican lobbyists who were retained to help defeat a proposal in Congress that would have required greater representation of broadcasters on the corporation's board.
The inspector general also examined the role of a White House official, Mary C. Andrews, in Mr. Tomlinson's creation of an ombudsman's office to monitor the political balance of programs.
Mr. Tomlinson has said he took those steps to counter what he called a clear liberal tilt of public broadcasting. But broadcasting executives and critics of the corporation say the steps violated the corporation's obligations to insulate broadcasting from politics.
On Thursday Mr. Tomlinson was forced to step down from the corporation, which directs nearly $400 million in federal money to public radio and television, after the board was briefed about the conclusions by its inspector general. In that inquiry, examiners looked at accusations that Mr. Tomlinson improperly used corporation money to promote more conservative programming.
State Department officials said on Friday that al-Hurra, the Arabic language satellite television network set up by the board of governors, was also being examined by the inspector general for possibly problematic procurement practices. That audit was first disclosed on Friday by The Financial Times.
The audit began at the request of al-Hurra, the officials said. A statement by the broadcasting board said that the agency had "no indication of any wrongdoing."
The network, which receives nearly $50 million in federal financing and is broadcast in 22 countries, was set up to compete with al-Jazeera and other Arab news media. One State Department official said Karen P. Hughes, under secretary of state for public diplomacy, had been briefed on the subject and "awaits the findings of the inspector general's audit."
Steven R. Weisman contributed reporting for this article.
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. ... Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. ... The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.
The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said. Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. ... Christian refused to hand over those records, and his employer, Library Connection Inc., filed suit for the right to protest the FBI demand in public.
In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined.
Senior FBI officials acknowledged in interviews that the proliferation of national security letters results primarily from the bureau's new authority to collect intimate facts about people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
Criticized for failure to detect the Sept. 11 plot, the bureau now casts a much wider net, using national security letters to generate leads as well as to pursue them. Casual or unwitting contact with a suspect — a single telephone call, for example — may attract the attention of investigators and subject a person to scrutiny about which he never learns. A national security letter ... yields [data that reveals] where a person makes and spends money, with whom he lives and lived before, how much he gambles, what he buys online, what he pawns and borrows, where he travels, how he invests, what he searches for and reads on the Web, and who telephones or e-mails him at home and at work.
In fact, as the Dec. 31 deadline approaches and Congress prepares to renew or make permanent the expiring provisions, House and Senate conferees are poised again to amplify the FBI's power to compel the secret surrender of private records. The House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with a national security letter a criminal offense. The House would also impose a prison term for breach of secrecy.
Like many Patriot Act provisions, the ones involving national security letters have been debated in largely abstract terms. The Justice Department has offered Congress no concrete information, even in classified form, save for a partial count of the number of letters delivered.
"The beef with the NSLs is that they don't have even a pretense of judicial or impartial scrutiny," said former representative Robert L. Barr Jr. (Ga.), who finds himself allied with the American Civil Liberties Union after a career as prosecutor, CIA analyst and conservative GOP stalwart. "There's no checks and balances whatever on them. It is simply some bureaucrat's decision that they want information, and they can basically just go and get it."
"If you have a list of, say, 20 telephone numbers that have come up . . . on a bad guy's telephone," said Valerie E. Caproni, the FBI's general counsel, "you want to find out who he's in contact with." Investigators will say, " 'Okay, phone company, give us subscriber information and toll records on these 20 telephone numbers,' and that can easily be 100." ... Since the Patriot Act, the FBI has dispersed the authority to sign national security letters to more than five dozen supervisors — the special agents in charge of field offices, the deputies in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, and a few senior headquarters officials. ... "Congress has given us this tool to obtain basic telephone data, basic banking data, basic credit reports," said Caproni, who is among the officials with signature authority. "The fact that a national security letter is a routine tool used, that doesn't bother me."
If agents had to wait for grounds to suspect a person of ill intent, said Joseph Billy Jr., the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, they would already know what they want to find out with a national security letter. "It's all chicken and egg," he said. "We're trying to determine if someone warrants scrutiny or doesn't."
Innocent Americans, he said, "should take comfort at least knowing that it is done under a great deal of investigative care, oversight, within the parameters of the law."
As the Justice Department prepared congressional testimony this year, FBI headquarters searched for examples that would show how expanded surveillance powers made a difference. Michael Mason, who runs the Washington field office and has the rank of assistant FBI director, found no ready answer."I' d love to have a made-for-Hollywood story, but I don't have one," Mason said. "I am not even sure such an example exists."
A model request for a supervisor's signature, according to internal FBI guidelines, offers this one-sentence suggestion: "This subscriber information is being requested to determine the individuals or entities that the subject has been in contact with during the past six months."
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [said] "there has not been one substantiated allegation of abuse of these lawful intelligence tools."
To Jeffrey Breinholt, deputy chief of the Justice Department's counterterrorism section, the civil liberties objections "are eccentric." Data collection on the innocent, he said, does no harm unless "someone [decides] to act on the information, put you on a no-fly list or something."
Barr, the former congressman, said that "the abuse is in the power itself." "As a conservative," he said, "I really resent an administration that calls itself conservative taking the position that the burden is on the citizen to show the government has abused power, and otherwise shut up and comply."
The ACLU, of course, finds it hard to formulate a sound bite that will resonate with the regular folks, adhering to the media-speak that fills their coffers with donations from the politically correct. Pursuing a typically mediacentric agenda, the ACLU focuses on the "chilling effect" of domestic spying on wide-open media consumption.
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