Bush Turned His EO on Classified Information into Pixie Dust, Too

Yesterday, I expanded on the reasons why the OLC opinion holding that Presidents aren’t bound by their own Executive Orders is so scary. It means that every Executive Order may have been turned to Pixie Dust by the President–and we’d never know it.

Unless, of course, there were persistent, unpunished violations of what we believed to be the Executive Order. If there were an Executive Order that the Executive branch was publicly flouting, we might assume that Bush had turned that EO, too, into Pixie Dust.

And that is apparently what happened with EO 12958. It governs the treatment of classified information: what can be classified, when it should be declassified, what records one should keep of classification and declassification, and who can declassify classified information, and how classified information should be protected.

It’s an EO that Vice President Cheney has had epic difficulties with.

In 2003, for example, Vice President Cheney (and the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board) stopped providing the National Archives with data describing his office’s classification and declassification activities. No explanation, he just stopped doing so.

Then, in 2004, the National Archives prepared to do an inspection of OVP, as it is mandated to do. Yet OVP refused to let the NA conduct the inspection.

Finally, when Bill Leonard of ISOO appealed to DOJ for a ruling on Cheney’s refusal to submit to the plain text meaning of Bush’s EO, he was told (six months later) that the EO had turned to Pixie Dust. Specifically, he was told four years after the fact that President Bush did not intend for OVP to be an agency under the EO.

On July 12, 2007, the Counsel to the President wrote a letter to Congress stating that "[t]he President has asked me to confirm to you that … the Office of the Vice President … is not an ‘agency’ for purposes of the Order." … That statement on behalf of the President resolves the question you presented to the Attorney General. Therefore, the Department of Justice will not be providing an opinion addressing this question.

Poof! Four years after Cheney stopped reporting his classification activities, three years after NA tried to do the original inspection, Bush got around to telling Bill Leonard that the plain text of the EO doesn’t mean what it appears to mean. And Bush only told Leonard that news via Fred Fielding via Sam Brownback via Steven Bradbury. It took Congress threatening to withdraw funding from OVP before the President decided to tell the guy whose job it is that the EO at the center of his mandate doesn’t mean what it appears to mean–and what he has understood it to mean for all the years he has done the job. As Leonard said via email:

I was not told that the Order was in some way being modified, I was told that the Order meant something other than what I (and others) thought a plain text reading would indicate, especially in the context in which it was originally developed.

You see how these Pixie Dust EOs can confuse issues?

  1. JimWhite says:

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,’ it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.


    It’s pretty clear here that making words, and EO’s, change their meaning is all about who is to be master, rather than which.

  2. Phoenix Woman says:

    Remember, these are the same people that prosecuted Sandy Berger for making copies of his own notes (which never should have been classified by Bush in the first place) in preparation for his testimony before Congress. Yet they can leak classified info like Valerie Plame’s status as a CIA NOC and that’s A-OK.

  3. phred says:

    “Therefore, the Department of Justice will not be providing an opinion addressing this question.”

    This is the money quote. This is exactly the kind of conduct we have seen repeatedly from BushCo. They boldly assert their UE authority, but under no circumstances are they willing to subject those assertions to external legal review. Just as they changed the terms under which certain prisoners were held, rather than having those detentions reviewed by the Judicial Branch, here again we see them change the rules of engagement. As long as they keep doing this, there can be no meaningful review.

    • emptywheel says:

      No. This appears to be the final resolution to the Fourth Branch issue: Bush just decided that OVP is not an agency, but didn’t bother to tell the people who needed to know that.

      • nolo says:

        i guess what so fascinates — and
        appalls — me is this idea that
        using young, idealistic, but not
        very bright or independent lawyers
        to cover one’s tracks — after the
        fact — has become the cheney-bush
        standard operating procedure.

        note that we are now told a junior
        lawyer at CIA wrote an “okie-dokie
        for the destruction of the CIA’s near-
        torturous interrogation tapes. riiiiight.

        cheney clearly knew he was getting
        close to being cornered on the whole
        how many, and whom, is visiting his
        office thing — so he and dubbya cotton
        up, out of whole clothe, an opinion, from
        an idealogue lawyer, saying — as humpty
        dumpty did(!) — these words don’t mean what
        they mean. of course (although unsaid here,
        by EW), it is a fact, that as we learn of these
        abuses and usurpations, it is incumbent upon
        us — through CREW, the ACLU, or the EFF, via
        filing citizen-suits, to acheive judicial
        of this lawlessness. it cannot be
        allowed to stand. and perhaps, unlike balkin,
        i do think these matters are plainly justiciable,
        and “three rules laws” of the
        cheney-bush admin., as set out by sen. sheldon
        whitehouse, from memory, are on their face, quite simply,
        intentioanl misstatements of the law — misstatements that
        lead directly to the unconstituitional results
        we are all now experiencing.


        okay — time to switch to decaf, eh?

        y i k e s.

        great expose, EW.

      • alank says:

        Perhaps the Fourth Branch is agencyless. However, agencylessness seems tantamount to powerlessness. Nothing can be executed without an agency. Ergo, Cheney is just a hood ornament.

  4. wavpeac says:

    At every turn this administration has been about power and secrets. About twisting and turning events to benefit them and their ideals at the expense of the constitution. Without a doubt the dems have been complicit at the very least for refusing to save our constitution. I don’t care if we lose the battle, but the battle to save it must be fought, on principle. The Bush team has been reacting instead of planning and offering foresight. What will it take to force the dems to advocate on our behalf or can we go around them? How do the american people ban together for the sake of the constitution and demand an examination of this adminstration. Can that be done?

    • nolo says:

      pliz forgive us our typos,
      as we forgive others’ of theirs. . .

      sheesh — i was clearly typin’
      too fast @ comment 11 — but i
      think the gist of it still comprehensible. . .
      oh well.
      my [repeatedly] bad.

  5. JodiDog says:

    Don’t you get it, Emptywheel?

    George Bush is President!

    George Bush is the King of the Pixies!

    “Don’t you get it?”

  6. scribe says:

    As to those at CIA saying “no one told us not to destroy the torture tapes, so we did”, there’s a little problem.

    A court order prohibiting them from doing so. Entered July 18, 2005, about 4 months prior to the (dates reported for the) destruction. And served on July 22, 2005, on the CIA.

    SCOTUSBlog has the coverage:

    Lawyers in a second Guantanamo Bay detainee case filed a plea in federal court in Washington Monday, asking that the Central Intelligence Agency be ordered to explain destruction of two tapes showing aggressive questioning of detainees. In a motion filed with U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts in the case of Abdullah v. Bush (docket 05-23), the attorneys said that they had notified the CIA directly of the judge’s order forbidding destruction of potential evidence in July 2005 — four months before agency officials ordered the destruction of the tapes.

    The new motion can be found here; a copy of the letter to the CIA, found here, was attached as an exhibit to the motion [the opinion of July 18, 2005 is also part of that document, as is a list of the documents/things to be preserved, at pages 16-18/18]. The attorneys said they expected the Justice Department to oppose the request for a “report on compliance” with Judge Roberts’ 2005 order (download here).

    Although congressional committees, the Justice Department and the CIA are all pursuing investigations into the tapes’ destruction, the actions in federal court — the first was filed just after midnight Sunday — appeared to be moving much faster. Judge Roberts and the judge who received the first challenge, Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr., were expected to get prompt replies from the Justice Department.

    From the motion papers, some nice sharp swipes:

    Inquiry into the scope of this likely spoliation of evidence should best come from the Court rather than from counsel seeking “assurances” from the very agency which has confessed to destruction of evidence. Indeed, the Department of Justice stubbornly resisted entry of this Court’s July 18, 2005 order, urging the order to be unnecessary given the presumption of regularity of government conduct and other bland assurances that the respondents would behave.
    Petitioner responded arguing that respondents had already exhibited their penchant for illegal behavior, including destruction of evidence, thereby nullifying any such “presumption”. Precisely because of prior misconduct, the order was entered and petitioner, out of an abundance of caution, served it on the very agency which has now confessed to misdeeds, including filing ex parte perjured declarations regarding evidence before the Moussaoui court.

    Sometimes, lawyering can be fun – like when you get to tee off on a liar.

  7. PJEvans says:

    scribe @ 18

    That’s interesting. Have you posted this over at FDL? (Lots of not-adding-up going on over there this mornnig.)

  8. WilliamOckham says:

    Forget the pixie dust. There’s a better name for this, Calvinball (but only Bush & Cheney get to play). The complete rules can found on the net, but here’s the one that matters:

    1.2. Any player may declare a new rule at any point in the game (Figure 1.2). The player may do this audibly or silently depending on what zone (Refer to Rule 1.5) the player is in.

    • Neil says:

      Been wondering when we’d see you write for the Guardian again. It’s been a while, no?


      I enjoyed listening to the podcast of you on Sam Seder Sunday, listen here 12/09/07 Sam Seder. I think your panel started about 40 minutes into it then ran out the clock!


      I noticed five terrific improvements here at emptywheel; 1) Latest Posts box in the right column with 10 titles, 2) forward and backward navigation links at the top and bottom of a post, 3) From the Blogs shows the title of the current post at FDL and Tbogg, 4) more EW post summaries on the front page, and you’ve 5) actived the Support this site like. Great improvements, all. I’ve been reading your work for a few years now and it’s high time I make what is a long overdue contribution. Thanks. PS What good is a tip jar unless people use it?

    • WilliamOckham says:

      Feel free to use wherever. No h/t needed. I’d rather have the meme propagated widely than worry about getting credit.

  9. Redshift says:

    Okay, here’s what I don’t quite get. I can understand to some extent the argument that the president is not bound by his own executive orders — not that I agree with it, but I can see the argument that being public about changes to them is a matter of keeping people informed so government works, not a matter of power and authority.

    But how can that logic justify allowing the president to order other people in government to act contrary to executive orders?

    And yes, I know this is all just window-dressing for the lawlessness of “the Decider can do whatever he wants and nobody has any power to constrain him,” but if you’re going to operate by secret legal opinions, why not have ones that actually correspond to what you’re doing, instead of issuing secret power-grab legal opinions and then being so lawless that you don’t even follow them?

  10. JohnLopresti says:

    My sense is the instaDeclassify or whatever other evanescent rule 1.1.1-beta is employed by fourthBranch has at least two primary foundations, one the AUMF and the other the eccentric litigation extending back to the roots of how the original US aggregation of states resolved and partly ignored how to re-embark on rule of civil law after our own turbulent beginning as a country often re-engaing in military confrontations with some of the European both old Europe and new Europe though the metaphor stretches wildly, colonial originators, viz., Spain, France, UK, and the civil conflict here in s.XIX.
    The federal rules of evidence keep resurfacing in the arguments, as the nice link by scribe, above, to the Roberts citing of Harris 2005 reminds. The essence for the juggernaut unitary executive is to keep a war going or lose the strong unilateral authenticity the constitution provides. However, the diffuse spy and civil disrupter nature of the current asymmetrical standoff and even the illegal methods US used to staunch the problems early and throughout, quickly diminished the scale of the encounter. The Cheney 1% intolerance threshold rule illustrates this equally patently. It is nice to have voices like Whitehouse’s asking the most basic questions here, as the effect his and other overseers’ incentives will produce in our system of government will drive decisionmaking back to the place to which scribe linked, having to ask CJRoberts what parts of this are stare decisis and what might need further thought. I would worry about Thomas and Alito in that regard, but those are the only two foci on the SCourt that might want to end federal rules of evidence; and, in our story, the archival regs by which the presidency operates when it is functioning by the rules of the nation of laws. In the catharsis show side of the process which also includes genuine and deserved prosecutions at Gitmo, last week again a chief judge resigned because of the gaming of evidence. It is my understanding Hamdan’s counsel are not cert’ed to make their appeal any more at Scotus, but some of their consultants, including Lederman, made an eloquent multifaceted argument last week in Boumediene on most of the uncerted Hamdan appeal grounds. Cheney and Addington would dread the prospect of having any case cert’ed to Scotus which would have to address the fourthBranchist hypothesis, as it is patently unconstitutional and is counterrevolutionary in that sense. I remain somewhat sanguine about that, however; as the international conflict is confounding the usual modalities western governments have employed to counter problems that have been disruptive to civil order. It is even possible the multibranched intell community will help counterbalance the immediate obstacles such as the essential abrogation of the executive order process; but I have noted recently a lot of the m.o. from Iran-Contra, and the principals who prosecuted that stretegy, continue to re-appear in the current presidency’s way of doing things, including the executive order waiving of US law, and the shadow vice presidency serving as the true power center with a compliant public relations effort provided by the actual president. This saga began with a minority president in 2000; and folks are still wondering whether the voting machines are going to work next year.
    MLederman, I would imagine, as well as Whitehose, likely are trying to project, based on their divergent knowledgebases, what exactly might lie beyond the Whitehouse publicized three elements of monarchy; Lederman would like to see a more ordered function in the technical group in which he worked; but there is little of political impact he would be willing to voice; it takes a close reading to get that gist. It is Whitehouse’s responsibility to exercise the public discussion approach. In fact, I think that is a rendition of what Pelosi was elucidating a few days ago about her support of Harman’s letter writing; that there are due process ways congress goes about documenting events and writing letters.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A basic problem is that they only “procedure” or “system” that now operates in the White House is whatever Richard Bruce Cheney wants when he wants it, and a GW Bush so dependent on Cheney’s approval and the avoidance of his disapproval that he will do whatever he says. Who says Freudian analysis is completely outdated.

    Remove Cheney and we have complete chaos until the system, which is actually fairly competent, begins to work again. But then, with Cheney, we have incompetence, irrationality and unpredictability, all designed to keep him out of the limelight, out of jail, and in the seat of power.

  12. brendanx says:

    Bush always flubs his cover story and lets the cat out of the bag:

    “My first recollection of whether the tapes existed or whether they were destroyed was when [CIA Director] Michael Hayden briefed me,” Bush said.

          • phred says:

            2nd row — EW guessed it right off. I’m telling you she isn’t just a genius with a flare for details, she’s psychic as well ; )

            • emptywheel says:

              You and PatFitz have second row written all over you.

              Though that’s mostly the perspective of a back who feels the proper place for people who tower over her like you do is stuck in the middle of a scrum, where you can’t get to me.

              • phred says:

                Fair enough, maybe you’re not psychic. Too tall to be a prop, too slow to be anywhere other than the middle of the scrum. Enough of a brick wall to get the in the way of the spritely little backs that came my way, hehe.

    • sailmaker says:

      So, in Bush logic, all would have been well if Bill had said, ” I can not recall having sex with that woman “?

      At this rate W will never remember his whole tenure as president, except for that most amazing thing, he caught a 7 pound bass in his back yard pond.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m sure the CIA destroys ”tapes” all the time (just as they throw away their old LP’s). If I were Congress, I would also ask whether they destroyed the digital copies and backups. Given the jesuitical parsing Addington & Co., use daily, I wouldn’t assume that destroying one means they’ve destroyed the other. They’ve invested too much in this process to lose its ”lessons”, or to make them unviewable by Dick in whatever undisclosed location he inhabits from time to time.

    Then again, the observation of an earlier blog commenter was compelling: given a choice between liability for obstruction of justice and being convicted of a war crime, I, too, would choose obstruction. It has a statute of limitation and a wrist-slap penalty compared with war crimes.

  14. oldtree says:

    every so often one must look at these collected individuals and wonder about their parents. were they a little too busy to teach them anything? I sense a lack of some of the fundamental character that a kindergarten student would develop when someone hid their apple. I have never seen one instance of moral or cultural values being on display with any of these folks.
    so perhaps a psychological approach that would deliver the type of stimuli to the androids in question that might affect their programming? If their illegal alien servants might consider planting small microphones for subliminal programming. it might start with: flower good, ground needs to be dirt, water has to be clean enough to drink… then on to the complex concepts of friendship. I must be dreaming again, sorry for spinning out like that.

    • phred says:

      oldtree, if JohnLopresti is right, W learned too much from his old man, not too little.

      JohnLopresti — I’m intrigued by the comment you make in regard to Iran Contra and the shadow Vice President Bush being the power center of the Reagan presidency. Do you think VP GHWB exerted his influence only with respect to IranContra (which was my opinion at the time, given his CIA connection) or do you think his influence was broader than that? IMO, Bush made a better shadow VP than Cheney because his machinations were more effectively hidden from public view. Do you think that is because VP Bush had less influence then than Cheney has now, that VP Bush was better at covering his tracks, or that Reagan was more convincing in the role of President than W?

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    And where does this perversion of the law and record of executive conduct lead? Larisa Alexandrovna has a few details:


    The UN, like NYC, has a special sex crimes unit. A colleague was a senior member of the unit that investigated rape as a war crime in Bosnia. Looks like s/he may have a job with the attorney general in the next administration, which will have to set up a similar office to investigate part of what this administration has done, “to keep us safe” (said, I think, in the familiar accent used with the refrain, “Is it safe?”).

  16. Neil says:

    Bad Intelligence?

    The unfortunate thing about all of this is that, amid clear patterns of deception from a nation that is actively engaged in the support of terrorism and regional destabilization, we risk being immobilized by a debate over whether we are being deceived or not. Jules Crittendon

    We have not been immobilized from working the issue, we’ve been immobilized from dropping bombs on what we do not know to be a nuclear weapons manufacturing site, notwithstandnig the question of whether we and the world can live with an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon. We live with many nay states armed with nuclear weapons.

  17. Neil says:

    I remember your post-trial TNH post abouy the conversation you had with Fitz at Prettyman Courthouse regarding the most important topics of the day, Amherst and Rugby. Such restraint!

    The federal prosecutor who indicted “Scooter” Libby, and whose face was all over the newspapers and TV today, played rugby in the late 80’s with my club, OMEX. He played in the back row at wing forward and #8. He was a solid B team player – pretty average athlete, with good skills and good understanding of the game. At the time, OMEX was one of the top ten teams in the Northeast, so he played a very good standard of rugby. Blood, mud, and beer.

    He was an excellent guy and club member. Quite sociable and enjoyed a few beers. He played for at least four years, but as he gained responsibility in his federal attorney job in New York, we saw less and less of him. I probably haven’t spoken to him in fifteen years.

    “I played rugby with Patrick Fitzgerald” Tom Faranda’s Folly Blog

    I need a rugby primer.

    • phred says:

      I know, teach me to link and I become a total nuisance, but here you go, a nice little map of rugby positions. In the interest of not totally derailing this thread, I’ll save any further commentary for the next football trash talk thread. Note, what the map calls “locks” are also frequently called “2nd row” (for obvious reasons).

    • randiego says:

      Gary, thanks for that link. Timeline Fever! Catch it!

      Larry thinks the “Italian Job” was the precipitating incident for the tape destruction.

      here’s the Wired story on how the CIA guys got caught in Italy. Open usage of non-encrypted cellphones. Duh!

      • phred says:

        randiego — I’ve looked over the timeline, but if they were so freaked out by the Italians in June, why did they putter around until November to destroy the evidence? Any idea?

        • randiego says:

          I don’t know, but where are you getting that they destroyed them in November? I thought that was an open question?

          • bmaz says:

            I thought the tapes had been reported to be destroyed in mid to late 2006. Have I missed some new news on the putative date of destruction?

          • phred says:

            randiego — I first heard the November 2005 destruction date reported Friday night on my way home from work reported by NPR during one of the top of the hour news summaries. Then I saw EW refer to it here citing an ABC report. But, perhaps this was premature? I just did a quick check of the ABC link and don’t see it, so did they change the story? Anyone know?

            • phred says:

              Oops, my bad, the November 2005 reference is still in the ABC article, just as EW highlighted. It’s at the top of page 2. So assuming that is correct, then November 2005 makes it look much more like an issue with Judge Brinkema than the Italians. And, fwiw, BushCo never really seems to give a d*mn about what other countries think, which makes me inclined to think that the destruction was based on internal concerns rather than external ones.

  18. bmaz says:

    Phred looms tall over EW? My oh my; I better stop making light of the Big-10, I am kind of fearful now. I saw the “prop or wing” question and literally wondered why the hell you were choosing between helicopters and airplanes. I suspect this is news to very few, but I am a dope most of the time.

  19. radiofreewill says:

    Pixie-dusting EOs is bad – bad, bad, bad.

    So, how much worse must it be to Pixie-dust Laws? Laws like No Torture?

    That’s how you get Chimpy’s ’secret’ Magic Wand Torture Memos, ghost-written for Addington by Bradbury, that say, in effect – “You’re reading the Law all wrong. Poof! We’re not Torturing – that would involve doing things like Waterboarding! We wouldn’t do that!”

    “We’re using approved, Legal Non-Torture methods like Simulated Drowning. After all, the Law is the Law!”

    Now, move along, folks, there’s nothing to see here, that’s right, let’s just keep shuffling along now, hey, have you heard? Britney’s pregnant again. Alright! Everyone’s feeling the rhythm, let’s keep moving along…

  20. TheraP says:

    Don’t forget that bush did this kind of thing as a kid & in high school and college… changing the rules of the game… so he would always win. This is a pattern he’s perfected.

  21. MadDog says:

    OT, but Laura Rozen over at War and Piece has this interesting bit about former CIA Officer Kiriakou’s state of play today:

    People at Agency upset about him going on TV, a source says. “No way” that he’s any sort of approved surrogate. Kiriakou was, according to this souce, “a ground branch person, the paramilitary staff, he’s … a former military guy who comes in with military skills to do training of foreign military.” Why was he used to interrogate Zubaydah? “Because he was available.” Most controversial at the Agency are Kiriakou’s statements about waterboarding. ‘ … The American public has already decided they call this torture. Doesn’t matter how times you say it doesn’t have any lasting effects, it just scares people.’ Agency apparently very angry about Kiriakou’s appearances on TV and threatening to trace him down. Isn’t there anyone politically sophisticated enough at the top layers of the Agency to get that this guy’s message may be ultimately useful to Hayden, I asked? There are, this source says, but they don’t ever touch the parts of the process that work to counter the type of comments Kiriakou making. “He seems like a decent kid,” he says. But he worries he’s “going to get burned.”

  22. scribe says:

    Responding to some snark about the sound of crickets emanating from Powerline and like-bloviators this morning after the agent did his soul-baring thing on TV, here’s a comment I posted over at Talkleft, per their clock at 7:35 this morning (I’ve added some bracketed terms because in my early-morning haze, I misused “they”, referring to at least two sides by that term in the same run-on sentence):

    I watched the video a couple times, and it reeks of “insta-declassification” and being WH-provided spin.

    The handsome, earnest, experienced professional says:
    1. “we knew he had information”
    2. “nothing had worked”
    3. “he lasted a long time”
    4. “we only had to do it once”
    5. “he cooperated fully thereafter”

    And, he sells being deeply troubled by it, but that it was necessary.

    He implies it was professionally, almost surgically done, last resort, all the rest.

    And, oh, yeah. He gave up information and prevented attacks.

    Every last one of these lines has been one of the propaganda lines supporting (or at least defending) the known use of torture by the USG.
    Powerline doesn’t have to be spouting the Republican party line when ABC will provide a bigger, allegedly “unbiased” platform. And the WH doesn’t have to comment on the revelation of top secret material (Remember, they [WH] want to keep their captives from talking to their [the captives’] lawyers because their treatment [torture] is, um, top secret) when they’re [WH] behind it. If this propaganda works, they [WH] won’t ever say anything. If it doesn’t, they [WH] can condemn the agent for leaking, but will never prosecute him for violating his security oath, clearance, or the law.


    So, while MadDog and Laura @ War&Piece might well have a good point, I’m still inclined to believe that this story is pure propaganda which comes straight from the Deadeye-Addington-minion axis of weevils, to try to stanch the bleeding and promote torture as a healthy, effective, approved means of educing information, by showing it as highly effective in preventing attacks. It’s a nice move: the stimulus is two or three levels removed, but still, it’s working the fear card to drive the sheep toward the conditioned response of embracing Angry Daddy and his whip hand.

    • phred says:

      I think you’re on to something here scribe. When I read the story in the WaPo this morning I thought the take away message was definitely that the torture was regrettable, but it worked. Given that I have always read that the information from Zubaydah was highly questionable, I thought the article was suspicious. Plus, as others have noted, if lives were truly saved on account of it, you can bet BushCo would be trumpeting that fact leaving no details unrevealed. And finally, the exclusive ran on ABC, second only to Faux News, as the go to hatchet broadcast network.

      Thanks for reposting your comment over here.

    • randiego says:

      Scribe – the whole thing made me uncomfortable the first time I saw it – although I couldn’t put my discomfort to words – because of the money quote ‘many attacks were prevented’. I think you nailed it, but it’s being played differently than that – hence the confusion, with me anyway. I remember thinking, “oh that’s going to become a talking point right there”.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      EW, you specifically mention “the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board” in your post. Now why would Bush want Pixie Dust to affect EOs that are relevant to the PFIAB? For a few ideas, see: http://dir.salon.com/story/new…../17/pfiab/

      From Nov 2005, Salon: the PFIAB, which advises the president on how various intelligence agencies are performing, represent a who’s who of the Halliburton-Texas Rangers-oil business crony club that made Bush into a millionaire and helped propel him into the White House…..With Scowcroft out, Bush’s cronies are in. Last month, the White House announced that Dallas oil billionaire Ray Hunt, one of Bush’s biggest financial backers, was reappointed to the PFIAB. So was Cincinnati financier William DeWitt Jr., who has backed Bush in all of his business deals going back to 1984, when DeWitt’s company… bailed out the faltering entity known as Bush Oil Co. The new appointee of note to the PFIAB is former Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, a Bush confidant since his days in Midland, Texas….For Bush, it appears that campaign cash counts far more than expertise. And few backers have given Bush’s campaigns more cash than Ray Hunt, son of the legendary Dallas billionaire bigamist oilman H.L. Hunt. PFIAB membership is a plum position for Hunt, who raised about $100,000 for Bush during the 2000 campaign and also served as the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

      Ummmm…yeah, looks like the same Texan named Hunt who cut a deal with Kurdistan (rather than waiting for the Iraqi national oil law) early fall 2007).

      Clearly, Bu$hCo need to use a lot of PIxie Dust to try and ameloriate the public knowledge of linkages like: PFIAB + Hunt + Kurdistan. Apart from the fictions we try to maintain about participating in a democratic government, we wouldn’t want any of the wingnut ‘free markketeers’ to lose their childlike bamboozlement about the ‘fairness’ of ‘market capitalism’.

      So Pixie Dust is good for lots of things: EO’s, economic fictions… turning black into white… that sort of thing. No standards = no violations = no accountability. Works like a charm.

    • Leen says:

      I felt the same way. The White House would be howling louder if they had not liked him coming out telling the public it was worth it.

  23. garyg says:

    I can’t believe nobody’s made a snarky comment about Pixie Dust and George’s well-known past (?) Bolivian Marching Powder habit.

  24. merkwurdiglieber says:

    Go back to Iran-Contra times for a bit, remember ABC was acquired by
    Capitol Cities Media, a company started by one William J. Casey. ABC
    had aired a white paper considered out of line by the powers that be
    and post acquisition their editorial focus changed in the direction we have
    just seen. What was the Nixonian term… limited hang out. Same crew 20
    years later, schooling us again about the good reasons for the antifederalists rufusing to sign the constitution over Article II.

  25. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    File under: “Further benefits of Pixie Dust”

    I’d forgotten that Ray Hunt was on the board of Hallburton. From the same Salon article link in my previous comment:

    [Texas oil millionaire Ray Hunt] got his spot on the Halliburton board in 1998 while Dick Cheney was running the company. As soon as Hunt got on the Halliburton board, he was put on its compensation committee, where he helped determine Cheney’s pay. Indeed, in 1998, Hunt’s committee decided that Cheney deserved a bonus of $1.1 million and restricted stock awards of $1.5 million on top of his regular salary of $1.18 million.

    Hunt has been on the PFIAB since 2001. Presumably, months ahead of everyone else, he had access to intelligence indicating that the Bush administration was going to invade Iraq — information that could have been of value to certain oil service companies with operations in the Middle East.

    This would further underscore that Deadeye has at least as much at stake in controlling and using Pixie Dust as Junya.

    If one were putting one’s oil cronies onto intel boards while ramping up a war in the Mid East, no doubt a large supply of Pixie Dst would be invaluable. Wonder whether it ought to come with a Surgeon General’s warning: “Danger! The use of Pixie Dust induces users to believe their own dearest fantasies.’

  26. Stephen Parrish says:

    I don’t know; all that I have heard about his press conference is that it took place this afternoon.

  27. merkwurdiglieber says:

    According to AP Mukasey refused to be drawn into discussion of tapes
    question, investigation etc.

  28. bmaz says:

    Well, Albertoad GonzalesMichael Mukasey may not want to comment on the torture tapes issue, but he is all in favor of Karl Rove’s precious voter ID laws that screw minorities, the elderly and the poor (i.e. Democrats). In fact, he is so enamored with voter ID laws that he is taking the almost unprecedented step of having the United States DOJ file an amicus brief in a purely state law case (DOJ usually only gets involved where there is a Federal case, law or issue). “Same as the old boss” indeed.

  29. looseheadprop says:

    Pixie dust is a fantasy. Bush does NOT have the power to pull any of this bullpoop until a court says he can. (sticking tongue out and blowing rasberries in geeral direction of Whaite House)

    yeah, I’m feeling a little childish today

  30. looseheadprop says:

    “I played rugby with Patrick Fitzgerald” Tom Faranda’s Folly Blog

    Tom Faranda! Now’s there’s a name I haven’t heard in ages.

  31. JohnLopresti says:

    oldtree, As far as I know, a lot of the Reagan materials are under Bush2 term-1 executive order to sequester, as will be the Bush Cheney two terms. Ew has observed before the links, and I found ew’s readiness to delve back to the executive orders preceding the Bush Cheney terms an important beginning of writing that political history. I visit some academic sites that touch on some of that in variously partially informed ways; try Phillip Cooper at OSU, Joyce Green’s coherentbabble, and the sometimes feisty but ever studious Chris Kelley at U of Miami OH, for some of thse materials. I have notes, as well, but am on a schedule that precludes more text processing this evening on the topic. We have a lot of company in the research section at ew-fdl. I think ew’s writings on some of these themes is developing helpful guidelines. Now if I just make time to contribute the midnight study regime to make part of my interests in these matters worthwhile. Also, for the Appalachian folk musicology approach, other than likely hearings in congress, there are audio materials in ample supply concerning some of this, about which I believe ew has some information I forwarded after a retirement party for a media person quite a few months ago.

  32. PetePierce says:

    Look at all the Dems who are conspicuously absent from this letter–wonder if it’s an omen of bad tidings to come?

    Senators Lobby Reid to Keep Telecom Immunity out of Surveillance Bill

    Dear Majority Leader Reid:

    We understand that the Senate will shortly be considering amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. As you know, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee have reported very different versions of the FISA Amendments Act, S. 2248, and it is up to you, as Majority Leader, to decide how the Senate considers this legislation.

    We urge you to make the version of S. 2248 reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee the base bill to be considered by the full Senate. While the structure of Title I of both bills is the same, and both make improvements over the Protect America Act, the reasonable changes to Title I made in the Judiciary Committee ensure that the FISA Court will be able to conduct much-needed oversight of the implementation of these broad new surveillance authorities, and help to better protect the rights of innocent Americans. While we appreciate the hard work that the Intelligence Committee has done on this legislation, the process by which the Judiciary Committee considered, drafted, amended and reported out its bill was an open one, allowing outside experts and the public at large the opportunity to review and comment. With regard to legislation so directly connected to the constitutional rights of Americans, the results of this open process should be accorded great weight, especially in light of the Judiciary Committee’s unique role and expertise in protecting those rights.

    We also believe that the Judiciary Committee bill is preferable because it does not provide immunity for telecom companies that allegedly cooperated with the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. As this is such a controversial issue, we feel it would be appropriate to require the proponents of immunity to make their case on the floor.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    Russell D. Feingold (D-WI)

    Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)

    Barack Obama (D-IL)

    Bernard Sanders (I-VT)

    Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

    Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE)

    Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

    Tom Harkin (D-IA)

    Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)

    Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

    Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI)

    Jim Webb (D-VA)/