Boston’s Chief Judge: OPR Isn’t Doing Its Job

The Chief Judge in Boston just sent Michael Mukasey a letter suggesting DOJ’s process for investigating and responding to misconduct from government prosecutors isn’t working.

The chief federal judge in Boston has urged the new US attorney general to crack down on prosecutors who commit misconduct and to force Justice Department lawyers to be truthful in court.

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, in an extraordinary letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, skewered the Justice Department’s mild and secret discipline of Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn in 2006 for misconduct that Wolf said required him to order the "release from prison of a capo and associate of the Patriarca family of La Cosa Nostra."

After a closed disciplinary hearing, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan gave Auerhahn a letter of reprimand for withholding evidence while handling a racketeering case in the 1990s against members of the New England Mafia.

"The [Justice] Department’s performance in the Auerhahn matter raises serious questions about whether judges should continue to rely upon the department to investigate and sanction misconduct by federal prosecutors," wrote Wolf, who last July, after expressing frustration with his punishment, took the unusual step of asking the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers to launch disciplinary proceedings against Auerhahn.

Wolf also wrote that "the department’s failure to be candid and consistent with the court has become disturbingly common in the District of Massachusetts."

[snip]

Wolf wrote Mukasey that he hoped the Justice Department "will soon again discharge its duties in a manner that commands the trust of federal judges and the people of the United States." [my emphasis]

The rebuke is interesting not for the details surrounding Auerhahn’s misconduct (though I am concerned that Auerhahn has been assigned to the antiterrorism unit, since terrorism prosecutions are already prone to misconduct in Bush’s post-9/11 nightmare), but for the way it relates to several other recent events:

  • DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine has argued to Congress that DOJ’s continued use of the Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate legal wrong-doing subjects lacks transparency and exposes such investigations to political influence
  • OPR has a number of important ongoing investigations–including the investigation of whether OLC violated legal ethics in its advice regarding Bush’s illegal wiretap program
  • In developments that seem to be associated with the torture tape destruction, DOJ recently got caught lying to Leonie Brinkema in the Moussaoui case

In other words, Judge Wolf is not the only one who believes the government is acting improperly. And the suggestion that OPR is not doing its job to punish legal wrong-doing ought to raise real concerns about OPR’s more high-profile investigations.

And, just to pre-empt Looseheadprop’s mention of this, here are some pertinent words from James Comey’s farewell speech (which, incidentally, DOJ appears to have moved or taken off their website [Update: Thanks to MadDog for finding a copy).

Fifth, and last, I expect that you will appreciate and protect an amazing gift you have received as an employee of the Department of Justice. It is a gift you may not notice until the first time you stand up and identify yourself as an employee of the Department of Justice and say something – whether in a courtroom, a conference room, or a cocktail party – and find that total strangers believe what you say next.

  • That gift – the gift that makes possible so much of the good we accomplish – is a reservoir of trust and credibility, a reservoir built for us, and filled for us, by those who went before – most of whom we never knew. They were people who made sacrifices and kept promises to build that reservoir of trust.
  • Our obligation – as the recipients of that great gift – is to protect that reservoir, to pass it to those who follow, those who may never know us, as full as we got it.
  • The problem with reservoirs is that it takes tremendous time and effort to fill them, but one hole in a dam can drain them. The protection of that reservoir requires vigilance, an unerring commitment to truth, and a recognition that the actions of one may affect the priceless gift that benefits all.

It looks like Judge Wolf believes DOJ has sprung a hole in that dam. And I doubt he’s the only one who thinks so.

image_print
160 replies
  1. AZ Matt says:

    The Bush/Repubilcan DOJ will never have anyone’s trust or respect. Individuals such as Fitzgerald might but the leadership is so skewed toward partisan political aims at this point that trust isn’t on the horizon for it. The lasting legacy of AGAG.

  2. Mary says:

    Wolf also wrote that “the department’s failure to be candid and consistent with the court has become disturbingly common in the District of Massachusetts.”

    Try substituting “United States of America and beyond.”

    Bathroom graffiti is more reliable and candid that the US Dept of Justice these days.

    • PetePierce says:

      I might add that Specter and Orin Hatch and Lahey and Schumer who fancy themselves such fine judges of federal attorney or Supreme Court material have no morefederal litigation experience than my dog. I think my dog has more caselaw under his belt.

  3. mamayaga says:

    Think it’s time to start referring to it as the DOOOJ — Department of the Obstruction of Justice.

    • PetePierce says:

      I refer to it as the UEDOJ as well. Mukasey was a miserable choice by a complicit pansy ass SJC led by the King of the Pansy Asses who has done much damage to this country, Pansy Ass Leahy.

      Schumer and Feinstein stupidly voted to confirm Mukasey in SJC.


      Senate Judiciary Kissing Mukasey’s Ring and his Ass

      The letter of reprimand from a federal trial judge to an AUSA is like a phone call to a bank robber who shot six people telling him it wasn’t the right thing to do. It doesn’t mean jackshit to the DOJ, and won’t have any substantive consequences, but I appreciate EW’s pointing it out.

      This DOJ fails on all the important issues, like releasing Fitzy’s interviews with Bush, Cheney, and Rove on their illegal conduct in the Plame release.

      It no more has the capacity to investigate itself than any fox in any hencoop and I wouldn’t trust it as far as I could spit it.

      Mukasey showed no respect for the defense bar while the sonofabitch was on the bench, and he will show no respect now.

      The only time Mukasey paid any attention to the defendant was when he had a huge money client in private practice.

      Also when Arlen Specter calls someone an ideal candidate, that’s Specterspeak for a legal piece of shit.

      • mamayaga says:

        Yup, buncha DOOOJ Bags, the lot of ‘em. The depth and breadth of corruption by Bushco, as it clearly has encompassed all possible routes of remediation, make me feel both desperate and depressed about the possibility of ever digging this country out of the banana republic hole. I’m really leery of Obama for this reason, afraid he really means all that rhetoric about reconciliation and reaching across the aisle. We need justice first (how’s that Abramoff investigation coming, by the way?).

          • PetePierce says:

            I’ve wondered that forever. Whenever it is, it seems everyone now on the Texas bench will long be dead by the time it comes to trial. It seems to be completely forgotten and in limbo. Also if DOJ had an IQ of 3, they would have federally indicted Delay, his wife, his daughter and many people in the nexus between Delay and Abramoff ages ago.

            • CTuttle says:

              Speaking of the DoJ and Texas, whatever happened to the investigation of the two AUSA’s who were found dead under mysterious circumstances… Whom happened to have been prepared to criminally indict a large Healthcare Provider in Dallas… Hmmm…

              • PetePierce says:

                Sorry for not getting back to you. I didn’t mean to be rude. IE crashed on my answer, and I had to leave.

                You just educated me as to the deaths in Texas. I hadn’t heard anything about them. I’ll have to read up.

                In Texas, as far as the prosecution of Tom Delay, DOJ isn’t involved at least overtly. That’s in the state courts. I was implying that DOJ is dragging their feet in indicting Delay for activity in D.C. and really dragging their feet in continuing the Abramoff saga, and of course they refuse to connect the dots to Cheney and Mukasey has been installed to insure that happens.

                TPM Muck has been doing an outstanding job of following the Abramoff cases and its tenticles for months. Ackerman who was one of their chief writers, has left to help start his own investigative web site:


                http://www.washingtonindependent.com/

                I did follow the case of Johnathan Luna, who after leaving work at about 11:30PM one night, was tracked or his cell phone in a car was tracked to take a long drive along rural backroads, and was found in a creek stabbed 38 times.

                The disingenuous FBI, lying readily no matter how moronic the confabulation, intimated it was suicide which infuriated his family.

                DOJ did their best to say next to nothing to the media, and alleged there were no probelms at work, conveniently ommitting that he was in $25,000 of plastic debt and $36,000 worth of evidence had mysteriously disappeared from a bank robbery case he worked.

                This is I suppose related to a statute I can’t find where the AUSA can pocket the evidence. *g*

                I am sorry about the tragic death of this attorney, who left behind a wife who was a physician and two children.

                • bmaz says:

                  This is I suppose related to a statute I can’t find where the AUSA can pocket the evidence.

                  Pixie dust Pete, pixie dust.

                  Don’t forget about the murder of Tom Wales. This one got a full fledged USA fired for actually trying to investigate it.

                  • PetePierce says:

                    Bmaz–

                    I’m going to review the EW threads on Sibel Edmonds. I didn’t run into EW/FDL until a few months ago, but I suspect there have been some good ones. The government at first tried to dismiss her as a flake, and I never bought that for a moment.

                    I think she as a translator who squealed when they prevented translation that might have prevented 911 embarasses the government and they’re sealing things over using State Secrets as the glue.

                    Could you refresh me just a littleon how that played out when you get a minute? Didn’t Edmonds lose her battle to avoid being gagged by the FBI because the DC Circuit ruled for the government upholding the District Court and affirming a State Secrets opinion? I’m having trouble finding the D.C. opinion. I know the Supreme Court denied the ACLU cert. when they appealed the opinion. I think in a separate opinion they did grant her attorneys fees on a different issue.

                    • bmaz says:

                      I am not the best guy on the Edmunds deal; to be honest, it is not one I know well or have followed much. There is clearly some multiple source corroboration for some of her story, and that makes it pretty tantalizing. How significant the corroborated part is in the whole, and how well the other parts hold up to cross examination is still very much an open question I think. I don’t agree with the actions in the sealing of this case from what I have seen, but once the decision is so made and upheld, I am not particularly surprised that it is as well scrubbed as you relate.

                    • PetePierce says:

                      Yikes, the D.C. Circuit did issue an earlier by a couple years opinion giving her some releif on court fees of about 65 grand, but would they have scrubbed even the opinion on the main question which was whether she could prevail over FBI so she could tell her story? Maybe that’s the reason I can’t find it. With time later, I’ll do a more careful search. I can see myself banging my head against Pacer now [groan].

                      I also found this from London Times or maybe I got it from one of the threads here:

                      Sybil Edmonds: For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

                    • Loo Hoo. says:

                      Also, where is she now? Looks like the interviews are in some unknown spot. Can’t blame her, for sure.

                    • PetePierce says:

                      Loo Hoo–

                      I honestly don’t know, but I do know from just googling that EW did some nice discussions of Sibel before I was at this site commenting, so I’ll have to read them.

                      I assumed she was somewhere not in hiding in D.C. although if you wanted to hypothesize someone the goverment would like to make disappear, Sibel Edmonds sure seems the poster girl. This woman has a lot of backbone. She has to have undergone a lot of frustration and her attorney Mark Zaid is a first rate attorney in D.C. with considerable experience in government secrecy. He has founded many projects to reduce government secrecy, and I imagine has worked at times closely with ACLU, certainly when they took up his client’s cert. petition to the S. Ct.

                      He has had some high profile clients over the years.

                      He also sells collectible comic books–probably to help him stay sane.

                      Sibel Edmonds: A Patriot Silenced, Unjustly Fired but Fighting Back to Help Keep America Safe (1/26/2005)

                      Mark Zaid, Sibel Edmonds’ Attorney

                    • PetePierce says:

                      I’m not quite sure if they have arranged it so that EW’s posts and threads from her old Next Hurrah site have now been archived here. I’ll have to check on that.

        • PetePierce says:

          The Abramoff investigation is dragging on. TPM Muck follows it and its progeny pretty closely. Dragging is the watchword for Mukasey DOJ.

          1) Dragging on investigations of Blackwarer forever–if they indicted some poor schumck on the street his head would reel at how fast they tried to crush him, particularly if he doesn’t have a couple hundred grand for openers in spare change to afford an ex DOJster to take them on.

          2)Congress is draggging on investigating Bushco’s using DOJ for election targetting in the 2006 elections, because neither the House nor Senate has brought their investigations and contempt citations to their respective floors.

          3) Mukasey is dragging on a decision he should have made immediately to release the intreviews Fitzgerald did with Bush, Cheney, and Rove.

          Christy Hardin Smith nailed this in an excellent post:

          Memo To Mukasey: Release The Transcripts

  4. Mary says:

    And just because it’s me, I’ll add that complete strangers did believe Comey when he stood up and said that everything was on the up and up with the Higazy interrogation, and it’s just a completely inexplicable thing – why the guy would ahve wasted so much DOJ time and effort by giving false confessions.

    Coerced, you say? Nah, no way.
    Comey stood up before complete strangers and said not and he’s one of the good guys who makes words say pretty sounds.

    • Hugh says:

      Comey stood up before complete strangers and said not and he’s one of the good guys who makes words say pretty sounds.

      Comey is a great guy once you don’t get to know him.

  5. TheraP says:

    Every finger pointing to the leaks in the dam (in DoooJ and the Constitution itself, the Rule of Law), arrow by arrow… pretty soon you’ll end up with the legendary St. Sebastian. In fact, that would make a very good image for what’s happened to the Constitution and Rule of Law: the image of St. Sebastian, tied to a stake, full of arrows.

    Just one example, not the best: http://www.abcgallery.com/B/bo…..lli58.html

  6. BlueStateRedHead says:

    There is a DOJ high level civil rights person who is under investigation for claiming her work in Boston on a case as a cover for her time at the beach in Martha’s Vineyard and other related infractions.

    Does someone remember her name. I can’t get it quickly by searching DOJ and MV. It’s one the Muck somewhere past 4 months.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      …Pushed submit too quickly.
      Because as noted on Fri. or Sat. if DOJ people are indeed reading this site, it might help to remind them that this is a Boston related issue.

  7. Rayne says:

    …Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, in an extraordinary letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, skewered the Justice Department’s mild and secret discipline of Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn in 2006 for misconduct that Wolf said required him to order the “release from prison of a capo and associate of the Patriarca family of La Cosa Nostra.”

    And very little that’s happened in DOJ has been an accident. With that in mind, one wonders what price to release a capo?

    • bmaz says:

      No price. It is not always about being on the take. In fact, in my experience, most of these types of instances with prosecutors and law enforcement are not that at all; rather they are about lazy, stupid, self certain authoritarians who are a little full of themselves and their power; that decide they know what happened and are going to “protect society” by taking care of “the obvious”. It is simply the prosecutorial equivalent of the cop planting drugs on the “perp” he “knows” is a drug dealer.

  8. merkwurdiglieber says:

    I am afraid Comey’s words are hollow now. The Bushco position was very
    openly stated as these people work for me, they are my people enforcing
    my laws on you people. That was really always true, but kept under wraps,
    don’t frighten the children. That and the stacking of the state and federal
    courts with these Bushbot judges and prosecutors will take years of work
    to repair the polite fiction of a “justice” department.

  9. JodiDog says:

    When the cops do bad, everyone walks. This is the usual.

    Personally I think that this “can’t use” rotten fruit from the tainted tree philosophy is foolish.

    If a cop or prosecutor does bad but good evidence is discovered, then the evidence should be used, but the cop or prosecutor should be prosecuted like a criminal.

    • Neil says:

      When the cops do bad, everyone walks. This is the usual. Personally I think that this “can’t use” rotten fruit from the tainted tree philosophy is foolish. If a cop or prosecutor does bad but good evidence is discovered, then the evidence should be used, but the cop or prosecutor should be prosecuted like a criminal.

      BUT WHAT does your pet peeve – the Jodidog legal theory of 4th amendment and Miranda rights – have to do with the post? (It’s a rhetorical question.) Let’s try this: When OPR investigates, everyone walks. As you’re going off on your tangent, you might assert some agreement with the thrust of the post… or disagreement and rationale. Anything less is a shit stain jodidog.

        • freepatriot says:

          shit stain are you trying to sound reasonable again ???

          everybody knows you’re a fucking troll

          and nobody takes you seriously

          so why do you keep coming here acting like people here respect your opinions

          we call you SHIT STAIN

          how could we take you seriously

          after this post, another couple of newbs will be aware of your title SHIT STAIN

          so why do you keep up the charade

          are the freeper checks your sole means of support ???

          • TheraP says:

            she functions as the “canary in the bush coal mine.” So let the canary sing… and note that as panic in the coal mine.

        • Neil says:

          It is very pertinent.

          I didn’t know it was very pertinent. Well that’s a horse of a different color. Thanks for cleaning that up (sic).

        • sona says:

          Pertinent? How so? Who is discarding trustworthy (’good’ to use your word) evidence? The evidence in question was selectively incomplete and misleading, ie, untrustworthy. The post refers to the underpinnings of a system of justice that the DoJ overseers and administers. Secretive disciplinary procedures meting out inappropriate penalties for misconduct trash the systemic underpinnings of justice that destroys the public trust in the professional integrity of DoJ employees that Comey was referring to in his speech.

    • Stephen Parrish says:

      Thank you very much for your comment. I would be interested in reading Craig Unger’s comments about this extremely interesting development.

      Raw Story has posted a direct link to this London Times story that cannonfire mentioned: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/t…..137695.ece

    • bobschacht says:

      “cannonfire has a crucial post up about sibel edmonds; she has spilled beans to the london times. http://www.cannonfire.blogspot.com

      Well, it looks like Darth Cheney, thwarted in his efforts to make war on Iran, has decided to take advantage of the fact that he controls the State Department’s Pakistan desk (he IS the Pakistan desk), and wants to wage war in that gritty no-man’s land between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

      Couldn’t Patrick Fitzgerald follow up on Edmonds’ info as part of his Plamegate investigation? Surely Armitage is fair game and worth a closer look.

      Bob in HI

  10. bmaz says:

    Hey EW, Judge Wolf wrote the letter I keep expecting Larry Burns to write. There is a boatload oil tanker full of Federal Judges that ought to be sending and publishing letters like this.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Do federal judges have an annual conference or some other get together when many are in the same room at the same time? I keep hoping they will start comparing notes and figure out that this DOJ, more than any other, has taken on fraud as a policy.

      • bmaz says:

        There is the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is basically a steering committee for federal courts and has as it’s titular head the Chief Justice. There are also federal judicial sections at ABA conferences. Those are the ones that fit your question that are public, at least to the best of my knowledge. On a non-public basis, I know for a fact (directly from the mouthes of a couple of Circuit Court of Appeals Judges I have known) that there are en banc meetings of the judges in each circuit that are for purposes of discussing all kinds of things, and frankly to cut loose a little. and these are “retreat” like events as opposed to specific case deliberations. That would be where you would have hoped something like you discuss would emanate from; but we haven’t seen any such results eh? The other thing I can relate is that the judges have separate dining rooms/cafeterias in each federal courthouse, at least in the big principal ones. There is a lot of open discussion known to occur between them in that setting.

      • PetePierce says:

        Sure they do.

        They have Circuit conferences where any trial judge who wants to or Circuit judges, and attorneys some on committees with judges, and attorneys who are admitted to practice in the circuit can attend there is the Judicial Conference in DC where the rules that the myriad of committees have “crafted” for rule changes to FRCrP, and FRE, or major changes to FRAPs etc, and there are tons of conferences that corporate sponsers pay for (lodging, booze, golf, etc.) and there are conflicts of interest aplenty but the judges could care less and fight intensely when Congress proposes outlawing them. There are meetings of federal judges on rule committees, although now with Live Meeting, Unified Communications Server, etc. a lot of meetings could be done easily that way. The IT people in federal court houses aren’t always the sharpest, cutting edge tools in the shed though.

        The trial court judges meet regularly formally, although in many districts the rules are so vague and poorly written one wonders why.

        A disciplinary meeting by the Circuit is another venue, although this happens as often as Paris Hilton quaterbacks in the Superbowl.

        The judges like their perks, even though a considerable percentage of them get to the bench with no litigation experience in a federal courtroom, and the rest of them get their from the ranks of AUSAs (Assistant US or US Attorneys) who always bring their prosecution agenda with them.

        The results are obvious. You have judges falling over each other to uphold State Secrets, nearly all Bivens actions, rule at about a 96.5% rate against the defense bar, even when the defense is one of their former bretheren at DOJ who didn’t go to the bench. I could recount several instances as well where the judge and his law clerk failed to find significant on point law in a case when it was merely a couple mouseclicks into Westlaw or Lexus away, or an appellate court ruled in diametric oposition to a transcript singing the familiar song that the issue wasn’t raised below, when it was smacking anyone who read it right between the eyes.

      • looseheadprop says:

        Do federal judges have an annual conference or some other get together when many are in the same room at the same time? I keep hoping they will start comparing notes and figure out that this DOJ, more than any other, has taken on fraud as a policy

        Yes, they do. It’s called the Judicial Conference. Also, many of the federal courthouses had a “judges dining room” which is like the HS cafeteria for judges and thier clerks. As you can imagine, lots of info gets traded there.

        Also, there are organizations like the 2nd Circuit’s Federal BAr council which organize events where judges from different districts within the circuit get together informally, with praticitioners. I ssure you, topic like this ARE discussed

    • PetePierce says:

      Thanks much for the link to Harvey Silvergate and the info on his book. This is a subject seldom discussed, and the bell shaped curve of the public believes if DOJ says it–it must be true. They have a rich legacy of lying and getting away with it and being indifferent to it.

      It’s reached its apex in this administration with torture memos from Yoo and current US Attorney Dave Nahmias and his wife. DOJ doesn’t want to answer for those, and won’t make them available to testify on them.

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    The way I recall Comey’s speech there were a few interesting references to prior ceremonious presentations; while looking for a local copy, I found one of the references he made, to a talk by Robert H. Jackson in 1940 delivered a few months after Jackson became AG; it is pretty idealistic; a version 2pp long photocopied from the Journal of American Judicature Society is available there. Given the early politicization of Department of Justice and problems occuring after Patriot, before most of the related scandals emerged, I glanced at Sen. C.Levin’s site for his in chamber comments on the nomination of K.Wainstein to be Nat.Sec.AUSA, a full page of interesting allusions about A.Fisher nomination related nonProduction of documents by DoJ stonewalling. Clearly, Levin has tempered his remarks by that September 2006 floor vote timeframe, compared with his incisive questioning in SCSI in May 2006, an interchange in which Wainstein already avows forgetfulness about his tenure at FBI during the time when Mueller told agents not to witness tortcha at Gitmo when DoD and specialist Tortcha-erers were maltreating prisoners whom FBI wanted to interview but could not once the evidence was pre-tainted from tortcha. The Levin-Wainstein interchange at pp9-11 covers OIPR and Gitmo tortcha in some depth with considerable evasiveness by the witness, there. This is more national than NewEngland, but speaks to that early time at DoJ before worries about oversight and the IG construct became prominent news.

  12. PetePierce says:

    I wouldn’t trust this current OPR to do anything substantive, and Glenn Fine is essentially neutralized in this administration. OLC is now a joke.

  13. Boston1775 says:

    When I think about Scott Horton’s work on the imprisonment of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and Mississippi Judge Wes Teel, this post takes on an even greater level of importance.

  14. skdadl says:

    Well, whatever one knows or thinks about Comey, I think it is odd and unfortunate to lose access to that text. I’m sure I have read it on another site, but my files aren’t helping me much at the moment (as usual). If anyone else has an alternate source, could you post a link?

  15. Hugh says:

    BTW the Moussaoui case was very sloppily handled before the torture tapes. There was also a TSA attorney Carla Martin caught coaching witnesses.

    In the first stage of the trial, I don’t know what prosecutors would have done if Moussaoui had not confessed because as far as I could see they had butkus for a case.

  16. Rayne says:

    Just wondering…what’s the chances that incriminating info like that Edmonds is disclosing came out under torture? Like those couple of ATM cards Abu Zubaydah was carrying that didn’t get investigated and for which banking information had been seized by Saudia Arabia — maybe cash for buying moles came from the same source?

  17. MadDog says:

    And, just to pre-empt Looseheadprop’s mention of this, here are some pertinent words from James Comey’s farewell speech (which, incidentally, DOJ appears to have moved or taken off their website).

    Jeebus, way, way too much googling, but I found it!!!

    Here’s the Comey Farewell speech.

    • skdadl says:

      Thanks very much, Mad Dog. I knew it was there somewhere; I also knew it takes a lot of googling to find it.

      About Edmonds: I’m trying to figure out what changed the gag order on her. The Sunday Times story says:

      The US attorney-general has imposed a state secrets privilege order on her, which prevents her revealing more details of the FBI’s methods and current investigations.

      Her allegations were heard in a closed session of Congress, but no action has been taken and she continues to campaign for a public hearing.

      She was able to discuss the case with The Sunday Times because, by the end of January 2002, the justice department had shut down the programme.

      I don’t find that all that helpful. IOW, I don’t understand it. Does anyone?

  18. Hmmm says:

    Sure is a whole lot of poop hitting the Establishment fan all at once over the past few days — the Iowa upsets (did you see Bobo on NewsHour afterwards? Scared shitless), the McGovern impeachment call, the news about Israeli requests for US intervention in Israel, formation of the Obama+Edwards bloc against Hil, the AQ tape calling for attacks on W during his upcoming Middle East trip, the Times voting machine article, the Sibel article in the Times (and this may turn out to be the biggest). I worry about desperate, irrational reactions… cornered rats, etc.

    • MadDog says:

      And don’t forget Junya’s trip this coming week to the ME, and in particular, Israel. From Raw Story, it seems that the Israeli Government is looking for a green light:

      Israel to brief George Bush on options for Iran strike

      ISRAELI security officials are to brief President George W Bush on their latest intelligence about Iran’s nuclear programme – and how it could be destroyed – when he begins a tour of the Middle East in Jerusalem this week.

      Ehud Barak, the defence minister, is said to want to convince him that an Israeli military strike against uranium enrichment facilities in Iran would be feasible if diplomatic efforts failed to halt nuclear operations. A range of military options has been prepared…

  19. Mary says:

    Two things that are most intersting about Wolfe are the things that are not in his letter. That he did go ahead and release defendants who were convicted in cases where the USAttorney’s office withheld evidence (does the bring to mind torture tapes, other torture info, Moussaoui, Padilla, boatload of GITMO detainees?) and that he also went straight to the bar and asked that it consider disciplinary action.

    • bmaz says:

      Gee, what do you know, a judge that actually does what he is supposed to do in the face of clear prosecutorial misconduct. Sadly, it is almost shocking to see. Scenes we would have like to have seen (and damn well ought to have seen long ago) out of Brinkema. Several others too.

  20. wavpeac says:

    I read the Sibel Edmonds the story and thought…I wonder what the folks at E.W’s think of this. I have been waiting for details, and wondering if all the trumpeting was going to end up amounting to anything…with the knowledge that I wouldn’t put anything past this administration but with the cynacism that “they never get caught red handed….enough”. (for what standard I am uncertain).

      • selise says:

        just want to mention lukery’s important post today – the one at dkos is crossposted to lukery’s other blog:
        http://letsibeledmondsspeak.blogspot.com

        but even more importantly, imo, lukery has a new post up that he can not cross post to dkos until tomorrow (due to diary limits). in it he reproduces and explains sibel’s recent photos postings. one correction though (to lukery lastest post) – that picture is NOT, as labeled, brent scowcroft. see my comments for the correction. gotta run (working on something else) but was sure you-all would be discussing this new info today.

        we finally have names!

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        Comment at Bradblog:

        I have a couple of questions that perhaps could be passed on to Sibel:

        Is her story the key to understanding the real motives for White House action against Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson?

        Does the Plame-Wilson story hold the key to understanding why there was no follow-through on the investigation of Sibel’s story, despite demonstrable evidence and motivation for moving on it by elements within the government?

        Think about it for a second: Valerie Plame ran an undercover operation that tracked movement of Nuclear technology and materials around the world, with a main focus of interest, presence, and activity centered in Turkey.

        What if interested parties high in the administration caught wind of an active investigation coming close to the core of these activities, so they outed her in order to shut off the investigation?

        The act of outing her was high-risk. WAY too high risk to be explained by simple political revenge… But preventing the wholesale incarceration of your power structure could certainly inspire such a risky undertaking.

        Something to consider…

        • Hmmm says:

          Still OT – I am the first to admit I’m utterly out of my depth with all of that subject matter, but I was also surprised by this, which I found at cannonfire via some chain of links from a DKos diary:

          Joe Wilson met his wife, Plame, at ATC (American Turkish Council) in 1997. Look up his book, it is there.

          Is that true? To this uninitiated observer it suddenly seems Turkey is the new Israel, secret-strings-wise. Or something like that.

          • bmaz says:

            Hasn’t Turkey in general, and Istanbul, a city at the confluence of two continents, always been a hub for spooks, black market dealings and intrigue?

            • bobschacht says:

              Hasn’t Turkey in general, and Istanbul, a city at the confluence of two continents, always been a hub for spooks, black market dealings and intrigue?

              No, only for the last 3,000 years or so. Of course, we don’t know much about what spooks, black market dealings, and intrigue happened there before Homer got the rumor mill going.

              Bob in HI

    • PetePierce says:

      I hope EW will metabolize these latest Edmonds stories and tie them in with her previous posts. It’s common for people to try to trash Edmonds, but I belive she’s valid and that DOJ’s efforts along with the complicit DC. Circuit to shut her up just enhance and underscore her validity as far as I’m concerned.

      The D.C. Circuit closed oral arguments in her case, barring her from the courtroom.

      The D.C. Circuit upheld the State Secrets argument of the government; the ACLU appealed and the Supremes denied cert., another denial of cert. besides El Masri with state secrets at issue.

      Someone correct me if I have remembered this wrong, please.

  21. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    Lukery’s been on this since the beginning, both at Daily Kos and on his blog. The comments section of his post today at dKos have more info and links. Timeline anyone?

  22. Hmmm says:

    Well, I had been planning to do productive work today, but the story keeps developing and I can’t seem to look away. From the same DKos diary:

    IMPORTANT UPDATE: Sibel has publishedon her site, without comment, photos of 18 people. This is clearly her way of getting around the gag orders and ‘naming names’ – the guilty parties – without naming them! I’ve posted the names and photos at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

    DKos diary: http://www.dailykos.com/storyo…..854/431373
    Siebel Edmonds site: http://www.justacitizen.com/im…..%20Web.htm
    lukery site attaching names to the photos: http://letsibeledmondsspeak.bl…..tures.html

    Hmmm indeed.

  23. Rayne says:

    I’m sure some of the “rogues’ gallery” that is posted at JustACitizen.com are members of the Whistleblower’s Dirty Dozen.

    I note that HRC makes the Dirty Dozen, but isn’t actually shown in the gallery, which suggests the possibility there is not a one-for-one relationship between these two lists.

    Crazy Pete Hoekstra’s picture is in the gallery, or at least it looks like him with either a deer hunting beard, or sympathetic WGA beard. Heh. Deer hunting, I think.

  24. phred says:

    For those unfamiliar with Stephen Friedman (the replacement for Scowcroft that selise mentioned), he’s the former Goldman Sachs executive and former National Economic Advisor to the President that W put on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board after W canned, you guessed it… Brent Scowcroft. Adds a little irony to the misidentification. Note, the link if from selise.

    Between Feith and Friedman, we have direct links to OVP and EOP among the photographs (not too mention some of the other all too familiar henchmen).

  25. behindthefall says:

    The thread bifurcated unexpectedly there, with the Edmonds material, but following some of the links (Brad, Ryland, Times)gives the impression that this is not all in the imagination of one woman. And if if some of it is real, then probably a lot of it is. And if a lot of it is real, then this is a huge, widespread, deeply rooted crime: the aspens are indeed connected at the roots.

    EW or somebody: can a skeleton be constructed for this bag of body parts? A timeline? A map linking persons and events?

      • prostratedragon says:

        My, that chart takes one back, doesn’t it? You, know, I’d guess the pattern of links joining key people to, um, action groups would be far-flung but sparse, as it appears to be here.

        But one of several piquant career highlights from the wikipedia bio of Eric Edelman:

        Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey (July 2003-June 2005): Edelman served as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey after the second Iraq invasion, during which anti-American tensions within Turkey were high. According to Ibrahim Karagul, a columninst with the Turkish Weekly, “Edelman act(ed) more like a colonial governor than an ambassador… (He) is probably the least-liked and trusted American ambassador in Turkish history, and his reputation is not likely to recuperate.”

        And thence,

        Edelman was appointed to the position of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy on August 9, 2005, by recess appointment by George W. Bush, after his nomination was stalled in the Senate. Edelman replaced Douglas Feith, who had resigned. The appointment, set to expire in January 2007 when a new Congress convened, was confirmed by the Senate on February 9, 2006.

        I realize this was before the November election Changed Everything, but day-um! Maybe someone should simulate a stochastic model of critical blackmail density or something, so we’ll know how bad it might be. GOP data could be used to estimate turnover module parameters.

  26. sojourner says:

    I am fascinated with Edmonds’ assertion that DoD people had been keeping files on their employees’ sexual proclivities for later use…

    I wonder what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do in private? (Just kidding — I really don’t want to know…)

    Could this really be a key to what has been going on?

    • mamayaga says:

      Could this really be a key to what has been going on?

      J. Edgar Hoover did exactly that for 30+ years, very successfully, I might add. Why would we expect Cheney or Rumsfeld to be any more virtuous than he was? The power they stole was a tool to be used and there is no reason to think they have not used it.

    • PetePierce says:

      I think it’s well established that the uniformly use the Supine to Bush position missionary position.

  27. tryggth says:

    Interesting….

    The picture on Sibel’s site is now Brent Scowcroft. I think she must have picked it up from a Google image search and landed on Clemons site for picking up the picture.

    More interesting is that Lukery identified the picture as the person it now apparently is…

    • Hmmm says:

      Welcome lukery! — What do you think happens next? Larisa’s piece disappeared off the HuffPo front page, I noticed.

      • lukery says:

        Thnx Hmmmm

        Actually, I feel like a regular here, i read just about every thread but have taught myself to keep quiet, otherwise i’d just be ’sibel this’ and ’sibel that’

        What happens next? My best guess: Nothing.

        • PetePierce says:

          Sibel imho is very worth digging up. It’s clear this bastard government is cascading several coverups with respect to her.

          I remember years ago, it was commonplace in what was called the Soviet Union or China or 3rd World countries for people to be disappeared, or shut up or poisoned–lately Plutonium or imprisoned if the government didn’t like what you were revealing. It still occurs there under Putin. But it’s occurring here now, only the silencers are DOJ and the D.C. and other Circuits, and instead of KGB we have the State Secrets Courts of Appeals and the State Secrets DOJ who comprised the State Secrets Mafia or Sopranos.

          We are doing well underAshcroft/Gonzales/Mukasey at achieving Bannana Republic status and certainly our court system is moving in that direction.

        • Hmmm says:

          Right you are, wc4d. My concern runs to whether the story might be getting suppressed. Fewer links, less circulation.

    • selise says:

      ah, so the picture was wrong and it is brent scowcroft and not steve friedman… i would have guessed friedman – scowcroft is a surprise to me (but i have not been following this as closely as i think it deserves).

      will be verrry interested to read your post tomorrow. hoping there will be some info on how scowcroft might fit in.

      many thanks, lukery, for following the story and helping educate us all on it. glad to know you are here, even if we don’t see a “sibel this, sibel that” comment from you in every thread. *g* seriously, though, the i don’t think anyone would be surprised if her story overlaps with many of the issues marcy is following.

      • lukery says:

        selise

        yep – sorry – i thought we’d cleared that up, it’s definitely scowcroft. he is Chairman of ATC – the key org in sibel’s case.

        at the current rate, i won’t have a comprehensive post up detailing each of the guilty parties. I’m currently suffering the time-zone thing where i dont get to bed till late Australian summer time, yet trying to post in the AM on your East Coast (unfortunately, the two overlap!)

        given the current attention, i’m trying to juggle responding to a gazilion different wensites and trying to prepare a post for tomorow too (in the midst of it all, i had a 6 hour power outage today!)

        I’ll be on antiwar radio tomorrow with scott horton again for those interested

        • selise says:

          ah well, we can wait an extra day to get all the goodies from you (many thanks again)… it will just give us an extra day to do our own speculating.

          will look forward to the antiwar podcast (i am the only one who finds it amusing when scott horton interviews scott horton?)… the last podcast of you and scott was excellent content-wise even if the there were some problems with the audio.

          not my place to say, but hope to see more of your comments here.

  28. pdaly says:

    I hope Chief Judge Wolf’s letter inspires other judges to write and act, too. Wonder whether retired Supreme Court Justice O’Connor has any updates about America’s commute down the path of fascism.

    I was reading the Newsweek article by Hosenball and Isikoff about CIA veterans seeking defense lawyers in response to Durham’s appointment to investigate the 2005 destruction of the torture tapes.

    The main point of the article is this:

    “For the CIA spooks involved, cost is a serious issue. Krieger says legal expenses for each employee could reach “hundreds of thousands” of dollars; the CIA will not foot the bill. “

    What caught my eye, however, was the next line:

    “In anticipation of just such a scenario, however, the agency some years ago began encouraging its employees to purchase special liability-insurance policies from Wright & Co., a Virginia firm that specializes in coverage for government investigators.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/84572

    Tell me that this ’special liability insurance company’ WRIGHT & CO is not owned by some neocon crony.

  29. pdaly says:

    lukery, quite a news day, indeed.

    Does this mean the DVD will be available some day soon? It’s been two winters now, I believe.

      • pdaly says:

        Thanks, lukery.

        I didn’t know even this version existed of Sibel Edmonds’ documentary Kill the Messenger.

        Will check it out in the morning (it’s almost 20 minutes past midnight for me). Have a good day. Hope you have reporters checking out your numberous sites and learning the story.

        • lukery says:

          That version is the one that was shown in Australia on broadcast TV.

          I like the sound of ‘numberous’ – it could work!

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      Check out the link in my post @113, Dismayed. It’s the same Larisa post, but the one on her HuffPo page is more filled out, not just the list of names.

  30. JodiDog says:

    I want to know one thing!

    How did the horse that Valerie Plame rode get raised from the dead again?

    Haven’t we whipped it enough?

    Can’t we just let it rest in peace?

    • sona says:

      Could you not follow the rationale? Plame was working on counterproliferation and her cover was busted as was the work she was engaged in. SE fingers very high level people in the administration that busted Plame as being actively engaged in proliferation. The Plame case is not a dead horse by a long shot when the VP’s CoS gets convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, the Fed prosecutor’s investigation is stymied by the cloud hanging over the second highest ranking elected official in an administration that is preparing to invade a third country that it understands little of to secure nuclear WMDs that it’s officials helped proliferate.

  31. LiberalTarian says:

    Well, I really wanted to comment on the Yoo thread, but somehow I just cannot get a comment box.

    But, I hope you will forgive this OT transgression for a comment not dealing with lawyering:

    I got a tremendous amount of satisfaction seeing John Yoo’s smug face in all the San Francisco papers (including the local weeklies) talking about how someone was holding him personally responsible for his works–seeking to legalize torture. And Saturday I sat in Stonehenge Bakery and Cafe and saw other people reading about Yoo in his own town, and seeing what a disgrace he is.

    Berkeley hasn’t changed THAT much. Yoo is a pig, and everyone will remember him as Torture Yoo.

  32. radiofreewill says:

    Re: Sibel Edmonds

    If Marc Grossman is as involved as Edmonds says he is, then ‘Outing’ Valerie Plame Wilson:

    – Classified CIA Counter-Proliferation Division Manager
    – Assigned to Joint Task Force Iraq
    – Operating as a NOC (cover: Energy Anaylyst for Brewster-Jennings)
    – Familiar with AQ Khan’s activities

    Looks A Lot more like an Act of Espionage than Political Spite.

  33. TheraP says:

    Does anyone see possible connections between this info coming out from Sibel Edmonds and the black sites and so-called rendition flights?

    Makes me wonder if more is going on there than meets the eye. Thailand, drugs. Turkey, site of legal poppy growing.

    Any connection with Bhutto’s assassination?

    Too many threads to pull!

  34. bmaz says:

    Man, the hyperventilation on this Sybil Edmunds stuff is really amazing. I would suggest it needs a hell of a lot more examination and corroboration before being turned into the holy grail.

    • TheraP says:

      Thanks for your perspective, bmaz.

      What scared me last night was when I told my husband about it, he took it seriously – said, yes, he could believe that. He usually does not pay attention to this stuff, though his background was international relations (educated in Europe) and he did spend time in Pakistan 40+ years ago. But he also felt like he wanted more info… assumed it should also be on the bbc if really credible.

      I just threw my questions out there. But I can’t really link these Sibel Edmonds statements up with other stuff. It’s pretty horrifying though if it’s all true.

      • Rayne says:

        First, your husband may put too much faith in the Beeb; they can be gamed like any outlet.

        The fact that this Edmonds’ story appeared in Times-UK says something, because their libel laws are more demanding than ours are. There were names omitted because there wasn’t enough corroboration to get around the libel laws, which when flipped means the Times felt there was adequate corroboration for all the other names.

        As for grand conspiracy — not certain about this component, except that comments Ret. Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski made about foreign nationals being entirely familiar with the halls and the workings of the Pentagon has always stuck in my craw. Not all of what we are seeing in Edmonds’ story is related directly, but the conditions had to exist first for smaller conspiracies to take place, and it’s the effort to create those overall conditions in which small conspiracies too place that is the grand conspiracy. The largest of smaller conspiracies was that which set the Iraq War in motion; it’s all of a piece, all inter-related.

        If I can find the quote by Kwiatkowski, I’ll come back here with it.

        And bad news, EW: BREAKING: Dem. Primary Can Happen Jan. 15, Fed. Judge Rules

    • phred says:

      Thanks for that bmaz. The photo gallery makes her allegations appear to be a massive conspiracy. As a rule, I try to avoid conspiracy theories. I can’t help but wonder whether her allegations have not been pursued due to insufficient evidence/corroboration. The Times of London suggests it’s possible her story may have some corroboration. But for me, the whole episode serves as yet another example of the problems with excessive secrecy. If there is no mechanism by which those who believe they have found criminal conduct within classified information can report it and/or bring charges, how can that conduct ever be prosecuted and curtailed? We simply must find a way to close this legal loophole, whether by severely restricting what information may be classified (my preference) or creating a classified court to handle such complaints (better than nothing I suppose).

      • TheraP says:

        Very good point, phred. Secrecy can lead to paranoia. The fear that anything could be going on. The ability to link up the wrong bread crumbs because you’re in the dark. Then every shadow makes you jumpy.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh, there has been some corroboration, by FBI agents no less; but of how much of the story? The thing is now a world wide conspiracy. In fairness, it is hard to find much redeemable about the people supposedly culpable, and they are certainly nefarious enough to have done this crap; so it may be true, but personally I need a lot more before I am going to get overly excited. It is good for the matter to get some publicity; maybe it will lead to a proper vetting to see where it can go, that will be good for all of us.

    • PetePierce says:

      Hard to examine much of anything bmaz, because as you know your FBI and your court system has sealed much of it, calling it secret.

      Perhaps the fact that very little can be examined to sink our teeth into promotes the hyperventilation context.

  35. Mary says:

    To me the most convincing elements of the Edmonds saga are that she was called to testify to Congress (the Judiciary committee IIRC) and that Ashcroft acted in such a bizarre manner after that testimony (retroactively making public record “classified” – this kind of crap is getting really old with me, I saw it in the Higazy opinion too on redactions of info that is out there in the public already); but then, the part that caught my eye most, was that both Leahy and Grassley (and I’m a big Leahy fan) put letters up on their websites basically supporting her and saying that she was very credible. With their staffers being threatened by DOJ, I thought that was pretty interesting.

    On the less conspiratorial front, the allegations that she made about the GITMO translator for the FBI proved to be completely true – he flunked proficiency in both English and the language he was supposed to be translating to English from – and FBI was just going to cover it up and let it go but for her pushback. Bc, after all, it’s not like you’d want correct translations, if you can give a job to the relative of a crony, would you?

    And the expeditious exit from the USA to Belgium by Jan Dickerson is “interesting.”

    It’s also the cynic in me that can totally believe that Edmonds was asked to slow down on translations because they wanted a backlog so they could get more budget and hire more people. Those are all the little things that make me listen a little more closely. Nothing to hyperventilate over yet, but it’s interesting to watch. I tend to believe that if nothing else, she has a story that has parts which would highlight (like the GITMO translator and Dickerson story seem to have) gross incompetence that someone would like to use “state secrets” to cover up. OTOH – you never know what kind of undercover operations a left hand might have been involved in and that a right hand might not know about (for good reasons) and which get cratered by well meaning, but not “in the loop” responses.

    So we’ll just have to wait and see – maybe wait a long time and never see anything, the way things have been going. If there was evidence, it doesn’t seem likely that DOJ, who believes obstruction doesn’t apply to the Executive Branch, would still have it around.

    DOJ has, at least, given us all the ability to chime in together with “The Aristocrats” next time a judge asks what they call their doctrine.

    • bmaz says:

      I simply don’t know enough about this one to go into details, or to go off on either side of it, and I trust your take about as implicitly as an antagonistic codger like me is capable of. I certainly do not mean to discourage investigation and probing of the allegations; indeed, I think there should be far more of that. But I think that should be done before too many wild conclusions are drawn.

  36. Mary says:

    133 – Oh, I’m just giving a take on the things that did pan out – which were small, discreet bites. I think on the larger, super secret stuff, who knows? But I tend to give a credence to(but not unquestioning suppor for)Leahy’s take that what she said to THEM, THEN was credible. Which may or may not be what is being spun and hinted at now from her quarters. And I think they (Leahy and Grassley) meant credible from her view, without other overlays, which is not necessarily the same as credible if you have all the layers to see at one time and credible with the revelations over the years.

    I’m still sceptical on lots (including why she got dunned from the 9/11 inquiries) but I’d really like to see a good, thorough investigation and while I can imagine some series of occurences that might give credibility to the reasons to invoke state secrets, none of them jive well with how she was treated – so I have to think some of what she has to say is, at a minimum, embarassing to someone who had the chops to be retaliatory against her job position.

    Not sure that there is a grand conspiracy to sell nuke secrets, not sure there isn’t, but IMO (opinion only) I tend to think that if all she had to say came out – someone, somewhere at FBI or DOJ, would be fairly embarassed about some verifiable portions of it. OTOH, some parts of it might be completely whacko too. Who knows?

  37. Mary says:

    OT – with Guantanamo a morass of human trafficking victims denied habeas, here’s an article on the BIGGER problems at Bagram.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01…..=2&hp

    Oh, and buried in the story is the fact that Yoo-Goldsmith-Philbin “unlawful enemy combatants” (the article forgest the unlawful part) theory of holding Aghfans is so dodgy that a third world – maybe fourth world – country like Afghanistan refuses to adopt that “legal” structure as a basis for holding people with no charges forever.

  38. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This issue has been raised before. Now that the Osama bin Bushed regime is nearing its end, why would it want a functioning Department of Justice with high credibility among the federal judiciary, federal and state bars and the communities it and they are meant to serve? That would be like the fox feeding steroids to the hounds?

    Imagine how much harder it would be to come after miscreants if the major USA offices were bogged down redoing cases, and had lost much of their credibility for high quality, impartial work? If they had lost their top lawyers, investigators and support staff who refused to “get with the program”, or who remain, but were demoralized because of what they did to feed their kids and pay their bills? If their computer systems and procedural coordination among other agencies remained unimproved or unfixed? If the other agencies the DOJ depends suffered similar fates?

    I accept that apart from lowering taxes on the wealthy, padding their coffers and opening up the federal government to K Street pillaging – and lying about it – the Osama bin Bushed regime is incompetent. But Cheney and Addington, among others, know what they’ve been doing and their top priority now is not to get caught – now or later. So it beggars belief that they would not actively seek to thwart the improvements that Mukasey and the stalwart good souls remaining at Justice might want to make.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly. Oh, they will talk about “the health and respect of the DOJ” and all that, they just won’t do anything. And if they thought for one second that Mukasey was going to do so, he would not be there.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      I heartily recommend this diary at dKos that was promoted to the Front Page this morning: Telecom Immunity Gives Bush Immunity. It’s by a former clerk to a State Supreme Court. I’m not sure what state, and I’m not sure she continues to practice law, but short of being a retired judge, she’s at least got a solid understanding of a move the Cheney/Addington cabal are no doubt up to when they mewl about the poor Telecoms and how everyone’s picking on them.

      • bmaz says:

        That is a nice little article and all, but it is exactly what we, well at least many of us, have been saying here for 6-8 months now. Not exactly any new thoughts there….

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I agree with bmaz. The telecoms immunity issue is code for protecting senior Bush administration officials who demanded or co-erced the co-operation of telecoms companies. They apparently did so via methods that included secret and highly questionable legal opinions, by concluding or withdrawing profitable government contracts, and by threats of and actual criminal prosecution of uncooperative players.

        The administration’s defenses against liability for such conduct is manifold. One is to claim that the sky will fall. That is, it would threaten the survival of some of America’s largest, most profitable and resource-rich companies. (Stating the claim indicates how suspect it is.)

        Full or partial immunity, with no return commitments from those who benefit from it and outside of any credible, pre-agreed investigative process, will shut the door on any meaningful investigations. In fact, the SIC FISA bill Reid tried to ram through in December would have specifically thrown out the few private suits still pending. Few expect even a Democratic administration to open its files on the machinations of the Cheney administration.

        Telecom immunity is the lynchpin, the keystone. Cheney knows it, and his Jets looming in every alleyway in DC. We don’t even know if the Sharks will come out and play; Harry wants them to stay home and sing love tunes to their girlfriends.

  39. JodiDog says:

    How many straw men are progressives going to raise up? These caricatures just never go anywhere except in progressive/liberal minds and blogs.

    sona, watercarrier4diogenes

    you are getting carried away by your own rhetoric.

    … and here I repeat myself once again. Scooter Libby lied to the FBI and the grand jury so he wouldn’t have to admit having leaked to reporters. That is all.
    He didn’t expect to be found out but the reporters squealed. So much for protecting sources. He paid a hefty penalty for his indiscretion.

    Much has been made about him protecting people higher ups, but that is just so much hyperbole. He could have picked up the information in a multitude of places just like Armitage.

    • sona says:

      Perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes not mere indiscretions.

      Getting carried away by rhetoric? Speak for yourself. Some of us shape our rhetoric with reason. Plame’s covert identity could not have been picked up from ‘a multitude of places’. It is not a hyperbole when the Federal Prosecutor characterises it as a cloud hanging over the second highest Federally elected official. It is also treason to leak classified information re covert status of personnel engaged in national security affairs. Treason is far more serious a crime than just indiscretion of leaking to reporters.

      I do not know about your sense of national pride but as as an Australian I would say it stinks. There are many issues that I fight for here in Australia but we don’t suffer the curse of your type of kneejerk and brainless inanities. We don’t tolerate the the barabarity of capital punishment. I know you do in the USA. Traitors used to be hanged or beheaded once upon a time in far away land where I grew up , if not hanged, drawn and quartered, in that order. Scooter Libby has not paid his due, a pardon is not a hefty price.

      I have tried to reason with you in simple language. You are not receptive to reason. Why do you hang around this blog? You obviously cannot fathom the arguments being advanced. Do you not have anything in your life to engage in? I suggest you seek help for your own sake and quit this blog for your own good.

      • JodiDog says:

        Glad to meet you sona.

        Australia is one of my favorite places.

        Look. You seem to have bought into this story completely, and that is fine, but I haven’t. If you think that only people that have should be on this site, then suggest to emptywheel that only people on a “vetted” list be allowed to participate, to even browse.

        I don’t think that you will get very far, because emptywheel understands the need for different opinions. It is how we hone our arguments and intellect.

        And I know that they pretty much think the same in Australia, so take a deep breath before you continue.

        • sona says:

          Do us a favour – we only just got rid of Howard and sent him off to a well deserved ignominious oblivion from politics – stay away from our shores – we would not welcome your sort although we would be polite but don’t bet on it.

  40. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Irving Lewis Libby committed multiple, lying-related felonies to cover his criminal behavior. He had worked for Cheney for twenty years, shared his Ivy League background, was his chief of staff and close confidant. He had been tasked by both the president and vice president to defend them against the truth coming out about their claims for going to war in Iraq – during the 2004 campaign that would decide whether both would be re-elected. Libby’s lies were not his personally, nor were they about his future. They were by and for his administration’s survival.

    The “journalists” who revealed their talks with Libby were forced to do so by appropriate legal process. But they were not protecting the first amendment, except in their rhetoric. They were protecting a government source who had lied to them and used them to promote personal attacks against knowledgable and credible critics. Those attacks included the outing of a covert intelligence expert on WMD’s.

    Those are not sources to whom protection is owed. Rather, those journalists had a duty to out Libby for his lies, for his misuse of the press and its first amendment protections.

  41. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    That is a nice little article and all, but it is exactly what we, well at least many of us, have been saying here for 6-8 months now. Not exactly any new thoughts there….

    Would that you’d been saying it on a bigger stage, bmaz. This person has, and has generated quite a bit of discussion on it involving people who didn’t happen to read here, much less be part of your inner circle here.

    I’ve been delightedly reading EW, LHP, freepatriot and many others for more than 6 months (hell, I even read your ‘football trash talk comments). But, if you see your role here, at least as concerns me, is to be an

    antagonistic codger

    you might want to stay away from snide put-downs, especially on a subject that you essentially agree with. It doesn’t really matter who thought a thought first. It will matter if a much broader cross-section of the nation, not just the blogosphere, doesn’t read and understand the truth of that thought.

    FWIW, there aren’t too many blocks I’m the new kid on (the legal perspective I get here is one of them, though). I only ask that you begrudge my occasional attempt at a ‘contribution’, as I don’t post often, especially not to just laud or trash someone else (Jodidog, read earlofhuntingdon’s rejoinder @143 — sorry, couldn’t resist that one).

    earlofhuntingdon @144 – Couldn’t agree more, wasn’t my intent to give any of you the impression you weren’t already aware of the issue. However, letting Reid, Feinstein, et al, think they’re still operating behind the scenes will help assure Bush/Cheney’s success. Shining ever bigger spotlights on what telecom immunity will actually accomplish will greatly enlarge the opposition’s ranks, something they have to realize will have personal consequences for them as pols. It’s something of a “keep them cards and letters comin’, folks” thing.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh no, meant no disrespect, to you or the author, nor to make a snide put down. And I have seen you around for long enough to know that you knew what I was saying. So I guess I don’t really know why I made that comment; I probably should not have. To be honest, I clicked the link read the whole thing, and the comments, and was just kind of taken aback by how awestruck many were with stuff that has been around for so long. To be honest, I read through a certain set of sites at some point every day, but as far as commenting and really hanging out and getting a feel for the pulse, this one is where I spend the most all of allotment of time I have. The result is I may be a bit isolated in that regard; especially from such a huge community as Kos. Sorry, meant no offense….

    • bmaz says:

      One other thing. Don’t let me, nor anyone else, ever stop you from contributing something you think valuable. There are a lot of very bright people here, with very distinct opinions; but I am not aware of any that are not open to intelligent participation. That is what makes the whole thing go.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I resemble [sic] bmaz’s comments and reply to you. Welcome aboard. This election – and the recovery and rebuilding efforts after it – requires all hands to battle stations. I’m happy to do what little I can and welcome everyone else willing to do the same.

      I also concur with bmaz’s comments on the utility of FDL/EW and Kos. I regard their commentariat as among the best on the web. I would add TPM on current affairs and Scott Horton and Glenn Greenwald on the legal minefield bequeathed us by Cheney/Bush.

      • watercarrier4diogenes says:

        Agreed, reading TPM and TPMMuck, along with watching clips on C&L (beats watching the shows themselves, especially Faux) were my intro to the blogosphere (h/t to my son for the URLs). I’ve only recently started following Scott Horton, but Glennzilla “can do no wrong” from what I’ve seen. In today’s column, he has a link to Time’s Swampland post by Michael Scherer. Read the first 10 or so comments under it. I’d have to say the MSM is getting it handed to them pretty regularly now that there’s a place to do so. They can refuse to read those comments, true, but they know they’re there and are being read by people they once thought were taking them ‘Seriously’.

  42. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    was just kind of taken aback by how awestruck many were with stuff that has been around for so long.

    Yeah, I can see how that reaction would come about. Since I sorta know the author, as she’s involved in dKos’ nightly Diary Rescue with me, I’m possibly overly impressed with the thoroughness of the diary and glad to see so many awestruck comments as they represent an awakening that needs to get much bigger to be able to dent the foreheads of our least prized Dem Senators before they sell us down the river.

    I read pretty much everything here every day, and have linked her stuff and encouraged Kossacks to come over here and read it fairly often (just following in Kagro X and Meteor Blades’ footsteps), as there’s more uncovering of what’s under the rocks here than any three other sites that I visit frequently (I’m lovin’ the timelines). But for sheer power to move politicians to take action, there needs to be a wide and responsive audience that’s willing to take the time to write/fax/email/call not only their own Rep or Sen, but every damn one on the target committee, if not the whole Congress. There will likely be a few more ‘call to action’ diaries on this in the near future. Thanks to AT&T’s assumption of the Cingular ‘rollover minutes’ idea, I’ve got a few thousand free minutes to devote to raising a little hell inside the beltway. It always helps to know that there are good reasons for the line being busy, too. 8^)

    Anyway, thanks for the responses (both of them), no offense taken…

  43. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I would add that with longer comments, multiple links to common sites and previously discussed issues often happen. Comments are sometimes repetitive, including mine, but there’s often some new wrinkle added that no one’s discussed before or that bears repeating. As my old high school speech & drama coach kept drilling into us, tell ‘em what you’re gonna say, say it, and tell ‘em what you said. If you’re lucky, two-thirds of it might sink in.

    Now that the Twelfth Day of Christmas/Yule is behind us, let’s get back to work.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      tell ‘em what you’re gonna say, say it, and tell ‘em what you said

      ahhh, the nostalgic rush… That’s the first thing said by any instructor in an Army ‘how to teach da troops’ course. Being that it was the Army, our goal was more like 30%, though. Hopefully, enough to keep them alive long enough to learn from their experiences.

  44. NMvoiceofreason says:

    The idea of the “fruit of the poisonous tree” is that there must be NO incentive to use corrupted evidence. A nation of laws must abide by them, and when it does not, punishing bad people just because they deserve it leads down a very slippery slope. It is like saying you can use a choke hold, or taser on a suspect, then claim innocence when a suspect (or even convict) dies. If you believe everyone who is guilty must be punished, find your Dominatrix right now, because we all are guilty of something. Soon we will all be guilty of everything. All that is necessary for the forces of evil to triumph in the world is for enough good men to say it is alright with them and do nothing to stop it.

    • klynn says:

      I’ve stated this before over at the Lake…All of these sources need to come together in a weekly format for our own kind of Sunday “talk”. It seems many of us make visits to many of the same sites to glean truth.

  45. Hmmm says:

    OT – Further to the Edmonds subthread – The President of Turkey was in the US and met with Bush yesterday, two days after the Sunday Times Online piece ran. Bush endorsed Turkey joining the EU, a hot topic in the UK and other European incumbent states. Fortuitous timing, eh wot?

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/m…..8;buid=866

Comments are closed.