“And while you’re indicting Alberto Gonzales for lying to Congress…”

"…why not add another charge too?"

That seems to be the immediate message of Henry Waxman’s 11-page memo exposing Administration lies about the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger. As he describes, when Congress approached her with questions about the Administration’s use of the uranium in Niger claim, Condi Rice had Alberto Gonzales answer on her behalf.

On January 6,2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales sent a letter on behalf of Condoleezza Rice, who was then the National Security Advisor, to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, writing that "Dr. Rice has asked me to respond" to questions raised by the Committee about the uranium claim.

But the testimony the Oversight Committee has collected seriously challenges the veracity of Gonzales’ memo.

The information the Oversight Committee has received casts serious doubt on the veracity of the representations that Mr. Gonzales made on behalf of Dr. Rice.

Basically, George Tenet, former Deputy Director of Intelligence Jami Miscik, and former NSC speechwriter John Gibson testified that Condi and other NSC staffers had received multiple warnings not to use the Niger uranium claim, in addition to the insistent warnings before the Cincinnati speech that we already knew about.

As I suggested, DOJ may well already be considering charges against Alberto Gonzales for lying to Congress about the US Attorney firings (and, for that matter, about the illegal wiretap program). Waxman lays out one more instance where Bush’s Fredo appears to have lied about Administration activities.

Not that it’ll do much good: there’s a five year statute of limitation on lying to Congress, and the memo in question was written four years and eleven months ago. (The Administration didn’t turn over the memo in question until November 12 of this year.)

I’ll have more to say about the substantive details in Waxman’s memo after I do some Christmas shopping. But for now, if you needed any more proof that the SSCI report on prewar intelligence on Iraq was a whitewash based on Administration lies, now you’ve got it. 

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100 replies
  1. BooRadley says:

    OfT, ew, fwiw, I’m seeing some Ford advertising on Digg. I hope there’s some way FDL can get some of that.

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    Not that it’ll do much good: there’s a five year statute of limitation on lying to Congress, and the memo in question was written four years and eleven months ago.

    Stupid question for any lawyer: Doesn’t the clock start at the time the “victim” becomes aware that the lie was made?

    Boxturtle (We suspected they were lying from the start, when did we KNOW?)

    • bmaz says:

      Presumably the Senate, as the recipient of the letter, was aware as of the date of the letter, January 6, 2004.

      Hackworth @5 – I doubt Bush’s DOJ and Mukasey is going to rush to file charges on two Bush cabinet officials right before Bush’s term is up. However, there is, as I recall, subsequent testimony consistent with the memo that could serve as the basis for perjury or false statements charges.

      Fear not, Obama will not pursue them. It will be all about “moving forward”.

    • looseheadprop says:

      I was thinking if you charge conspiracy to lie to Congress (not sure if that is crime for which a conspiracy add on would be available–but let me specualte) then the hiding of the memo is part of the continuing conspiracy and the S ofL does not start running until the meo is turned over?

      It would be a tangent worth researching for a DOJ lawyer assigned to look at this.

      • Leen says:

        Great thread.

        Watching (R) Senator Pat Roberts and others manipulate the investigations into false pre war intelligence to run out the clock of accountability was disgusting. The Silverman Robb investigation was weak, Phase I of the SSCI..no accountability, Phase II incomplete until just recently

        To think that those who participated in creating, cherry picking, disseminating and endlessly repeating the false WMD intelligence to the American public will not be held accountable is a slap in the face, kick in the gut for those who served and died in the unnecessary war based on a pack of lies.

        By not holding those responsible for knowingly using these lies ( Feith, Wurmser, Rhode,Condi Rice, Ledeen, Hadley, Cheney, Bush etc) is like rubbing the faces of American and Iraq family members in the blood and bones of those who have unnecessarily died.

        If Obama and our congress think they can “move forward” without holding these thugs accountable they are sorely mistaken. The peasants are talking about the lack of accountability. The very least that the Congress now controlled by Democrats can do for those who have lost their lives, been injured for life in this bloody immoral war is hold those responsible ACCOUNTABLE.

        We know what it took to get the Republicans Justice juices flowing in the 90’s.

  3. hackworth1 says:

    There’s still time to slam dunk some charges. These rats have withheld the docs to run out the clock. Past performance would indicate that Fredo and Condi will get off scott free.

  4. Fern says:

    The mind boggles at what is all going to come out during and after the transition to the new administration.

  5. plunger says:

    The Niger forgery was planted by Michael Ledeen in collusion with then Ambassador to Italy, Mel Sembler (two of America’s leading Zionists) – the latter of whom went on to become the head of the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Fund AND held a fundraiser for Lieberman at Karl Rove’s personal request.

  6. plunger says:

    In 1999, Michael Ledeen’s book, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership, was passed out to Members of Congress at just about the time A Clean Break was issued. In The War Against the Terror Masters, he reiterates his beliefs:

    “They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.”

    War is not coincidental to neocon philosophy, but an integral part. There’s a precise reason to argue for war over peace according to Ledeen, for “…peace increases our peril by making discipline less urgent, encouraging some of our worst instincts, in depriving us of some of our best leaders.”

    Ledeen explains: “In order to achieve the most noble accomplishments, the leader may have to ‘enter into evil.’ This is the chilling insight that has made Machiavelli so feared, admired and challenging…we are rotten,”. “It’s true that we can achieve greatness if, and only if, we are properly led.”

    The question Ledeen doesn’t answer is: “Why do the political leaders not suffer from the same shortcomings and where do they obtain their monopoly on wisdom?”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul110.html

  7. BoxTurtle says:

    Presumably the Senate, as the recipient of the letter, was aware as of the date of the letter, January 6, 2004.

    I could sure debate that in court! Offically, didn’t the GOP dominated committee accept that letter at the time?

    At what point does the committee offically become aware it’s been lied to?

    Boxturtle (And what exactly does “become aware” mean?)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        And Jello Jay KNEW he was being lied to, because he knew the truth of things. *sigh*

        BushCo may be led by an idiot, but they sure gamed the Dems. Of course, it may be that the Dems wanted to be gamed.

        Boxturtle (Though in Gonzo’s case, couldn’t Obstruction of Justice be considered ongoing until he resigned?)

  8. radiofreewill says:

    When an aircraft, particularly a small one, is rear-loaded with so much baggage that the Center of Gravity (cg) for the aircraft is behind the Center of Moment (cm – the point in space about which the plane rotates), then due to the dynamics of flight, the aircraft becomes unstable in any attitude – IOW, it will crash.

    It’s like a kite with a tail that is too heavy – before the kite can struggle-up into the air, it flutters-out and falls away.

    This is the situation, imvho, that Obama is inheriting from Bush – a Crash-Landed airship of state with lots of mis-handled baggage tossed in where it shouldn’t be.

    To taxi out and try to take-off without a proper pre-flight safety check and re-manifesting of the cargo by the Pilot in Command would only complete the Crash that Bush started.

    It would be like deciding to leave metastasizing tumors in the body because ‘now is the time to move forward’ with Our lives…

    To the Moral Fiber of Our Nation, Trust and Confidence are the ‘lift’ We need to escape the danger of losing Our air-worthiness as a Nation of Laws.

    Letting Bush, Cheney, Gonzo, Addington, et al ’stay on’ as legitimate baggage, unexamined – loaded behind the Center of Moment – will only cripple or kill US in Our ‘focus-forward’ dreams of a better US.

    As important as the ‘hard work to be done’ in order to move Our nation forward is, it won’t be able to go anywhere – not until the hard work of ‘throwing off the cause of the problem’ to begin with is done first.

    BushCo must be identified, and it’s threats to the Rule of Law ‘cut-out,’ before Our Country can heal and move forward, and fly with stability into a better tomorrow – with President Obama leading the way from the flight deck.

    Any other approach will be worse than a bad dream…

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a more apt, clear analogy than the one that you offer here. And yes, I have seen badly loaded planes crash – people feeling too much pressure to make too much money and doing stupid things, as well as subtance abuse=poor judgment.

      – – – – – – – – – –
      And just to add a little chiarascuro to the series of images you present, note who was on SSCI in 2004 at the time of that report:

      Sen. LEADERSHIP:
      Bill Frist was Sen Majority Leader**, and didn’t run again
      Tom Daschle lost in 2006, but will now be head of Obama’s HHS

      Republicans still in Senate:
      Roberts (Chair at the time of SSCI report in 2004), Hatch (UT), Chambliss (GA), Snow (MN), Bond (MO)
      Republicans no longer in Senate::Mike DeWine (OH), didn’t run 2008 J Warner (VA), Trent Lott (MI)… ‘resigned’ for reasons not entirely clear.

      Dems Still in Senate:
      Levin(MI), Durbin(IL), Feinstein(CA), Mikulski (MD),
      Dem no longer in Senate: John Edwards (NC)

  9. klynn says:

    OT

    I’ve been a bit stunned by the death of Mike Connell, the IT guru who testified against Rove in the ongoing King Lincoln Bronzeville case…the Ohio election fraud case which also involves Bush/Blackwell…

    What is it about these high science – tech men who make mystery trips to College Park, MD and end up dead?

      • acquarius74 says:

        Thanks for the link to Lisa’s article on the death of Mike Connell.

        There are too many of the plane crashes under suspicious circumstances to be accepted as accidents.

        The systems take-over signature is beginning to wave a red flag.

        The plane of Sen. Paul Wellstone just suddenly goes off course and dives into the ground, killing all aboard. Planes carrying Central and South American heads of government explode.

        This is so ugly and so blatant it makes me sick!

        You can bet this is one FAA investigation that will be finished before Bush leaves office — determination: pilot error, of course.

  10. MadDog says:

    When I read Henry’s last missive earlier this week, I applauded his parting shot.

    While Henry at times fell short of my desired final follow-through, he sure had the talent to pin a bug to the board.

    One can hope that a member or two of Oversight will grow to fill at least one of his shoes.

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    I thought WHC was supposed to have more legal room to lie to congress, whereas the AG is more of a shoulder’s length post which simply resorts to the “Senator, as I sit Here, I do not know…” variety of cooperation at committee hearings.

    Look for Bush to claim color of C-in-C monarchy rights to instruct Condi to let AGAG fabricate her customized falsehoods. I wonder how much research Diggs Taylor aggregated and might publish from her work backing up her turn of phrase about hereditary kings. Seems there is room for some brightline elaboration of that thought she put forth in the wiretap case. That criticism’s prominence in her lengthy opinion may have been rhetorical flourish, but if there was more, it would be nice to examine, footnoted.

    I wonder who is the relevant legal historian now for the questions about lying to congress, a territory rendered much more fertile in these past eight years by the Bush approach to rule despite the ‘just-a piece-of paper’ legal theory he favors to elaborate his office’s constitutional responsibilities.

  12. nextstopchicago says:

    EW,

    Give me some context for this letter. Unlike the Committee Report on torture earlier this week, this is not a committee report, merely a memo from the (departing) chair to his committee members. What does it mean? Who is the next chair? Has the next chair suggested the possibility of further hearings?

    • emptywheel says:

      The next chair is an absentee landlord, Edolphous Towns, so don’t expect any more there.

      One of the problems with Waxman making his bid for Commerce is that Issa will go wild over Oversight.

  13. nextstopchicago says:

    Also, I think that this stuff gets lost in bureaucratic language. I think a more direct way to headline this is “CIA staff, NSC staff accuse Rice and Gonzales of lying on WMD”.

    Miscik is CIA staff. Gibson is former NSC staff. Were they career, or were they Bush appointees (or elevated to new positions by Bush administration)? Either way it’s very damning, but if they were Bush appointees, it’s somewhat stronger — your own people say you lied.

    • Ollie says:

      Miscik was a career CIA appointee who was run out of the Agency by the Porter Goss crowd. Media accounts say she is now working on the Obama intelligence transition team.

      Not sure why all the last minute surprise over the Waxman letter. The fact that Rice was warned multiple times (in writing and in one case on the phone by Miscik) not to use the Niger stuff was laid out in great detail in Tenet’s book which was published about 18 months ago.

      I guess (once again) Congress didn’t read it.

      • kspena says:

        Looks like cheney had Jamie Muscik fired; according to CNN report in
        http://money.cnn.com/magazines…../index.htm

        “The pressure never eased. Tensions with the administration came to a head in November 2004. Vice President Dick Cheney’s office asked Miscik to declassify part of a CIA report about the tie between the war in Iraq and the broad war on terrorism. She believed that revealing that portion of the report would leave the public with the wrong impression by telling only a small part of the story, so she denied the request. As she recalls, a few days later an aide to PorterGoss, who had replaced Tenet as CIA chief, delivered a message. “Saying no to the Vice President is the wrong answer,” Goss’s aide told Miscik. She replied to the aide, “Actually, sometimes saying no to the Vice President is what we get paid for.” Goss supported her decision to keep the information classified.

        A few weeks later, just before Christmas, CIA executive director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo told Miscik that she was being replaced as deputy director of intelligence. A spokesperson for Goss says now, “There is absolutely no linkage between the two events.” (See what Miscik recalls about the classified memo she sent about her reasons to keep the information classified.)”

        On Miscik’s memo to Goss on cheney’s request:
        http://money.cnn.com/2007/07/1…..2007071107

        • stryder says:

          Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview with Cheney where he disagrees with the a comment by Rove that we probably wouldn’t have invaded Irac if the intel was accurate,which is to say that the intel was irrelevant.
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..51597.html
          Some serious fur flying between Gafney and Korn on hardball but
          http://turcopolier.typepad.com…..tthew.html
          puts it like this
          The low point of the discussion came when Gaffney said that the 4,000 odd US soldiers who died in Iraq “had to die,” as though they had died in a “crusade” to make all right. You remember, like the “Crusade in Europe?”

          Well, my fellow Americans, these soldiers did not die in vain. They died for us in obedience to the orders of the government that your constitution created. Therefore, the responsibility for their deaths is ours. Some of you will believe that they have gone to something better. The rest of you will just have to live with it. pl

          • kspena says:

            Yes, I saw all of those. I particularly liked the way Chris got Gaffney, for whom I’ve had the lowest regard for years, to confess what his inner ‘truth’ was. Gaffney can’t take those words back, ever.

            I think my observation about cheney/Miscik is that cheney has been ‘getting rid’ of people for years under the cover of ‘excutive’ secrecy. IIRC, he helped get rid of Nelson Rockfeller, replaced by Dole on the 1976 ticket, and sidelined Bush1 to the CIA to get him out of the way for the same election. We know of several people cheney has blasted during bush2’s administration. How many others have there in between? Let’s not forget the others; I also lay the innocents in GITMO, Afganistan, Iraq & Somalia at his feet. I wonder what measure his grandchildren will take of him?

            I heard one of the interviewees I was listening to on Anti-war radio today say that he thought that the whole ‘torture’ thing was always for PR purposes. cheney/bush know that torture doesn’t work to get good info. They were just after the PR effect of ’showing’ their macho… Perhaps it was Patrick Cockburn, or maybe Robert Parry. I’ll listen again..

  14. SaltinWound says:

    Wow. I just read Waxman’s letter. Going back to Plame days at nexthurrah, this makes Condi’s behavior on Air Force One when she stuck the shiv in Tenet look even more disgusting (and almost manic). And it’s less clear to me than ever why Tenet caved at the time.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      There’s a statistical likelihood this is truly an accident, but if he was an experienced pilot… wow, given the circumstances, that it creepy. Plus, how fascinating that someone stumbled on his activities via the Siegelman investigation.

      • bmaz says:

        The plane was a Piper Saratoga. You don’t own and fly those unless you are an experienced pilot (or JFK Jr. and we know how that worked out). Some single engine planes can be flown satisfactorily down to earth without engine power; this is not one of those planes. Will be interesting what the NTSB has to conclude.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Wow, I won’t see too many of my pilot contacts for another couple weeks, but I’ll be interested to get their perspectives on this item. When it comes to plane safety, they always seem to be pretty interested, and the airplane companies certainly have a vested interest in plane safety. (Although the FAA seems to be pretty universally disdained, as near as I can figure.)

          Yeah, planes go down. But ‘experienced pilot’ going down like that?
          Color me very skeptical.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          The other thing that I find really weird about this — and I admit that I’m not familiar with this model, although it sounds familiar — is that the current planes have really improved their pre-flight procedures and put a ton of money into safety and pre-flight checks. Or so I’m told by people who fly.

          Again, I don’t mean to spout off here, but given the little that I do know this is just very, very strange. Particularly given the purpose for his travel.

  15. Palli says:

    Don’t be stunned it was predicted and authorities were told of the threat…maybe Cinnell didn’t believe them

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      OT, but the way that I read this is: ‘we want to hold onto the finance arm, and we’re willing to try and help keep the car maker alive so that it has something to sell on which we can collect finance fees’. Am I mistook?

      Probably a whole separate thread on that topic… Sorry.

      • bmaz says:

        Some key excerpts from the Freep article linked above:

        … plans to give its stake in the Auburn Hills automaker to unions, debtholders and other stakeholders in exchange for concessions, paving the way for Cerberus to exit Chrysler’s automotive business — though it is unclear if labor and banks would want the company.

        Cerberus is not putting up its stake in Chrysler Financial. It said it would use $2 billion in proceeds from Chrysler Financial to back Chrysler’s federal loan.

        Aaron Bragman, an industry analyst with IHS Global Insight, said there is no indication that unions or banks holding Chrysler’s debt would want an ownership stake in the automaker.

        “It looks like Cerberus is washing their hands of Chrysler’s automotive business,” Bragman said.

        Earlier this year, Chrysler’s former majority owner, Daimler AG, valued its remaining 19.9% stake in the automaker at zero, down from $2.2 billion the previous year.

        “Given this market, nobody has the cash to spend on it. Not only that, Chrysler is a company that is at risk. Their scope is very limited,” Bragman said. “They have North America and basically nothing else. Their North American share is shrinking.

        “There doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight.”

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Gloomy translation: Cerberus is done with this turkey and they’re looking to minimize Cerberus’ losses. They’re worrying about their own pockets. The message they’re sending is “Fire sale!!!!” to see if anybody wants it at any price.

          I think this means that the GOP is bailing out their buddies in Cerberus and feeding Chrysler to the crows.

          Boxturtle (Lovely. We have a Jeep)

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Not so fast. They want the INTEREST/finance profits.
            They just don’t want the hassle of actual risk and hard work.
            Lucky them.

            (And I say that as someone who’s lost $$ on projects, so yes, I do hold them in bitter contempt.)

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Yup, and the way I read this:

          Cerberus is not putting up its stake in Chrysler Financial. It said it would use $2 billion in proceeds from Chrysler Financial to back Chrysler’s federal loan.

          I take to mean, “F*ck all you humanoids who make things; we’re only out to cream the interest off the things that you can’t afford to save up the money to buy. But if there’s nothing to sell, we can’t collect interest off what is sold. So we have to make sure that someone else is backing the operations required to produce things. And we don’t care whether that’s an insane African dictator like Mugabe, or a lunatic like North Korea’s Kim. We don’t want to risk anything on the costs of materials, engineering, production, or supply lines. We’re really only in this game to cream off interest from whatever gets sold, because once people sign contracts, we know we’re in gravy. We’ll let everyone else risk their asses on what it takes to design, engineer, prototype, build, test, redesign, retest, redesign, retest, produce, distribute, sell, and service the products. We only want the easy money: finance is our game.”

          Whaddya think?
          Am I getting ‘warm’ here? Or am I off in the orbits of Saturn?

            • bmaz says:

              Fucking good thing Cerberus doesn’t have a publicly traded stock price, or it would take one whale of a hit when the unions and banks tell them to get lost with that offer.

              • emptywheel says:

                Yeah. ALready the loan gives UAW half of its VEBA payment in stock (that’ll be 5 billion shares, I guess). And Cerberus wants them to own Chrysler???

                Fuckers.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Thx, coming from you that means something.

              [email protected], yeah, good thing our government doesn’t follow the logic that EW blog’s own masaccio has proposed: call all CDO’s and CDS’s no longer legally enforceable. Because that would reveal Cerberus as the illusory creature it is, and BushCheney couldn’t have that now, could they?

              surfer @78, great point — no need to hand Rove a freebie in any circumstance. Larissa at Raw Story claims he moved all those emails to other servers, and wow…. who wouldn’t like to know the servers, directories, admin logs, and passwords? Too bad MadDog, WmO, Bob S, JohnL, randiego and a few other Ewheelies don’t have that info… (in my dreams…)

  16. Mary says:

    Why Gonzales and not Bellinger I wonder? And did Bellinger and Ashcroft know that Gonzales lied and did nothing to correct the record? You just wonder.

  17. JohnLopresti says:

    Reading the letter Waxman wrote is like a chronicle of a propaganda machine, how can there be a war without prewar hype, the intell agency serves at the pleasure of the president, got a forgery problem, claim it is miscommunication which whc found too opaque to verify with all dueHypeDiligence.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yes, and put that together with Ledeen’s evident belief (along with Wolfowitz and other neocons) that ‘a great lie’ is somehow ‘noble’ or ‘worthy’ of a great leader. Yup. Evidently, as EW pointed out wayback on a thread related to Straussian thinking, the neocons don’t view this as ‘lying’; their term for this is ‘creating a narrative’.

      Or, to use EW’s spelling, I believe it would be Nar.Ra.Tive.
      As Shakespeare showed repeatedly, the most dangerous forms of madness take the shapes of sane, well-meaning guile.

  18. Mary says:

    It seems odd that Waxman is dipping his toe into the water on this when the lies were to the Senate committee – almost as if the Senate gov oversight and intel committee heads are … oh, sorry, I’d missed 8 above. *g*

    While the Senate committee was aware of the letter (lies) when they got it, when did the testimony to the oversight committee revealing the fraud take place? The problem in general is that what Waxman’s committee is finally getting around to is what was in Suskind’s book and the public domain for quite awhile now, so it’s kind of hard to make the claim they didn’t have at least constructive knowledge for a long time already.

    There’s no SOL on impeachment (although an open question on impeaching out of office ex-officials) and bar complaints could still be filed (but won’t have the back up of a felony conviction to support them) but there’s not much reason to list what could happen when the only pathway to making anything happen is through Democratic action.

  19. Mary says:

    The plane stuff I know nothing about and won’t spec on it, except that the timing has been very convenient for some people. If someone did have strong suspicions, it’s not like there’s a non-corrupt place to take them.

    The Cerebus stuff – depressing too.

    I finally bothered to go look at Waxman’s memo. It looks as if what happened is that he, in his slot, was making repeated requests to Rice in 2003 for info on the uranium claims and she just completely blew him off – no answer of any kind. Apparently the Senate Intel was also working on its report and in connection with that, Gonzales sent his pal Rockefeller the memo and the committee used some of it almost verbatim in the report issued by the Senate intel committee as supposedly the definitive investigation into the prewar intel. They just apparently never bothered to interview people like Gibson and Miscik

    So in 2007, Waxman starts the ball rolling again in his slot as chair and that’s when people show up and testify (not Rice, who continued to duck him – Waxman apparently not having the charm of Rockefeller). So his memo would lay out a timeline whereby the information indicating the previous fraud to Congress wasn’t coming out until his committees interviews in 2007 – but he then waits until Oct 2008 to request the turnover of the info that had been given to the Senate Intel committee for their report (the statements in which his witnesses testimony contradicts) Looks like he still doesn’t have a final report out and probably wanted to put this much into the record before he leaves.

  20. Citizen92 says:

    In regard to Mike Connell’s untimely demise, I’ve been posting a few comment threads over at Kos. Will flesh out later, but since he was flying into/out of College Park Airport in DC (which is in the ADIZ) there should be more records about his movements than if he were flying in a non-ADIZ zone.

    http://www.dailykos.com/user/citizen92/comments

    I don’t think his comings/goings from College Park (smallest closest general aviation airport to DC) are that odd – after all the guy was a government contractor and probably had to visit clients. Would be interesting to know what other times he visited. Those records should be available if he regularly flew into College Park because ADIZ requires flight plans to be filed and followed to the letter. I think Lockheed Martin runs that program for the FAA and TSA.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly. Here is what I wrote in an off blog discussion:

      It is proper to consider the possibility that something nefarious is behind his death; however, I don’t know that it makes sense to leap to that conclusion. Is it possible, you bet; but there needs to be a lot more facts before that is made the conclusion. Sometimes planes just crash. Sometimes fuel sensors malfunction; in fact, that is so common that many private pilots (all should, and are taught to) check the accuracy of their gauges pre-flight with a plain old ruled measuring stick. Many I see these days do not do that. Also, it is pretty easy to determine what fuel loads have been put in planes from FBO records at the airports it has visited, and the relative flight time, and thus fuel consumption, is also easily ascertained.

      Note for additional conspiracizing: A Piper Saratoga is the same exact plane that JFK Jr died in. They are high performance aircraft, do use a fair amount of fuel, and do not fly well without power. If the engine goes out, it is a first rate brick.

        • bmaz says:

          One of the MSM sources I read earlier today indicated that a witness heard engine sputtering/coughing. Don’t know if that is true or not, but if it is, that is significant because the Piper Cherokee/Saratoga just doesn’t fly well without power. Icing would be a concern in the weather they are having in the midwest. From Larisa’s post, it sounds like Connell’s plane had deicing equipment; but if conditions are really bad, that may not be enough on a small plane. He was fine on takeoff, or he would not have gotten as far as he did. He was supposedly close to the airport; if he was cutting airspeed for approach ice buildup could have become a sudden problem (although you would think he would have known from the reduced flight responsiveness all along).

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Well, the **only** reason that I’m interested is because of his links with Rove + his upcoming scheduled testimony. Planes now have incredible navigational equipment (I’d be really surprised if his didn’t). Imagine looking at layers of weather information spread out on a Google Map; he should have had plenty of weather info, as well info on alternate routes.

            Again, that doesn’t mean that anyone tampered with his plane; but it does mean that aircraft companies have worked really hard to make sure that this kind of thing does not occur. This is sad on many levels.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        It actually makes sense for the guy to fly if he were going between DC, TN, and OH. That doesn’t strike me as odd in the least. And yes, it’s winter. And yes, planes go down.
        But experienced pilots generally know when **not** to fly, and they do a very good pre-op.
        But it’s odd.

      • surfer says:

        I’ve flown a lot of different airplanes but never a Saratoga. I disagree that the icing was probably not a surprise, because it is always a nasty one. Even when you expect it.

        But what is even a bigger surprise is when the airplane stalls at a much higher airspeed than normal, when the icing changes the shape of the wing. You need to fly this new airfoil shape like a 2×4, you need to maintain a healthy number of knots above normal speeds just to keep from falling out of the sky.

        In addition the windscreen may have iced over also,meaning the pilot is blind. Every procedure from there to touch down has to be done by instuments. If you are prepared for this kind of scenario you have a chance of surviving. But you’d probably be praying that nothing else went wrong.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, right, thus why I said

          (although you would think he would have known from the reduced flight responsiveness all along)

          .
          They do start to respond like a 2×4; especially, as you say (and I tried to get across but may not have cogently) when you cut airspeed for approach. Still though, you would think that there would have been very noticeable signs.

          Dunno. Wonder what kind of com traffic he had during flight…..

          I’ll say this, the weather in the east and midwest seems to have been nasty enough that I sure wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that there was foul play, which a lot of people are doing.

          • surfer says:

            “I sure wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that there was foul play, which a lot of people are doing.”

            Thanks bmaz. Exactly right, and that needs to be emphasized. My hunch is its weather/pilot related. I’d hate to hand Rove a freebee in the form of misinformed conspiracy theory energy.

            The pilot may have noticed the icing, in fact I am sure any pilot in that situation would be looking for it and noticing it early on. But that doesn’t mean he was prepared for the emergency situation.

            The communications traffic is on record somewhere and will probably show up in the NTSB report.

  21. TomR says:

    Not that it’ll do much good: there’s a five year statute of limitation on lying to Congress, and the memo in question was written four years and eleven months ago. (The Administration didn’t turn over the memo in question until November 12 of this year.)

    WTF? Why on Earth is there a statute of limitation on lying to Congress?

    – Tom

    • bmaz says:

      Not positive, but my guess is that it is a five year statute because that is the “General Statute of Limitation” for federal crimes unless specifically stated otherwise in a particular criminal provision. Most things involving Congress are not within the purview of the criminal code, so the few that are probably just adopt the general statute of limitation.

  22. stryder says:

    I wonder what caused this revelation from Mathews

    “I am gradually coming to the view that the guilty should be punished, that the moral absolutes involved in this matter over ride the danger of political retribution in future American political life.”
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com…..ter-a.html
    What a joke
    It’s all cya vacillation

  23. ohioblue says:

    I don’t know much about icing, but at 6;00 pm on 12-19 it was 34 and overcast at the Akron-Canton Airport, which is 3 miles west of the crash site in Lake Township, Stark County, OH. Connell probably would have flown in over Pittsburgh, where it was 48 and overcast. I assume it was colder aloft, but it hadn’t rained for several hours. A receipt in Connell’s pocket showed he had had breakfast in Washington DC. I wonder if he had companions at breakfast?

    Akron-Canton Airport is adjacent to Diebold Inc. World Headquarters.

    • Citizen92 says:

      Admittedly also serendipidous timing that Cheney just recently decided (and jus covered yesterday) to draw a bright line with the National Archives and utter the oh-so-Nixonian statement (through lawyers):

      I will decide which records go to the National Archives.

      http://citizensforethics.org/node/36154

      In other words, I am the law?

      A conspiracy theorist might point out that Mike Connell’s businesses potentially hold thousands of Cheney’s records. I wonder if Cheney was liking what he saw in Connell’s files during the “review?”

      • stryder says:

        Cheney is beyond comprehension and it’s unfathomable to me that these are the kinds of people that manage to rise to the top in our system.It’s almost a Darwinian struggle where the most sinister,psychopathic/sociopathic ones survive.Maybe it’s naive to think that people of conscience can survive.Obama is trying to project this cloak of decency image.It’s almost as if he’s playing the good cop or bad cop option.Either deal with me or people like Cheney Cheney makes the worst of the worst serial killers look like choir boys.He has absolutely NO conscience.During the cold war we used nukes as a deterrent,now we have people like the neocons

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Cheney is beyond comprehension and it’s unfathomable to me that these are the kinds of people that manage to rise to the top in our system.

          I don’t necessarily agree with all of your statements, but confess myself one of the people who finds Cheney unfathomable.

          In the past, the notion of a Darwinian struggle was the dominant paradigm; the most brutal, unethical win.

          But that seems to be undergoing revision and reconsideration; it is beginning to appear that is a good SHORT TERM solution, and one that appeals to people unable to articulate and implement a larger, socially healthy, larger vision. This is because there’s been more research, and also we are now experiencing longer life spans. It’s taken years in my own case to really see the truth that ‘what goes around, comes around’. In my 20s, I didn’t believe it. And sometimes, it takes 20 or more years.

          Bush and Cheney hold very dark views of the world; so does Bin Laden. And we see what results. Bush is a Cautionary Tale, and the only one that I’ve seen escape the corrosive effects of being near that man is Scott McClellan.

          But there are others who are equally active in the world, in ways that are less exciting, less ‘visual’, less obvious. No matter what one thinks of Jimmy Carter, note how much the Bushies detest him, and also note his efforts for years on behalf of the Palestinians and the poor around the world.

          Note that Sen Chuck Hagel, who parted company with Cheney and Bush years ago, is about the only widely respected GOP Senator left, and he actively supported Obama.

          People of conscience survive when they work together and support one another’s efforts and don’t need to grab the limelight. Onward.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Meant to say that the more raw, ruthless aspects of Darwinian struggle is being rethought.
            As people have more time to study groups over extended periods, what’s starting to shine through is the importance of socially healthy actions and behaviors.

            Prosperous societies don’t allow flagrant anti-social conduct, and they have ways of administering justice for the good of the group.

            Nature is red in tooth and claw in some respects.
            But the amount of metabolic energy expended to raise, protect, nurture, feed, and house the offspring — and then train them or raise them — is far greater. Violence is a short term solution that produces long term destruction; over time, positive, nurturing behaviors have much more power.

            So there’s the upside.

            • bmaz says:

              The flaw with Cheneyesque logic is that the “Darwinian struggle” was never about survival of the biggest/most ruthless; instead it is about survival of the fittest. At some point in evolution the “fittest” shifts from being the dark to being the light. I would argue that, for the US, that transformation took place long ago; for Cheney, it never has. We can no longer swim as a nation with the lead anchor of Cheney/NeoCon thought tethered to our necks.

              • JThomason says:

                In a sense this is the argument that Habermas makes as he looks to the establishment of global norms. The social reality the Cheney overlooks is that “violence begets violence” so though it may appear to be effective in the short run in the guise of triumph, in the long run it is neither enlightened nor self-interested because it establishes a standard of behavior that creates a reciprocal vulnerability if it is applied as a norm.

                In other words Cheney’s justifications are inherently unreasonable as principle, devoid of any consideration of human potential, and short sighted. Constitutional democracy under the rule of law and the emergence of international law attempt to institutionalize the deep wisdom of having principle founded in deep historic experience time-bound to the present. The consequences of allowing Cheney’s methods to stand untested by principle will be a degeneration into unnecessary human primitivism at great cost to the equities of civilization. The manner in which Cheney cloaks his violence in administrative banality certainly deserves study.

                The social contract provides benefits for the surrendering of violent action to the state. If the state looses into gratuitous violence way we all suffer. In the end its really a matter of insight and choice rather than human nature.

                We really do not know what privations looks like in an emergent technosphere. Obama’s gamble toward informed choice is hopeful. What is the exposure of taking the risk that perhaps the emergent historic synthesis is sufficient in and of itself to minimize Cheney’s personal drama. Certainly some kind of popular social judgment of Cheney has been rendered.

              • stryder says:

                After listening to Biden this morning I’m afraid I have to agree with you as to the pursuit of any justice in all of these issues.He ducked the question by saying that he would leave it up to the justice dept to deal with it,adding that there are more important things to deal with.Greenwald brings out some great points as to where the buck stops.ie whether the elites are above the law.
                “If criminal penalties are removed, what will deter lawbreaking by political officials”
                http://www.salon.com/opinion/g…..index.html

    • surfer says:

      Wings can collect ice in 70 degree weather. The impact of the water droplet on the leading edge of the wing can instantly freeze well above 32. And the water droplet doesn’t have to be actual rain, or even visible to the eye.

  24. kspena says:

    OT-but of past threads: Three cable breaks in ME.

    Stephan Beckert, an analyst with the U.S.-based telecommunications market research firm TeleGeography, said the three affected cables were the most direct route for moving traffic between Western Europe and the Middle East.

    http://www.reuters.com/article…..3320081220

  25. perris says:

    Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview with Cheney where he disagrees with the a comment by Rove that we probably wouldn’t have invaded Irac if the intel was accurate

    he has to say that because the intel WAS accurate, they were informed in no uncertain terms there were no wmds and iraq was no threat

    he invented his “team b” to make up intel, that false data was discredited from the beginning and all of this is on the record

    he must maintain the attack would have happened regardless in order to deminish the record that shows he knew with no doubt iraq was no threat and had no wmds

    he is giving himself an excuse to have lied

    • perris says:

      cheney has a long history of inventing data so he can have war, he did it to undermine nixon’s detante, he makes shit up
      when he thinks it will create war and unrest

      and that article was written BEFORE we went to war in iraq, it was public record that he just makes shit up for war

      • perris says:

        a snippet, you must read that piece if you have not yet

        But Nixon left amid scandal and Ford came in, and Ford’s Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) and Chief of Staff (Dick Cheney) believed it was intolerable that Americans might no longer be bound by fear. Without fear, how could Americans be manipulated? And how could billions of dollars taken as taxes from average working people be transferred to the companies that Rumsfeld and Cheney – and their cronies – would soon work for and/or run?

        Rumsfeld and Cheney began a concerted effort – first secretly and then openly – to undermine Nixon’s treaty for peace and to rebuild the state of fear.

        They did it by claiming that the Soviets had a new secret weapon of mass destruction that the president didn’t know about, that the CIA didn’t know about, that nobody knew about but them

  26. JThomason says:

    Aren’t there enlisted people paying the price for the “few bad apples” defense put forth by Bush and now Cheney says he worked to authorize torture techniques. What’s wrong with this picture?

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