Thursday, October 27, 2005

Morning Copy 10.27.2005

CIA Leak investigation

Friday. (???)

The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei lede with:

The prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation presented a summary of his case to a federal grand jury yesterday and is expected to announce a final decision on charges in the two-year-long probe tomorrow, according to people familiar with the case.

"People". Plural. Not "Lawyers familiar".

But after grand jurors left the federal courthouse before noon yesterday, it was unclear whether Fitzgerald had spelled out the criminal charges he might ask them to consider, or whether he had asked them to vote on any proposed indictments. Fitzgerald's legal team did not present the results of a grand jury vote to the court yesterday, which he is required to do within days of such a vote.

The New York Times' David Johnston and Richard Stevenson:

The grand jury deliberations and the special prosecutor's meeting with the judge ratcheted up fears among officials that Mr. Fitzgerald might have obtained an indictment from the grand jury, and was requesting that it be sealed. He could also seek an extension of the grand jury's term, which expires on Friday. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald, would not comment on the case.

But the Washington Post story above says that the panel cannot be extended.

Mark Leibovich in the Washington Post has my favorite paragraphs:

You know it's a screwy week in Washington when presidential spokesman Scott McClellan so perfectly sums up the gestalt of the town -- albeit in that banal, totally unrevealing way of his:

"There's a lot of speculation going around," McClellan said in his White House briefing yesterday. "And I think there are a lot of facts that are not known at this point."

The Los Angeles Times on the above Tea Leaves:

The sealing of indictments is an action generally confined to cases where defendants are considered flight risks, or where the government is seeking to use them as leverage to gain the cooperation of defendants — especially in violent crime and drug cases.

But lawyers close to the CIA leak case said that it would not be unusual for Fitzgerald to seal an indictment for a brief period to give notice to the people indicted, and to make arrangements for their surrender to authorities. It also would give the prosecutor the opportunity to simultaneously announce a series of indictments obtained at different times, they pointed out.

The Los Angeles Times on the White House's post-indictment plans (if):

The basic plan is familiar to anyone who has watched earlier presidents contend with scandal: Keep the problem at arm's length, let allies outside the White House do the talking, and try to change the subject to something — anything — else.

The White House doesn't plan to attack Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation — at least not directly, several GOP officials said. Instead, expect Bush to unveil a flurry of proposals on subjects from immigration and tax reform to Arab-Israeli peace talks.

The Boston Globe covers the neighbors:

WASHINGTON -- David and Victoria Tillotson knew Valerie Plame as a neighbor and friend for more than five years. Plame was, the Tillotsons believed, an international economic consultant, taking occasional trips abroad while looking after her young children in an upper-class enclave of Northwest Washington.

Harriet Miers

The Washington Times:

The nation's largest conservative women's group yesterday called for the withdrawal of the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination as The Washington Times learned that a key promoter of the nomination had suddenly quit the White House lobbying effort.

Leonard A. Leo, who had been on leave from the Federalist Society to be chief conduit between the White House and conservatives, said last night that he has returned to his full-time job as executive vice president of the conservative legal group.

The move, which surprised even Republicans working closely with Mr. Leo, came as the Concerned Women for America called for the nomination to be withdrawn in part because of reports of a 1993 speech in which Miss Miers appeared to agree with some of the grounds for the legal right to abortion.

A "notable edge" to Arlen Specter's letter in the Los Angeles Times:

The nomination process has also been hampered by a lack of enthusiasm even from White House allies. One of them, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, sent Miers a letter Wednesday listing 10 questions he planned to ask during the confirmation hearing, most of which concerned treatment of terrorist detainees and limits on executive branch authority.

"What assurances can you give the Senate and the American people that you will be independent, if confirmed, and not give President Bush any special deference on any matter involving him which might come before the court?" Specter asked in the letter.

A lot of these stories are basically the same. The Washington Post has:

Tony Perkins, the head of the influential Family Research Council, stopped short of opposing Miers's nomination outright but made clear his doubts were rising. The speeches "certainly tend to lean toward judicial activism," Perkins said.

In 1993, while she was president of the Texas Bar, Miers gave a speech titled "Women and Courage" during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Miers praised both the nominee's courage and her selection by President Bill Clinton.

Jonathan Allen in the Hill notes this:

Whatever Specter’s intention, the letter served to deflect some attention temporarily away from intensifying efforts among conservatives, who regard Miers as unqualified, to persuade President Bush to withdraw her name from consideration or to persuade the nominee herself to back out.


I wonder if Senator Russ Feingold is upset that Senator John Kerry has taken his line: out by 2006. Both harbor political ambitions in 2008. I can't stand the latter.

The New Sunni Jihad: 'A Time for Politics'

That is the headline from the Washington Post:

"It is a new jihad," said Abu Theeb, a nom de guerre that means "Father of the Wolf," addressing a young nephew one night before the vote. "There is a time for fighting, and a time for politics."

For Abu Theeb and many other Iraqi insurgents, this canvassing marked a fundamental shift in strategy, and one that would separate them from foreign-born fighters such as Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian who leads the group al Qaeda in Iraq.

This entire article is amust-read, but here is another excerpt (an imperfect excerpt):

But many fundamentalist Sunnis object to al Qaeda's rigid interpretation of Islamic law. Taliban-style Islamic justice already is being enforced in the western Iraqi cities and towns under Zarqawi's control.

"Al Qaeda believes that anyone who doesn't follow the Koran literally is a kafir and should be killed," explained Abu Theeb, using a term for apostate, or a believer who abandons the faith. "This is wrong. We can't take Islamic theory from the time of the prophet and implement the same rules in the 21st century."

Abu Theeb argues that al Qaeda in Iraq's religious views stand to alienate not only Iraqi nationalists but supporters in Syria and other Persian Gulf countries.

More importantly, al Qaeda's war on Shiite civilians-- it has bombed mosques, buses and other places where Shiites gather -- is drawing the wrath of Iraqi government security forces and Shiite militias.

I have asked this before: How will Moqtada al Sadr fit into this?

The Christian Science Monitor on a similar story:

Still, the coalition is engaging in a political high-wire act. They have to rally Sunnis to vote - but gain their support without appearing to bow to pressure from the Shiite-led Iraqi government or the US that has encouraged Sunni participation.

"Any Sunni participation is better than boycotting, to say nothing of intimidating people" away from participating, says Phebe Marr, an Iraq expert at the US Institute of Peace. But "this process seems to be increasingly based on ethnic and sectarian identity. One of the things we should be encouraging is parties of interest, parties that can work across ethnic and sectarian lines."


John Kifner's lede in the New York Times:

Lebanon is facing an "increasing influx of weaponry and personnel from Syria" to Palestinian militia groups, a United Nations report said yesterday.


The situation remains "volatile," the report warned, citing "a number of worrying developments affecting the stability of Lebanon, particularly in the form of terrorist acts and the illegal transfer of arms and people across the borders into Lebanon."

While couched in diplomatic language, the report's clear implication that the Palestinian groups were acting at the behest of Syria appeared certain to increase pressure building against Damascus in the Security Council. The Council's special investigator issued a report last week saying the slaying of Mr. Hariri had been plotted by top-ranking Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officers, including the powerful brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad.

But the Los Angeles Times has:

DAMASCUS, Syria — A top legal advisor to the Syrian government signaled Wednesday that his nation would cooperate with an inquiry into the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister, though he harshly criticized a United Nations investigator for bringing Syria to the brink of international sanctions.

Disaster relief

There is a lot of news today but we cannot forget Katrina's victims. The Los Angeles Times:

"I said to the FEMA guy, if you can't bring me my trailer, just bring me a .38 and a bullet," she said.

Nearly two months after Hurricane Katrina passed over the Gulf Coast, stretches of east Biloxi resemble shantytowns.

In the Point Cadet neighborhood, known as "the Point," hundreds of people are sleeping on the ground beside the rubble of their homes, living in tents that poke out from piles of debris.

The Miami Herald on the problems in Florida:

In the absence of power, many residents focused on other precious commodities: water, ice and gas.

After a day of frustration over late-arriving ice deliveries, emergency officials reported slow but steady distribution around the region Wednesday.

Governor Jeb Bush:

"We did not perform to where we want to be," the governor said at a news conference Wednesday in Tallahassee, adding that criticism of the federal response was misdirected. "This is our responsibility."

Winter 2005-2006

How cold will this winter be? How much will it cost to heat a house? How will it affect the poor? The Boston Globe:

MANCHESTER, N.H. --With home heating costs on the rise, two programs that help the poor pay their gas and electric bills in New Hampshire have run out of money.

Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday voted agaisnt increased spending for the federal home heating program, saying the money wasn't there.

U.S. agribusinesses and famine

The one Bush policy I support is also supported by Christopher B. Barrett and Daniel G. Maxwell in the Los Angeles Times:

The international humanitarian community has internalized the principle of the golden hour: Rapid response is essential.

Government policy nonetheless stands in the way. In 2000, the average delay in delivering emergency food aid — the time between a formal, bureaucratic request and port delivery in the affected country — was nearly five months, because current rules require all U.S. food aid to be grown in and shipped from the United States. Meanwhile, a child dies every five seconds from hunger-related causes.

Blogospheres of influence

The Christian Science Monitor:

WASHINGTON – Beltway politicos, famously slow to adopt technology, are wooing blogs - all but Trent Lott.

"Bloggers claim I was their first pelt, and I believe that. I'll never read a blog," says the former Senate majority leader, who forfeited that title after bloggers Joshua Micah Marshall and Glenn Reynolds picked up a racially charged remark, drawing the attention of mainstream media (MSM) and his Senate colleagues.


Post a Comment

<< Home