Friday, December 30, 2005

Going After the Domestic Spying Leak

The Justice Department wants to know who blew the whistle on the NSA's domestic spying program. The Department's launched a probe.

Democrat and Republican lawmakers have both questioned the legality of the program. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) has called for a Congressional hearing on it when Congress returns next month. (Reuters)

Washington Hacks Security Spending

USA Today reports that 55 million Americans were exposed to computer security breaches in 2005 -- a record year.

The Treasury Department says cyber crime cost Americans $105 billion in 2004 -- that's likely up this year. It's a bigger business than illegal drugs.

But Washington cut spending to fight computer crime. The Department of Homeland Security spent only $16 million in 2005.

That's about 29-cents for every American affected in 2005. (CNN/USAToday)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rise & Fall of a Lobbying Empire

Jack Abramoff (right) was a big man in DC. It's been a long trip to the bottom for him. The Washington Post sums up the lobbyist who may bring down some big politicians:

"He sought to build the biggest lobbying portfolio in town. He opened two restaurants close to the Capitol. He bought a fleet of casino boats. He produced two Hollywood movies. He leased four arena and stadium skyboxes and dreamed of owning a pro sports team. He was a generous patron in his Orthodox Jewish community, starting a boys' religious school in Maryland."

Now he's looking at prison time -- and reportedly working on a plea deal that would shave years off his sentence in exchange for taking down around a dozen members of Congress.

The Post has an in depth look at the rise and fall of Mr Abramoff's empire. (WashPost)

Corps pays $100K for retooled jeep

The Marines are shelling out $100,000 for a $33,000 Jeep (left).

The Corps wants a recycled version of the M151 Jeep -- the Vietnam era Jeep -- because the bigger Humvees won't fit inside the new V-22 Osprey (below).

The Jeeps are called Growlers.

They've been rebuilt and modified with new automotive parts. The Dominican Republic bought some of them just four years ago for around $33,000 each.

That was for the military version.

The civilian versions run about $14,000 each. (USAToday)

Warrantless Spying Threatens Terrorism Cases

President Bush's order to use warrantless wiretaps could end up delaying or even dismississing court cases against suspected terrorists. Defense lawyers for people accused of terrorist activities are already filing papers to see if evidence against their clients was gathered illegally. (NYT)

UPDATE: ABC reports this morning (Thursday, December 29) that the order to conduct warrantless wiretaps may affect cases against at least 16 convicted terrorists or suspected terrorists already in jail in the US. Among those -- suspect Jose Padilla -- the one-time accused dirty bomber who has since been charged with lesser crimes. (ABC)

The Bush Team's New Years Resolution

It's been a bad year for the President. In 2006, expect him to be more open with the American people. The Washington Post counts up the problems kicking off his second term:
  • the demise of signature domestic priorities
  • the indictment of the vice president's top aide
  • the collapse of a Supreme Court nomination
  • a fumbled response to a natural disaster
  • a rising death toll in an increasingly unpopular war
The President -- most frequently described as "stubborn" by voters in one recent poll -- had to change direction -- fast. The Post provides analysis on how his new found candor is aimed at getting his Presidency back on track -- starting with his Iraq strategy. (WashPost)

They're Around Here Someplace

The Army can't seem to remember where it put $68 million in parts and tools.

They shipped the stuff to contractors for repairs in 2004. But the Army doesn't demand reciepts.

Bad idea.

The Government Accountability Office added up all the missing parts -- which probably took a while with no reciepts. The GAO came up with that $68 million figure.

“Although the (Defense Department) policy requires the military services to confirm receipt of all assets shipped to contractors, the Army is not consistently recording shipment receipts in its inventory management systems.” -- Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report

The Army's not alone. The GAO's found similar accounting problems with the Navy and Air Force.

Falling STAR

Lots of businesses that got government backed loans because of the 9/11 attacks -- were never affected by the attacks. An inspector general's report for the Small Business Administration sampled 59 cases. Only 9 of those actually appeared qualified for disaster assistance.

It was part of the SBA's Supplementary Terrorist Activity Relief -- or STAR -- program. It cost taxpayers billions.

The idea behind the loans were to help businesses directly affected by the attacks.

But the IG report shows money wound up instead helping a South Dakota radio station, a Virgin Islands perfume shop, and a dog boutique in Utah.

Dunkin' Donuts got loans for more than 100 of their shops all over the country.

Some businesses near ground zero -- where the loans were supposed to go -- couldn't get any money.

Not exactly a stellar performance for STAR. (AP via Breitbart)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Let's Do the Time Warp, Again: "Rocky Horror" Becomes a National Treasure

"The Rocky Horror Picture" show is one of the 25 films added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Others making this years list include:
  • Hoop Dreams
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  • The French Connection
This years list brings to 425 the number of films preserved at the Library of Congress and other instutions involved in saving great works on film.

It's estimated that half of all films made before 1950 have been lost forever. (CNN)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Just Off by 20 Years or So

The Oakland Tribune wants your old copy of George Orwell's 1984.

The editorial board wonders if our politicians have seen the creeping similarities to the story:
"Orwell wrote of war without end; we're told the war on terror will last decades at least. Orwell wrote of a dumbed-down 'Newspeak,' and who could argue that our national discourse hasn't slumped? Orwell's 'Ministry of Love' tortured dissidents real or imagined; our government decries Iraq's secret torture prisons while arguing over whether to ban torture. Meanwhile, we maintain our own secret CIA prisons. "

Once they have 537 copies of 1984, the editors plan to mail one to each member of Congress, Vice President Cheney, and President Bush.

You can send your copy to:

Oakland Tribune
401 13th St.
Oakland, CA 94612

Hope you haven't tossed your old copy down the "memory hole." (Oakland Trib/HT:Rmenesko)

Big Brother is Watching Your Car

Leave it to Washington to take a bad idea and make it worse.

They started out spending your money on a plan that would allow governments to charge you a special tax for using roads during rush hour. It's turned into a way to track you wherever you drive.

Washington's already given two states grants to test GPS-tracking of private vehicles. The idea is that they could then bill you for driving during rush hour or charge you higher tolls. The idea being to encourage you to take public transit.

But it's gotten worse.

The tracking would be free of any privacy restrictions. In essence, governments from -- local to federal -- would build a database of everywhere you go.

There's another $11 million research grant from Washington coming down the pike.

Will they then start taxing you for every fattening stop at McDonalds? Or alert the cops to wait for you when you stop by the corner bar? (

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Raw Story | Barron's editorial calls for Congress to consider impeachment

The Raw Story reports Barrons will print an editorial Monday calling on Congress to investigate the domestic spying scandal. The editorial will reportedly ask Congress to either change the 1978 FISA or consider impeachment of President Bush for violating the law.

Barrons is an investor targeted publication published by the Wall Street Journal (TRS)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Spying & Denying

President Bush claims his authority for tapping phone calls and emails without a warrant stemmed from Congress' authorization to use force against terrorists after 9/11.

But former Sen Tom Daschle (D-SD) says the President asked for authority to wage war "in the United States" -- and Congress rejected it in the aftermath of 9/11.

Mr Daschle sponsored the Senate measure allowing President Bush to strike against terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world after the 9/11 attacks. He made his comments in an opinion piece for the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports that the President appears to have ordered the NSA to monitor every international phone call and e-mail of all Americans since his 2002 order. (WashPost/Boston Globe/Seattle P-I)

Carter, Clinton, and Clearing Up Some Confusion.

By now, every political junikie in the country has read the Drudge Report post that Presidents Carter and Clinton both conducted warrantless searches.

Some people have held these case up as permission or even "precedent" for the current round of warrantless eavesdropping on Americans.

But the Drudge Report provided only partial information and failed to provide a timeline.

Clearing up the Confusion

Presidents Carter and Clinton did carry out warrantless searches.

But Congress reigned them in each time.

Congress passed the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) in 1978. It outlawed electronic eavesdropping without a warrant.

President Carter did issue an executive order -- as Drudge reported -- allowing warrantless wiretaps. But they had to comply with the rules under FISA. FISA allows warrantless searches for 72 hours before seeking a warrant:

1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section. -- Executive Order 12139, May 23, 1979
Clinton and Warrantless Searches

President Clinton ordered a warrantless "physical" search -- which was allowed at the time (early 1990s) because of a loophole in the FISA.

Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick (right) is quoted in the Drudge Report:

"[The President] has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes." -- Jamie Gorelick, July 14, 1994
What Drudge fails to mention is that the statement came in testimony to Congress. She was not talking about electronic eavesdropping, but about maintaining the warrantless "physical" search loophole.

Congress closed the loophole in 1995.

The subsequent Clinton executive order Drudge mentions was issued to adjust proceedures to bring them in line with what the new FISA amendment required -- outlawing physical searches.

The Bush Argument

Now, none of this has anything to do with the legal arguments the Bush administration have put out.

They are not citing anything in the actual FISA, nor any loopholes it left open. FISA specifically addresses elecrtonic eavesdropping. And it requires the administration to request -- within 72 hours of starting wiretaps -- a warrant fromt eh FISA secret court.

The Bush administration says they had the "implied consent of Congress" to conduct the warrantless searches.

They base this on the September 18, 2001, Congressional act authorizing the use of force in response to the 9/11 attacks. No where in that act does it say FISA is suspended nor that the President can spy on Americans. No one in Congress has come forward to say that was the intent of Congress.

In fact, former Sen Tom Daschle -- who was the sponsor of the Senate version of the act and who supervised much of the debate on it -- says the idea of giving Bush the authority to ignore FISA or any other law never came up.

The act was intended to free the President to use military force -- freeing him from possible constraints like the War Powers Act -- to conduct the war overseas. (Watching Washington)

Crossposted at blogcrit-button

A Brief History of Electronic Bugs and the Fourth Amendment

The Supreme Court has never addressed the kind of case involved in the domestic spying scandal -- whether electronic eavesdropping on people in the US as ordered by President Bush violates the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court did extend Fourth Amendment protections to electronic spying in 1967 in Katz v. United States.

And in 1972, the Court ruled that a judge's permission was required for domestic spying.

But in each case, the court avoided talking about cases of national security and domestic spying in the US.

NPR has a good timeline of how the Fourth Amendment has changed as technology changes and how Congress and the Courts tried to keep up.(NYT)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

EPIC: FISA Orders 1979-2004

EPIC -- the Electronic Privacy Information Center -- has a chart showing how many warrants were requested and how many were approved and denied under FISA.

The chart shows only four -- out of several thousand -- have been denied since the FISA court was founded in 1979. All four were rejected in 2003. (EPIC)

Abramoff Plea Deal Reported

Lobbyist Jack Abramhoff has cut a deal.

The New York Times reports the lobbyist will testify against a dozen members in Congress in exchange for a lighter sentence. The Times says the deal could be official as early as next week. (NYT)

Linda Tripp Serves up Wieners

Linda Tripp -- who blew the whistle on the Monica Lewinsky scandal -- is serving bratwursts with her husband at a Christmas market in Virginia.

Ms Tripp and Dieter Rausch have homes in Virginia and Germany.

They've been serving up brats at Weihnachts Markt -- a German Christmas market -- in Middleburg, Virginia.

My streak is unbrokeen. I've yet to read a story about Linda Tripp that does not involve wieners. (Fauquier Times-Democrat)

Homeland Security: Getting their Priorities Straight

In the wake of 9/11, Americans were ready to fight terrorism. Our military was on the trail of Osama bin Laden. And Washington gave us the Department of Homeland Defense.

But instead of substance, the suits settled for style. One of their first missions wasn't protecting Americans -- but "branding" their new department. They hired Landor Associates -- the company that came up with FedEx's name and designed the BP logo. The Washington Post reports:

They developed a new DHS typeface (Joanna, with modifications) and color scheme (cool gray, red and hints of 'punched-up' blue). They debated new uniforms for its armies of agents and focus-group-tested a new seal designed to convey 'strength' and 'gravitas.' The department even got its own lapel pin, which was given to all 180,000 of its employees -- with (Secretary Tom) Ridge's signature -- to celebrate its 'brand launch' that June."

The Post reports on infighting and red tape that have stymied the DHS since it's early days. The Department, more than four years after 9/11, still hasn't delivered a list of potential terrorist targets the US needs to protect.

This shouldn't be surprising, with an administration that has tried to rebrand the Iraq War as "the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" and even referred to the push for the war as a product roll out. (WashPost) [Click on DHS Seal to see Washington Post's brief history of the Department]

What Did the President Know About You & When Did He Know It?


MP3 File

Think you heard clicking on your phone line?

Wondering if President Bush was listening in your phone calls?

If you're a Quaker, Catholic high school student, vegan, or ever wished anyone "Happy Holiday" instead of "Merry Christmas," you may want to see if Washington has a file on you.

Spies OnLine has a great set of links to resources to help you request any files the FBI & CIA have on you -- including a sample letter you can alter to request your file.

You can also request files of dead celebrities. The FBI kept tabs on such subversives as Bobby Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra.

I've decided to fire off their standardized letter to see if the FBI's got any dirt on me. I'm going to be really upset if I'm not on anyone's "enemy's list." Even more upset if I am. (


Judges on Secret Court To Be Briefed on Spy Program

The top judge at the secret FISA court -- which oversees government spying cases -- has called her fellow judges in for a meeting on President Bush's domestic spying program.

Several judges on the court have said publicly they don't know why the President believed that tapping phones and emails without a warrant was legal.

U.S. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly (pictured) is planning a classified briefing for her fellow judges to address their concerns. (WashPost)

Top Ten List for 2005

The Associated Press' annual poll of journalists ranks Hurricane Katrina as the biggest story of 2005.

The top ten:

(AP via ABC)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Taking a Stand

My generation grew up hearing we are a nation ruled by laws -- not men. It is comforting to know when there is a question about those laws protecting our individual rights being threatened there are men and women willing to cast off their party affiliation to err on the side of liberty.

Just as we saw in the wake of 9/11, there is a bipartisan effort taking shape to defend what America stands for.

The Carpetbagger Report lists conservatives taking issue with the administration's domestic spying program:
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA)
  • Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Sen Chuck Hagel (NE)
  • Sen Olympia Snowe (MN)
  • Bruce Fein, conservative constitutional scholar and former deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration
  • Norm Ornstein, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell
  • Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA)
  • Neil Boortz, conservative commentator & blogger
  • Jon Henke, conservative commentator & blogger
The Carpetbagger Report has details on how each has publicly criticized the President and the domestic spying program. (The Carpetbagger Report/HT: Upper Left)

Beyond Rove: Fitzgerald Likely to Explore Flawed Intel

The Raw Story reports that the White House CIA leak grand jury will stick around after they complete their investigation of White House aide Karl Rove (right).

TRS had some of the most accurate stories prior to the Scooter Libby (left) indictments. Now their sources tell them if an indictment is handed down against Mr Rove it will at least include a charge of making false statements to the Justice Department and FBI investigators who questioned him.

TRS points to indications that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald (right) will lead the grand jury to look into flawed intel leading up to the Iraq War.

It may explore the Niger forgeries -- roots of the infamous "16 words" in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech about bogus Iraqi efforts to buy yellowcake uranium. (TRS)

Catholic School Kids Labled Threat to US

Oh, Canada! The Homeland Security Department lists a handful of eleventh and twelfth graders from Yukon as "a threat" to national security.

The students from Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Whitehorse attended a peace rally in the US.

The students turned up in a Defense Department document leaked to NBC News last week. (CBC)

Will Abramoff Turn State's Evidence?

Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff may be ready to cut a deal.

Looking at years in prison for his part in a corruption probe, the lobbyist has been discussing a deal with the prosecutor.

Mr Abramoff is a big target for prosecutors. He'd have to offer up some pretty big fish to fry -- but he could easily do that. Mr Abramoff has connections with high ranking members of both parties in Congress -- and with President Bush.

Click on the image here for a Washington Post graphic detailing Abramoff's biggest connections.

He could become the star prosecution witness in a variety of cases against some of the country's top politicians -- if a deal is cut. (NYT)

Some Domestic Only Calls Caught Up in Spy Scandal

The domestic spying program now appears to have included purely domestic calls. The New York Times -- which broke the original story last week -- now quotes sources who tell them some of the calls never involved any international parties.

The White House had said the program only spied on calls to foreign countries. Eavesdropping on calls, emails, faxes between people who are both in the US was prohibited by Mr Bush's order. (NYT)

Spy Case: Judge Quits, Senators Calling for Probes

A federal judge has resigned in protest over President Bush's authorization of a domestic spying program.

US District Judge James Robertson (left) was one of eleven members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court.

Judge Robertson's resignation comes as two Republican Senators joined the call for Congressional hearings into the President's order and the subsequent spying.

Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) joined Democrats Dianne Feinstien (D-CA), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) in calling for a joint investigation by the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. (WashPost)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What's on President Bush's iPod?

Could it be the "Daily Briefing" from the Gallup Organization. They're the folks behind the Gallup Poll.

You can follow the link in this post's title -- or look it up through Apple's iTunes if you have that downloaded.

Has daily polling data from Gallup on a variety of issues.

There are free audio and video versions of the Daily Briefing. (

Senator Sounded Alarm in '03

Sen Jay Rockefeller IV (D-WV) was first briefed on the Bush administration's domestic spying on July 17, 2003. He was alarmed by it -- and immediately told President Bush and Vice President Bush so.

He fired off identical, hand written letters expressing his concerns that the spying was wrong. His letter said in part:
"Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues... I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities."

Sen Rockefeller released the letter after the program was exposed and after he felt the Bush administration was misrepresenting his view of the program. (WashPost)

Boxer Asks about Impeachment

Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has asked four presidential scholars for their opinions on whether the warrantless spying President Bush ordered is an impeachable offense. She becomes the first Senator to formally raise the impeachment issue in the spying scandal. (Raw Story)

President Bush: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

WB42 -- who may or may not be Doug Krile, longtime Arkansas and Iowa newsman -- digs up a quote to haunt President Bush:

"[A]ny time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so [...]" -- President Bush, April 20, 2004

Tough Crowd

Even Jimmy Dean would have had trouble selling sausage to the people in his factories who see how it's made.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports on Vice President Dick Cheney's speech to a room packed with hundreds of troops during his surprise visit to Iraq:

When he delivered the applause line, '"We're in this fight to win. These colors don't run," the only sound was a lone whistle.
The trip also raises questions about whether the US trusts Iraq to "stand up" so the US can "stand down."

U.S. forces guarded Cheney with weapons at the ready while Iraqi soldiers, who had no weapons, held their arms out as if they were carrying imaginary guns.
Makes you wonder about that old Dick Cheney quote about how Americans would be "welcomed as liberators" in Iraq. (SeatlePI)

Diverting Resources from Counterterrorism -- to Domestic Spying

In the days after 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcroft gave the FBI loose reign to investigate likely centers of terrorist activity. But instead of going after groups most likely to have ties to terrorists -- the FBI used many of their limited resources to go after protest groups.

The New York Times -- citing FBI documents -- reports the Bureau began monitoring a "Vegan Community Project," a Catholic Workers group, and tried to track down the location of a PETA protest over llama fur.

Considering the nature of some PETA protests (left), we can see why some agents might have wanted to attend. But with the nation under attack, you'd think they'd be going after terrorists instead.

The New York Times got the documents following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The documents show the FBI may have improperly monitored more than 150 different protest and social groups. (NYT)

Questions Warranted

Why did the administration resort to warrantless spying when the national security court issued all the warrants requested in 2002?

This from a letter to the Director of US Courts from then-Attorney General John Ashcroft:

"During calendar year 2002, 1228 applications were made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for electronic surveillance and physical search. The Court initially approved 1226 applications in 2002. Two applications were "approved as modified," and the United States appealed these applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, as applications having been denied in part. On November 18, 2002, the Court of Review issued a judgment that "ordered and adjudged that the motions for review be granted...."

You can read the whole letter here. (FAS/DoJ)

Some Questions about the Spying Scandal

Newsweek reports that President Bush pulled out all the stops tried to talk the New York Times into killing the story on domestic spying:

"The president was so desperate to kill The New York Times’ eavesdropping story, he summoned the paper’s editor and publisher to the Oval Office. But it wasn’t just out of concern about national security."
Jonathan Alter raises important concerns in his commentary on the meeting and the President's insistence that the story hurts national security.

The big question is: How?

It's pretty obvious if you're a terrorist operating in the US, you're likely to be spied on. Terrorists will expect that to happen. How does being able to spy on them without a warrant change our tactics? It doesn't. How does exposing the fact that the obvious spying is being done without warrants threaten national security? It doesn't.

Next. The FISA court that issues warrants in national security cases -- and issued 1228 of 1228 requests in 2002 -- when President Bush issed the domestic spying order. This leads us to the next question:

If you're getting all the warrants you want, why do you suddenly go off the reservation and start spying without warrants?

If you think like a lawyer or a cop, the obvious answer is that the administration is spying on people who they know the court would never let them spy on.

We've seen the NBC report on the Pentagon spying on Quakers and peace groups. You have to wonder if there are other non-terrorists in their sites. And if you think like a politician, you think of Nixon's enemy lists, Clinton's FBI file scandal, and wonder if this administration is also using government resources to keep tabs on political opponents.

Which leads us to the question that ties these two together:

If exposing warrantless spying can't possibly affect national security, why is the administration so worried about it being exposed?

Answer: Political damage in 2005, a Democratic majority elected in 2006, and articles of impeachment in 2007. (Newsweek, HT:

Crossposted at blogcrit-button

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush Defends Domestic Spying

The Bush administration argues that Congress implied the President had the power to order spying on Americans -- when they authorized the use of military force after 9/11. But Congress members in both parties disagree.

"Congress gave me authority." -- President Bush, News Confernce, 12/19/05

"Nobody, nobody, thought when we passed a resolution to invade Afghanistan and to fight the war on terror, including myself who voted for it, thought that this was an authorization to allow a wiretapping against the law of the United States." -- Sen Russ Feingold, NBC's Today Show, 12/19/05

President Bush answered questions during a rare news conference this morning -- his third live television or radio appearance in as many days.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- or FISA -- requires the government to seek a warrant from a national security court for such spying. In 2002, before the President ordered the warrantless spying -- the FISA court immediately issued warrants in 1226 of the 1228 instances one was requested. The other two were granted after modifications to the warrant.

The administration could have gone ahead with the wiretaps, and still have had 72 hours to request a warrant. So there would have been no delay in starting an investigation -- so long as the FISA court agreed the case involved national security. (WashPost)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bush Defends Iraq War, Acknowledges Difficulties

In the midst of the political outrage over President Bush's admission of domestic spying, Mr Bush used a nationally televised, prime time speech to the nation -- in the wake of NFL coverage -- to preach the administration's line on the Iraq War.

Once again, the President has used Iraq as a diversion to issues of the day. (WashPost)

Spying on America

What did the President know about you -- and when did he know it?

MP3 File


The Poll Driven President Battles a PR Disaster

President Bush has admitted he ordered domestic spying -- tapping phones and e-mails without seeking warrants. The admission came in a radio address to the nation on Saturday.

It was a quick turnaround from Friday when the President refused to say one way or another. The sudden exposure of the spying program touched off a political firestorm with Democratic and Republican leaders attacking it. The President is in a damage control mode with his quick change of direction, facing the criticism head on. This from the New York Times:

"In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment," Mr. Bush said forcefully from behind a lectern in the Roosevelt Room, next to the Oval Office. The White House invited cameras in, guaranteeing television coverage.

The President had just come off a four speech strategy to shore up support for his Iraq War plans when the spying issue emerged as a new PR disaster for the administration.

Keeping up his PR fight, President Bush addresses the nation again tonight at 9:00 EST with more on why he ordered the spying. (New York Times)