Friday, May 8, 2009

In Congress We Trust…Not..... Neither Can We Trust The ACNM

I have been known to quote long-dead men in my past writings. Whether eloquently expressed thoughts by our founding fathers, or those artfully expressed by ancient Greek thinkers, these quotes have always done a better job starting or ending my thoughts - that tend to be expressed in long winding sentences. For this piece I am going to break with tradition and start with an appropriate quote from a living current senator, John Kerry: “It’s a sad day when you have members of congress who are literally criminals go undisciplined by their colleagues. No wonder people look at Washington and know this city is broken.
The people do indeed look at Washington and know that this city is ‘badly’ broken, Senator Kerry. The public confidence in our Congress has been declining drastically. Recent poll results  highlight how the American people’s trust in their congress has hit rock bottom. A survey of progressive blogs easily confirms the rage rightfully directed at our congress for abdicating its role of oversight and accountability. Activists scream about promised hearings that never took place - without explanation. They express outrage when investigations are dropped without any justification. And they genuinely wonder out loud why, especially after they helped secure a major victory for the Democrats. The same Democrats who had for years pointed fingers at their big bad Republican majority colleagues as the main impediment preventing them from fulfilling what was expected of them.
The recent stunning but not unexpected revelations regarding Jane Harman by the Congressional Quarterly provide us with a little glimpse into one of the main reasons behind the steady decline in congress’s integrity. But the story is almost dead - ready to bite the dust, thanks to our mainstream media’s insistence on burying ‘real’ issues or stories that delve deep into the causes of our nation’s continuous downward slide. In this particular case, the ‘thank you’ should also be extended to certain blogosphere propagandists who, blinded by their partisanship, myopic in their assessments, and ignorant in their knowledge of the inner workings of our late congress and intelligence agencies, helped in the post-burial cremation of this case.
Ironically but understandably, the Harman case has become one of rare unequivocal bipartisanship, when no one from either side of the partisan isle utters a word. How many House or Senate Republicans have you heard screaming, or even better, calling for an investigation? The right wing remains silent. Some may have their hand, directly or indirectly, in the same AIPAC cookie jar. Others may still feel the heavy baggage of their own party’s tainted colleagues; after all, they have had their share of Abramoffs, Hasterts and the like, silently lurking in the background, albeit dimmer every day. Some on the left, after an initial silence that easily could have been mistaken for shock, are jumping from one foot to the other, like a cat on a hot tin roof, making one excuse after another; playing the ‘victims of Executive Branch eavesdropping’ card, the same very ‘evil doing’ they happened to support vehemently. Some have been dialing their trusted guardian angels within the mainstream media and certain fairly visible alternative outlets. They need no longer worry, since these guardian angels seem to have blacked out the story, and have done so without much arm twisting.
Hastert Redux
I am going to rewind and take you back to September 2005, when Vanity Fair published an article, which in addition to my case and the plight of National Security Whistleblowers, exposed the dark side of the then Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, and the corroborated allegations of his illegal activities involving foreign agents and interests.
Vanity Fair printed the story only after they made certain they were on sure footing in the face of any possible libel by lining up more than five credible sources, and after triple pit bull style fact-checking. They were vindicated; Hastert did not dare go after them, nor did he ever issue any true denial. Moreover, further vindication occurred only a month ago. On April 10, 2009, The Hill reported that the Former Speaker of the House was contracted to lobby for Turkey. The Justice Department record on this deal indicates that Hastert will now be “principally involved” on a $35,000-a-month contract providing representation for Turkish interests. That seems to be the current arrangement for those serving foreign interests while on the job in congress - to be paid at a later date, collecting on their IOU’s when they secure their positions with ‘the foreign lobby.’
In a recent article for the American Conservative Magazine, Philip Giraldi, Former CIA Officer stationed in Turkey, made the following point:Edmonds’s claims have never been pursued, presumably because there are so many skeletons in both parties’ closets. She has been served with a state-secrets gag order to make sure that what she knows is never revealed, a restriction that the new regime in Washington has not lifted.”  He hits the nail on the head:” In Hastert’s case, it certainly should be a matter of public concern that a senior elected representative who may have received money from a foreign country is now officially lobbying on its behalf. How many other congressmen might have similar relationships with foreign countries and lobbying groups, providing them with golden parachutes for their retirement?”
The congress went mum on my case after the Vanity Fair story, with, of course, the mainstream media making it very easy for them. They turned bipartisan in not pursuing the case, just as with the Harman case, and similarly, the mainstream media happily let it disappear. At the time I was not aware that during the publication of the Hastert story, Jane Harman’s AIPAC case was already brewing in the background. Moreover, one of the very few people in congress who was notified about Harman was none other than Hastert, the man himself. The same Hastert, who in addition to being one of several officials targeted by the FBI counterintelligence and counterespionage investigations, was also known to be directly involved in several other high profile scandals: from his intimate involvement in the Abramoff scandal, to the Representative William Jefferson scandal ; from his ‘Land Deal’ scandal - where he cashed in millions off his position while “serving”, to the 2006 House Page scandal.
All for One, One for All
 How does it work? How do these people escape accountability, the consequences? Are we talking about the possible use of blackmail by the Executive Branch against congressional representatives, as if Hoover’s days were never over? Cases such as NSA illegal eavesdropping come to mind, when congressional members were briefed long before it became public, yet none took any action or even uttered a word; members of both parties.  Or is it more likely to be a case of secondhand blackmail, where members of congress keep tabs on each other? Or, is it a combination of the above? Regardless, we see this ‘one for all, all for one’ kind of solidarity in congress when it comes to criminal conduct and scandals such as those of Hastert and Harman.
Although at an initial glance, based on the wiretapping angle, the Harman case may appear to involve blackmailing, or a milder version, exploitation, of congress by the Executive Branch, deeper analysis would suggest even further implications, where congressional members themselves use the incriminating information against each other to prevent pursuit or investigation of cases that they may be directly or indirectly involved in. Let me give you an example based on the Hastert case mentioned earlier:
In 2004 and 2005 I had several meetings with Representative Henry Waxman’s investigative and legal staff. Two of these meetings took place inside a SCIF, where details and classified information pertaining to my case and those involved could be discussed. I was told, and at the time I believed it to be the case, that the Republican majority was preventing further action - such as holding a public hearing. Once the Democrats took over in 2006, that barrier was removed, or so I thought
In March 2007, I was contacted by one of Representative Waxman’s staff people who felt responsible and conscientious enough to at least let me know that there would never be a hearing into my case by their office, or for that matter, any Democratic office in the House. Based on his/her account, in February 2007 Waxman’s office was preparing the necessary ingredients for their promised hearing, but in mid March the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, called Waxman into a meeting on the case, and after Waxman came out of that twenty minute meeting, he told his staff ‘we are no longer involved in Edmonds’ case.’ And so they became ‘uninvolved.’
What was discussed during that meeting? The facts regarding the FBI's pursuit  of Hastert and certain other representatives were bound to come out in any congressional hearing into my case. Now we know that Hastert and Pelosi were both informed of Harman’s role in a related case involving counterespionage investigation of AIPAC. Is it possible that Pelosi asked Waxman to lay off my case in order to protect a few of their own in an equally scandalous case? Was there a deal made between the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House to keep this and other related scandals hushed? Will we ever know the answer to these questions? Most likely not, considering the current state of our mainstream media. And the victims remain the same: The American people who have entrusted the role of ensuring oversight and accountability with their congress. This kind of infestation touches everyone in congress; one need not have a skeleton of his own to get sucked into the swamp of those infested. Does Waxman have to be a sinner to take part in the sin committed by the Hasterts and Harmans of congress? Certainly not. On the other hand, he and others like him will abide by the un-pledged oath of ‘solidarity with your party members’ and ‘loyalty to your dear colleagues.’
Back to the enablers:  How can we explain the continued blackout by the mainstream media, and/or, logic-less defenses of the Harmans and Hasterts alike by the apologist spinners - some of whom pass as the ‘alternative’ media? Some are committing what they rightfully accused the previous administration and their pawns of doing: cherry picking the facts, then, spin, spin, and spin until the real issue becomes blurry and unrecognizable. The conspiracy angle aimed at the timing;  Porter Goss’ possible beef with Jane Harman; accusing the truth divulgers, CQ sources, of being ‘conspirators’ with ulterior motives; portraying Harman as an outspoken vigilante on torture. And if those sound too lame to swallow, they throw in a few evil names from the foggy past of Dusty the Foggo man! If the issue and its implications weren’t so serious, these spins of reality would certainly make a Pulitzer worthy satire.
Let’s take the issue of timing. First of all, the story was reported, albeit not comprehensively, by Time Magazine years ago. It took a tenacious journalist, more importantly a journalist that could have been trusted by the Intel sources to give it real coverage. It is also possible that the sources for the Harman case got fed up and disillusioned by the absence of a real investigation and decided to ‘really’ talk. After all, the AIPAC court case was dropped by the Justice Department’s prosecutors within two weeks of the Harman revelations. Same could be said about the Hastert story. At the time, many asked why the story was not told during the earlier stages of my case. It took three years for me and other FBI and DOJ sources to exhaust all channels; congressional inquiry, IG investigation, and the courts. Those who initially were not willing to come forward and corroborate the details opened up to the Vanity Fair journalist, David Rose, in 2005.
Now let’s look at the ‘blackmail’ and ‘Goss’ Plot’ angles. Of course the ‘blackmail’ scenario is possible; in fact, highly possible. We all can picture one of the President’s men in the White House pulling an opposing congressional member aside and whispering ‘if I were you, congressman, I’d stop pushing. I understand, as we speak, my Justice Department is looking into certain activities you’ve been engaged in….’ We all can imagine, easily, a head of the Justice Department, having a ‘discreet’ meeting with a representative who’s been pushing for a certain investigation of certain department officials for criminal deeds, and saying, ‘dear congresswoman, we are aware of your role in a certain scandal, and are still pondering whether we should turn this into a direct investigation of you and appoint a special prosecutor…’ But, let’s not forget, the misuse of incriminating information to blackmail does not make the practitioner of the wrong deed a victim, nor does it make the wrong or criminal deed less wrong. Instead of spinning the story, taking away attention from the facts in hand, and making Harman a victim, we must focus on this case, on Harman, as an example of a very serious disease that has infected our congress for way too long. Those who have been entrusted with the oversight and accountability of our government cannot do so if they are vulnerable to such blackmails from the very same people they are overseeing…Period. Those who have been elected to represent the people and their interests cannot pursue their own greed and ambitions by engaging in criminal or unethical activities against the interests of the same people they’ve sworn to represent, and be given a pass.
As for far-reaching ties such as Harman’s stand on torture, or specific beef with Porter Goss, or wild shooting from the hip by bringing up mafia-like characters such as Dusty Foggo; please don’t make us laugh! Are we talking about the same Hawkish Pro Secrecy Jane Harman here?! Harman’s staunch support of NSA Wiretapping of Americans, the FISA Amendment of 2008, the Patriot ACT, the war with Iraq, and many other activities on the Civil Liberties’ No No-list, is known by everyone. But, apparently not by the authors of these recent spins! And, let’s not forget to add her long-term cozy relationship with AIPAC, and the large donations she’s received from various AIPAC-related pro Israeli PACs. To these certain ‘wannabe’ journalists driven by far from pure agenda(s), shame on you; as for honor-worthy vigilant activists out there: watch out for these impostors with their newly gained popularity among those tainted in Washington, and take a hard look at whose agendas they are a mouthpiece for.
Despite a certain degree of exposure cases such as Harman and Hastert, involving corruption of public officials, seem to meet the same dead-end, literally dead. Powerful foreign entities’ criminal conduct against our national interest is given a pass as was recently proven by the AIPAC case. The absence of real investigative journalism and the pattern of blackout by our mainstream media are known universally and seem to have been accepted as a fact of life. Pursuit of cases such as mine via cosmetically available channels has been and continues to be proven futile for whistleblowers. Then, you may want to ask, why in the world am I writing this piece? Because more and more people, although not nearly enough, are coming to the realization that our system is rotten at it’s core; that in many cases we have been trying to deal with the symptoms rather than the cause. I, like many others, believed that changing the congressional majority in 2006 was going to bring about some of the needed changes; the pursuit of accountability being one. We were proven wrong. In 2008, many genuinely bought in to the promise of change, and thus far, they’ve been let down. These experiences are disheartening, surely, but they are also eye-opening. I do see many vigilant activists who continue the fight, and as long as that’s the case, there is hope. More people realize that real change will require not replacing one or two or three, but many more. More people are coming to understand that the road to achieving government of the people passes through a congress, but not the one currently occupied by the many crusty charlatans who represent only self-interest - achieved by representing the interests of those other than the majority of the people of this nation. And so I write.
Here I go again, rather than ending this in a long paragraph or two, I will let another long-gone man do it shortly and effectively If we have Senators and Congressmen there that can't protect themselves against the evil temptations of lobbyists, we don't need to change our lobbies, we need to change our representatives.”--- Will Rogers
# # # #
Sibel Edmonds is the founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI.  During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her case have been blocked by the assertion of “State Secret Privilege”; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice. Ms. Edmonds is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; and has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

My years as an Iraq war reporter

May 6, 2009

Deborah Haynes in Baghdad
Deborah Haynes gets a friendly soaking from a US pilot after landing in the Green Zone in Baghdad
Image :1 of 5

The bundle of $3,000 felt uncomfortable stuffed into my knickers, but I had been advised to stash it there in case my taxi was hijacked during the road trip to Baghdad from Amman. Thankfully, the 11 hours passed uneventfully, apart from a moment of fear as we drove close to Fallujah. It was 2004, and already the city was feared by foreigners. My driver, a Palestinian man, told me to lie down so as not to be seen. Heart-pounding, I pushed the passenger seat right back and lay still until the all-clear. A few weeks later insurgents ambushed, beat and burnt to death four private security guards in Fallujah. Their bodies were strung from a bridge.

It was my first time in the Middle East. I had pleaded with my employer at the time, the French news agency AFP, to let me report on the war, despite having no experience of covering conflict and little knowledge of the region. I didn’t even know what the weather was going to be like. Seeing on the internet that it was snowing in Jordan, I’d packed a ski jacket and snow boots, but Iraq was enjoying a warm spell and I was too embarrassed to admit my error. After a week of suffering, the early stages of trench foot set in. Thankfully, an Iraqi colleague took pity and bought me a pair of flip-flops.

Another wardrobe blunder was the sleeveless tops that I brought along, failing to consider the conservative dress code. This was hammered home when I overheard an American official tell someone: “That blonde reporter will get herself shot if she carries on like that.” He had seen me jump out of my car and sprint across a bridge to the Health Ministry for a press conference, wearing slightly transparent white trousers and a less than baggy T-shirt.

Reporting in Baghdad was the ultimate challenge. The car bombs, airstrikes, ambushes and mortar fire meant no shortage of action; while the attempt to create a new government offered an insight into the complicated tribal and religious fabric of Iraqi society. There was also a crazy sense of chaos. No one obeyed the law because there was no one to enforce it. Well, the US soldiers did, but the thing to remember about them was to steer clear, particularly in the early days when nervous young troops had a reputation for shooting first and asking questions later.

As friendly as they were to me — I remember one US explosives expert handing me a skipping-rope handle-shaped detonator and inviting me to set off a roadside bomb by giving it a “man tug” — there was no forgetting the danger that they represented to civilians. I met one Iraqi boy after he had been shot in the head when his uncle failed to heed a stop warning at a checkpoint. He was treated at a US hospital and survived, but he will always have a problem with his eyes and legs because of the injury.

Our office in early 2004 was in a small hotel in central Baghdad. I remember e-mailing friends at home about the hotel defence: a spiky wire across the ground that was manned by a couple of sleepy-looking guards. “It wouldn’t stop a suicide rollerblader,” I joked. Protection was minimal because there had been few attacks against Westerners, but that changed within my first few weeks. One night, a rocket skimmed over our roof and slammed into the one opposite. The noise was terrifying. I hit the floor along with my colleagues.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. Without thinking, I raced outside to see if any more missiles were falling and scrambled upstairs to the roof. Suddenly a second rocket exploded near by, making me dive under a sheet of corrugated iron. That night, seven hotels containing foreigners were hit, including one by a car bomb.

Friends and family thought that I was mad wanting to work in Baghdad but my mum and dad supported me, even if it meant sleepless nights for them. I failed to get in touch as often as I should have but, that said, making phone calls was problematic. Initially, communication was via walkie-talkie — handy for filing news to the Baghdad bureau but useless for personal calls. Besides, using one of these brick-like contraptions was always a bit of a spectacle because you had to yell through the speaker. Satellite phones had the range but because of the expense were restricted to work calls. Fortunately mobile phones caught on that summer, though the network remained infuriatingly patchy.

Most of the comforts that we take for granted in Britain either don’t exist or don’t work well in Iraq. Electricity in our hotel was cut so frequently that conversations would continue without pause when the room was plunged into darkness. Our supply was relatively reliable; many Iraqi families exist on only a few hours of electricity a day.

After spending seven weeks in Baghdad, I returned to my beat covering world trade and United Nations agencies in Geneva, but I did another two stints that year, before returning at the end of 2005 and the start of 2006, by which time the violence had spiralled out of control.

One of my scariest moments was covering the aftermath of a suicide car bomb against a General Electric convoy in June 2004 that left 13 people dead, including three GE workers. One of three sports utility vehicles was destroyed along with those on board. Passengers in the other two cars escaped but abandoned their transport. An angry crowd of Iraqi men had gathered by the time I arrived. I spotted what looked like the charred torsos of two victims through the shattered windscreen of the bombed SUV. They were the first dead bodies that I had seen in Iraq, but the situation was too chaotic to register any emotion. As I stood amid the wreckage, the mob began to shout anti-American slogans and wave sticks. Iraqi police and US soldiers were also there. The police shot into the air, but the gunfire only aggravated the men further.

Suddenly the rioters surged towards me. My instinct was to run but my Iraqi interpreter told me to remain calm and walk clear. Looking back, I saw the crowd climb on to one of the vehicles, smash the windows and set it ablaze. We sheltered in a nearby police box until things calmed down and my interpreter was able to talk to the mob. It was safer for him to go without me, a hated Westerner.

By the end of that year, it became imperative to adopt a disguise to hide my blonde hair and blue eyes. I always felt like one of the idiotic Thomson and Thompson detectives in Tintin when I donned a long, black robe and headscarf, as if I was stereotyping the Iraqi population. Despite these misgivings, the garb enabled me to venture outside, though trips became limited because of the kidnap threat.

One of the bleakest days was when news broke that Margaret Hassan, the Anglo-Irish aid worker, had been shot dead several weeks after being kidnapped by Sunni extremists. That these people could kill a 59-year-old woman who had lived in Iraq for three decades and had dedicated her life to the country was a wake-up call. I was too scared to leave my hotel for a fortnight. Even when an Iraqi official sent two cars packed with armed guards to take me out for lunch, I got as far as the hotel car park before losing my nerve and retreating back indoors.

Insurgency warfare is a strange creature. Attacks are shocking only until something worse happens. This generates a kind of acceptance of the violence. For example, a bomb that killed 15 people in 2004 would dominate the news. Three years later it would barely be given a mention. News wires used to mark “urgent” the death of a US soldier. By 2006, three needed to die to get such attention.

I hated this sense of war fatigue not because the lack of interest meant fewer stories in the paper for me but because bombs still shattered Iraqi lives and the outside world no longer reacted. The longer that I spent in Iraq, the more painful it became to see the devastation wrought.

Speak to any ordinary Iraqi and he or she will have a story of suffering that would be impossible for most British people to conceive. One woman described how her husband was shot dead by militiamen in front of her. Months later, the widow’s father was kidnapped and drilled to death. The woman still managed a smile as she spoke of her hope for the future.

People ask me whether I think it was all worthwhile — a difficult question as I never visited Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in power. But I can’t help feeling, whether or not Iraq becomes a stable country, that nothing will compensate for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost or damaged.

Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad was not all about death and fear. It was possible to relax by the two circular pools at our hotel but even then, mysteriously, helicopters would always seem to circle overhead whenever a female reporter went for a dip, while staff from the hotel would also find a stubborn stain on the tiles by the water’s edge that would require attention for the duration of the swim.

There was a fairly lively social scene, even in the darkest days, with different bureaus throwing parties within their blast-walled compounds or holding impromptu gatherings that ended with bursts of late-night dancing to Madonna classics. I broke two mobile phones diving fully clothed into a swimming pool at our hotel during one particularly lively bash.

The fortified Green Zone conceals a titillating nightlife that is ready to be sampled, provided you know the right people to get your name on the guest list — namely someone from one of the many foreign missions. Some of the most surreal experiences are the parties at the Italian Embassy. Imagine freshly-cooked pizza, toxic cocktails and dancing on a balcony that overlooks a courtyard where diplomats, aid workers and journalists groove to thumping Euro-pop. In the summer, the Italian guards would strip down to the waist and spray revellers with cold water.

There were lonely and frustrating times as well. Even buying groceries was tricky. I used to get one of my drivers to pick up fruit and cans of tuna and sweetcorn for me from the local supermarket because going myself involved taking both drivers and a guard. I also missed my friends, though I struck up friendships with fellow journalists, hanging out watching DVDs or gossiping. A young Iraqi woman who once worked as an interpreter for the US military, but quit because of personal problems, would also regularly pop round for a coffee and a chat about her troubled love life.

I became an Iraq correspondent for The Times in May 2007. At the time, death squads ruled parts of Baghdad and hundreds of civilians were killed each week. Ten days after my arrival, five British men were kidnapped from a Finance Ministry compound by scores of gunmen dressed in police uniform. Two years later they are still being held, pawns in a much larger political game.

Running the Times bureau — also inside a rundown Baghdad hotel — was a novel experience. Within six months, my interpreter fled to Syria, claiming that he had been the target of a kidnap plot, and one of my security guards quit after being caught up in a roadside bomb or car crash — he never quite got his story straight. A second guard has since been arrested. He is still in jail, though, as far as I can make out, has not yet been charged. Thankfully, two drivers, a pair of brothers who have worked for the paper since the invasion, remain on the team. They treated me like a sister, always making sure that I felt safe and cheering me up if I looked glum. My last interpreter was also a lovely character who provided an invaluable viewpoint on Iraq, correcting me whenever I made a cultural mistake, such as trying to shake an Iraqi man’s hand — many prefer not to shake hands with women.

It was hard to say goodbye after five years, but I know (or I hope) that I’ll be back. Until then I must watch from a distance as the country tries to recover, though I worry what will happen as American forces pull out. There has been a gradual improvement in security over the past year, but bombs continue to claim lives and it remains unwise to shed guards and disguises. That said, in my final days in Baghdad in April I sometimes cruised around with just a driver and stayed calm if I’d forgoten to pack a headscarf.

Back in East London, it is taking time to adjust to “normal life”. On the plus side, I can clean my teeth without fear that brown-coloured liquid will spurt out of the tap. And, of course, I no longer have to keep cash in my underwear.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Republicans Blackmail Holder

As independents, we don't give a flying rats arse under which political party crimes, like torture or renditions to nations known to torture, were committed. We want it all to come out. The sooner the better!

Posted: Thursday, May 07, 2009 12:16 PM by Domenico Montanaro
Filed Under: ,

From NBC's Pete Williams

At a hearing today with Attorney General Eric Holder, Republican members of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee suggested that any potential criminal investigation into the CIA's harsh interrogation methods might not easily be contained.

Both Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Richard Shelby of Alabama pressed Holder on the CIA's "rendition" program that moved terrorism suspects from one country to another. 
Didn't that happen during the Clinton administration? 
Yes, Holder said. 
"How many did you approve?" they asked. 
Holder said he'd check the record.
The clear suggestion was, if any criminal investigation is opened, Republicans would push to get it expanded beyond events during the Bush administration. Alexander, for example, asked several times whether members of Congress, who were told about the interrogation methods, should also be investigated.
As for a potential investigation of the lawyers who wrote the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel opinions approving harsh interrogation methods, Holder said -- as he has several times now -- that he remains skeptical. 
"We're not trying to do anything that would be perceived as partisan,” he said. “We want to move forward to the extent we can."
Today's hearing also provided another avenue for members of Congress to tell the Obama administration they're very worried about bringing Guantanamo Bay detainees into the U.S., where they might be released. Holder said no one who was dangerous or a threat to the community would be released anywhere in the world. 
[EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the committee Holder testified before as Judiciary. This version corrects that, pointing out that it was an Appropriations subcommittee.]

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Some Real News

News stories
May 3, 2009

More from The Real News

Watch more news stories on the economy, US politics and the climate change crisis from around the world view
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.