Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Portland Mayor chastises FBI for trying to place informant at City Hall
Portland Mayor Tom Potter fired off an open letter online today to city residents, complaining that an agent with the FBI tried to convince a city employee to act as an informant for the agency.
Potter wrote that he was disturbed by a May 11 incident in which a special agent with the FBI stopped the employee and showed her his badge and identification. The agent, Potter alleges, asked the employee if she knew any City Council members and wondered if she would be interested in passing information on to the agent.
The employee told the woman he had other duties but was particularly interested in information relating to white-collar crime.
Potter’s letter didn’t name either the agent or the city employee. He wrote that he believes the FBI was trying to place an informant within City Hall.
Potter adamantly stated that there is no reason for the FBI to be investigating the city because no wrongdoing has occured.
“When there is no information to indicate any public corruption on the part of City Council members or employees, the FBI has no legitimate role in surreptitiously monitoring elected officials and city employees,” Potter wrote. “The actions of the FBI — even if they are the actions of one agent acting on his own — come at an uneasy time for many Americans. In the past few weeks, we have learned that our phone records are not private, and conversations are monitored without warrants. Journalists exposing these actions have been threatened with prosecution.
“Even if this incident is nothing more than the work of one overzealous agent, it represents an unacceptable mind-set within the agency.”
Moments after Potter’s office released a copy of the letter, the FBI sent out a response.
Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Portland office, said such practices are common across the nation. She said the FBI “strongly” disagrees with Potter’s version of how significant the incident was.
“To be effective, (the FBI) relies on the assistance of those who also live and work in those communities,” Steele said. “It is entirely proper for an FBI agent to ask willing citizens to provide information when those citizens feel it is appropriate to do so regarding potential criminal conduct – whether that information involves a bank robbery, kidnapping, public corruption or other crime.”
Another FBI official -- Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Nielsen -- confirmed today that an agent approached a city employee. But he had a different perspective on the conversation than the mayor.
"We do talk to people. We're supposed to talk to the public," Nielsen said. "The approach was probably more direct than anybody would have liked."
Steele said that in the last two years, FBI investigators have seen a 40 percent increase in the number of indictments of government employees allegedly involved in corruption.
Potter has clashed with the federal government before. City Council members, including Potter, voted in April 2005 to remove Portland police from a Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the FBI, a task force that has expanded to about 100 cities across the nation.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Saturday 13 May 2006
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half a day Friday at the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm representing Karl Rove.
During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning.
Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, did not return a call for comment. Sources said Fitzgerald was in Washington, DC, Friday and met with Luskin for about 15 hours to go over the charges against Rove, which include perjury and lying to investigators about how and when Rove discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative and whether he shared that information with reporters, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said.
It was still unknown Saturday whether Fitzgerald charged Rove with a more serious obstruction of justice charge. Sources close to the case said Friday that it appeared very likely that an obstruction charge against Rove would be included with charges of perjury and lying to investigators.
An announcement by Fitzgerald is expected to come this week, sources close to the case said. However, the day and time is unknown. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the special prosecutor was unavailable for comment. In the past, Samborn said he could not comment on the case.
The grand jury hearing evidence in the Plame Wilson case met Friday on other matters while Fitzgerald spent the entire day at Luskin's office. The meeting was a closely guarded secret and seems to have taken place without the knowledge of the media.
As TruthOut reported Friday evening, Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.
Details of Rove's discussions with the president and Bolten have spread through the corridors of the White House, where low-level staffers and senior officials were trying to determine how the indictment would impact an administration that has been mired in a number of high-profile political scandals for nearly a year, said a half-dozen White House aides and two senior officials who work at the Republican National Committee.
Speaking on condition of anonymity Friday night, sources confirmed Rove's indictment was imminent. These individuals requested anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak publicly about Rove's situation. A spokesman in the White House press office said they would not comment on "wildly speculative rumors."
Rove's announcement to President Bush and Bolten comes more than a month after he alerted the new chief of staff to a meeting his attorney had with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in which Fitzgerald told Luskin that his case against Rove would soon be coming to a close and that he was leaning toward charging Rove with perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, according to sources close to the investigation.
A few weeks after he spoke with Fitzgerald, Luskin arranged for Rove to return to the grand jury for a fifth time to testify in hopes of fending off an indictment related to Rove's role in the CIA leak, sources said.
That meeting was followed almost immediately by an announcement by newly-appointed White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten of changes in the responsibilities of some White House officials, including Rove, who was stripped of his policy duties and would no longer hold the title of deputy White House chief of staff.
The White House said Rove would focus on the November elections and his change in status in no way reflected his fifth appearance before the grand jury or the possibility of an indictment.
But since Rove testified two weeks ago, the White House has been coordinating a response to what is sure to be the biggest political scandal it has faced thus far: the loss of a key political operative who has been instrumental in shaping White House policy on a wide range of domestic issues.
Rove testified that he first found out about Plame Wilson from reading a newspaper report in July 2003 and only after the story was published did he share damaging information about her CIA status with other reporters.
However, evidence has surfaced during the course of the two-year-old investigation that shows Rove spoke with at least two reporters about Plame Wilson prior to the publication of the column.
The explanation Rove provided to the grand jury - that he was dealing with more urgent White House matters and therefore forgot - has not convinced Fitzgerald that Rove has been entirely truthful in his testimony and resulted in the indictment.
Some White House staffers said it's the uncertainty of Rove's status in the leak case that has made it difficult for the administration's domestic policy agenda and that the announcement of an indictment and Rove's subsequent resignation, while serious, would allow the administration to move forward on a wide range of issues.
"We need to start fresh and we can't do that with the uncertainty of Karl's case hanging over our heads," said one White House aide. "There's no doubt that it will be front page news if and when (an indictment) happens. But eventually it will become old news quickly. The key issue here is that the president or Mr. Bolten respond to the charges immediately, make a statement and then move on to other important policy issues and keep that as the main focus going forward."
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
A front page headline in today's Tennessean celebrates that Kiplingers has named Nashville the number 1 city in America to live in (of 50 surveyed.)
A headline adjacent to this reports that a 60 year old librarian was killed by dogs.
Makes ya wonder what city #50 did that was so bad....
Monday, May 08, 2006
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
If you haven't already viewed the entire clip of Steven Colbert giving the keynote Washington Correspondents' address, the link will take you to a good download.
The first day after the event his piece was hardly mentioned in the mainstream media.
The second day after, it's mentioned negatively -- called "unfunny" by some, thus sparking a debate between those who think he was funny, those who think he wasn't funny. It's become a tussle. People are taking sides.
I thought, there's got to be a way to resolve this. If we had proof that people laughed, maybe we could make the case that indeed, Steven Colbert was funny.
Here's what I got:
Looks like laughter to me.
This looks like the fun table.
These women here don't seem to be having a good time. I think they just wanted Laurence Fishburn's autograph.
Colbert had the room on his side as much as one could reasonably expect. Hell, he got this out of Scalia by telling him to go "fuck himself." They were putty in his hands.
But here's the thing. Colbert was just doing comedy up until the Press Secretary video.
That's when it became art. You know that's what has happened, because people got pissed. That's the magic of art -- it shows you something. Suddenly the crowd stopped rattling their jewelry in aprreciation. It's like shining the black light around the cheap motel room.
This was biting.
As was this:
But the worst of it:
Here's comes Bushe's 19th Helen Thomas nervous breakdown.
HELEN THOMAS: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist, is that, you know, I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --
HELEN THOMAS: Everything --
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Hold on for a second, please.
HELEN THOMAS: -- everything I've heard -- [IS A LIE.]
The take away from Colbert's Press Secretary skit is that BUSH CAN'T ANSWER THIS BASIC QUESTION and all it takes is a REAL JOURANLIST to ask it.
I can't think of a more fitting keynote address for the Washington Correspondents.
Thank you Helen. We need more heroes.