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Tag: Bush

The Big Question is Whether Congress Should Go After Misdeeds of Bush Administration

The big question will be whether Congress wants to explore some misdeeds of the past or move forward. With all the confusion in Washington and the economy in the dumps, it may be a little harder to get the American people behind them to go after the those misdeeds.

Rep. John Conyers

Rep. John Conyers

By Zachary Roth
TalkingPointsMemo

Over the weekend, President-Elect Obama said we should “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” on the question of prosecuting Bush administration officials for torture, illegal wiretapping, and other possible crimes committed in the name of national security.
But yesterday, the House Judiciary committee got behind a very different approach, releasing a nearly 500-page report that recommends establishing a blue-ribbon commission — along the lines of the 9/11 commission, but with subpoena power — to investigate whether crimes were committed. (Last week, as we reported over at Election Central, Judiciary chair John Conyers and nine other lawmakers introduced a bill to set up such a commission.)
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The full report

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Obama Pick for Office of Legal Counsel is Harsh Critic of Bush Admin. Interrogation Tactics

Dawn Johnsen/university photo

Dawn Johnsen/university photo

Obama is making some key legal appointments who are likely to reverse many substantial and controversial Bush policies. Here’s one of those people.

By ERIC LICHTBLAU
New York Times
WASHINGTON – When Dawn Johnsen read a newly disclosed Justice Department legal opinion last April that blessed the president’s broad power to authorize rough interrogation tactics, she was outraged.
The legal memorandum, she wrote in a blog entry, was “shockingly flawed,” the constitutional arguments were “bogus,” the broad reading of presidential authority “outlandish,” and the “horrific acts” it encouraged against prisoners were probably illegal.
“Where is the outrage, the public outcry?!” Ms. Johnsen, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University, demanded in the posting.
Now, Ms. Johnsen will have the chance to overturn some of the legal opinions she so harshly condemned. President-elect Barack Obama said this week that he would nominate her to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that produced a series of hotly debated legal opinions on presidential power in the war on terror. She led the office on an acting basis during the Clinton administration but, in academia, has become one of the office’s fiercest critics.
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Other Stories Of Interest

L.A. Times Editorial Page Calls Bush Reign “Lawless”

The paper’s editorial page has hammered away at the Bush administration over time. Today is no different. Do you agree?


By The Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page

Whatever its other legacies, the Bush administration will be remembered for its contemptible disregard for the law in the post-9/11 war on terrorism. From the wiretapping of Americans without a court order to the waterboarding of suspected terrorists to the refusal to abide by the requirements of the Geneva Convention, many of the administration’s policies can fairly be described as lawless.
But were they also criminal? Should officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, be put on trial, either in a court of law or in a forum like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission? As the Bush administration nears its end, calls for such a reckoning are coming from civil libertarians and some supporters of President-elect Barack Obama. Some even argue that President Bush should be indicted.
This editorial page has been uncompromising in its criticism of the Bush administration’s flouting of international and domestic law. The administration was wrong to evade courts in seeking warrantless surveillance of Americans, wrong to establish the Guantanamo Bay detention center, heinous in its acceptance of torture. But we are wary of either the criminal prosecution of administration officials or some South-Africa-style process.

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Secret Service Acted “Appropriately” in Bush-Shoe Throwing, But Response Under Review

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secret Service said Monday that its agents responded “appropriately” to Sunday’s shoe throwing incident in Iraq involving President Bush, but  the incident was under review.
“We’re looking at the incident to see if there’s anything that we can do better,” said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan. “We do that after any foreign trip.”
“The thing just happened so we’re trying to get all the information together,” he said, adding that the agents had yet to return to the states.
He said people attending the conference were checked for weapons and underwent background checks to assure they were representing their respective media companies.
He said Secret Service agents and Iraqi security acted appropriately and immediately started moving toward the man after he threw the first shoe.
The reporter was identified as Muntazer al-Zaida, who works for the independent Iraqi television station Al-Baghdaddia.
Agence France Press reported Monday that the Iraqi government was facing mounting pressure from Arab world to release the shoe-throwing reporter. The reporter jumped up during the press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, hurled the shoes at Bush and yelled “It is the farewell kiss, you dog.”
Agence France reported that the man’s colleagues in Baghdad said he had long been planning to throw shoes at Bush.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY5U3Yp4tKI

Government Psychologists Told Bush Folks Waterboarding al Qaeda Was 100% Effective

Even though we’ve heard over time that waterboarding may not always net accurate information, government psychologists gave it a hearty endorsement. That may have been what the administration needed to hear before using it.

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Newsweek
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration approved the use of “waterboarding” on Al Qaeda detainees after receiving reports from government psychologists that it was “100 percent effective” in breaking the will of U.S. military personnel subjected to the technique during training, according to documents released today by a Senate Committee.
The Senate Armed Services report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques-including forcing detainees to stand naked, subjecting them to growling dogs and depriving them of sleep-were discussed by top members of the National Security Council and other senior administration officials inside the White House.
Some officials expressed strong concerns about the legality of the methods. But the techniques were ultimately given the green light, based on government assessments that showed such methods were quick and effective in breaking down the resistance of U.S. military officers who were subjected to them in so-called Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) classes.
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