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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, August 22, 2014
Ryan Ignores, Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 Presidential hopeful has charming way of winning friends and influencing elderly voters in FL...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Huh?! It wasn't. Is this another 'oops' moment from the Republican TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; New solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Previous GNRs: 8/19/14 - 8/14/14 - Archives...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and His Bill to Stop Police Militarization:
KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Brad...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown. But who said anything about 'Democratic voters'?...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become, as does yet another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Oregon nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel fuel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
Previous GNRs: 8/14/14 - 8/12/14 - Archives...
Tale of Two Protests
The armed Bundy Bunch and the unarmed peaceful protesters of Ferguson -- one group was courageous enough to have possibly brought substantive, positive change to the nation...
Yes, Elections Still Matter: Brad on 'David Pakman Show'
With so many corrupt, corporatist politicians, even on the Democratic side, does voting and fighting voter suppression still even matter?...
97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
KS Sec. of State and long-time GOP 'voter fraud' fraudster Kris Kobach wins another one, as senior citizens turned away without voting on Primary Election Day...
'Green News Report' 8/14/14
Historic storms, floods from NE to MI to NY, as CA breaks more heat records; China dumps coal, breaks solar records; PLUS: Jimmy Carter slams denier 'nutcases'...
News Summer from Hell Continues:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Peace activist and author David Swanson joins Brad to explain why using military force in Iraq, even to stop a genocide, is a terrible idea. PLUS: Much more...
Journalists Now Being Arrested in Ferguson
Reporters pulled out of a McDonald's by militarized police while covering protests of police killing of Michael Brown. Freedom-fighting 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still AWOL...
'Green News Report' 8/12/14
Is weather now more extreme?; ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising; PLUS: U.S. underestimated Keystone XL emissions...
CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
Prop 49, a CA ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution, will not be allowed on this year's ballot after all...
SIEGELMAN JUDGE ARRESTED FOR BATTERY
Controversial Republican federal judge Mark Fuller charged with beating wife; Daughter of AL's former, now-jailed Governor calls news 'shocking', 'karma'...
Keystone XL Emissions Vastly Underestimated by State Dept.: New Report
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

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Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
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Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Howard Krongard's Testimony Is Refuted to Committee By His Brother
By Jon Ponder on 11/16/2007 4:04pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

In a memo released late today Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says he and the committee will look into allegations of perjury against State Dept. Inspector General Howard Krongard:

On Wednesday, November 14, 2007, the full Committee held a hearing entitled, "Assessing the State Department Inspector General." At this hearing, Inspector General Howard J. Krongard testified that his brother, Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard, told him that he was not on the board of Blackwater USA and had no connections to Blackwater. Yesterday, in response to a letter from the Committee, Buzzy Krongard called the Committee staff and said that contrary to Howard Krongard's testimony, he did tell his brother about his relationship with Blackwater.

The information from Buzzy Krongard raises serious questions about the veracity of Howard Krongard's testimony before the Committee. To help answer these questions, I expect the Committee to hold a hearing immediately after the Thanksgiving recess at which Howard Krongard and Buzzy Krongard will be invited to testify.

Read the rest of Waxman's memo:

Our coverage:

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Howard Krongard Forced to Recuse Himself from a Second Probe After Improperly Meeting with Subjects of Criminal Investigation into Iraq Embassy Contracts
Why Is this Man Still Serving as State Dept. Inspector General?
By Jon Ponder on 11/16/2007 6:56am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Howard Krongard, the inspector general (IG) for the Bush State Dept., has recused himself from a second major probe under his purview. The new recusal was announced yesterday and came at the "request" of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA).

This new development follows a dramatic moment during a hearing before Waxman's committee on Wednesday when Kronberg was forced to recuse himself from an investigation into Blackwater after it was revealed that, despite his earlier denials, his brother sits on an advisory board for the controversial paramilitary government security contractor. Making matters potentially worse for Krongard, his brother, Buzzy Krongard, issued a statement after the hearing contradicting Howard's testimony regarding the timing of when Howard learned that Buzzy had accepted a seat on the Blackwater board.

It is unclear at the moment whether Democrats on the committee will pursue perjury charges against the State Dept. IG.

Krongard's latest recusal stems from what appears to be obstruction of justice and witness tampering in a criminal probe by the Dept. of Justice into the way billions of dollars in contracts for the construction of the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad were let by the State Dept.:

A report by the committee's majority staff referred to the Justice Department probe and also said that Krongard, against his staff's advice, met in August with someone implicated in "potential criminal activity" uncovered during a State Department audit of the embassy contract.

Then, the report said, Krongard met in September with someone else under investigation by the Justice Department. A source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, identified that person as [Mary French is the embassy project coordinator based in Baghdad]. When Krongard arrived in Baghdad, he was warned by his deputy that French had become a "subject of investigation" and that he should not meet with her, for fear of tainting the investigation. But, the report said, "Krongard went through with the meeting and spent several hours with this individual."

James L. Golden, an embassy project overseer who works on a contract basis for the State Dept. in Washington, and who is also said to be a subject of the DoJ probe, may be the other person of interest Krongard met with.

Sean McCormack, a State Dept. spokesman, said Krongard recused himself from the embassy contracts investigation at Chairman Waxman's request:

"That was at the request of Congressman Waxman's committee because they are doing their own inquiries into the new embassy compound," McCormack said. "Because of the reporting relationship between the IG and the Congress, of course, Howard honored that request."

Despite Krongard's removal from the two highest profile investigations by his office, McCormack says he still has the confidence of Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice.

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She's Prepared to Name Names, Including Those of Two 'Well-Known' Congress Members Involved in Criminal Corruption
The 'Most Gagged Person in U.S. History' Tells The BRAD BLOG She's Now Exhausted All Other Channels...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2007 5:30am PT  

-- By Brad Friedman

Attention CBS 60 Minutes: we've got a huge scoop for you. If you want it.

Remember the exclusive story you aired on Sibel Edmonds, originally on October 27th, 2002, when she was not allowed to tell you everything that she heard while serving as an FBI translator after 9/11 because she was gagged by the rarely-invoked "States Secret Privilege"? Well, she's still gagged. In fact, as the ACLU first described her, she's "the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America."

But if you'll sit down and talk with her for an unedited interview, she has now told The BRAD BLOG during an exclusive interview, she will now tell you everything she knows.

Everything she hasn't been allowed to tell since 2002, about the criminal penetration of the FBI where she worked, and at the Departments of State and Defense; everything she heard concerning the corruption and illegal activities of several well-known members of Congress; everything she's aware of concerning information omitted and/or covered up in relation to 9/11. All of the information gleaned from her time listening to and translating wire-taps made prior to 9/11 at the FBI.

Here's a handy bullet-point list, as we ran it in March of 2006, for reference, of what she's now willing to tell you about.

"People say, 'why doesn't she just come forward and spill the beans?' I have gone all the way to the Supreme Court and was shut down, I went to Congress and now consider that shut down," she told The BRAD BLOG last week when we spoke with her for comments in relation to our story on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's original attempt to move a resolution through the U.S. House in 2000 declaring the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey as "genocide."

"Here's my promise to the American Public: If anyone of the major networks --- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX --- promise to air the entire segment, without editing, I promise to tell them everything that I know," about everything mentioned above, she told us.

"I can tell the American public exactly what it is, and what it is that they are covering up," she continued. "I'm not compromising ongoing investigations," Edmonds explained, because "they've all been shut down since."

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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If The Resolution is a 'Democratic Ploy,' It Sure Was Clever to Have the GOP House Speaker Lead the Way!
ALSO: Recalling FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' Claim that Hastert Called Off Full House Vote After Possibly Receiving $500k from Turkish Interests, And Additional New Information on Her Gag-Ordered 'States Secrets' Case...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2007 4:08pm PT  

We're anything but experts on the long and storied history of American-Turkish-Armenian relations. We're also not particularly partisan, or inclined to come to the defense of the Democrats. But we do have a thing about facts and fairness.

So with Rush Limbaugh, this morning, leading the charge of the Rightwing goon squad attempting to characterize an increase in saber rattling in Turkey as "Nancy Pelosi's War," it seems a bit of a fact-check reminder is necessary here.

The brouhaha, which Limbaugh hopes to turn into a Republican electoral advantage, surrounds a House resolution to declare the 1915 mass killing of more 1.5 million ethnic Armenians a "genocide." While the resolution passed out of the Foreign Affairs Committee last week on a bi-partisan 27 to 21 vote, the Bush Administration has suggested it will make life difficult for their efforts in Iraq, such that they are, which depend on Turkish support. Passage of the resolution could lead to inflamed ethnic violence on the Turkish/Kurdish border and lead to a widening of the war.

Limbaugh and the GOP opportunists have been declaring the resolution a Democratic ploy to ruin Turkish-American relations, embarrass George W. Bush, and help spread the war into a full-blown regional conflagration.

But what Limbaugh and friends seem to be avoiding is the fact that it was Republican Dennis Hastert who, as House Speaker back in 2000, last pushed for the same resolution, seeing it through the then-Republican-led International Relations Committee, where it passed by a large majority, and then scheduled it for a full vote on the House floor, only to pull the legislation just minutes before the vote --- supposedly at the urging of President Bill Clinton.

A similar resolution made it through the then-Republican-led House International Relations Committee by a lopsided vote of 40 to 7 just two years ago, even though Republican Minority Leader John Boehner now declares the measure to be "totally irresponsible."

When reporting on claims made by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in 2005, Vanity Fair's David Rose reported notable details on the 2000 Hastert-pushed version...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles Lobby for Accountability in Meeting with Chairman of House Oversight Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2007 12:53pm PT  

Marcy Winograd, former Democratic candidate for the U.S. House and President of the Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles (PDLA), sent the following e-mail missive to PDLA members earlier today describing a meeting on Tuesday with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

The conversation regarding Impeachment, the Congressman's views on same, and the arguments made by the activists in favor of it are interesting and offer some insight into both Waxman's thinking at this moment and, undoubtedly, that of many other House Democrats who clearly are seeing things differently from inside the Beltway than those of us outside of it.

We can only hope that all U.S. House and Senate members are getting such an earful now that they're on recess and back in their home districts. Here's Winograd's instructive report in full...

Waxman Says He Will Keep an Open Mind on Impeachment

Congressman Waxman, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, told an impeachment
delegation meeting with him in his Los Angeles office, Tues., Aug. 7, 2007, that he would mull over his constituents' articulate arguments, watch the Bill Moyers' interview on impeachment, and weigh whether there was sufficient evidence to, not just impeach, but convict Bush and Cheney. Waxman told the delegation it was not enough to believe Bush and Cheney were responsible for high crimes; his decision to support or co-sponsor an impeachment resolution must be predicated on the knowledge that there is overwhelming evidence for a conviction.

Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, California's 41st Assembly District Delegates, the Los Angeles National Impeachment Center, and the LA Green Party participated in the office delegation, while a group of impeachment supporters rallied outside, holding Impeachment is Patriotic signs and a huge banner that read Impeachment is on Our Table.

Inside, the 14 impeachment lobbyists meeting with Waxman offered multiple arguments...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Former Rove Aide Susan Ralston Testified to Heavy Use of Email Accounts Provided by Republican National Committee
So Where Are The RNC-DOJ-WH-OVP Emails About Chandra Levy? Anthrax Letters? Clint Curtis?
By Margie Burns on 6/19/2007 10:56am PT  

Guest Blogged by The BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns

Those separate email accounts – email accounts held by people working in the White House and the Office of the Vice President, often with security clearances, but not “.gov” accounts – now threaten to become bigger news. Those alternate accounts, as we know now from work done by the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the new report from the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, both potentially and actually allowed WH and DOJ and OVP personnel to communicate ‘off the books’ up to a point. While theoretically still bound by the rules for preserving presidential records (see below) the 88 government officials with email accounts provided by the Republican National Committee could move with electronic fluidity from their official to their partisan political duties, and back again, with remarkably little scrutiny for the entire four years of Bush’s first term.

So any correspondence about --- for example --- Chandra Levy and Gary Condit, 9/11 and Iraq, anthrax mailings and Judith Miller, will remain lost from public view until the advanced technology of un-deleting can sweep it up from the bottom of whatever files it has been submerged in to date.

Tabling for now such topics as political motivation in the firing and hiring of US Attorneys, the immediate question is, exactly how EARLY did administration personnel start using these alternate email accounts?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Asks About Mentions of 'Elections or Candidates Provided by White House Officials'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007 4:46pm PT  

This just in from Henry Waxman's House Oversight Committee office...

Following media reports that at least 20 political briefings were given to officials of at least 15 federal agencies, Chairman Waxman writes to government agencies requesting further information and documents about any briefings mentioning elections or candidates provided to agency employees by officials in the White House. For a list of all agencies, please visit http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1272.

A sample of one of Waxman's letters is posted in full at the end of this article.

TPMMuckraker has WH spokesperson Dana Perino's amusing response to questions on the issue, including video. To the point, her most impressive talking point laden response: "There’s nothing wrong with political appointees providing other political appointees with an informational briefing about the political landscape in which they are working."

Waxman's letter follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Lists Many Clinton AND Bush Administration Officials Who Have Been Allowed to Testify Under Oath Before Congress
Cites Previous White House Disclosure of Information, Communications...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2007 2:58pm PT  

Just out from Waxman's office. A letter [PDF] to House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairs Conyres and Leahy disputing Bush's contention yesterday that he is giving Congress "unprecedented" access to White House information and officials.

The letter begins this way...

Dear Chairman Leahy and Chairman Conyers:

Yesterday President Bush asserted that the White House would give Congress "unprecedented" access to information regarding the Administration's recent dismissal of U.S. Attorneys. This statement is misinformed. As you continue discussions with the White House regarding your investigation of the U.S. Attorneys matter, I wanted to bring to your attention relevant precedent.

The President said yesterday that he would not allow White House aides including Senior Advisor to the President Karl Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, deputy counsel William Kelley, and political aide J. Scott Jennings testify under oath and on the record about the dismissal of the U.S. Attorneys. Contrary to the President's contention, there is extensive precedent for officials in these positions to appear before Congress.

When Republicans controlled Congress during the Clinton Administration, they routinely insisted that White House officials appear before Congress. During the prior Administration, a series of White House Counsels testified to congressional committees publicly and under oath:

Click here for the full letter [PDF], which outlines not only numerous White House officials who testified under oath before Congressional committees during the Clinton Administration, but even Bush Administration officials who were allowed to do so, as recently as last week!

This page at the House Oversight Committee has links to additional info and reports on the matter.

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Letter to Josh Bolten Follows Earlier Congressional Testimony from WH Security Director That No Investigation Was Ever Conducted Into Disclosure of the Identity of Covert Operative Valerie Plame-Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2007 2:18pm PT  

Just in from Waxman's office after this morning's stunning revelation that the White House never conducted an investigation into the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson, despite a number of promises from Bush to do exactly that and an executive order signed in early 2003 which requires such an investigation in the wake of such a disclosure.

In a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG, Waxman's office explains that a letter just sent to White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten asks for an explanation as to why the White House "did not follow the investigative steps prescribed by Executive Order 12958," as signed in March 2003. The order requires the White House to "'take appropriate and prompt corrective action' whenever there is a release of classified information," according to the statement. (Waxman's letter is posted in full at the end of the article.)

During this morning's testimony of James Knodell, Director of the Office of Security at the White House, it was revealed --- to the amazement of the assembled Congress members on the House Oversight Committee panel --- that no such investigation was ever conducted.

"Taken as a whole, the testimony at today's hearing described breach after breach of national security requirements at the White House," the letter reads. "The first breach was the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity. Other breaches included the failure of Mr. Rove and other officials to report their disclosures as required by law, the failure of the White House to initiate the prompt investigation required by the executive order, and the failure of the White House to suspend the security clearances of the implicated officials."

Waxman asked for the following from Bolten: "I request that you provide the Committee with a complete account of the steps that the White House took following the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity (1) to investigate how the leak occurred; (2) to review the security clearances of the White House officials implicated in the leak; (3) to impose administrative or disciplinary sanctions on the officials involved in the leak; and (4) to review and revise existing White House security procedures to prevent future breaches of national security."

Waxman's letter to Bolten follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Director James Knodell, Under Intense Questioning, Can't Explain Why There Was Never an Investigation by White House
Victoria Toensing, in Third Panel, Also Subjected to Intense Scrutiny on Previous 'Plame Wasn't Covert' Statements, Seems Shaken, Offers Much Conflicting Info, Explanations...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2007 9:22am PT  

In the second panel in the House Oversight Committee hearings this morning, following the testimony of Valerie Plame-Wilson, the Director of the White House Security Office, James Knodell, has stunned the Congress members by disclosing that no investigation into the leaking of Plame-Wilson's covert identity as a CIA operative was ever conducted by his office!

The members are flabbergasted. The questioning is intense. My live-blogging notes are posted, and updated live, below...

Also, the third panel, featuring Victoria Toensing, apologist for White House leaks, was fascinating, as her previous claims that "Plame was not covert" and that "she didn't serve overseas within five years prior to the leak" had been demolished by Plame-Wilson's earlier testimony. She attempted to mitigate the situation throughout her testimony by claiming that Plame-Wilson was not covert "under the provisions of the statute." Many more details below...

(Live blogging of Valerie Plame-Wilson's testimony is back here...)

UPDATE: Video of complete hearing and related documents now online at House Oversight Committee website right here...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Testifies She Had Nothing to do With Sending Husband to Niger, Blows Out Every Claim by Republicans, Novak, Toensing, etc. That She Wasn't Covert
LIVE-BLOGGING HOUSE OVERSIGHT HEARINGS...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2007 7:42am PT  

Absolutely riveting, historic, under-oath testimony by Valerie Plame-Wilson in the House Oversight Committee on-going right now. Recurring theme over and over again: She was covert, covert, covert when her identity was outed and her cover was blown --- for the first time in history by her own government.

Every wingnut argument to the contrary, and concerning her case has been utterly destroyed. The Republican questioning of Plame-Wilson has come up with absolutely nothing to counter and it's been confirmed that CIA Director Gen. Hayden has also confirmed her covert status and that she we worked overseas (as per the Intelligence Identity Protections Act) in the last five years.

Hearings were covered for first 15 minutes or so on all three cable news nets. Now only LIVE currently on C-SPAN.

AP just filed this short initial item:

WASHINGTON - Valerie Plame, the CIA operative at the heart of a political scandal, told Congress Friday that senior officials at the White House and State Department "carelessly and recklessly" blew her cover to discredit her diplomat-husband.

Plame, whose 2003 outing triggered a federal investigation, said she always knew her identity could be discovered by foreign governments.

"It was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover," she told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

RAW STORY currently has details on her opening testimony.

Live blogging notes on the testimony below follow below...

(NOTE: Second and Third panels now live blogged here. Includes details on stunning admission from White House Security Director that no investigation was ever made into the leak by his office!)

UPDATE: Video of complete hearing and related documents now online at House Oversight Committee website right here...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Role of Cheney and Bush in CIA Leak Scandal to be Probed in Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2007 9:15pm PT  

Impeachment, it seems to us, gets closer to "the table" every day now. From Truthout:

Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Thursday he wants Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to testify before his committee about his investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson's identity. Plame-Wilson, Waxman's office said, has agreed to testify before Congress on March 16.

The announcement comes on the heels of a story first reported by Truthout on Wednesday, which stated that some members of Congress were engaged in discussions Tuesday about the possibility of holding immediate hearings and asking Fitzgerald to provide evidence he obtained during the course of his three-year investigation about the roles Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials played in the Plame leak.
...
Waxman's letter [to Fitzgerald] states..."As a result of your investigation, you have a singular understanding of the facts and their implications that bear directly on the issues before Congress.... Your investigation had a narrow legal focus: Were any federal criminal statutes violated by White House officials?"
...
Waxman said the Libby trial raised important questions about whether "senior White House officials, including the vice president and senior adviser to the president Karl Rove, complied with the requirements governing the handling of classified information" related to Plame's classified status within the CIA.

Lest anyone think the buck stops in the Office of the Vice-President, however, it looks as if the not-insignificant evidentiary revelation concerning Cheney's hand-written note referring to "this Pres." may also be revisited by Congress.

Those two words were scratched out on Cheney's note, but were still clearly visible and discussed during trial testimony. Had they not been scratched out, Cheney's note would have read: "not going to protect one staffer & sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."

To be honest, we're amazed that detail was overlooked as much as it was when it originally appeared. According to Truthout:

The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador raises the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA? That is a question that very well may be answered if and when Fitzgerald testifies before Congress.
...
If Bush did indeed play an active role in encouraging Libby to take the fall to protect Karl Rove, as Libby's lawyers articulated in their opening statements, then that could be viewed as criminal involvement by Bush.

See the complete Truthout report for much more detail...

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Chairman Henry Waxman Lets the Sunshine In
Bills the GOP Tried to Pass Against Clinton Now Resurrected With Bipartisan Support...
By Margie Burns on 3/8/2007 2:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. correspondent Margie Burns

Four good bills were reported out to the full U.S. House today by the Oversight and Reform Committee. Each has an excellent chance of being passed in the House, where some of the legislation has been passed before, and a pretty good chance of passing the Senate. The four bills share the aim of letting sunshine in on the workings of government.

I sat in on this morning's mark-up session in the House, and the results, so far, are very encouraging...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Tavis Smiley Asks Rep. Waxman Who Is To Blame For Missing Billions In Iraq
By Alan Breslauer on 3/1/2007 12:23pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

California Representative (and mine) Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, answers questions about Iraq last night with Tavis Smiley on PBS. After Waxman explains how at least $12 billion allocated for Iraqi reconstruction went missing, an incredulous Smiley states:

Can I ask a real simple question? Who would be in our government, so stuck on stupid, such an idiot, as to fly $12 billion in cash into a war zone.

Waxman lays most of the blame on the Republican-led Congress which failed in its oversight responsibilities. Similarly deplorable is what the reconstruction effort accomplished, considering Iraq's billions and our own additional $20 billion. According to Waxman:

The oil production is behind prewar levels. The electricity doesn't even last eight hours in Baghdad. In some places they have no electricity at all. And electricity is below prewar levels. Even drinking water is not available, and if you are going to measure it, it is not as good as it was before the war.

But while "Iraqis and the American people are not better off" for the war, Waxman does identify one group that has made out extraordinarily well:

But the ones who are really better off are all these contractors. Haliburton, Bechtel, all these different big contractors. They got mega mega monopoly contracts. They subcontracted and the subcontractors subcontracted and there are layers of costs on top of layers of costs. A lot of people made money out this who were the contractors.
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