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By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2008 2:29pm PT  

Just in from Conyers' office...

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 11, 2008

Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration's Forged Iraq Intelligence

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism."

"Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq," said Conyers. "I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration. The administration's attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind's reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author's interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind's allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."

A number of issues raised in Mr. Suskind's book to be reviewed include:

  • The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush's 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
  • The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
  • The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
  • Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq's chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
  • The payment of $5 million to Iraq's chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
  • The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind's research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson's notes were also confiscated.
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A Former Condi Advisor Told Her, 'Fear And Anxiety Were Exploited by Zealots And Fools'
Evidence Piles Up on Role of David Addington, 'Cheney's Cheney'
By Jon Ponder on 7/19/2008 1:47pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

The fact that hardly anyone has heard of David Addington is no accident. As chief of staff to Dick Cheney, he shares his boss's fetish for secrecy. But as reporters are finally zeroing in on what Bush officials have really been up to these last seven years, evidence continues to pile up about the key role Addington has played in the skullduggery. Some are even suggesting he could be tried for war crimes for his role in approving the torture of terror suspects.

In the video above, in an interview with Steve Clemons, editor of The Washington Note, Jane Mayer discusses Addington, whom she profiled in the New Yorker last year and who plays a central role in her new book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, which Trish, my colleague at PR, wrote about this week.

The excerpt in the following transcript comes about 11 minutes into the interview. The quote mentioned by Mayer and Clemens is the last line in Mayer's book. It comes from Phillip Zelikow, a former counselor to Condoleeza Rice, who attempted to explain what went wrong within the administration after the attacks on September 11 this way: "Fear and anxiety were exploited by zealots and fools."

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

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Says Attack Will Come After the General Election Nov. 4 and Before Bush and Cheney Leave Office in January
By Jon Ponder on 6/26/2008 10:16am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

In an interview posted on the website of the London Telegraph, John Bolton, one of the most belligerent of the neocon war hawks, predicted that Israel will attack Iran sometime after the U.S. presidential elections on November 4 and before January 21, the day George Bush and Dick Cheney leave office.

Attacking Iran has long been a neocon objective. Last February, New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh revealed that Dick Cheney had secret plans for creating an "open confrontation" with Iran, and that he had the Pentagon ready to start bombing with 24 hours of a signal from the White House. At the same time, the Times of London reported that top U.S. military brass had let it be known they would resign if Cheney launched the attack.

Public outcry generated by the Hersh article and other reports quickly dampened the fervor for attacking Tehran. Two months after the report, however, John McCain ramped up the bellicose rhetoric when, during a campaign stop in South Carolina in April 2007, he made a joke about bombing Iran by singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys song, "Barbara Ann."

John Bolton now believes Bush and Cheney have succumbed to political reality and will not pursue the attack using U.S. forces. According to the Telegraph, Bolton said, "It's clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility... I don't think it's serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don't think it's in the cards."

About his suggested timeframe for the attack of November to January, Bolton said, "The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defenses by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2008 12:28pm PT  

Scott McClellan has previously said he'd be "happy" to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Looks like he's about to get his chance. On June 20th. Unlike Karl Rove, who said he'd similarly be happy to tell his story (on the Siegelman affair) to Congress, we suspect McClellan will actually keep his word.

This just in from Conyers' office...

For Immediate Release: June 9, 2008

Conyers Invites McClellan to Testify June 20th

(Washington, DC)- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) invited former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to testify before the Committee at a June 20th hearing about reported efforts to cover up the role of the White House in the Valerie Plame leak as described in his recent book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

I have extended an invitation to Mr. McClellan to testify before the Judiciary Committee after discussions between Committee staff and his attorneys, said Conyers. In his book, Mr. McClellan suggests that senior WhiteHouse officials may have obstructed justice and engaged in a cover-up regarding the Valerie Plame leak. This alleged activity could well extend beyond the scope of the offenses for which Scooter Libby has been convicted and deserves further attention. A copy of Chairman Conyers' letter is attached.


The letter referred to above is just a single paragraph invitation, and largely restates the above.

UPDATE: McClellan accepts invitation. Public Record has details...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2008 11:53am PT  

(Context from Jon Ponder. Hat-tip BRAD BLOG toon sherpa Pokey Anderson)

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Or - Cheney to U.S.: Go %#@* Yourselves
By Jon Ponder on 3/20/2008 7:24am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Interview by Martha Raddatz of ABC News with Dick Cheney:

Q: Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.

CHENEY (with smirk): So?

Q: So... You don't care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No, I think you can't be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

Update: You must see the smirk to believe it. Video available here.

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A Female Suicider Explodes Bomb in a Crowd of Mostly Women Pilgrims
By Jon Ponder on 3/18/2008 5:34am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

The Worst Vice President Ever goes to Baghdad and says:

"I was last in Baghdad 10 months ago, and I can sense, as a result of the progress that's been made since then, that there have been some phenomenal changes, in terms of the overall situation, both with respect to the security situation, where Iraqi and American forces have done some very good work, as well as with respect to political developments here in Iraq."


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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2007 2:13pm PT  

(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG reader Jim Cirile)

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DoJ Was 'Used As A Political Sword Against Democrats' According To Host Dan Abrams
Says 'It's A Department Where Political Loyalty Trumped Experience, Qualifications And Objective Justice'
By Alan Breslauer on 12/13/2007 11:01am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

The third installment of "Bush League Justice" on MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams continued last night with an investigation into how the DoJ has targeted Democrats for investigation and prosecution. In fact, one study shows that Democrats have been investigated and prosecuted at nearly six times the rate of Republicans at the federal level. According to the study's author, the statistical possibility of this happening by chance is 1 in 10,000. Studies show that prosecutions on the state level are fairly even between Democrats and Republicans.

This is hardly surprising since the DoJ tracked which attorney's "Exhibited loyalty to the President and Attorney General" and which were members of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society.

Evaluating attorneys based on whether they were "loyal Bushies", according to former U.S. Attorney and current Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), is "disgraceful".

Also "troubling" to Abrams is the timing of investigations and prosecutions which often occurred right before elections, in violation of the DoJ's own procedures manual. When the Bushies were eventually caught doing so, they simply changed the manual.

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Sy Hersh: '[Cheney] Has Kept His Foot on the Neck of That Report ... for a Year'
By Jon Ponder on 12/5/2007 8:50am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Repercussions continue to shake out in the wake of the release this week of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that says Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

At a news conference yesterday, George Bush denied knowing that U.S. intelligence had learned the Iranian program had been suspended when he warned the American people last month that Iran was on the verge of launching World War III. He was not lying, Bush suggested, but rather his own incompetence and famous lack of curiosity led him to give the false warning. Bush said that when Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell told him in August that new information about the Iranian nuclear program had come to light, he simply did not bother to ask the DNI about the nature of the new developments.

If the muted response to this assertion, from reporters at the news conference, is a guide, journalists close to the White House appear to believe that while it may be unacceptable for Bush to lie to them, it is perfectly okay for him to issue false predictions about an impending apocalypse if the warnings are based entirely on his ineptitude as commander-in-chief and his personal lack of curiosity.

As if all of that isn't a sorry enough state of affairs, today we learn that Dick Cheney has known about --- and actively suppressed --- the intelligence community's finding for over a year. In particular, Cheney knew that Iran suspended its weapons program when he made this statement on Oct. 21, 2007, in an address to a Washington think tank...

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

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By Jon Ponder on 12/3/2007 10:57am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

The White House is blocking efforts by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to present evidence he collected in the CIA Leak investigation to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to the committee's chairman, Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Prompted by Scott McClellan's statement last month asserting that top White House officials, including George Bush and Dick Cheney, were complicit in an effort to deceive the public about the leak, Rep. Waxman has written to Attorney General Michael Mukasey urging him to convince Bush to release the evidence.

In his letter, Rep. Waxman points to a precedent from the Clinton administration:

"[There] is direct precedent for the production of these records to the Committee. During the Clinton Administration, the Justice Department provided the Committee with dozens of FBI 302 reports of interviews with White House officials. No White House official — including the President and the Vice President — was exempted from the production. Among the White House officials whose FBI 302 reports were provided to the Committee were President Clinton, Vice President Gore [and 10 other top White House officials, including current and former chiefs of staff].

Of particular interest are Fitzgerald's notes from his interviews at the White House. If either Bush or Cheney gave statements that contradict McClellan's, a new investigation would likely be triggered. Lying to federal prosecutors is a felony.

Complete text of letter follows, via

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

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Replacing Cheney With A VP Who Can Run As the Incumbent May Be the GOP's Only Hope
By Jon Ponder on 11/26/2007 3:34pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Cable newsers are ga-ga over breaking news that Dick Cheney's doctors discovered that he had an irregular heartbeat today:

"During examination he was incidentally found to have an irregular heartbeat, which on further testing was determined to be atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart," said spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

She said Cheney would go to the hospital later Monday for further evaluation. She said that if necessary, he would be receive cardioversion, a procedure that involves the delivery of an electric impulse to the heart.

Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't seem odd that a vice president's health problem might be discovered "incidentally" --- or that his spokeswoman is, well, speaking about it. But this is Dick Cheney. And it brings us to a question: Is this story real, or could it be a fabrication meant to set the stage for Cheney's resignation?

Before you dismiss the latter as speculation from a conspiracy nut whose tin-foil hat is on too tight, consider this:

  • Cheney and Bush created an incredibly elaborate and entirely false rationale for taking the country to war --- a massive misinformation campaign that completely snookered the corporate media and a majority of the public and that has yet to be sussed out. Faking news of an irregular heartbeat in order to shuffle Cheney off the stage quietly is child's play by comparison.
  • It's a damn good excuse. The standard remedy for heart ailments like atrial fibrillation is to reduce stress. The only practicable way for a sitting vice president to reduce stress is to resign.
  • With Cheney out of the way, a new vice president could run for president with all the campaign advantages of the incumbency, especially including the ability to manufacture events and control the flow of news.

And the motivations for moving Cheney out under false pretenses are manifold:

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

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Says Covert Agent Valerie Plame Wilson Should Have Been Outed Because She Contributed to Al Gore...
By Jon Ponder on 11/26/2007 8:23am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

In 1999, former Pres. George Bush famously said, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

John Gibson, the Fox "News" anchor, takes an opposite view. He says he wants to "give a medal" to the Bush officials who deliberately jeopardized a top-secret, well-established CIA program that tracked the sales of weapons of mass destruction in black markets worldwide.

Why would a rightwinger like Gibby want to pin a medal on these traitors? Because the traitors are Republicans --- a cabal led by Dick Cheney and that included Karl Rove and Scooter Libby --- while the covert agent in charge of the CIA's top secret WMD tracking program, Valerie Plame Wilson, made a campaign donation to Al Gore in 1999.

(Ed Note: It is our understanding that she and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, also contributed to George W. Bush's campaign at the time as well.)

In her 20 years as a spy for the United States, Agent Wilson worked for a front business, an oil industry consulting firm called Brewster Jennings and Associates. She frequently traveled overseas where she developed a network of secret "assets" --- foreign nationals who provided her with inside knowledge on the movement of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons and materials in the worldwide terrorist black market.

The CIA will not say, of course, how many of these foreign assets were compromised, killed, wounded or kidnapped and tortured as a result of Cheney's treasonous conspiracy to forfeit them by exposing Agent Wilson's covert identity.

And only time will tell how many weapons of mass destruction were transported undetected because Agent Wilson's network was forfeited --- and whether one or more of these weapons will be used to attack the United States.

But none of that matters to Republicans like John Gibson and his cohorts at Fox "News" and in the Bush White House, whose patriotism is as fake as the made-in-China American flags pinned to their lapels. Gibson's remarkable statement advocating giving a medal to Rove, Cheney and Libby --- the "most insidious of traitors" who betrayed vital national secrets --- exposes him for what he is: an ideologue who puts his party ahead of his country even at the risk of national security.

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In New Book, Former White House Spokeshole Blames Lies about Plame Leakers on Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby and Card...
By Jon Ponder on 11/20/2007 9:44am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

The title of former Bush flak Scott McClellan's new book, "What Happened" brings to mind the title of O.J. Simpson's recent allegedly fictional memoir, "If I Did It."

Perhaps it's because both books seek to exonerate their authors from much deserved guilty verdicts --- both in the court of public opinion and in courts of law, certainly in O.J.'s case, and maybe even for Scotty too.

Here's an excerpt from Scotty's book:

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself.

And this was not just run of the mill political spin. Rove, Libby, Ari Fleischer and others, including Colin Powell's righthand man Richard Armitage, leaked the secret identity of a CIA agent whose specialty was tracking WMD. And they did it at the behest of the vice president who eagerly jeopardized state secrets for the tawdriest of purposes: to do political damage to the agent's husband, Joe Wilson, because he had dared to expose a lie told by the president in his 2003 State of the Union speech about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger.

The CIA, of course, can't reveal how many illegal weapons were successfully transported into the Middle East or how many foreigners acting as U.S. agents were permanently sidelined --- or captured or killed --- as a result the treasonous act of outing Agent Plame by George Bush, Dick Cheney and their henchmen.

Only Armitage has expressed regret about the leak.

Scott McClellan shredded his credibility for Bush, Cheney and the rest. Surely he can't expect anyone to believe he is telling the truth now when he claims he was misled by these same people. He is either the most gullible person to walk the planet, or he thinks the rest of us are fools.

Cross-posted at Pensito Review.

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Letter Calling for Action Sent to Constituents After Kucinich Resolution to Impeach Cheney is Referred to Committee
Says 'Vice President Cheney must answer for his deceptive actions in office'
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2007 1:43pm PT  

As reported in full by David Swanson, in the wake of yesterday's wild ride (and game of chicken) on the House floor concerning the privileged resolution filed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), calling for the Impeachment of Dick Cheney.

The following is from a letter sent to constituents today by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where the matter has been sent again. Wexler is calling for the committee "to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months."...

I share your belief that Vice President Cheney must answer for his deceptive actions in office, particularly with regard to the preparations for the Iraq war and the revelation of the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson as part of political retribution against her husband. That is why I voted against the motion to table debate on H.Res. 333. Along with only 85 other Democrats, I opposed tabling the measure and supported beginning immediate debate and a vote on the Cheney impeachment resolution. The vote on tabling the Kucinich resolution was rejected, and the House subsequently voted to refer the matter to the Judiciary Committee.
The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we bring begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office.
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