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Tag: Bush administration

Senate Torture Report Condemns C.I.A. Interrogation Program

By Mark Mazzetti
New York Times

WASHINGTON — A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.

The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.’s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.

To read the full story click here.

14 Pulitzer Prize Winners Ask Justice Department Not to Jail Reporter

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than a dozen Pulitzer Prize winners urged the Justice Department on Monday to stop trying to force New York Times reporter and author James Risen to identify a confidential source, the US News reports.

Risen has said he’d go to jail before testifying at the trial of former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of providing a tip for Risen’s book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

Prosecutors allege Risen divulged a CIA scheme to provide flawed nuclear weapons designs to Iran.

Fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners issued a statement in support of Risen.

“Enough is enough,” said three-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow of The New York Times. “The relentless and by all appearances vindictive effort by two administrations to force Jim Risen into betraying his sources has already done substantial and lasting damage to journalism in the United States. I’ve felt the chill firsthand. Trusted sources in Washington are scared to talk by telephone, or by email, or even to meet for coffee, regardless of whether the subject touches on national security or not.”

Opinion: Comey Shows Fierce Independence But Supports Phone, Internet Sweeps

James Comey

Michael E. Schmidt
New York Times

President Obama’s nominee for F.B.I. director, James Comey, faced a mostly friendly Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and he is almost assured confirmation given strong bipartisan support. But his tenure as deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration raises important questions about his commitment to civil liberties and his independence in an office that demands unstinting devotion to both principles. As has been made all too clear in recent weeks, the relationship between American citizens and the government’s law-enforcement and intelligence agencies remains deeply damaged.

A short version of Mr. Comey’s work in the Bush administration might run like this: He did several highly questionable things and one unquestionably good thing — his effort in 2004 to stop President Bush’s chief of staff and the White House counsel, who had skulked into the hospital room of the ailing attorney general, John Ashcroft, to wrest his signoff on the administration’s warrantless data collection program.

Ex-Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales to Join New Law School in Nashville

Alberto Gonzales/Fox 34

  
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Alberto R. Gonzales, who became a controversial figure as Attorney General during the Bush administration, will become a professor at the newly created Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tenn.

The university announced in a press release that Gonzales will fill the endowed position as the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law on Jan. 2. The law school opened its doors in September.

Gonzales is currently  a Visiting Professor and minority/veteran recruitment consultant at Texas Tech University.

“The insight and experience Alberto Gonzales acquired while serving as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Counsel to the President, Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Secretary of State will be immeasurable resources for our students and faculty,” Belmont’s Law School Dean Jeff Kinsler said in a statement. “Since leaving public office, these qualities have helped Judge Gonzales develop into an outstanding professor. We are incredibly fortunate that he has decided to join our charter faculty, and we are extremely grateful for the support provided by Doyle and Barbara Rogers.”

Gonzales was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate as the 80th Attorney General on Feb. 3, 2005. He served in that post until September of 2007.

“I am honored to be named as the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law, created in honor of an outstanding lawyer and extraordinary human being,” Gonzales said in a statement. ” I welcome the opportunity to be associated with the Belmont College of Law, and I look forward to working with an outstanding charter faculty to develop tomorrow’s leaders in the bar, the Nashville community and beyond.”

 

Delays Continue to Hamper U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

This project could be tied up for quite some time as the government deals with land acquisitions from private property owners. With all the hurdles, it won’t be easy to complete.

border-fence-photo5

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Nearly six months after the U.S.-Mexico border fence ordered by the Bush administration was supposed to be finished, its completion is in limbo while a judge waits answers to questions about private property in the fence’s path.

About 630 miles of the promised 670-mile-long vehicle and pedestrian barrier is complete, with the unfinished portion in deep south Texas where opposition is fierce and the government has struggled to get the land it needs.

The biggest unfinished segment is a 13-mile stretch that runs east of Brownsville through rich farmland toward the Gulf of Mexico.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty. Gen. Mukasey Erases Ruling of Bush Regime that Denied Immigrants Effective Legal Counsel

It’s not unusual for current administrations to undo some of the last minute rulings of the previous regime. Here’s one that will certainly be applauded by civil rights and immigration rights organizations.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times
WASHINGTON –Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. today vacated a ruling issued in the waning days of the Bush administration that denied immigrants the right to effective legal counsel in deportation proceedings.

In January, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s scrapped a 20-year-old precedent established in Matter of Lozada, a Board of Immigration Appeals decision which held that immigrants could reopen their hearings based on lawyer error. Mukasey held that immigrants in deportation proceedings have no constitutional right to effective assistance.
For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Holder Says Justice Dept. Won’t Go After Pot Dispensaries

Unlike the Bush administration, A.G. Eric Holder says the Justice Department won’t go after the places that dispense marijuana legally. It makes sense. There’s higher priorities like the Mexican drug wars, which are starting to wreak havoc on our nation.

marijuana-umledu1

By Josh Meyer and Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday that the Justice Department has no plans to prosecute pot dispensaries that are operating legally under state laws in California and a dozen other states — a development that medical marijuana advocates and civil libertarians hailed as a sweeping change in federal drug policy.

In recent months, Obama administration officials have indicated that they planned to take a hands-off approach to such clinics, but Holder’s comments — made at a wide-ranging briefing with reporters — offered the most detailed explanation to date of the changing priorities toward the controversial prosecutions.

The Bush administration targeted medical marijuana distributors even in states that had passed laws allowing use of the drug for medical purposes by cancer patients, those dealing with chronic pain or other serious ailments. Holder said the priority of the new administration is to go after egregious offenders operating in violation of both federal and state law, such as those being used as fronts for drug dealers.

“Those are the organizations, the people, that we will target,” the attorney general said.

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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Stops One of Two Death Penalty Cases in San Francisco

The Justice Department has intervened to stop one of two death penalty trials in San Francisco. In the one case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had reached a plea agreement with the defendant, but the Bush Justice Department insisted on going ahead with the death penalty.  It looks like the plea agreement will now stand. The Bush administration had ignored the wishes of some U.S. Attorney’s offices that made deals with defendants, some which involved agreements to cooperate. Those moves hurt the credibility of prosecutors. This reversal by the Justice Department is a clear sign of a change in policy regarding the death penalty and the autonomy of local U.S. Attorneys.

By Bob Egelko
Chronicle Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO — President Obama’s Justice Department halted the death penalty trial of an alleged San Francisco gang leader Monday by accepting a 40-year prison sentence that the Bush administration had vetoed.

The plea agreement for Emile Fort remained on hold after a federal judge heard a tearful plea from a murder victim’s mother for a life sentence and summoned prosecutors to a closed-door session to describe their case against Fort.

Afterward, despite apparent irritation at his lack of authority to change the terms of the plea deal, U.S. District Judge William Alsup indicated he was likely to accept the agreement at a hearing today.

For Full Story