FUBAR

More hard questions for Tim Geithner

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner faces a slew of questions about his plans to shore up banks while a watchdog agency warns that Obama administration initiatives could increasingly expose taxpayers to losses.

Geithner is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Congressional Oversight Panel for the government’s $700 billion financial rescue program.

9/11 planner tortured 183 times

CIA interrogators used the waterboarding technique on Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted planner of the September 11 attacks, 183 times and 83 times on another al Qaeda suspect, The New York Times said on Sunday.

The Times said a 2005 Justice Department memorandum showed that Abu Zubaydah, the first prisoner questioned in the CIA’s overseas detention program in August 2002, was waterboarded 83 times, although a former CIA officer had told news media he had been subjected to only 35 seconds underwater before talking.

America refuses to join anti-racism effort

The United States "will not join" the UN conference on racism starting Monday in Geneva because its final declaration still includes language the US "is unable to support," the State Department said.

"Unfortunately, it now seems certain these remaining concerns will not be addressed in the document to be adopted by the conference next week. Therefore, with regret, the United States will not join the review conference," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement.

Top CIA honchos approved torture

The first use of waterboarding and other harsh treatment against suspected Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was ordered by senior Central Intelligence Agency officials over objections from his interrogators, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Citing unnamed former intelligence officials and a footnote in a newly released legal memorandum, the newspaper said the harsh interrogation techniques had been ordered despite the belief of interrogators that the prisoner had already told them all he knew.

No punishment for CIA over torture

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, CIA operatives were allowed to shackle, strip and waterboard terror suspects. Now, President Barack Obama has assured these operatives that they will not be prosecuted for their rough interrogation tactics.

At the same time, Obama’s attorney general offered the operatives legal help if anyone else takes them to court over the harsh interrogation methods that were approved by the Bush administration.

When spies don’t pay attention

There are several disturbing aspects to the revelations that the National Security Agency went well beyond the generous legal limits set by Congress to intercept Americans’ private phone calls and e-mail messages.

The New York Times, which broke the story, said its sources described the practice as "significant and systemic" and possibly inadvertent. And it’s unclear whether the agency actually listened to or read the calls and messages it swept up.

Schools faces a tough test with the Supremes

The U.S. Supreme Court is about to get involved in one of the most difficult of American subjects — middle schools and the care of their inmates who as they emerge half baked from babyhood more resemble zoo animals.

Time for a new tax revolt?

Tens of thousands of Americans had a great big tea party on Wednesday. Only instead of sipping cups of Earl Grey and Oolong, these Americans were sending tea bags to their elected representatives and chanting to protest what they see as an out-of-touch government digging a multi-trillion dollar national debt hole that only higher taxes on future generations will be able to fill.

NSA broke law, spied on Congressman

Once again, the uber-secret National Security Agency has been caught spying on Americans on a level that exceeds limits placed on the agency by Congres, raising new concerns about just how much information the government is collecting on its citizens.

At least one member of Congress was a target of NSA efforts to monitor email and phones.

Government officials admit to The New York Times that NSA intercepted email messages and phone calls on "a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress."

Just how far is not yet known but officials admit the excessive spying is "significant and systemic."

It’s not the first time the agency has been caught exceeding its authority and officials admit that it probably won’t be the last.

Is Obama screwing the pooch in Pakistan?

President Barack Obama has made rooting out extremism from Pakistan a key priority, but experts from both countries warn that his team is off to a shaky start.

Japan on Friday holds a major donors meeting for Pakistan, but Islamabad has already bristled at proposed conditions in the US aid package.