FUBAR

U.S. official admits Guantanamo detainee tortured

The Pentagon official overseeing the tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

"We tortured Qahtani," Susan Crawford said in an interview with the newspaper. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

Gitmo: A good idea gone bad

In theory, a special prison at Guantanamo Bay for captives in the war on terror made sense. It would be totally under U.S. control and unlike prisons in Afghanistan and Pakistan there was no chance the inmates could break out or bribe their way out.

It would give U.S. intelligence officials the leisure to question the prisoners, using approved techniques in effect since World War II, and decide whom to release, whom to try for war crimes and whom to hold until the cessation of hostilities.

Tax problems threaten Obama’s treasury nominee

A Capitol Hill grilling is likely for Timothy Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to head the Treasury Department, after public revelations he failed to pay $34,000 in taxes several years ago.

Senate Democrats are pressing to schedule a quick confirmation hearing for Geithner on Friday, hoping to tee up swift approval of his nomination on Inauguration Day. But newly released information about the tax goofs by Geithner, regarded as a brilliant financial markets specialist well-positioned to deal with the nation’s considerable economic problems, could complicate the process.

Will Bill’s charity continue to haunt Hillary?

Concerns about her husband’s foreign fund-raising cast a shadow over Sen. Hillary Clinton’s nomination as U.S. secretary of state when Republicans on Tuesday pressed her to do more to avoid conflicts of interest.

Clinton is expected to easily win confirmation as President-elect Barack Obama’s top diplomat and she carefully avoided breaking new ground on foreign policy as she appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Memo to Virginians: Stay home on inauguration day

Washington has a curious way of celebrating Barack Obama’s inaugural. The authorities are shutting down most of the city for the day.

Particularly hard hit will be the capital’s Northern Virginia suburbs. All the downtown bridges between Virginia and Washington will be closed to traffic from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. and only two of them will be open to pedestrians. One Virginian wondered if they would mine the Potomac River to stop desperate residents of the Old Dominion from paddling across.

No punishment planned for CIA over torture

As President-elect Barack Obama assures intelligence officials that his complaints are with the Bush administration, not them, there are growing hints from Democratic Senate allies that spy agency veterans will not be prosecuted for past harsh interrogation and detainee policies.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein told The Associated Press in an interview this week that there is a clear distinction between those who made the policies and those who carried them out.

let’s be honest about Abe, shall we?

When Barack Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20, he will place his left hand on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible.

Much has been made of the Lincoln connection, with the first black man assuming the presidency in the 200th anniversary of Honest Abe’s birthday. The historic alignment has occasioned renewed spasms of idolatrous odes to "The Great Emancipator."

But before we’re all swept away in a paroxysm of national ecstasy, a few inconvenient truths must be noted about "Honest Abe."

Jobless rate hits 7.2 percent

The nation’s unemployment rate bolted to 7.2 percent in December, the highest level in 16 years, as nervous employers slashed 524,000 jobs, capping one of the worst years in modern history for American workers.

What if the stimulus plan doesn’t work?

While most people in a position of power agree an economic stimulus plan is needed, some are questioning whether or not it will work. The nation doesn’t even have a stimulus plan yet and some economists are raising red flags.

Talk about raising on the President-elect’s parade.

More pink slips as economy worsens

Pink slips are piling higher as companies scramble to cut costs even deeper to survive the country’s economic and financial storms.

Just days into the new year, managed care provider Cigna Corp., aluminum producer Alcoa Inc., data-storage company EMC Corp. and computer products maker Logitech International were among those announcing layoffs to cope with a recession that has just entered its second year. The flurry of job cuts suggest the employment picture will remain grim this year.