Archives for FUBAR

CIA memo to destroy tapes had major omission

When the CIA sent word in 2005 to destroy scores of videos showing waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, there was an unusual omission in the carefully worded memo: the names of two agency lawyers. Once a CIA lawyer has weighed in on even a routine matter, officers rarely give an order without copying the lawyer in on the decision. It’s standard procedure, a way for managers to cover themselves if a decision goes bad. But when the CIA’s top clandestine officer, Jose Rodriguez, sent a cable to the agency’s secret prison in Thailand and told his station chief to
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Sherrod unsure about return to USDA

Former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, who was forced to resign after a blogger posted comments she made to an NAACP audience about race, is unsure about returning to a government job, she said Friday. President Barack Obama told Sherrod he regretted her forced resignation and asked her to consider coming back. He also said in a nationally broadcast network interview he believes Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “jumped the gun” in sacking her after just a few months with the USDA. She’s not so sure about returning to government work but would like to talk more with Obama about promoting
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Sherrod fallout continues

President Barack Obama has ordered a more patient, deliberative style of governance from his aides and Cabinet members in the wake of a convulsive week surrounding the ouster of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod. After telling Sherrod he regretted her forced resignation over racial remarks she made to an NAACP audience, Obama said in a nationally broadcast network interview he believes Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “jumped the gun” in sacking the veteran Georgian federal worker. A furor erupted this week over a conservative blogger’s posting of portions of a speech Sherrod gave in which she told of giving short shrift
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Greene lied about military record

Surprise U.S. Senate nominee Alvin Greene frequently mentions his 13 years of military service, but records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press show that the veteran who has called himself an “American hero” was considered a lackluster service member at best. The records, which document his superiors’ decisions to pass over Greene for promotion, cite mistakes as severe as improperly uploading sensitive intelligence information to a military server, and as basic as an overall inability to clearly express his thoughts and perform basic tasks. Greene, 32, won a surprise victory in the June 8 Democratic primary. Greene handily defeated Vic
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Prosecutor firings: Inappropriate and political

The Bush administration’s Justice Department’s actions were inappropriately political, but not criminal, when it fired a U.S. attorney in 2006, prosecutors said Wednesday in closing a two-year investigation without filing charges. The decision closes the books on one of the lingering political disputes of the Bush administration, one that Democrats said was evidence of GOP politics run amok and that Republicans have always said was a manufactured controversy. Investigators looked into whether the Bush administration improperly dismissed nine U.S. attorneys, and in particular New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, as a way to influence criminal cases. The scandal added to
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The Sherrod debacle: What a mess

The White House apologized to Shirley Sherrod. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered her a new job. But after a whirlwind week, Sherrod says she needs to think about it. It has been an emotional roller coaster ride for Sherrod, who until this week had been the Agriculture Department’s director of rural development for Georgia. First she was branded a racist by conservative pundits, then attacked by the NAACP for alleged racist remarks, followed by a demand for her immediate resignation from her bosses in Washington. On Wednesday there was finally an admission that she had been attacked falsely, followed by
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Political spin clouds economic realities

Midterm politics are distorting economic decision-making as leaders of both parties spin rival views of the road ahead, offering visions based on questionable economics. The resulting political angst is leaving a mark on major legislation. A far-reaching financial overhaul bill signed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday reflects voter anger over bankers, bailouts and bonuses. A measure extending unemployment insurance, soon to be on Obama’s desk, was scaled back from an earlier, far more ambitious Democratic stimulus plan. Angling for advantage, Democrats look to troubles before Obama took office. “It’s a choice between the policies that got us in this
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Tea Party excess in Idaho

Three times since 2000, Republican Rod Beck failed in his bid to rejoin the state Senate, defeated by primary election rivals he insists didn’t support party ideals. So Beck opted to change Idaho’s GOP from within. At the state Republican convention last month, he got his big chance. Joined by tea party members, Ron Paul disciples and old-guard conservatives, Beck strode into the three-day confab in Idaho Falls amid a swelling national tide of frustration with Washington, D.C., magnified by Idaho’s already rightist tilt. When it was over, a majority of the 500 delegates had transformed their platform with a
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Obama plays the blame game

President Barack Obama is taking aim at Senate Republicans, accusing them of playing politics with measures that would extend benefits to the unemployed and increase lending to small businesses. Striking a deeply partisan tone in his weekly Saturday radio and online address, Obama said the GOP leadership has chosen to “filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress” by blocking votes on agenda items the president says would breath life into the economic recovery. “These steps aren’t just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession,” Obama said. “They’re the right thing to do for all of
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