Another month, another record deficit

The U.S. government rang up a $94.32 billion budget deficit in June, a record for the month, as the price tag for efforts to prop up the economy, banks and automakers mounted while revenues weakened.

The Treasury Department said on Monday that June marked the ninth straight month in which the government had run a deficit. In June 2008, the budget enjoyed a $33.55 billion surplus.

Auto task force head quits amid probe

Steven Rattner will leave as head of the U.S. autos task force, which oversaw bankruptcies at General Motors Corp and Chrysler Group, at a time when a probe into how the private equity firm he co-founded gained New York pension business has intensified.

In announcing Rattner’s resignation on Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the investor would be returning to private life and his family in New York. A source close to Rattner said he does not plan to rejoin his former firm, Quadrangle.

Calls increase for probe of Bush-CIA lies

Congressional demands for an investigation grew on Monday over new disclosures that a secret CIA program to capture or kill al-Qaida leaders was concealed from Congress for eight years, perhaps at the behest of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The program, which never got off the ground and remains shrouded in mystery, was designed to target leaders of the terrorism network at close range, rather than with air strikes that risked civilian casualties, government officials with knowledge of the operation said Monday.

Review planned for terror alert system

The multicolored terror alert system that was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks could be getting an overhaul — or could be eliminated entirely.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to appoint a panel Tuesday to reevaluate the system, a senior administration official said.

Leading Democrats want Bush era abuses probed

Angry Democrats no longer accept President Barack Obama’s reluctance to pursue the illegality of former President Bush’s torture, spying and anti-terrorism excesses and will push hard for full investigations into the actions of the previous administration.

With Attorney General Eric Holder breaking ranks from the President and contemplating a criminal probe of CIA torture of prisoners, other Democrats want Bush and his cronies investigated and, if possible, charged.

Cheney ordered CIA to lie to Congress

Former Vice President Dick Cheney directed the CIA eight years ago not to inform Congress about a nascent counterterrorism program that CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated in June, officials with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

Holder may investigate prisoner torture

Contrary to White House wishes, Attorney General Eric Holder may push forward with a criminal investigation into the Bush administration’s harsh interrogation practices used on suspected terrorists.

Holder is considering whether to appoint a prosecutor and will make a final decision within the next few weeks, a Justice Department official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on a pending matter.

VA hospitals routinely overdose vets

Two years after an Iraq war veteran overdosed on medication at a Veterans Affairs facility, the problems blamed in his death have not been corrected at many of the VA’s residential treatment sites, a government study found.

The VA’s inspector general ordered the review as part of legislation passed to fix problems after the 2007 death of 27-year-old Justin Bailey in a Los Angeles residential facility.

Bailey, a Marine, had surgeries for a groin injury he sustained during the first part of the Iraq war and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Women’s groups silent on Sotomayor

Women’s groups, euphoric when President Barack Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, have been remarkably quiet in the weeks since on the judge who would be the court’s third woman ever.

Sotomayor’s few rulings on the abortion issue have made abortion rights activists unwilling to crusade on her behalf, and other liberal women’s organizations say they’re waiting to voice full-throated support until they know more about her record.

Bush’s spy program: Illegal & widespread

Not enough relevant officials were aware of the size and depth of an unprecedented surveillance program started under President George W. Bush, let alone signed off on it, a team of federal inspectors general found.