Pre-Sept. 11 intelligence conducted by a secret military unit identified terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta 13 different times, a congressman said Tuesday. During a Capitol Hill news conference, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said the unit _ code-named "Able Danger" _ also identified "a problem" in Yemen two weeks before the attack on the USS Cole. It knew the problem was tied into the port of Aden and involved a U.S. platform, but the ship commander was not made aware of it, Weldon said. The suicide bombing of the Cole killed 17 sailors on Oct. 12, 2000.
By JOHN SOLOMON and PETE YOST Three former associates of Jack Abramoff say the now-convicted lobbyist frequently told them he had strong ties to the White House through presidential confidant Karl Rove. The White House said Monday night that Rove remembers meeting Abramoff at a 1990s political meeting and considered the lobbyist a "casual acquaintance" since President Bush took office in 2001.
By DAN K. THOMASSON As always, Congress is focusing on the sins of the past and not the present. From that standpoint, the current investigations into the Katrina disaster are a familiar repeat of the blame game that can serve little useful purpose because the chances are good the errors will be repeated.
By MARGARET TALEV McClatchy Newspapers Alaska Rep. Don Young gained infamy last year as the chairman of the House Transportation Committee who secured more than $200 million for a "bridge to nowhere" in his home state. Less noticed was his support for projects elsewhere in the country favored by contributors to Midnight Sun, a political action committee. Known as a leadership PAC, Midnight Sun is controlled by Young, and its treasurer is a registered lobbyist with a client list that includes transportation interests.
Vice President Dick Cheney violated Texas hunting law by not having a valid hunting stamp on his license and has been given a warning citation by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department following Cheney's shooting of a fellow quail hunter Saturday on the private Armstrong Ranch in the south part of the state. The department also found the accident was caused by a "hunter's judgment factor" when Cheney sprayed another hunter while aiming at flying birds.
By TONI LOCY Five government agencies are reviewing classified evidence that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby may want to use at his trial to fight perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges, according to a court transcript made public Monday. During a Feb. 3 hearing, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told a federal judge that the review of classified materials is being done by the CIA, National Security Council, National Security Agency, State Department and several components within the White House, including the offices of the president and vice president.
The government continued to showcase its incompetence in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, squandering millions of dollars in Katrina disaster aid, including handing $2,000 debit cards to people who gave phony Social Security numbers and used the money for such items as a $450 tattoo, auditors revealed Monday. Federal money also paid for $375-a-day beachfront condos and 10,777 trailers that were stuck in mud and unusable.
By BONNIE ERBE The worse it gets for the Bush administration, the harder the executive branch seems to be stretching to make it even worse still. Last week produced some of the most stunning public-relations disasters on record for the Bush boys (as in, "good ol' "). And this speaks volumes for an administration that mishandled the Katrina response, prevaricated about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and has done its darnedest to run us into impossible debt.
By LEE DRUTMAN In Washington these days there is great speculation about exactly how intimately President Bush and super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff were acquainted. According to the Associated Press, Abramoff and his associates logged almost 200 White House contacts during Bush's first 10 months in office. Reportedly, Abramoff's personal assistant became a senior adviser to Bush adviser Karl Rove. And Time magazine claims to have seen five photos of Bush and Abramoff that "suggest a level of contact between them that Bush's aides have downplayed."
Republican and Democratic senators want Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the CIA leak probe to determine if they authorized an aide to give secret information to reporters. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., called the leak of intelligence information "inappropriate" if it is true that unnamed "superiors" instructed Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to divulge the material on Iraq. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., said a full investigation is necessary.