White House

Bush demands power to spy at will

President George W. Bush on Wednesday warned the Democratic-led Congress not to “weaken” the power of US spy agencies to eavesdrop on communications between alleged terror suspects.

But the House of Representatives’ judiciary and intelligence committees both defied the president and approved a new bid by Democrats to revise a law extending authorization for warrantless wiretaps.

The new measure would revise the “Protect America Act” hastily passed under fierce pressure from Bush and the intelligence community before Congress broke up for its summer recess in August.

Gonzales can resign but he can’t hide

Only hours after announcing in late August he would resign, embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales talked to Ruben Navarrette, a columnist with the San Diego Union Tribune.

Gonzales told Navarrette he wanted to be remembered “as someone who did the best he could … based on what was right and what was just.”

That sounds like a fair yardstick for measuring his public service. But there was more about Alberto Gonzales not yet known.

Bush’s ediface complex

There must be some logic to building the United States’ — and the world’s — largest embassy in the world’s 44th largest nation, coming somewhere after Nepal and Uganda.

Carter: Bush allows torture

US President George W. Bush’s administration tortures detainees in defiance of international law, former US president Jimmy Carter charged Wednesday.

“I don’t think it, I know it, certainly,” Carter told CNN television when asked if he believed the US administration allowed the use of torture.

Carter rejected Bush’s statement last week that the United States does not torture terror suspects.

Bush issues new WMD claim

Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network remains bent on getting nuclear and biological weapons to unleash apocalyptic destruction, a new White House report on national security warned Tuesday.

The report, which called for redoubled anti-terror coordination at all levels of government, said Al-Qaeda remains “the most serious and dangerous manifestation” of extremist threats against the United States.

Bush’s double standard on torture

After publicly renouncing torture as a tool in the war on terror, it turns out the Bush administration secretly reserved the right to do so.

In 2002, the administration announced that al Qaeda prisoners were not subject to international law against the torture of captives. Later that year, the administration produced a legal opinion authorizing the CIA to use interrogation techniques that stopped short of the sort of pain caused by serious physical injury, organ failure or death. This was our government talking.

Pelosi: America tortures prisoners

The United States appears to be illegally torturing terror suspects contrary to denials by President George W. Bush, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.

The country’s highest ranking Democrat also said that she still hoped to get most US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2008, despite the party’s repeated failure to win over enough Republicans in Congress to an exit strategy.

Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Pelosi said reported interrogation tactics such as simulated drowning, head slapping and exposure to extreme temperatures all amounted to banned torture.

Bush says torture is good

President Bush defended his administration’s methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects on Friday, saying both are successful and lawful.

“When we find somebody who may have information regarding a potential attack on America, you bet we’re going to detain them, and you bet we’re going to question them,” he said during a hastily called Oval Office appearance. “The American people expect us to find out information, actionable intelligence so we can help protect them. That’s our job.”

Another White House dodge and run

Senate and House Democrats demanded Thursday to see two secret memos that reportedly authorize painful interrogation tactics against terror suspects — despite the Bush administration’s insistence that it has not violated U.S. anti-torture laws.

White House and Justice Department press officers said legal opinions written in 2005 did not reverse an administration policy issued in 2004 that publicly renounced torture as “abhorrent.”

Once again, Bush lied

Over and over, President Bush confidently promised to “solve problems, not pass them on to future presidents and future generations.” As the clock runs out on his eight-year presidency, a tall stack of troubles remain and Bush’s words ring hollow.

Iraq, budget deficits, the looming insolvency of Social Security and Medicare, high health and energy costs, a national immigration mess — the next president will inherit these problems in January 2009. With Bush’s popularity at an all time low and relations with the Democratic-led Congress acrimonious, he has little or no chance of pulling off a surprise victory in his time left.