White House

Secrecy is not a right

One of the least attractive aspects of President Bush’s administration has been its obsessive and unnecessary secrecy, and it’s hardly likely to do his legacy any good.

Bush could go a long way toward rectifying that by adopting and implementing the recommendations of the joint presidential-congressional Public Interest Declassification Board issued this week.

Judge wants White House email backups

A federal magistrate ordered the White House on Tuesday to reveal whether copies of possibly millions of missing e-mails are stored on computer backup tapes.

The order by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola comes amid an effort by the White House to scuttle two lawsuits that could force the Executive Office of the President to recover any e-mail that has disappeared from computer servers where electronic documents are automatically archived.

Two federal laws require the White House to preserve all records including e-mail.

Many diplomats disagree with Bush

Some 48 percent of US diplomats who would refuse to volunteer to work in Iraq cited disagreement with President George W. Bush’s policy as a factor, according to a survey released Tuesday.

That reason ranked behind separation from family and security concerns, according to a survey by their union, the American Foreign Service Association.

In the survey in which 4,300 of the 11,500 US Foreign Service members responded, some 68 percent opposed forced assignments as unnecessary and undesirable.

Rewriting history in real time

The White House’s recent policy reversals amount to a stunning repudiation of the first seven years of George W. Bush’s presidency. Where allies were previously disrespected, now they’re viewed as essential. Where diplomacy was eschewed, now it’s pursued with vigor. No longer running the government from his “base,” Bush finally tries to lead the entire nation.

Bush may claim privilege in CIA case

President George W. Bush Thursday ordered White House lawyers to use claims of executive privilege to prevent senior White House aides from cooperating with the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into destruction of videotapes that showed CIA interrogators torturing terrorism suspects.

White House sources tell Capitol Hill Blue that the claims of executive privilege are just “the first step” in a coordinated campaign to stonewall the investigation and prevent administration aides from giving depositions or submitting to interviews with Justice Department investigators.

Oh God! Another year of George W. Bush

Wrapped up as we have been in presidential-election hoopla, machinations and drivel, we have to sober up and realize we still have another entire year of the Bush administration to deal with. What should we expect?

Ed Gillespie, senior White House counselor and one of the few experienced work-a-day Republicans who haven’t fled the administration, says President Bush plans to spend this year in a “lot of travel.”

He says the time frame for getting anything through Congress will expire on or about July 4 as senators and representatives race home to campaign for re-election.

Angry Bush will stonewall CIA probe

President George W. Bush tried to stop Attorney General Michael Mukasey from launching a criminal investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency’s destruction of tapes showing torture of a prisoner and has ordered top White House officials to stonewall the probe, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

Bush is reportedly “livid” that Mukasey went ahead with the investigation and even discussed firing the attorney general but senior administration officials talked the President out of taking an action that would add fuel to suspicions of a cover-up.

While the administration may put on a public face of cooperation, the White House will take a tough stance from prosecutors who will seek interviews with current and former administration officials who participated in a meeting where destruction of the videotapes was discussed.

Did Bush send Bhutto to her death?

The Bush Administration “condemned former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to death” by ignoring warnings from that she would “almost certainly be assassinated” if she returned to her native country, intelligence sources tell Capitol Hill Blue.

An assessment prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency said Bhutto would not be safe if she returned to Pakistan but the Bush White House ignored the warning and dispatched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to London to persuade Bhutto to go home and seek political office.

“If the former Prime Minister were to return to Pakistan, she would almost certainly be assassinated,” said the CIA assessment, prepared by agency operatives on the ground in that country.

“The Bush Administration murdered Benazir Bhutto by convincing her to return to Pakistan,” a former CIA operative said this week. “She was doomed the second the set foot on Pakastani soil. The White House condemned her to death by talking her into returning.”

Bush puts Iraq interest over U.S. needs

President George W. Bush clashed again with Congress over the Iraq war Friday, rejecting a US military spending bill on the grounds it would throw up legal obstacles to reconstruction money.

“The aggregate financial impact of these provisions on Iraq would be devastating,” Bush said in a memo released by the White House, outlining his reasons for rejecting the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Bush signs massive spending bill

President Bush, still voicing concern about special project spending by Congress, signed a $555 billion bill Wednesday that funds the Iraq war well into 2008 and keeps government agencies running through next September.

Bush’s signed the massive spending bill as he flew on Air Force One to his Texas ranch here to see in the new year. His signature on the legislation caps a long-running fight with the Democratic-run Congress.