Yet another leak out of the White House: President Bush has quietly been searching for what could be called, for lack of a better term, a “war czar” to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That official would have the title assistant to the president, report directly to Bush and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and have the authority to issue instructions to the departments of Defense and State and other agencies.
When President Bush invited Democratic leaders for a sit-down on Iraq, it seemed to offer the opportunity for a breakthrough in their bitter differences over the war. For about five seconds. Then the White House spent the rest of Tuesday explaining what the meeting would not be.
It is not a chance to compromise, the administration insists. Bush isn’t budging from what kind of war-spending bill he can accept.
President Bush’s spy chief is pushing to expand the government’s surveillance authority at the same time the administration is under attack for stretching its domestic eavesdropping powers.
National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell (left) has circulated a draft bill that would expand the government’s powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, liberalizing how that law can be used.
The White House wants to appoint a high-profile overseer to manage the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but has had trouble finding someone to take the job, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have turned down the position, the report said.
When President Bush took office, he said he would not use e-mail in the White House so that his communications could not be subpoenaed.
But the White House, no less than any other operation today, can’t do business without e-mail. Bush’s aides do use e-mail and now, true to the president’s prediction, their communications have been subpoenaed.
Official communications through the White House computer system are preserved and eventually will be archived and made public. But the picture becomes murkier where private e-mail accounts are involved.
President Bush has re-launched his drive to win passage of comprehensive immigration-law reform, very likely his last chance at a major legislative initiative.
The White House has advanced a detailed plan, but one the White House stops short of labeling the president’s, saying it is a draft and intended to put ideas on the table for discussion. It’s unlikely opponents will be fooled.
Bush at the border (AP)
By BEN FELLER
President Bush visited the U.S.-Mexico border Monday to tout a guest worker program for immigrants, pursuing a key domestic policy goal despite chilly relations with Congress.
The Bush White House, already recognized as the most secretive in history, used laptop computers and other communications devices paid for by the Republican National Committee to conceal questionable activities from investigators and circumvent the law.
By PATRICK CONDON
Three lawyers in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Minneapolis resigned their management posts, moves that gained national attention against the backdrop of claims top federal prosecutors elsewhere were fired for political reasons.
U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose confirmed Friday that John Marti, a first assistant U.S. attorney, Erika Mozangue, head of the office’s civil division, and James Lackner, who heads the office’s criminal division, have decided to “go back to the line to be full-time prosecutors.”
By LARA JAKES JORDAN
A top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (right) abruptly quit Friday, almost two weeks after telling Congress she would not testify about her role in the firings of federal prosecutors.
There was no immediate reason given, but Monica M. Goodling’s refusal to face Congress had intensified a controversy that threatens Gonzales’ job.