Friday, August 05, 2005
CNN suspended commentator Robert Novak indefinitely after he swore and walked off the set Thursday during a debate with Democratic operative James Carville.
The exchange during CNN's "Inside Politics" came during a discussion of Florida's Senate campaign. CNN correspondent Ed Henry noted when it was through that he had been about to ask Novak about his role in the investigation of the leak of a CIA officer's identity.
A CNN spokeswoman, Edie Emery, called Novak's behavior "inexcusable and unacceptable." Novak had apologized to CNN, and CNN was apologizing to viewers, she said.
"We've asked Mr. Novak to take some time off," she said.
A telephone message at Novak's office was not immediately returned Thursday.
Carville and Novak were both trying to speak while they were handicapping the GOP candidacy of Katherine Harris. Novak said the opposition of the Republican establishment in Florida might not be fatal for her.
"Let me just finish, James, please," Novak continued. "I know you hate to hear me, but you have to."
Carville, addressing the camera, said: "He's got to show these right wingers that he's got a backbone, you know. It's why the Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching you. Show 'em that you're tough."
"Well, I think that's bull---- and I hate that," Novak replied. "Just let it go."
As moderator Henry stepped in to ask Carville a question, Novak walked off the set.
Only two weeks ago, CNN executives defended their decision to keep Novak on the air during the ongoing probe into the revelation of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity. In a July 2003 newspaper column, Novak identified Plame, the wife of administration critic and former US ambassador Joseph Wilson, as a CIA operative. ...
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Fourteen Marines and a civilian interpreter were killed Wednesday when their amphibious assault vehicle struck an improvised explosive device about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) south of Haditha, Iraq, military officials said.
A Marine was also injured. The Marines were assigned to the 2nd Marine Division.
Wednesday's attack follows the killings of six Marines Monday in Haditha, which is in northwest Iraq.
Another Marine was killed in a suicide car bombing in nearby Hit on Monday, the Marine Corps said.
This week's Marine deaths brought the number of American troops killed in the Iraq war to more than 1,800, according to U.S. military reports.
All seven of Monday's casualties were assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, part of the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force. ...
by David Johnston
Two aides to Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, testified last Friday before a federal grand jury investigating whether government officials illegally disclosed the identity of an undercover C.I.A. operative, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case.
The aides, Susan B. Ralston and Israel Hernandez, were asked about grand jury testimony given on July 13 by Matthew Cooper, a reporter for Time magazine, the person who was briefed said. Mr. Cooper has said that he testified about a July 11, 2003, conversation with Mr. Rove in which the C.I.A. officer was discussed.
The aides' grand jury appearances were first reported by ABC News and provided the first sign that the prosecutor in the case was interested in following up on Mr. Cooper's testimony with more questions for the White House about Mr. Rove. A person sympathetic to Mr. Rove said that the questions seemed typical of those posed by a prosecutor wrapping up the loose ends of an inquiry.
That person and the one who has been briefed spoke only on the condition of anonymity because the prosecutor has warned people not to discuss the case.
At one point, the aides were asked why Mr. Cooper's call to Mr. Rove was not entered in Mr. Rove's office telephone logs. There was no record of the call, the person who has been briefed said, because Mr. Cooper did not call Mr. Rove directly, but was transferred to his office from a White House switchboard.
The aides have worked closely with Mr. Rove, screening his calls and coordinating his activities with other White House officials. Mr. Hernandez had been an aide to President Bush since his successful campaign for governor of Texas in 1994, and Ms. Ralston is known as one of Mr. Rove's most trusted associates.
Ms. Ralston still works with Mr. Rove, while Mr. Hernandez has moved to the Commerce Department. Telephone calls to their offices on Tuesday were not returned.
The telephone conversation between Mr. Rove and Mr. Cooper is one of two conversations in a one-week period in July 2003 that the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has focused on. The second was between Mr. Rove and Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist, as Mr. Novak was preparing a column in which he named the C.I.A. officer. ...
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Associated Press, July 30:
The chairman of the Republican Party said Friday the party backs Rep. Tom Tancredo, despite rifts the Colorado congressman has created with some Hispanic groups.
If Tancredo is nominated for a fifth term, the party will back him, Ken Mehlman said. That's a sharp change from 2002, when a spokeswoman for the party said Tancredo did not speak for mainstream Republican values.
``The fact is, we're a big-tent party. I'm proud that we have debate in our party. I think debating the way to protect our borders and protect our national security is a good thing,'' Mehlman said.
Tancredo has come under fire recently from some Hispanic groups for his calls for tougher immigration enforcement and a proposal to tax some of the money immigrants send outside U.S. borders.
Hispanic and Islamic groups called for his resignation in a Denver protest earlier this week, citing Tancredo's suggestion to target Islamic holy sites if terrorists launch a nuclear attack on the United States.
Spokesman Will Adams said Tancredo has no intention of apologizing or resigning.
Tancredo has visited Iowa and New Hampshire to study the possibility of a presidential bid and said he has found abundant support for his views. ...
by Leonard Pitts
... Which brings me back to Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo. He's the fellow who was asked on an Orlando radio show how the United States should respond if Muslim terrorists ever detonate a nuclear device in an American city. Tancredo said we should make it known that we would bomb Mecca, site of the holiest shrine of Islam.
I took him to task in a column, calling him a yahoo and other choice epithets.
Many readers didn't agree. To judge from my e-mail -- granted, a decidedly unscientific survey -- roughly half the country considers bombing Mecca a fine means of retaliation. "What would you do?" people snickered. "Talk to the terrorists? Read them their rights?"
I shouldn't be surprised. It has become an article of faith for Karl Rove and other far-right extremists that only they are "man" enough to handle terrorism and that anybody who didn't vote for Gee Dubya thinks terrorists should be, I don't know, counseled. ...
Monday, August 01, 2005
Columnist Robert Novak broke his silence Monday about his disclosure of an undercover CIA operative's identity, defending himself against a former agency official's account that he twice warned Novak not to publish the name.
In his syndicated column, Novak did not dispute that former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow told him he should not print the covert officer's name, Valerie Plame, during conversations they had prior to Novak's July 14, 2003 column.
But Novak reasserted that no CIA official ever told him in advance "that Valerie Plame Wilson's disclosure would endanger her or anybody else."
Plame is the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was sent to Africa by the CIA in 2002 to evaluate intelligence that Iraq was trying to acquire nuclear materials.
More than a year later, with the U.S. government unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Wilson wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times, "What I Didn't Find In Africa," and asked the question: "Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs to justify an invasion?" ...
President Bush on Monday declared "complete confidence" in his top political adviser, Karl Rove, despite his alleged role in leaking a covert CIA operative's identity, according to an interview.
Federal investigators are trying to determine who outed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose name first appeared in a column by newspaper journalist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003.
"Karl's got my complete confidence. He's a valuable member of my team," Bush said in his strongest defense yet of Rove, the architect of his presidential campaigns.
Bush made his comments in a roundtable interview with several Texas newspapers, portions of which were posted online by Knight Ridder Newspapers.
Plame's husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, said the leak was meant to discredit him for criticizing Bush's Iraq policy in 2003 after a CIA-funded trip to investigate whether Niger helped supply nuclear materials to Baghdad.
Rove was the first person to tell a Time magazine reporter that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, but did not disclose her name, according to the reporter.
NOVAK BREAKS SILENCE
Novak broke his silence on the case on Monday to challenge a former CIA spokesman who said that he had warned Novak not to publish the agent's name.
Bill Harlow, the former CIA spokesman cited by Novak, told the Washington Post last week that he had testified before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published.
Harlow said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the trip to Niger and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed, the Post reported.
Novak, in his column on Monday, brushed aside Harlow's comments about warning him.
"That is meaningless. Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as 'Valerie Plame' by reading her husband's entry in 'Who's Who in America,"' Novak wrote, referring to a publication that compiles information about prominent people. ...
by Mark Sherman
Prosecutors are investigating who in the Bush administration leaked the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. Some questions and answers on the case:
Q: What are the origins?
A: In early 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney read an intelligence report that said the African nation of Niger had agreed to deliver 500 tons of yellowcake uranium to Iraq. In response to questions from Cheney's office and the departments of State and Defense, the CIA's Counterproliferation Division discussed ways to obtain additional information, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report.
Plame, a CIA division employee, suggested her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, as someone who had good relations with the prime minister and the former minister of mines in Niger. The CIA sent Wilson to Africa, where he was unable to confirm the intelligence report about yellowcake uranium.
More than a year later, with the U.S. government unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Wilson wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times, ``What I Didn't Find In Africa,'' and asked the question: ``Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs to justify an invasion?''
Eight days later, columnist Robert Novak wrote an article in which he disclosed Plame's name and cited as sources two unidentified senior administration officials. Novak wrote that the officials had told him Plame had suggested sending her husband to Niger.
by Massimo Calabresi
As the investigation tightens into the leak of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, sources tell Time some White House officials may have learned she was married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson weeks before his July 6, 2003, Op-Ed piece criticizing the Administration. That prospect increases the chances that White House official Karl Rove and others learned about Plame from within the Administration rather than from media contacts. Rove has told investigators he believes he learned of her directly or indirectly from reporters, according to his lawyer.
The previously undisclosed fact gathering began in the first week of June 2003 at the CIA, when its public-affairs office received an inquiry about Wilson's trip to Africa from veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus. That office then contacted Plame's unit, which had sent Wilson to Niger, but stopped short of drafting an internal report. The same week, Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman asked for and received a memo on the Wilson trip from Carl Ford, head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Sources familiar with the memo, which disclosed Plame's relationship to Wilson, say Secretary of State Colin Powell read it in mid-June. Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage may have received a copy then too. ...
Knight Ridder, Aug. 1:
Doubts dogged John Bolton Monday about whether he can be effective as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations after President Bush bypassed the Senate to install him temporarily despite strong opposition to the tough-talking diplomat.
Foreign-affairs analysts said the political beating Bolton took at the hands of opponents - Republican majorities in the Senate twice were unable to muster enough votes to stop debate on the appointment - might cost him influence at the United Nations. But that wasn't a universal opinion. ...
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Progressive.org, July 29:
About a dozen newspapers refused to run the Doonesbury comic strip on Tuesday, hoping to protect the already battered reputation of Karl Rove. In Tuesday's strip, a fictional president says Rove is "earnin' his nickname" of "Turd Blossom." Other newspapers ran the strip, but edited out the "Turd Blossom" reference.
It has been widely reported that President Bush does in fact call Rove by the nickname, so it is unclear what the newspapers expected to accomplish by censoring the strip. G. B. Trudeau, author of the strip, refused to cave in to pressure from the conservative papers, and included a second "Turd Blossom" reference on Wednesday. ...