Monday, October 02, 2006

Morning News Roundup (02 October)

October Surprise
  • On Friday, Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned from Congress, after ABC News published inappropriate emails and sexually explicit instant messages that Foley sent to underage boys. Subsequently, it’s become clear that Congressional leadership “knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues.” ThinkProgress has an extensive timeline of events known so far.

  • The FBI announced last night that it is looking into whether former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) broke federal law by sending inappropriate e-mails and instant messages to teenage House pages. The announcement came hours after House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert asked for a Justice Department investigation into not only Foley's actions but also Congress's handling of the matter once it learned of the contacts.
    As the scandal broke, Hastert contended he learned of concerns about Foley only last week. But after Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.) said Saturday that he had notified Hastert months ago of Foley's e-mails to a 16-year-old boy, the speaker did not dispute his colleague, and Hastert's office acknowledged that some aides knew last year that Foley had been ordered to cease contact with the youth. [WaPo]

  • White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, appearing on CNN this morning, downplayed the Foley scandal. Soledad noted that Snow "tried really hard to minimize the impact and any kind of political fallout." Snow said, "I hate to tell but it's not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill and there have been other scandals as you know that have been more than simply naughty emails." [AmericaBlog]

State of Denial
  • Members of the Sept. 11 commission said today that they were alarmed that they were told nothing about a White House meeting in July 2001 at which George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, is reported to have warned Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, about an imminent Al Qaeda attack and failed to persuade her to take action.
    Although passages of (Bob Woodward's) book (State of Denial) suggest that Mr. Tenet was a major source for Mr. Woodward, the former intelligence director has refused to comment on the book. Nor has there been any comment from J. Cofer Black, Mr. Tenet’s counterterrorism chief, who is reported in the book to have attended the July 10 meeting and left it frustrated by Ms. Rice’s “brush-off” of the warnings.

    He is quoted as saying, “The only thing we didn’t do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.” Mr. Black did not return calls left at the security firm Blackwater, which he joined last year.

    The book says that Mr. Tenet hurriedly organized the meeting — calling ahead from his car as it traveled to the White House — because he wanted to “shake Rice” into persuading the president to respond to dire intelligence warnings that summer about a terrorist strike. Mr. Woodward writes that Mr. Tenet left the meeting frustrated because “they were not getting through to Rice.”

    The disclosures took members of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission by surprise last week. Some questioned whether information about the July 10 meeting was intentionally withheld from the panel.

    In interviews Saturday and today, commission members said they were never told about the meeting despite hours of public and private questioning with Ms. Rice, Mr. Tenet and Mr. Black, much of it focused specifically on how the White House had dealt with terrorist threats in the summer of 2001. [NYTimes]

  • Rice acknowledged Sunday that the White House was receiving a "steady stream of quite alarmist reports of potential attacks" during daily meetings from Tenet during that period. But she said the targets were assumed to be in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel and Jordan. She said no reports mentioned the United States.

    "What I am quite certain of, however, is that I would remember if I was told--as this account apparently says--that there was about to be an attack in the United States. The idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible," she told reporters. [WaPo]

  • Bob Woodward’s new book paints a devastating picture of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “as an arrogant, indecisive bumbler who won’t take responsibility for his mistakes — or even admit any.” Asked if Bush still supports him, Rumsfeld said, “Oh, my Lord, yes.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • If you missed Woodward's appearance on 60 Minutes, Crooks and Liars has the video and transcript.

BushCo's Wars
  • 3,000: Aug. 2006 total of Iraqi civilian deaths from violence, up from 2,000 a year ago. Five thousand Iraqis have been displaced. “[T]his year’s violence was the worst since liberation, and probably the worst over all since 1991,” concludes the Brookings Institution. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday said his country was determined to expand its uranium enrichment program, announcing a plan to produce more fuel and calling allegations that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons a "big lie." He said in his speech that Iran hoped to install as many as 100,000 centrifuges, which spin uranium gas into enriched material. He did not provide any more details or set a timeline, but installing so many centrifuges could take years. [LATimes]

  • Parliament extended Iraq's state of emergency Monday as gunmen snatched 14 employees from computer stores in downtown Baghdad in the second mass kidnapping in as many days. On Sunday evening, 24 workers at a food factory in Baghdad were seized by gunmen who shot and wounded two workers who refused to climb into a refrigerated truck with their fellow captives. [AP via Yahoo!]

[ posted with ecto ]


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