FEBRUARY 19, 2010, 9:18 P.M. ET
Lawyers Cleared Over 9/11 Memos
By JESS BRAVIN
WASHINGTON—A senior Justice Department official cleared two Bush administration lawyers of professional-misconduct allegations in connection with memorandums the lawyers wrote authorizing harsh interrogations.
The decision by David Margolis, the deputy associate attorney general, overruled internal findings that the Bush officials committed professional misconduct and should be referred to their state bar associations for disciplinary proceedings.
The legal work was at the heart of the debate over Bush-era practices in the war on terror, with critics calling the practices approved in the memorandums torture. Mr. Margolis didn't endorse the legal work performed by the lawyers, John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who drafted the once-secret memorandums. But the men should not face punishment, Mr. Margolis decided, because the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks placed them under extraordinary pressure and it would be unfair to hold them to "best practices" after the fact.
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-MI) issued a subpoena for Karl Rove to testify regarding controversies surrounding his actions under the Bush Administration yesterday.
Rove is wanted for questioning specifically about the Justice Department's firing of U.S. attorneys in 2006, as well as other accusations of Rove abusing his position to influence the decision making process of the United States government.
Rove ignored a previous subpoena issued by the House Judiciary Committee calling on him to testify on July 10, 2008 citing executive privilege. As a result, the committee voted 20-14 in favor of holding Rove in contempt of congress. However, the vote was in reality only a recommendation.
By Jason Leopold
August 21, 2008
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has asked current and former White House aides and ex-CIA officials to respond to questions about an alleged scheme to create a bogus letter in late 2003 linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.
By Ray McGovern
August 20, 2008
Most of the fawning corporate media (FCM) coverage of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s resignation Monday was even more bereft of context than usual.
It was as if Musharraf looked out the window and said, “It’s a beautiful day. I think I’ll resign and go fishing.”
Thus the lead in Tuesday’s editorial in the New York Times, once known as the newspaper of record: “In the end, President Pervez Musharraf went, if not quietly, with remarkably little strife.”
Certain words seem to be automatically deleted from the computers of those writing for the Times. Atop the forbidden wordlist sits “impeachment.” And other FCM — the Washington Post, for example — generally follow that lead, still.
Very few newspapers carried the Associated Press item that put the real story up front; i.e., that Musharraf resigned “just days ahead of almost certain impeachment.” In other words, he pulled a Nixon.
By Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern
July 19, 2008
One can assume that former Attorney General John Ashcroft didn’t mean it to be funny, but his testimony on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee might strike one as hilarious, were it not for the issue at hand — torture.
Ashcroft is the Attorney General who approved torture before he disapproved it, but committee members spared him accusations of flip-flopping.
He explained that he initially blessed the infamous torture memoranda drafted by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo and others in mid-2002 because he (Ashcroft) believed it imperative to afford the President “the benefit of genuine doubt” regarding how to protect American lives in the “war on terror.”
But Ashcroft added that, despite this, when concerns about that earlier guidance for interrogations were brought to his attention, changing his mind “was not a hard decision for me.” A very flexible Attorney General.
Soooo... they're going to talk about some of the bad things this administration has done (clearly not all), and do... nothing? Unacceptable. - Jon
In a release Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) announced he will hold a hearing July 25 examining "the imperial presidency of George W. Bush and possible legal responses."
The word "impeachment" was not mentioned in the announcement, but it appears the hearing is going to examine issues raised by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in his resolution to impeach Bush. A Judiciary Committee spokesman tells RAW STORY Kucinich will testify at the hearing.
There are several updates in the ongoing fallout from Michael Mukasey's patently false claims made in the speech he delivered several weeks ago in San Francisco regarding FISA and the 9/11 attacks. This week, Mukasey responded to a letter he received from John Conyers and two other Subcommittee Chair in which Mukasey acknowledged (because he was forced to) that the call he claimed originated from an "Afghan safe house" into the U.S. was fictitious, but he nonetheless vaguely asserted that his underlying point -- that FISA unduly restricted pre-9/11 eavesdropping and prevented detection of those attacks -- was somehow still accurate.
The Justice Department has acknowledged that Attorney General Michael Mukasey was mistaken when he told a San Francisco crowd that intelligence agencies couldn't trace a pre-9/11 phone call from Afghanistan to the United States.
Whether he was deliberately lying or simply misinformed is still an open question, but the administration is sticking to the general arguments Mukasey outline, provoking intense furor from House Democrats.
Mukasey's deputy said the attorney general was referring to a phone call placed not from Afganistan but another unidentified country before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In an April 10 letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski stuck to the general line being advanced by Mukasey and others in the Bush administration -- that limitations on foreign intelligence collection within the US meant to protect Americans civil liberties hindered efforts to detect the 9/11 plot before it happened.
A letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey demands he explain a recent public statement in favor of warrantless wiretapping that suggests that federal authorities, prior to the 9/11 attacks, failed to intercept a call from suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, when doing so could have prevented the attacks from taking place.
The FISA law that existed at the time, the letter points out, would have allowed such a call to be intercepted and permission granted by the courts retroactively to do so.
Also in the letter is a repeated demand that a secret 2001 Office of Legal Counsel memorandum, outlining the Executive Branch's authority in combating terrorism, be provided to Congress.
The letter, signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Subcommitee Chairmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Robert C. Scott (D-VA), appears below.
April 3, 2008
The Honorable Michael Mukasey
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has said that if three more Congress Members sign Kucinich's impeachment bill, he will start the impeachment proceedings. (The story was broken tonight by After Downing Street).
Remember, criminal proceedings against Bush, Cheney and others for 9/11 cannot start until they are out of office. Impeachment is the first step.
EVERYONE should call their congressional representatives (especially if yours' are not one of the signatories to Kucinich's impeachment bill) and DEMAND they co-sign. Click here to find your congress person.