TPM News

CNN's Barbara Starr just reported that President Bush and General Peter Pace are on the same page about munitions in Iraq. In reality, they're not even in the same book.

Read More →

The Iran innuendo continues. In his press conference today, President Bush said that the U.S. knows "with certainty" that the EFPs coming in from Iran for attacks on U.S. forces originate with the Qods Forces -- a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. That's nothing new: Sunday's briefing made the same allegation. What came next is:

Read More →

Among the most surprising of the European Parliament's findings -- you can read a summary here -- is the reluctance of the inquiry to substantiate Dana Priest's report that Poland hosted a secret terrorism detention facility. It's a finding that appears underpinned by both a Polish stonewalling of the investigation and a political failure by the European Parliament to call a member-state actively complicit in the detentions:

In an amendment passed with a narrow majority (356 to 323), MEPs noted that, in light of the available "circumstantial evidence", "it is not possible to acknowledge or deny that secret detention centres were based in Poland." However, notes the report, "seven of the fourteen detainees" transferred from a secret detention facility to Guantánamo in September 2006 coincide with those mentioned in a report by ABC News (published in December 2005) listing the identities of twelve top Al Qaeda suspects held in Poland. Regarding the testimonies gathered during their visit to Poland, MEPs conclude that the investigation carried out by the Polish Parliament was not conducted independently and that statements given to the Committee delegation were “contradictory” and compromised by "confusion about flight logs [...] which were first said not to have been retained, then said to have probably been archived at the airport, and finally to have been sent by the Polish government to the Council of Europe."

The Wall Street Journal notes that, given the torrent of detail in yesterday's indictments against Brent Wilkes, those lawmakers other than Duke Cunningham who were uncomfortably close to him should be feeling mighty uncomfortable right about now:

The indictment and its details would seem to heighten the risk to other members of Congress still under investigation; Mr. Wilkes also had dealings with several of them.

A separate federal criminal investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis, the California Republican who until January 2006 was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is continuing in Los Angeles. Prosecutors in that case are looking at Mr. Lewis's relationship with Mr. Wilkes, which included campaign contributions from Mr. Wilkes and associates and the hiring by Mr. Wilkes of a lobbying firm founded by one of Mr. Lewis's closest friends, former Rep. Bill Lowery.

Government Contractor Dwarfs Competitors One of the most well-endowed government contractors, the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), also stands as one the most secretive. Having provided support to the NSA's wiretapping program and the FBI's software update, both of which turned out to be "colossal failures," SAIC has receieved far less scrutiny than mega-contractors Halliburton and Bechtel. Nevertheless, with an employee payroll of 44,000 and a 2006 profit that reaced $8 billion, SAIC looks poised to continue its under-the-radar growth in the coming year. (Vanity Fair)

Read More →

In a Washington Post op-ed today, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith defends himself against the Pentagon inspector general's assessment that his office conducted "inappropriate" intelligence work in the lead-up to the Iraq war. It turns out, in Feith's view, that he's been vindicated after all.

As Feith tells it, his analysts were conducting no more than an academic critique of intelligence work, and to find fault with their effort is to accept the absurdity that policymakers must uncritically endorse the CIA's product. He goes so far to say that since now, after the invasion of Iraq, al-Qaeda and former Baathists have colluded in attacks on U.S. forces, the CIA was wrong and he was right -- even though what the CIA actually said was that there was no evidence of collusion before the war, and that the only thing that might bring on such cooperation was ... a U.S. attack.

Read More →

It's looking grim for CIA operations in Europe. The European Parliament has just concluded a year-long inquiry into European complicity with U.S. renditions -- the extra-legal abduction and transfer of terrorism subjects. Ever since Dana Priest of the Washington Post reported the presence of CIA "black sites" -- off-the-books detention facilities -- in two EU countries, it's been a source of furious controversy.

Today's report apparently doesn't give definitive proof that European countries colluded in the maintenance of secret prisons, but it does single out specific countries for complicity in renditions, and also alleges over 1,000 "undeclared flights" by CIA aircraft over European airspace, which is meant to suggest transfers of detainees to Guantanamo Bay or Afghanistan:

Read More →

James O'Beirne, get ready to meet Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).

As part of Waxman's ongoing hearings into cronyism at the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today demanded that Defense Secretary Bob Gates provide the committee with pertinent information relating to O'Beirne. O'Beirne, as readers of Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City know, was the Defense Department official who screened potential candidates for CPA jobs on such mission-critical qualifications such as whether or not they voted for George W. Bush or agreed with Roe v. Wade. Apparently, Waxman's earlier requests to interview O'Beirne were "mislaid," according to Defense Department officials.

In a letter to Gates (PDF), the chairman hopes to avoid "compulsory measures" to learn more about O'Beirne. Gates has until next Tuesday to turn over documents; the staff of Waxman's committee wants to interview O'Beirne by March 2.

OK, you knew they'd make an appearance.

Among the staggering laundry list of bribes of ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) listed in the second indictment issued today, there's one that's bound to get a lot of ink.

The indictment alleges that, during a trip to Hawaii, Wilkes paid for a prostitute for Cunningham. I'll just excerpt the indictment here, since it displays the prosecutors' fetish for detail (no bribe goes undescribed):

On or about August 15, 2003, at approximately 6:30 p.m., [Wilkes] provided [Cunningham] and assorted other guests with a dinner served on a private lawn outside the Hapuna Suite [approximately $6,600 per night at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Island of Hawaii]; which consisted of Seafood Gyozas of Kona Lobster, shrimp, scallops, seared hawaiian snapper, "Manoa" lettuce leaves, and an open bar featuring fine wines;

On or about August 15, 2003, at approximately 11 p.m., Prostitutes "A" and "B" and their "driver" arrived at the Hapuna Suite. Persuant to [Wilkes'] instructions, an ADCS [Wilkes' company] employee escorted the prostitutes into the Suite and paid the driver $600 in cash;

On or about August 15, 2003, after approximately 15 minutes in the suite, [Wilkes] and [Cunningham] escorted Prostitutes "A" and "B" upstairs to separate rooms. At approximately midnight, Wilkes tipped Prostitute "A" $500 for the services;

...and the next day, after a catered breakfast, a cocktail party, a lavish dinner...

On or about August 16, 2003, at approximately 11:00 p.m., [Wilkes] arranged to have Prostitute "A" and Prostitute "C" available for himself and [Cunningham]. Pursuant to Cunningham's request, Wilkes arranged for the Congressman to get a different prostitute for the second evening;

On or about August 16, 2003, at approximately 11:00 p.m., Prostitutes "A" and "C" and their "driver" arrived at the Hapuna Suite. Persuant to [Wilkes'] instructions, his employee paid the driver $600 in cash and escorted Prostitute "C" (who had not previously been to the suite) to [Cunningham's] room. At apprroximately midnight, Wilkes again tipped Prostitute "A" $500 for the services;

Although Shirlington Limousine does make an appearance in the indictment, it's not connected to prostitution -- rather, it's just mentioned that Wilkes paid Shirlington to ferry Cunningham around Washington, DC.

Update: CREW has uploaded a copy of the indictment here (pdf).

Dusty Foggo, while he was a contracting officer at the CIA, helped his best friend Brent Wilkes land multimillion dollar contracts with the agency, and in return....?

Well, Foggo had a job waiting for him at Wilkes' headquarters. But that wasn't all.

Here's our preliminary accounting of all the goodies Brent Wilkes threw Dusty Foggo's way, while he was a contracting officer at the CIA, all culled from the indictment:

August 3, 2003 - Wilkes paid for Foggo and family to join Wilkes and family on a vacation to Scotland - $12,000 in private jets, $4,000 in helicopter ride to a round of golf at Carnoustie, $44,000 for a stay at Pitcastle estate, which included trout fishing on hill lochs, salmon fishing on the River Tay, clay-pigeon shooting, archery, and a seven-person staff

December 27, 2003 - Foggo joined Wilkes on a vacation to the "Sullivan Estates" in Haleiwa, Hawaii, for which Wilkes paid approximately $32,000

January 28, 2004 - Wilkes treated Foggo to a dinner at the Capital Grille, for which Wilkes paid $1,195.96, of which Foggo's pro-rata share was approximately $398.65

November 20, 2004 - Wilkes treated Foggo to a meal at the Serbian crown restaurant, for which Wilkes paid $773.65, of which Foggo's pro rate share was approximately $257,88

November 20,2004 - Wilkes gave Foggo an Ellie Bleu cigar humidor, which Wilkes Subordinate X had purchased for $2,307.38 at Wilkes' direction

November 21, 2004 - Wilkes treated Foggo to a meal at the Capital Grille in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, for which Wilkes paid $712.15, of which Foggo's pro rata share was approximately $237.38

November 22, 2004 - Wilkes treated Foggo to a meal at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Fairfax, Virginia, for which Wilkes paid $902.33, of which Foggo's pro rata share was approximately $225.58


Ted Cruz: Thanks, Obama

Ted Cruz's career in Washington has been defined thus far by his efforts to dismantle President Obama's signature legislation. On… Read More →