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Talk about bad timing! Just as CACI International was ramping up for its book tour -- the company's CEO has penned "Our Good Name," which according to the flap copy is "CACI's story of facing one of the biggest scandals in recent history...and coming out honorably with its head high" -- an Iraqi man has sued CACI, saying that employees tortured him when he was held in Abu Ghraib.

Cruelly, the lawyers for Emad al-Janabi, which include lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights, have used CACI's own book against the company. The suit alleges that the book reveals that CACI's internal investigation failed to include any interviews of detainees or of a former employee whistleblower. The suit was filed in Los Angeles in order to target former CACI contractor Steven "Big Steve" Stefanowicz.

Note: For those looking for another beach read this summer from the same genre (self glorifying autobiography by an infamous contractor's CEO), there's also Erik Prince's "We Are Blackwater."

Earlier this morning, the House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena for David Addington, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, to testify about the administration's torture policy.

And now the AP reports that John Yoo, probably the most infamous of the infamous characters that walked the halls of the Justice Department during the Bush administration, has agreed to testify as well without compulsion. That's a departure from his original position, when he said that he could not testify about his role in authorizing the use of torture because he had not received the green light from the DoJ.

The AP adds: "Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and former Assistant Attorney General Dan Levin have also agreed to give testimony at a future hearing. Former CIA Director George Tenet is still in negotiations with the committee."

Based on a figure from the RAND Corporation calculating around 20 percent of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, as well as established suicide rates for patients with similar conditions, the National Institute of Mental Health is worried the number of suicides among returning veterans might eclipse the amount killed in Iraq. The Pentagon did not dispute these claims. (Associated Press and Bloomberg)

An internal audit of the State Dept. found that as many as 400 employee laptops from the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program are missing. The unit is designed to help train and provide equipment for foreign police, intelligence and security forces. The department is now scrambling around its Washington offices to take inventory of all registered laptops. (Congressional Quarterly)

The FBI, the IRS and federal prosecutors around the country are teaming up to investigate whether some mortgage lenders willingly accepted falsified income profiles from borrowers. The task force, first formed in January to examine 14 mortgage companies involved in localized activity. The inquiry has since expanded its reach to well-known operations like Countrywide Financial Corporation. (New York Times)

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Forget about the frustration at the slow pace of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. You know it's got to really burn the administration to miss a good chance for a PR coup.

But as The Washington Post reports this morning, things are moving at such a glacial pace down in sunny Guantanamo that it seems impossible at this point that any of the September 11th suspects will begin trial before the election -- or even before the Bush administration leaves office.

You know that's got to burn because of comments made by the Pentagon officials heading up the trials. The former chief prosecutor there testified that he was told that he should really push to land plea deals or indictments before the election. And another member of the prosecution team said the Pentagon's top legal adviser in its commissions office wanted to pursue certain cases ahead of others because they would "seize the imagination of the American public" and make a splash.

But the only case that seems at all likely to go to trial before the election is that of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the alleged driver for Osama bin Laden. And the pretrial hearings for that have been far from pretty -- with Gitmo's former chief prosecutor testifying about the politicization of the system, and Hamdan, who says he has been addled by torture and prolonged solitary confinement, himself proclaiming that he won't participate in what he sees as a rigged system.

The apparent problem is that it just takes a long time to work out the kinks of a made-up process. As a lawyer from Human Rights Watch puts it, "Every little detail ends up being contested, because it's an entirely new system of justice."

But administration officials are trying to keep their chins up, their eyes on the prize. In answering criticisms that the process will be occasionally and arbitrarily shielded from the press, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, the top legal authority in the Pentagon's Office of Military Commissions and the man who was, according to those prosecutors referenced above, so keen on landing indictments before the elections, is unapologetic. Certain things have to be blocked from the press to ensure that classified or sensitive information is not disseminated, he says. And besides, who needs publicity?

Hartmann said that within the military commissions process, "the principal obligation is not to the press," and that the cases are full, fair and open because of the rights afforded to the defendants. "That's what we do in the American system of justice," he said.

The next step in the House Judiciary Committee's attempts to hear from the architects of the administration's interrogation policy: the panel just voted to authorize a subpoena for David Addington. Last week, Addington indicated that he might appear to testify if the committee subpoenaed him. It's not clear yet when that hearing might be.

The committee also is seeking to hear from John Yoo, John Ashcroft, Doug Feith, former CIA Director George Tenet, and former lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel Daniel Levin. The committee continues to negotiate with all of those possible witnesses about appearing in the future, according to a press release yesterday. During the vote just now, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said that "most" of the witnesses the committee wanted to hear from had agreed to appear.

Over the weekend, there were reports of robo calls during Louisiana's 6th District special election, during which State Rep. Don Cazayoux had narrowly beaten Republican Woody Jenkins. In the calls, which went out to Baton Rouge's African-American neighborhoods on election day, a voice told voters to teach white Democrats a lesson by staying home and not voting. It signed off "Friends of Michael Jackson," according to The Advocate.

But Jackson, an African-American state lawmaker who'd lost in the primary to Cazayoux, said he had nothing to do with the calls. So whodunnit?

The answer: Darrell Glasper, who told me that he was a political independent who'd made the calls because he said African-Americans "have been loyal for so long and received so little." Glasper, an African-American, said that he was an acquaintance and supporter of Jackson's, but that he'd made the calls without Jackson's knowledge and had stopped the calls at Jackson's request. He'd made 10,000 or so by that time, he said.

Glasper's company Magnolia Computers came up on the caller ID for the robo calls, reported a reader of the local blog The Daily Kingfish. The Daily Kingfish also had a transcript of the calls:

"I'm very upset that the National Democratic Party favored Don Cazayoux from New Roads over Michael Jackson. The Democratic Party raised $850,000 for Don Cazayoux which is the only reason Michael Jackson lost in the Democratic runoff. The National and State Democratic Parties always seem to back the white democrat over the black democrat and that's wrong. A lot of us who are supporting Michael Jackson feel the National Democratic Party need to be taught a lesson. We're not voting for Don Cazayoux because we believe Woody Jenkins will be a lot easier to beat in November when Senator Barack Obama is on the ballot. You haven't heard many black elected officials supporting Don Cazayoux. On Saturday we're going to stay home and see how the National Democratic Party do without us."

"Paid for by Friends of Michael Jackson."


Glasper told me that he'd been frustrated by the Democratic Party's lack of support for Jackson when he'd run in the primary against the white Cazayoux -- there was no get out the vote operation, he said, and "without money in the community Jackson couldn't make it." But that support, he said, materialized on Cazayoux's behalf in the general election. "That's my interpretation of how they play the political games." (Of course, there's nothing remarkable in the fact that the party did not run a GOTV effort within the Dem primary but did against the Republican candidate.)

When I asked him why he'd signed off the calls "Friends of Michael Jackson," when the calls were not in fact from Jackson's campaign, he said "I'm a friend of Michael Jackson's." When I pressed, he said that the calls "may have said friends or by a friend," he can't remember.

But Glasper, who up until recently served as chairman of BREC, an agency that operates public park and recreation facilities and programs throughout East Baton Rouge Parish, was unapologetic about the calls. When I told him that the Louisiana State Democratic Party said the calls violated election law and were likely to take the matter to court, he told me "This is America, you can say what you want."

From The National Law Journal:

Congress is close to enacting the most significant boost in three decades in the independence of the cadre of government watchdogs -- federal inspectors general -- but the lawmakers have retreated from a key change involving the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Senate on April 23 approved, by unanimous consent, S. 2324, the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008. But the bill passed only after the lawmakers agreed to an amendment by Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., which, among other items, deleted a provision giving the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) jurisdiction to investigate misconduct allegations against department attorneys, including its most senior officials.

Unlike all other OIGs who can investigate misconduct within their entire agency, Justice's OIG must refer allegations against department attorneys to the department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). The latter office, unlike the OIG, is not statutorily independent and reports directly to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general....

President Bush had threatened to veto the House bill for a variety of reasons. The Kyl amendment to the Senate bill was seen by many as a vehicle for the White House's objections.


OPR, which reports to the attorney general, is currently conducting a variety of very sensitive investigations for the administration. The office is probing the Department's approval of the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. And recently it announced that it is investigating the Department's legal memos authorizing the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture by CIA and military interrogators.

It is conducting those probes because Inspector General Glenn Fine cannot. The bill which passed the House would have changed that, as Fine himself pointed out in a letter (pdf) to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) back in February, when he told them that he could not investigate the Department's authorization of torture because "under current law, the OIG does not have jurisdiction to review the actions of DOJ attorneys acting in their capacity to provide legal advice." Fine added: "Legislation that would remove this limitation has passed the House and is pending in the Senate, but at this point the OIG does not have jurisdiction to undertake the review you request."

And with Kyl's amendment, it appears that Fine won't be getting that jurisdiction any time soon.

The National Law Journal quotes a former DoJ IG on why some people want to tie Fine's hands:

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Former GSA chief Lurita Doan tells her story about how she got the axe:

Q: Tell us about the logistics of how this all happened. It's been pretty much universally reported that you were asked to resign by the White House. If you could tell us if that is indeed what happened, and then if you could tell us how it happened.

Doan: Well Francis, you know, it's a real thrill to go to the White House. You get to walk up that curved drive to the West Wing, and.... and I have a deep, and a really lasting respect for President Bush who... who I believe is a truly great man, but... but during my 22 months as Administrator of GSA, I had never met with any senior White House person - not once. So here I am, I'm sitting down for the first time with (White House Chief of Staff) Josh Bolton and (White House Counsel) Fred Fielding and less than thirty seconds into the meeting I was told that the White House is requesting my resignation. It was humbling, and frankly, it was bizarre. So naturally, I immediately stated "I serve at the pleasure of the President" and I immediately gave my resignation, but... but it was absolutely surreal.

Q: Was there any discussion of why this was happening?

Doan: Of course I naturally asked why do they want my resignation.... [A]nd I was surprised to be told that from the White House point of view I was considered - and this is a direct quote - a "distraction".


As Government Executive reported last week, Doan doesn't think that her firing had anything to do with the alleged Hatch Act violations -- but rather with her ongoing feud with the GSA's inspector general.

More score settling. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez opens fire on Bernie Kerik's time training the Iraqi police in Iraq:

"He is a very energetic guy. He is very confident - overconfident to an extent - and he is very superficial in his understanding of the requirements of his job," Sanchez said. "His whole contribution was a waste of time and effort."...

Sanchez said Kerik focused more on "conducting raids and liberating prostitutes" than training the Iraqis.

"They'd get tips and they'd go and actually raid a whorehouse," Sanchez told The News. "Their focus becomes trying to do tactical police operations in the city of Baghdad, when in fact there is a much greater mission that they should be doing, which is training the police."...

Kerik denied arresting any prostitutes in Iraq and said the Army always knew about his operations.

To call Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons' tenure troubled doesn't quite capture it.

It started off with a bang with accusations that he'd drunkenly assaulted a cocktail waitress in a parking garage in the middle of the night. That probe was eventually closed due to insufficient evidence. And then there's the federal investigation as to whether he took bribes from a defense contractor while he was a congressman. And now he's seeking a very public divorce from his wife.

Yes, there have been happier times, such as during this 2005 cruise, which was paid for by his defense contractor buddy:

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