Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I wanted to let everyone know that next week we're hosting Peter Bergen and his new book The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader at TPMCafe Book Club.

Joining us for the discussion will be Juliette Kayyem, Bruce Lawrence, Fawaz Gerges, Spencer Ackerman, John Stuart Blackton and others.

As with some of our earlier Book Clubs, we'll be organizing our discussion around a central set of questions. We've organized our foreign policy for going on five years around terrorism and Osama bin Laden. How much progress have we made? Do our policies fit the threat? Do they fit the man, bin Laden?

I hope you'll join us. Ask your own questions and participate in the conversation. We'll keep things off on Monday the 16th.

Ahhh, the Washington Times. Yesterday the Times published an article claiming that Harry Reid was a central focus of the Justice Department's Abramoff investigation. As the Nevada Review-Journal reports, the story doesn't seem to pan out.

(ed.note: I'm shocked.)

Dick Cheney may wish he could quit the Iraq-al-Qaida-link canard. But the urge is just too great.

This from his interview yesterday with Tony Snow ...

Some people have done is gotten very sloppy and said, well, there was no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, and then jumped to the conclusion that there was no relationship at all with respect to al Qaeda.

And the Iraqis -- the fact is we know that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were heavily involved with terror. They were carried as a terror-sponsoring state by our State Department for many, many years. Abu Nidal operated out of there; Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Saddam Hussein was making payments to families of suicide bombers. All of this is very well established. And Steve Hayes is of the view -- and I think he's correct -- that a lot of those documents that were captured over there that have not yet been evaluated offer additional evidence that, in fact, there was a relationship that stretched over many years between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda organization.

Some people. So sloppy.

Sic Transit.

Excellent. New Alito character witness testifying today, Peter Kirsanow, has ties to Jack Abramoff.

Kirsanow also just got a recess appointment from President Bush to do anti-Union work at the National Labor Relations Board. But, hey, let's stay on topic.

Mitt Romney really has the Midas Touch. The Massachusetts Governor and Chairman of the Republican Governors Association has decided that the organization will give $500,000 from newly-minted-felon Michael Scanlon to charity. But they're not in any rush. Since that's apparently what they're now running the organization on, they're going to spread the give-back over two years.

Okay, here's my question: where's the money?

The accepted number has it that Jack Abramoff collected more than $80 million in fees from his Indian gambling clients. And, remember, those weren't his only clients.

Take the example of Abramoff's work for Tyco, handled by the company's counsel Timothy Flanigan.

Abramoff had Tyco pay 'Grassroots Interactive' $2 million for doing various astroturf bamboozlement on their behalf. But a subsequent investigation found that $1.5 million of that money was "diverted to entities controlled by Mr. Abramoff" and spent on other things. (This is sort of like being defrauded out of your rightful fraud.) That's a decent amount of money. Where is it?

Abramoff has been telling friends and, at least indirectly, reporters for some time that he's close to broke. And I've seen at least some evidence that suggests that that is either true or that he is, as the finance types says, very illiquid.

You only have to look at the stories of Abramoff's lifestyle and various projects to know he was probably burning through lots of money in his glory days. But I don't think that quite explains it. The sums coming in are just too big.

We keep hearing of pretty sizeable sums of money that disappeared into this or that Abramoff-controlled entity. Where did it all go?

I think that's where the story is.

Those really were the days, weren't they?

That's Ralph Reed at the DC Grand Opening of Century Strategies, his political consulting firm. The date is June 24th, 2003. And those were, of course, the salad days.

That's Ralph in the center. Jack Abramoff is there on the right. And we're pretty certain that the woman on the left is Susan Ralston, Abramoff's former executive assistant who, at the time this photo was taken, was executive assistant to Karl Rove.

Compare the photo with this photo of Ralston.
We report; you decide. You know the drill.

Coming later: a picture of Jack and W?