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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

New Newsweek poll:

A majority of Americans polled, 53 percent, believe that reports that the NSA has been secretly collecting the phone records of U.S. citizens since the 9/11 terrorist attacks to create a database of calls goes too far in invading people's privacy, according to the new Newsweek Poll, while 41 percent feel it is a necessary tool to combat terrorism. In light of this news and other actions by the Bush-Cheney administration, 57 percent of Americans say they have gone too far in expanding presidential power, while only 38 percent say they have not.

Only 35 percent of Americans approve of the way the president is handling his job-down one percentage point since the last Newsweek Poll. Seventy-one percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time, an all time high in the Newsweek Poll, while only 23 percent are satisfied. When asked how history will view George W. Bush, an overwhelming 50 percent of Americans polled said he will be viewed as a below average president. Since his re-election in 2004, 47 percent feel his performance has stayed the same, while 48 percent feel it has gotten worse.

You say Fah-go, I say Foh-go? Well, turns out there's no need to call the whole thing off.

Here at TPM we've been following the Kyle "Dusty" Foggo story for six months or more. And all this time I've thought the name was pronounced Foh-goh, with a long O like 'Joe'. But recently I've heard people pronouncing it Fah-goh, as though it were the were fog, with a little 'oh' tacked on at the end.

Now, I don't think I based on my own pronunciation on anything more than that was how it occurred to me to pronounce it when I first saw it on paper.

So I thought I could resolve the issue for myself and perhaps do a small public service by looking into it.

I spoke to a friend and sometimes source from the intel world who shares some friends and acquaintances with Foggo. He checked it with them and it turns out it's Foh-goh, not Fah-goh.

This is partly a rhetorical question. But mainly, it's the real thing. How many prime time television addresses has President Bush had over the last twelve months? It really seems like they're coming pretty fast and furious these days. Can anyone provide a tally?

Any poll like this is just a snapshot in time. But CNN just commissioned a poll comparing public attitudes toward President Bush and his predecessor ...

Respondents favored Clinton by greater than 2-to-1 margins when asked who did a better job at handling the economy (63 percent Clinton, 26 percent Bush) and solving the problems of ordinary Americans (62 percent Clinton, 25 percent Bush). (Watch whether Americans are getting nostalgic for the Clinton era -- 1:57)

On foreign affairs, the margin was 56 percent to 32 percent in Clinton's favor; on taxes, it was 51 percent to 35 percent for Clinton; and on handling natural disasters, it was 51 percent to 30 percent, also favoring Clinton.

Moreover, 59 percent said Bush has done more to divide the country, while only 27 percent said Clinton had.

When asked which man was more honest as president, poll respondents were more evenly divided, with the numbers -- 46 percent Clinton to 41 percent Bush -- falling within the poll's margin of error. The same was true for a question on handling national security: 46 percent said Clinton performed better; 42 percent picked Bush.


Speaks for itself. And I suspect Americans attitudes toward President Bush will only grow more grim over time.

The Post and the Times both have Saturday run-downs of the raids at the home and office of Dusty Foggo. Of the two, the Post's seemed more detail rich.

Some interesting tidbits.

According to the Post, Foggo was in his office at Langley as late as late Thursday evening. In his resignation email he'd given readers the impression that he'd be around for a few more weeks. By Friday morning, though, he'd been barred access to the entire CIA campus.

Both papers are now hearing from intel sources that Goss had asked Foggo to resign early last week, a few days before Goss himself resigned. And both papers are also hearing and apparently crediting claims that Goss himself didn't know Foggo before plucking him from relative obscurity to assume day to day management of the Agency.

If Goss didn't know Foggo well enough to come up with the idea to hire him, who did? What we've been hearing of late is that the idea originated with staffers Goss brought over from the House. And the Times points to Brant "Nine Fingers" Bassett, the retired CIA officer who went to work for Goss on the Hill and then went back to the Agency with him as a consultant.

Remember, as TPMmuckraker was first to report on Tuesday, Bassett did consulting work for Brent Wilkes between retiring from the CIA and going to work for Goss. As another recommender of Foggo, we keep hearing the name of Patrick Murray. But the indications are less clear there. And it may be that Bassett is the one who sold Murray on Foggo. The whole question, as you can see, is quite murky.

Here's one other graf that jumped out at me in the Post's piece ...

During his tenure, Foggo tightened the agency's publication rules and launched several probes of leaks to the media.


I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

And before proceding, let me say that what follows is highly speculative. In fact, I'm just going to set out some connections between various facts already in the public record. I don't know more than is already out there. With that said, let me proceed.

Foggo seems to have been close to the hack-in-chief in the partisanized hackocracy that Goss tried to create at the CIA. But does Foggo's role in pressing what were apparently leak probes of unprecedented scope have some deeper connection to the story?

We now know that the CIA Inspector General's investigation, which CIA spokespersons had until recently been calling perfunctory, was nothing of the sort. They were there on the scene yesterday helping haul documents out of Foggo's home and office. That investigation has been going on for some time. And clearly it was a pretty big deal.

The biggest scalp bagged by those leak investigations was CIA historian and Africa specialist Mary McCarthy. You remember that a few weeks ago she was fired from the Agency, just before retiring, allegedly for leaking information to the Washington Post's Dana Priest.

Now, in emails today, several readers noted the fact that at the time of her firing, McCarthy was working in the CIA's Inspector General's office, the same office that was then investigating Foggo and not more than a few weeks after McCarthy's firing would participate in raids on Foggo's home and office.

Is there some connection here? My professional instincts tell me not to jump to conclusions based on what are likely coincidences or press for the nefarious and complex explanation when the banal and simple ones are more common. Some version of this is what I emailed to readers.

But my experience with this case -- and by that I mean the whole thing leading back the Cunningham part of the story -- points in a somewhat different direction. At most every point there's been much more going on under the surface of the story than was known at the time. And that's continued to be the case over the last couple weeks.

So I'm not sure I'd dismiss this suggested connection out of hand. When McCarthy was fired, "several former senior intelligence officials [told the Post] they could not recall a similar sanction being levied against a serving CIA officer in the past several decades." Current and former Agency used similar words today with both the Post and the Times, explaining that a non-espionage criminal investigation of a CIA official seemed unprecedented.

Clearly, over the last month you've had several things pop at the CIA that insiders call unprecedented in the Agency's history. And I don't think we can dismiss the possibility that they may interconnect in ways we don't yet understand. I'm not saying it as simple as that Foggo managed to whack the IG's office before they whacked him. Perhaps it is simply that the pressures that blew up over the last week had the place in such a tight vise that weird things were happening all over. Who knows.

At a minimum, if Foggo was the prime mover behind investigating and firing McCarthy and today he's barred from entering the CIA campus and the target of a corruption investigation, the whole McCarthy saga deserves a fresh look.

I'll just say I think there's much more we're going to find out about this story over the next few weeks. And little of it, I suspect, will be pretty.

Just to keep count, how many federal investigative agencies in on the expanding Cunningham investigation?

FBI, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, IRS, CIA IG. The first three were there from the start in the raids on Wilkes', Wade's and Duke's homes. This is CIA IG's office's first appearance.

I guess the IG's investigation of Foggo wasn't quite as routine as they claimed earlier this week. Go figure.

How many federal investigative jurisdictions?

San Diego, LA, DC, Northern Virginia.

Any I'm forgetting?

Now, here's a question to consider. Is it just a coincidence that the FBI raided Dusty Foggo's home and office, like, three or four days after he announced he was stepping down? And if not, did Foggo really step down because of Goss's departure? Or maybe does the line of causation run the other way?

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