Friday, September 5, 2008

top secret? not in this administration

Stories you may have missed this week if you were out scouting on where best to place your deer caribou stand.

Item 1. Former Attorney General Albert Gonalez took classified documents home in violation of the law, especially troubling if you consider that as Attorney General, Mr. Gonzales should have had the highest regard for the rule of law. Oh wait. This is the administration that brought us John Ashcroft, warrantless wiretaps, and torture.

Published: September 2, 2008
New York Times

The Justice Department inspector general, who investigated Mr. Gonzales’s handling of the documents, said he kept classified material at his home and in an office safe in violation of security procedures. The inspector general referred the matter to the national security division of the Justice Department for possible criminal action, but officials there declined to prosecute Mr. Gonzales.

Mr. Gonzales’s mishandling of the classified documents adds a new embarrassment to the long list of problems that tainted his tenure as attorney general. He resigned one year ago, after two and a half years in the job, in the face of growing criticism from lawmakers over his role in the N.S.A. wiretapping program and in the dismissals of nine United States attorneys.

The office of Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said in its report that Mr. Gonzales had mishandled 18 documents that were considered S.C.I. classification, or sensitive compartmentalized information, a security category for documents considered more tightly controlled than top secret.

The most sensitive material among the documents was Mr. Gonzales’s handwritten account of an emergency meeting at the White House on March 10, 2004, regarding the N.S.A. wiretapping program.

Item 2. Alaskan Govenor Sarah Palin referred to American troops fighting in Iraq were on a "task that is from God". Geez. Funny, isn't that what the enemy also says?

Published: September 3, 2008
The Associated Press

In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it "God's will."

Palin asked the students to pray for the troops in Iraq, and noted that her eldest son, Track, was expected to be deployed there.

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," she said. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

Item 3. Jack Abramoff was sentenced to 4 years on federal criminal charges of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Mr. Abramoff is already serving a 6-year term in Florida for fraud.
Published: September 4, 2008
New York Times

Beginning with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, Mr. Abramoff sat at the center of a lobbying conglomerate that bilked Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars and then used much of that bundle to win favor with members of Congress. He provided members and their aides with gifts, the most infamous of which was a lavish golf outing to Scotland.

In asking for the reduction of his prison term, the government had cited his cooperation with investigators, which prosecutors said was, “wholly or partially credited for convictions of a Member of Congress, five high-level legislative branch officials, one high-level executive branch official and two other mid to low-level public officials.”

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