Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach Bush And Cheney Before It Is Settled In The Streets

Click for a full report.

Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Impeach Bush And Cheney Before It Is Settled In The Streets

Impeaching Bush And Cheney: Updates On The Continued: Iran Invasion Threat (Kyl/Lieberman Vote Meant Nothing!) , Wire Tapping, Our Continuing Democratic Party Impotence, Pelosi Is Under The Table, Hoyer Becomes An Idiot, The USA Supports Genocide, Bush Defends Torture Again, Some Interesting Emails, Amnesty International Actions, Bringing Troop Strength Up To 547,000, Supreme Court Won’t Review CIA Torture Case…”Hot Potato”, Hillary The Hawk Bush Enabler, Wrong Visions, Wrong Assumptions, Political Cowardice and Expediency Everywhere, MORE…


The Real News Network…Please listen to the video interview. {Iran Issue}

Two years ago, the NY Times revealed George Bush has been illegally wire tapping our phones and emails for years. Bush publicly admitted signing the authorizations for illegal wiretaps over 30 times.

Bush's warrantless wiretaps are a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment. And under the 1978 FISA law, the penalty for each of Bush's illegal wiretaps is up to $10,000 and 5 years in prison. Bush may have wiretapped millions of Americans, so he should not only be impeached, but he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Incredibly, "Bush Dog" Democrats led by House Majority Steny Hoyer not only refuse to impeach Bush - they want to immunize Bush and his co-conspirators, the telephone giants, so they never pay a penny or spend a day behind bars for their crimes.

Stop Bush's Warrantless Wiretapping

Congress needs to hear from all of us today; Email your Representatives to demand impeachment, not immunity:

I am one of the 73% of Americans who oppose George Bush's warrantless wiretapping of American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA):

I am outraged that George Bush admits he broke the FISA law at least 30 times by authorizing activities that were illegal - and I am outraged Congress has not impeached Bush for doing so.

I am outraged that the Bush Administration has lied about its illegal activities for years, especially former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' perjury before Congress - and I am outraged Gonzales has not been prosecuted for doing so.

I am outraged that George Bush used a false terrorist threat in August to terrorize Congress into legalizing his illegal wiretapping - and I am outraged Congress has not impeached Bush for doing so.

I am outraged that nearly every Republican and a few dozen Democrats voted for Bush's wiretapping bill.

I therefore demand the following:

(1) Immediate repeal of the "Protect America Act of 2007" enacted in August, or at a minimum allowing it to expire in January.

(2) Defeat of any further legislation to legalize warrantless wiretapping or give immunity to telephone companies or Bush Administration officials who participated in the illegal wiretapping of American citizens

(3) Prosecution of Alberto Gonzales for lying to Congress when he testified that there was no "serious disagreement" inside the Justice Department over the illegal program, even though then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and his top aides dramatically threatened to resign over the program.

(4) Impeachment of George Bush for violating the Fourth Amendment and FISA over 30 times and for falsely terrorizing Congress into passing the Protect America Act.

(5) Criminal prosecution of Bush, Gonzales, and everyone else who committed these crimes.

Democrats Seem Ready to Extend Wiretap Powers
Published: October 9, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.

Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval.

As the debate over the eavesdropping powers of the National Security Agency begins anew this week, the emerging measures reflect the reality confronting the Democrats.

Although willing to oppose the White House on the Iraq war, they remain nervous that they will be called soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on gathering intelligence.

A Democratic bill to be proposed on Tuesday in the House would maintain for several years the type of broad, blanket authority for N.S.A. eavesdropping that the administration secured in August for six months.

In an acknowledgment of concerns over civil liberties, the bill would require a more active role by the special foreign intelligence court that oversees the interception of foreign-based communications by the security agency.

A competing proposal in the Senate, still being drafted, may be even closer in line with the administration plan, with the possibility of including retroactive immunity for telecommunications utilities that participated in the once-secret program to eavesdrop without court warrants.

No one is willing to predict with certainty how the question will play out. Some Congressional officials and others monitoring the debate said the final result might not be much different from the result in August, despite the Democrats’ insistence that they would not let stand the extension of the powers.

“Many members continue to fear that if they don’t support whatever the president asks for, they’ll be perceived as soft on terrorism,” said William Banks, a professor who specializes in terrorism and national security law at Syracuse University and who has written extensively on federal wiretapping laws.

The August bill, known as the Protect America Act, was approved in the final hours before Congress went on its summer recess after heated warnings from the administration that legal loopholes in wiretapping coverage had left the country vulnerable to another terrorist attack. The measure significantly reduced the role of the foreign intelligence court and broadened the security agency’s ability to listen to foreign-based communications without court warrants.

“We want the statute made permanent,” a spokesman for the Justice Department, Dean Boyd, said Monday. “We view this as a healthy debate. We also view it as an opportunity to inform Congress and the public that we can use these authorities responsibly. We’re going to go forward and look at any proposals that come forth. But we’ll look at them very carefully to make sure they don’t have any consequences that hamper our abilities to protect the country.”

House Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the bill in August and said the administration had been forced them into a corner.

As Congress takes up the new bills, a senior Democratic aide said, House leaders are working hard to ensure that the administration does not succeed in pushing through a bill that would make permanent all the powers it secured in August.

“That’s what we’re trying to avoid,” the aide said. “We have that concern too.”

The bill to be proposed on Tuesday by the Democratic leaders of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees would impose more controls over the powers of security agency, including quarterly audits by the Justice Department inspector general. The measure would also give the foreign intelligence court a role in approving, in advance, “basket” or “umbrella” warrants for bundles of overseas communications, a Congressional official said.

“We are giving the N.S.A. what it legitimately needs for national security but with far more limitations and protections than are in the Protect America Act,” said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California.

Perhaps most important in the eyes of Democratic supporters, the House bill would not give retroactive immunity to the telecommunications utilities that participated in the eavesdropping. That has been a top priority of the administration. The temporary measure gave the utilities immunity for future acts, but not past deeds.

Private groups are trying to prove in federal court that the utilities violated the law by participating in the program.

A former senior Justice Department lawyer, Jack Goldsmith, seemed to bolster their case last week when he told Congress that the program was a “legal mess” and strongly suggested that it was illegal.

The House bill would also require the administration to disclose details of the program. Democrats say they plan to push the administration to turn over internal documents laying out the legal rationale for the program, something the administration has refused to do.

In the Senate, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, is working with his Republican counterpart, Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, a main proponent of the August plan, to come up with a compromise.

Wendy Morigi, a spokeswoman for Mr. Rockefeller, said that retroactive immunity for the utilities was “under discussion” but that no final proposal had been developed.

The immunity issue may prove to be the crucial sticking point between whatever proposals the House and Senate ultimately pass. Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who was among the harshest critics of the temporary bill, said in an interview he would vigorously oppose any effort to grant retroactive legal protection to telecommunications utilities.

“There is heavy pressure on the immunity, and we should not cave an inch on that,” Mr. Nadler said.

Mr. Nadler said that he was worried the Senate would give too much ground to the administration in its proposal, but that he was satisfied with the bill to be proposed on Tuesday in the House.

“It is not perfect, but it is a good bill,” he said. “It makes huge improvements in the current law. In some respects it is better than the old FISA law,” a reference to the foreign intelligence court.

Civil liberties advocates and others who met House officials on Monday on the proposed bill agreed that it was an improvement over the August plan but were less charitable in their overall assessment.

‘This still authorizes the interception of Americans’ international communications without a warrant in far too many instances, and without adequate civil liberties protections,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, who was in the group that met House officials.

Caroline Frederickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she was troubled by the Democrats’ acceptance of broad, blanket warrants for the security agency rather than the individualized warrants traditionally required by the intelligence court.

“The Democratic leadership, philosophically, is with us,” Ms. Frederickson said. “But we need to help them realize the political case, which is that Democrats will not be in danger if they don’t reauthorize this Protect America Act. They’re nervous.

“There’s a ‘keep the majority’ mentality, which is understandable,” she said, “But we think they’re putting themselves in more danger by not standing on principle.”

Behind The Scenes, Liberals Ponder Supporting FISA Legislation
By Greg Sargent - October 9, 2007, 7:21PM

Things are in flux tonight behind the scenes as House Dems struggle to decide whether to support the FISA legislation that two House committees unveiled today. So here's what we're able to gather about the state of play right now.

The entire House leadership is supporting the bill, confirms Stacey Bernards, a spokesperson for House Dem leader Steny Hoyer. But where are the House liberals? They are the key group to watch, because their mini-revolt against the legislation last week was taken as a sign that there would be heavy pressure on the House leadership not to capitulate by giving the administration too much power over wiretapping.

So where are they? According to House Dem aides, House liberals appear to be leaning in the direction of supporting the legislation -- though nothing is at all certain. Earlier today, an aide says, an internal count of House members showed very strong opposition among liberals to the bill unveiled today. But later in the day, some liberals appeared to be privately concluding that many of their demands -- which they unveiled amid last week's revolt in hopes of influencing the process -- had been met, this aide says.

Indeed, one key House liberal who'd taken a stand against earlier manifestations of the measure -- Jerrold Nadler -- announced today that he would support the bill. In a statement his office claimed the bill "reinforces the role of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in regards to electronic surveillance programs," and "requires that FISA warrants are required when targeting domestic communications," though it doesn't require them for foreign ones.

Still, things are in flux, and the aide cautions that a key sticking point for liberals remains -- the measure's embrace of "basket" wiretapping. House liberals are meeting behind closed doors as we speak to debate what their stance should be on the legislation. The House liberals' efforts are being coordinated by Bill Goold, an aide to Rep. Lynne Woolsey (D-CA), one of the key House libs behind last week's mini-revolt.

What's more, some voices on the left are strongly urging House liberals to hold the line on "basket" warrants. As Matt Stoller noted over at Open Left, the ACLU issued a statement today blasting the legislation over this provision, saying that it is "a crucial sticking point. There is no specific target when you use basket warrants, which contradicts the heart of the Fourth Amendment. Essentially, a basket warrant really means no real warrant." A spokesman for Rep. Nadler was unable to immediately say why he backed the legislation despite this feature.

I'm told that House liberals are privately discussing refusing to yield on this point, but it won't be clear how willing they are to hold the line on it until some internal decisions are reached and the House libs start taking public positions in earnest. We'll know more in the A.M.

Is Steny Hoyer the Stupidest Democrat in HISTORY?
by bob fertik
Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 06:51:12 PM PDT

Paul Kiel found this astonishing AP story:

A top Democratic leader opened the door Tuesday to granting U.S. telecommunications companies retroactive legal immunity for helping the government conduct electronic surveillance without court orders, but said the Bush administration must first detail what those companies did.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said providing the immunity will likely be the price of getting President Bush to sign into law new legislation extending the government's surveillance authority. About 40 pending lawsuits name telecommunications companies for alleged violations of wiretapping laws. Democrats introduced a draft version of the new law Tuesday _ without the immunity language.

"We have not received documentation as to what in fact was done, for which we've been asked to give immunity," Hoyer said.

If this report is accurate, Steny Hoyer has just proved that he is the stupidest person in the Democratic Party alive today - and perhaps for all time.

bob fertik's diary

As we all know, George Bush and his subordinates have broken the law repeatedly - perhaps thousands of times, perhaps millions, perhaps even billions - by illegally capturing the phone calls and emails of American citizens without a warrant. Under FISA, the penalty for each violation is a fine up to 10,000 dollars, up to five years in jail, or both.

George Bush personally authorized these massive illegal wiretaps through executive orders at least 30 times.

If George Bush were prosecuted, he'd spend the rest of his life in jail. If Democrats wanted to impeach Bush, they'd have a slam-dunk case.

(Of course Democrats don't have the smoking-gun evidence of Bush's crimes in hand. Why not? Because Bush refuses to give it to them, even though they started asking for it two years ago (under then-Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter) when the NY Times first exposed the scandal. But all they need to do to get the evidence is enforce their subpoenas through Inherent Contempt (locking up stonewalling officials in a DC jail like they do to anti-Bush protesters) or starting impeachment hearings, which would make enforcement of the subpoenas by Federal courts easier.)

In other words, Democrats have Bush over a barrel - or as they say in Texas, they have him by the balls.

So what does Steny Hoyer want to do with this unbelievable leverage?

He could use it for many things. For example, he could tell Bush to bring our troops safely home from Iraq now or face impeachment and prosecution for violating FISA.

He could tell Bush to appoint a Special Prosecutor to prosecute the hundreds of billions in corrupt contracts to his cronies from Iraq to the Gulf Coast or face impeachment and prosecution for violating FISA.

He could tell Bush to de-Bushify the executive branch by firing every Michael Brown and Monica Goodling or face impeachment and prosecution for violating FISA.

He could tell Bush to provide universal health care, stop global warming, and fix all our crumbling schools, roads, bridges, and levees or face impeachment and prosecution for violating FISA.

He could tell Bush to cut taxes on working families by raising taxes on the rich or face impeachment and prosecution for violating FISA.

Get the picture?

Now there's one crucial assumption in this argument - that Bush actually cares about being impeached or going to prison. Because if he doesn't care, then he'll cheerfully accept impeachment and prison rather than meet Democratic demands.

And that's where Hoyer's insane idea of granting immunity to telephone companies comes into play.

If Bush doesn't care about impeachment or prison, the executives of the telephone companies sure as hell do care about their civil and criminal liability for violating FISA, because each of them could be fined and imprisoned for each violation their companies committed.

And the millions of shareholders of the telephone companies sure as hell do care because their companies could be bankrupted by FISA civil suits.

And between the executives and shareholders of the telephone companies, they could damn well persuade Bush to accept whatever terms the Democrats demand.

So with all of this incredible leverage in the palm of his hands; what is Hoyer proposing to do with it?

He wants to use it to get Bush to sign a bill that no one in America wants Democrats to pass or Bush to sign!!!

The American people are perfectly happy with FISA as it existed until Democrats gutted it in August by passing the Protect Wiretappers Act under the false threat of a terrorist attack - which itself was a criminal act by the Bush Administration. did a poll in August that found 73%-22% opposition to Bush's warrantless wiretapping plan.

But while the August law was loathsome, its only saving grace was a 6 month expiration date, at which point the strict terms of FISA would again become the law. So Americans would be much better off if Congress did nothing now and simply let the Protect Wiretappers Act expire.

But instead of doing nothing, Hoyer wants to get on his knees to beg Bush to sign a bill that nobody wants, and use his ace-in-the-hole to make him sign it!

Steny Hoyer practiced law for 15 years. If he doesn't understand the leverage he has in his hands, he should not only be thrown out of Congress - he should be tarred and feathered by every freedom-loving voter in America.

And if Congressional Democrats support Hoyer's insanity, they should meet the very same fate.

On Tuesday's Ed Schultz Show, Nancy Pelosi struggled to explain why she opposes impeaching Bush and Cheney. She said if anyone could prove Bush committed impeachable offenses, they should contact her.

Of course violating the Fourth Amendment and FISA is impeachable, and it's proved by Bush's confession (see above). Rewriting laws with signing statements is impeachable, and it's proved by the statements posted on the White House website and by a GAO study finding that in many cases Bush has proceeded to violate the laws he claims the right to violate. Refusing to comply with subpoenas is impeachable, and there is no dispute that Bush and Cheney have refused to comply.

The evidence collected at proves that Bush and Cheney intentionally misled the nation into an illegal war of aggression. Numerous victims prove the practice of torture.

In sum, here are 10 provable reasons to impeach Bush and Cheney that you can send to Congress right now:

White House And Turkey Fight Bill On Armenia
Genocide Label for WWI-Era Killings Has House Support
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, October 10, 2007; Page A01

A proposed House resolution that would label as "genocide" the deaths of Armenians more than 90 years ago during the Ottoman Empire has won the support of a majority of House members, unleashing a lobbying blitz by the Bush administration and other opponents who say it would greatly harm relations with Turkey, a key ally in the Iraq war.

All eight living former secretaries of state have signed a joint letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warning that the nonbinding resolution "would endanger our national security interests." Three former defense secretaries, in their own letter, said Turkey probably would cut off U.S. access to a critical air base. The government of Turkey is spending more than $300,000 a month on communications specialists and high-powered lobbyists, including former congressman Bob Livingston, to defeat the initiative.

Pelosi, whose congressional district has a large Armenian population, has brushed aside such concerns and said she supports bringing the resolution, for the first time, to a full vote in the House, where more than half of the members have signed on as co-sponsors. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has passed such a resolution before, is set to vote on it today.

House Resolution 106, officially the Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide, has been pushed doggedly by a congressman whose Southern California district contains the largest concentration of Armenian Americans in the country. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D) won his seat in 2000 after his Republican predecessor was sandbagged when then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert reneged on a pledge and pulled the bill from the floor after a last-minute plea from President Bill Clinton.

Schiff, who defeated Rep. James Rogan after Hastert killed the floor vote, said the deaths so long ago still resonate with Armenians. "It is an insight you get when you have lots of Armenian constituents," he said, saying it reminded him of conversations he had while growing up Jewish. "But imagine losing the entire family and having the successor state say it never happened."

Few people deny that massacres killed hundreds of thousands of Armenian men, women and children during and immediately after World War I.

But Turkish officials and some historians say that the deaths resulted from forced relocations and widespread fighting when the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire collapsed, not from a campaign of genocide -- and that hundreds of thousands of Turks also died in the same region during that time.

"This is the greatest accusation of all against humanity," said Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy, referring to genocide. "You cannot expect any nation to accept that kind of labeling." He said the reaction in the Turkish parliament would be one of fury, noting that the Turkish military cut contacts with the French military and terminated defense contracts under negotiation after the French National Assembly voted in 2006 to criminalize the denial of Armenian genocide.

Pelosi had long been a co-sponsor of the resolution. The Armenian National Committee, one of the many Armenian organizations that have sought passage of the measure for years, has given her an "A" grade for her stance on Armenian issues.

Now as speaker, Pelosi will face a choice between her role as a national leader and her previous campaign pledges as a member of Congress. U.S.-Turkish relations are already under some strain because Kurdish militant groups have attacked Turkish targets from bases in Iraq, with Ankara suggesting it may launch its own attack. Turkey plans to hold a "neighbors" conference on Iraq pushed by the United States later this month, but a recent poll by the nonpartisan group Terror Free Tomorrow found that 83 percent of Turks would oppose assisting the United States on Iraq if the Armenia resolution passed.

It is a problem that has caused other politicians to flinch. As a presidential candidate in 2000, George W. Bush pledged to ensure that "our nation properly recognizes" what he called "a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension." But, angering Armenian groups, Bush refused to use the term in the annual presidential statement on the subject made on April 24, generally considered the beginning of the killings in 1915. President George H.W. Bush and Clinton also refused to refer to genocide in their annual statements, for fear of offending Turkey.

Among other things, the resolution calls on the president to use his annual message to "accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide."

In the Senate, where one-third of its members are co-sponsoring the resolution, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) supports the measure, as do the two leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination: Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.).

The State Department, which collected the signatures of the former secretaries of state, has lobbied against the resolution, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried and U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson calling lawmakers yesterday to "urge them not to vote for this," according to an interview Fried gave the Anatolia news agency.

The Turkish Embassy is paying $100,000 a month to lobbying firm DLA Piper and $105,000 a month to the Livingston Group, and it recently added communications specialists Fleishman-Hillard for nearly $114,000 a month, according to records filed with the Justice Department. Turkish lawmakers were on Capitol Hill yesterday, warning that passage would put military cooperation with Turkey at risk.

Meanwhile, leading the charge for the resolution are grass-roots groups such as the Armenian Assembly of America, with 10,000 members, a budget of $3.6 million last year and phone banks that are running on overtime calling members of Congress. The organization has signed up 53 non-Armenian ethnic groups, including a number of Jewish groups, to support the resolution.

Some Jewish groups have found themselves in a bind because Turkey is one of the few Muslim nations to have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Supreme Court Won't Review Alleged CIA Abduction
By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, October 10, 2007; Page A04

The Supreme Court declined yesterday to open U.S. courts to a German citizen who said he was abducted, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA because he was mistakenly identified as a terrorist.

The government had invoked its "state secrets" privilege and said there was no way for Khaled el-Masri to bring his lawsuit, or for the government to defend itself, without the disclosure of information that would endanger national security.

A federal district judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had dismissed Masri's suit, and the Supreme Court's denial of review of those actions came without comment or dissent.

Masri, who is of Lebanese descent, has said he was detained by Macedonian police while on vacation on Dec. 31, 2003, and handed over to the CIA a few weeks later under a secret program that transfers terrorism suspects to other countries for interrogation. He said he was taken to a secret CIA-run prison in Afghanistan and physically abused before he was flown back to the Balkans without explanation in May 2004 and dumped on a hillside in Albania.

German officials said they were later informed privately by their U.S. counterparts that Masri was detained in a case of mistaken identity, apparently confused with a terrorism suspect of a similar name. The case has drawn wide attention in Europe, although U.S. officials have not publicly admitted any guilt or responsibility in the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union had taken up Masri's case, and lawyer Ben Wizner said the Supreme Court's decision not to hear it "has provided the government with complete immunity for its shameful human rights and due-process violations."

ACLU lawyers that "the entire world already knows" the information the government said it is seeking to protect. But government lawyers said comments from officials are different from the specific details the administration would need to expose in order to litigate the case. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement called Masri's lawsuit an "extravagant request" that would overturn the precedent set by the court more than 50 years ago in denying a lawsuit brought during the Cold War about a downed warplane.

German authorities had tried to extradite 13 CIA agents they claimed were involved in Masri's abduction, but they dropped the effort last month.

Masri was committed to a psychiatric institution in May after he was arrested in the southern German city of Neu-Ulm on suspicion of arson. His attorney in Germany blamed his troubles on the CIA, saying the kidnapping and detention had left Masri a "psychological wreck."

New Security Strategy Emphasizes Disaster Preparedness
By Spencer S. Hsu and William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, October 10, 2007; Page A02

The White House yesterday updated the nation's homeland security strategy for the first time since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, acknowledging the need to prepare for catastrophic natural disasters as well as the "persistent and evolving" threat of terrorism.

The 53-page National Strategy for Homeland Security comes as the Bush administration, with little more than 15 months left in office, seeks to take account of lessons it painfully learned when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005.

"Homeland security both as a policy matter and as a concept didn't exist prior to 9/11 and prior to . . . President Bush assuming office," said Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser. "We believe that we had an obligation, regardless of who the next president is, Republican or Democrat, to leave them the benefit of our thinking."

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said however that the document "provides little guidance for the deficiencies already taxing our homeland security capacity, while at the same time, it attempts to define successes . . . which have not yet been realized."

Several security analysts praised the document for attempting to put such policies on more solid footing. But they also questioned its timing and long passages defending the pet initiatives of a dwindling administration, instead of reconciling security directives and plans issued over the past six years.

"It reads more like a legacy document than a forward-leaning strategy," said Frank J. Cilluffo, a former Bush adviser now head of George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute. "To some extent, it was a missed opportunity," he said.

David W. Heyman, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies homeland security program, noted that the 208,000-worker Department of Homeland Security remains short of key managers and its Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson recently announced his resignation.

"It's a surprising time . . . to come up with a new strategy," Heyman said. "My concern is that, even if this is a better or best strategy, without the effective leadership, human resources, processes and operations to support it, they are not going to set down roots."

The document supplants a 90-page strategy hastily drafted largely in private by a handful of White House advisers and released in July 2002. Criticized for overemphasizing terrorism at the expense of recurring natural events, the strategy hampered the federal government's response when Hurricane Katrina struck three years later, analysts said.

The new report acknowledges: "Threats come not only from terrorism, but also from nature. . . . Effective preparation for catastrophic natural disasters and man-made disasters, while not homeland security per se, can nevertheless increase the security of the homeland." The report said ongoing threats range from infectious disease outbreaks to "catastrophic domestic accidents" such as chemical spills and power failures.

The document sets four goals: to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks; protect the public, critical assets and resources; respond to and recover from incidents; and strengthen the nation's homeland security foundation. The 2002 strategy listed only the first three goals and named prevention but not disruption of attacks.

The report also restates that al-Qaeda is the "most serious and dangerous" threat, as noted in a July national intelligence estimate. "We remain particularly concerned about the employment of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)" in the United States, the report says, echoing a February presidential homeland security directive.

Bush denies CIA torture of suspects

Interrogation methods are legal, he says amid controversy over Justice Department memos sanctioning disputed techniques such as simulated drowning.

By Greg Miller and Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers October 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Friday defended the CIA's harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, saying its methods do not constitute torture and are necessary to protect America from attack.
But Bush's declaration that the United States "does not torture people" did little to dampen the fallout from fresh evidence that his administration has used secret legal memos to sanction tactics that stretch, if not circumvent, the law.

In the Oval Office

click to enlarge

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The president's comments came amid disclosures this week of classified opinions issued by the Justice Department in 2005 that endorsed the legality of an array of interrogation tactics, ranging from sleep deprivation to simulated drowning.

Bush's decision to comment again on what once was among the most highly classified U.S. intelligence programs underscores the political peril surrounding the issue for the White House, which has had to retreat from earlier, aggressive assertions of executive power.

It also reflects the extent to which the debate over tactics in the war on terrorism remains unresolved, six years after the Sept. 11 attacks. The limits on CIA interrogators have been particularly fluid, shifting repeatedly under a succession of legal opinions, court rulings and executive orders.

In a brief appearance at the White House, Bush stressed the legality of the CIA program -- even while making the case for continued use of coercive methods.

"We stick to U.S. law and our international obligations," Bush said. But when the United States locates a terrorism suspect, he added: "You bet we're going to detain them, and you bet we're going to question them -- because the American people expect us to find out information, actionable intelligence so we can help protect them. That's our job."

The president's comments were met with outrage from key Democrats in Congress.
"The administration can't have it both ways. I'm tired of these games," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "They can't say that Congress has been fully briefed while refusing to turn over key documents used to justify the legality of the program."

The issue is expected to confront Michael B. Mukasey, Bush's nominee to be the next attorney general, at a Senate confirmation hearing later this month.

The two memos that surfaced publicly this week are among a collection of documents the White House has refused to turn over to congressional committees examining the CIA detention and interrogation program.

The newly uncovered memos, which were described for the first time Thursday by the New York Times, were drafted by the Justice Department shortly after Alberto R. Gonzales took over as attorney general in February 2005. They appear to show that the Bush administration continued to condone harsh interrogation techniques by the CIA even as Congress was moving to outlaw them.

One of the memos, written by the department's Office of Legal Counsel, authorized the CIA to use a combination of painful interrogation tactics, including head-slapping, extreme temperatures and simulated drowning, known as water-boarding.

A later opinion declared that none of the controversial methods violated a congressional ban on "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners that lawmakers enacted in late 2005.
The secret memos were issued at a time when the administration appeared to be signaling publicly that it was backing off from the most aggressive forms of coercive interrogation.

In December 2004, the Justice Department published an analysis by the Office of Legal Counsel that declared torture to be "abhorrent," and rejected an earlier opinion finding that methods short of causing "organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death" were legally permissible.

The memos since have been superseded by an executive order Bush issued in July, establishing stricter limits on CIA interrogation methods and requiring the agency to comply with the Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners.

The order bans "torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, mutilation or maiming" as well as sexual humiliation or the denigration of religious objects or beliefs. But it contains loopholes that appear to allow certain coercive methods to continue.

One provision lists the "basic necessities of life" that are to be provided any prisoner, including adequate food, water and shelter. But the section makes no mention of sleep, and experts said the order appears to permit the use of stress positions as well as rough physical treatment.
Water-boarding is probably no longer allowed, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

But even under the newest rules, Malinowski said, "they could keep someone in an air-conditioned room, hands tied to the ceiling, music blaring and bright lights for four days."
A companion document spelling out in more detail the techniques that the CIA is allowed to employ remains classified. The White House on Friday reiterated its long-standing refusal to discuss individual techniques, saying their disclosure would benefit U.S. foes.

Some lawmakers and military officials have expressed concern that the Bush administration has established a confusing system in which the CIA is free to go far beyond strict interrogation limits adopted by the military in September 2006, in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Some also worry that in sanctioning harsh methods, the United States is inviting other countries to employ similar techniques on U.S. personnel.

At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last month, retired Army Lt. Gen. Charley Otstott said "any techniques used by the CIA under this program are essentially those which our soldiers could expect to be used against them if they fall into enemy hands."

The debate has focused fresh scrutiny on the influential Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the president on the limits of executive power and has come under stiff criticism for approving broad claims by Bush in his response to Sept. 11.

Historically, the Justice Department office has been a training ground for elite lawyers, including Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. But critics have expressed concern that in the Bush administration, it has become politicized.

Jack L. Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor who headed the office between October 2003 and June 2004, published a book last month detailing battles within the administration over terrorism policies and steps he took to disavow and rewrite opinions on torture and other subjects that he considered legally indefensible. He testified about his findings this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The acting head of the office, Steven G. Bradbury, who signed both of the newly disclosed opinions, has been singled out by Democrats as an administration rubber stamp. The congressional majority has refused to confirm his nomination, which has been pending for two years.

Bradbury previously wrote a legal justification that the administration used to publicly defend the National Security Agency's use of warrantless electronic surveillance after Sept. 11. Given congressional opposition, there would be pressure on Mukasey, as attorney general, to replace Bradbury.

Army Leaders Plan to Add 74,000 Soldiers by 2010
Associated Press Wednesday, October 10, 2007; Page A08

Top Army leaders said yesterday that they plan to add 74,000 soldiers to the Army by 2010, two years sooner than originally planned, to relieve the strain on forces stretched by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Army leaders said they will do it largely by persuading more soldiers to stay in the armed forces, as well as by getting the help of National Guard recruiters who will work to direct some of their recruits to the active-duty Army.

Army Gen. George W. Casey, speaking to the Association of the United States Army yesterday, said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates approved the plan to hasten the increase by two years to give soldiers more time at home between deployments and to improve staffing and educational opportunities.

Casey's comments provided the first public acknowledgment of the two-year acceleration plan. Officials earlier had suggested the timeline would be cut by one year.

Gates, in a memo to Army Secretary Pete Geren late last month, approved the acceleration plan, as long as there is no reduction in recruiting standards. Gates also asked for detailed quarterly reports from Geren on the Army's progress meeting recruitment and retention goals, the creation and readiness of new combat units, and reductions in the cost of the institutional Army.

The planned increase would bring the total number of soldiers in the active-duty Army to 547,000.

Portland Activist Puts Impeachment Back on the TableSalem-News.Com - OR,USATo achieve his goal of putting impeachment back "on the table" for President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Steinberg created handmade ...See all stories on this topic

Reid Cops Out on ImpeachmentPolitical Cortex - New York,NY,USABrown, when Reid scoffed at impeachment as a "foolish" idea, replied to Reid's dismissive statement that Bush had only one more year to serve as chief ...See all stories on this topic

Impeachment proceedings: Distraction or - Portland, ME,USATom Allen to task for refusing to pursue impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. While I agree wholeheartedly with ...See all stories on this topic

Edwards backers seek impeachmentAmherst รข€" Though Elizabeth Edwards was in town to talk about her husband's universal health insurance plan, once she turned the floor over to the audience, the conversation quickly turned to impeachment. ...Michael Moore - This Just In -

Abate a Hit With Impeachment GroupBy rmfretz (rmfretz) She's anti-war and pro-impeachment. In fact, Camille joined us when we visited Rep. Steve Rothman's office in Hackensack in September, when she argued forcefully for impeachment. It's great to finally have a candidate we can actually ...Blog the Fifth -

My Case For Impeachment...By macrobank In reference to the President, Article II, Section 2 of the 'Constitution of the United States' reads: "...he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. ...BartBlog -

When we went to the Republican debate in Durham with our IMPEACH signs, we found that many Republicans agreed with us. In Hanover, we met a "Democratic BUSH enabler" after the debate, who went ballistic over the IMPEACH sign, because he said he wanted BUSH/Cheney to remain in power so they could attack Iran.

This article has me convinced that we must dress conservatively when we protest, not flamboyantly or like hippies, and hold signs that will appeal to their love of country (US Constitution) and dislike of reckless spending. These people who are fed up in the Republican party need to feel comfortable joining us. We are more apt to gain their support than a "Rahm Emanuel Democrat," who is working from within the Democratic party to steer our party away from impeachment and peace.

These angry Rahm Democrats are trying to bully us into silence. They are a clue to the political undercurrent deep within the Democratic party. We must ferret out these ankle biters and expose their agenda to the majority.

WHY BIRD-DOG HILLARY? (my thoughts):
Republicans often try to dismiss the grassroots impeachment movement in this country as merely a partisan effort by Bush-haters.

But... the movement to Impeach Bush & Cheney is really NOT about politics at all. It's about right versus wrong! It's about standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law. It's about holding the administration accountable for its crimes and abuse of power! NOT about patisan politics, or this candidate versus that candidate.

Truth be told, at the meetings of our group and on our discussion board (http://lists.mass-imp..., our members often speak out just as angrily about "spineless Democrats" - who capitulate to the rightwing by voting for bad bills in Congress and also refuse to do their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution by investigating the administration's many crimes and abuses of power. It's obvious that without weak-willed Democrats constantly rolling over to Bush and Cheney's demands that the White House could not get away with curbs on our civil liberties, nor stonewalling Congress & the courts, nor would we be mired today in the seemingly endless disaster that is IRAQ!

Case in point... HILLARY CLINTON.

She voted FOR the Iraq War. She continues to claim that her vote in favor of launching an unnecessary war in Iraq was the right thing to do.(!?)

AND NOW... just last week, she rolled over to White House demands ONCE AGAIN and voted for a new bill that brands the largest segment of the Iranian military as "a terrorist organization"!
For more on this see: http://www.huffington...

She was the ONLY democratic presidential candidate to vote FOR this bill - known as the Kyl-Lieberman amendment. The amendment (to an Iraq War appropriations bill) was a blatant attempt by the White House to allow them to create an excuse to WIDEN THE IRAQ WAR INTO IRAN - something which has long been on the wish list of Dick Cheney and other neo-cons in the administration!

Has Sen. Clinton learned NOTHING in the past 6 years? Has she not figured out yet how Bush & Co. propagandized America the last time with their tall tales of Iraqi WMDs and "emerging threats" in order to lie us into a war? Doesn't she see how allowing the White House to continue to engage in such reckless sabre-rattling will simply allow them to make the situation in Iraq even worse - perhaps 10x worse (than the genocidal disaster it already is) by drawing Iran into the conflict as well!?

It's time to stand up now and hold SEN. HILLARY CLINTON accountable for her votes that have enabled further warfare in the Middle East!

Join us on Wed. Oct. 10th at Symphony Hall as we demand an apology from her for her appeasement of warmongers and tell her to: Stand up and Stop the War Now!

Hope to see you all there!

C hris Fernandez ( member #697 (
BinaryFreedom Founder (
gNewSense Developer.(
Stop the Wars coalition (
Socialist Party USA (
Democratic socialists of America( revolution, socialism and CopyLeft!
Free Speech!Free Software!!!!!! Take back the NET from corporate gangs!(

Long after the scandal at Abu Ghraib and the Administration’s denouncement of all that happened there, the New York Times reported last week that in 2005, the Justice Department issued a secret internal memo that endorsed "the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency."

We’re angry: the America we believe in does not torture people. And in response, we're mounting a national fall campaign to "86" these policies once and for all.

Thursday October 11, Barnes and Noble, 82nd and Broadway, 6:00 pm

Norman Podhoretz will tout his new book The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism at Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway.

Podhoretz is an extremely powerful neocon who recently met with Bush to urge him to bomb Iran. He also signed the statement of principles for the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) ten years ago; this is a document that explicitly calls upon the U.S. to pursue empire in the aftermath of the Cold War and has served as a blueprint for many of the Bush Regime's policies.

World Can’t Wait is calling on people to attend this book signing and call out Podhoretz for this work of propaganda wearing the sheep’s clothing of intellectual analysis. Wear orange to indicate your resistance to the neo-con/Bush program. Podhoretz is Rudy Giuliani’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for his 2008 presidential campaign.

We are calling for a line of orange jumpsuits outside the store to dramatize the kind of consequences that flow from this so-called analysis. The jumpsuits represent the legalization of torture that has accompanied the “war on terror.” If you want to participate in this action, e-mail We plan to be at B&N at 6 pm as this event may be well-attended!

Make no mistake! Podhoretz’s book is not an analysis based on knowledge of Islam or understanding of the cultures of the Middle East or even the immediate political situation. It is a restatement of the neoconservative agenda for American foreign policy. It is intended to justify the Iraq war and a potential attack on Iran. Interestingly, the recent publication of the book will be accompanied by David Horowitz’ sponsorship of “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” on campuses around the country, including Columbia University, October 22-26.

These efforts by the neo-cons are intended to frighten the American people who want an end to the Iraq war and an end to the foreign policy that is behind it. It is also an exercise in double speak to hide the neo-con assault on women’s rights, civil rights, critical thinking in the universities, constitutional guarantees in the Bill of Rights and the rule of law (both national and international) here at home.

Who are the fascists here? Who has legalized torture? Who has spied on its own population? Who has sought to deny the reproductive freedom of women? Who has failed to protect the security of Black Americans (in Katrina and beyond)? Who has opposed the aspirations of gays? Who has thrown the cost of the Iraq war on the soldiers who fight it and has then thrown them away when they are broken?

YOUTH AND STUDENTS MEETING, 8pm (following Podhoretz protest)

Following the Podhoretz protest, we are convening a citywide meeting of youth and students to plan saturating campuses with posters denoucing David Horowitz and "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," as well as administering WCW Iran quizzes that expose the lies being told to justify war on Iran. Come be part of the planning process! Meet in front of Barnes and Noble at 8pm....


It is up to us to prevent war on Iran! On Friday, we will be marching to the belly of the propaganda beast -- Fox News headquarters-- demanding no war on Iran and denouncing the lies that Fox News and other major media outlets are spreading to pave the way for an attack.

Gather at 5:30 at the Times Square military recruiting center, 43rd and Broadway, wearing as much orange as possible! March from there to the Fox News studios.
The Democrats who enable Bush


WASHINGTON -- President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.

Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.

Last week at a debate in Hanover, N.H., the leading Democratic presidential candidates sang from the same songbook: Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards refused to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013, at the end of the first term of their hypothetical presidencies. Can you believe it?

When the question was put to Clinton, she reverted to her usual cautious equivocation, saying: "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting."

Obama dodged, too: "I think it would be irresponsible" to say what he would do as president.

Edwards, on whom hopes were riding to show some independence, replied to the question: "I cannot make that commitment."

They have left the voters little choice with those answers.

Some supporters were outraged at the obfuscation by the Democratic front-runners.

On the other hand, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are more definitive in their calls for quick troop withdrawals.

But Biden wants to break up Iraq into three provinces along religious and ethnic lines. In other words, Balkanize Iraq.

To have major Democratic backing to stay the course in Iraq added up to good news for Bush.

Now comes a surprising Clinton fan.

President Bush told Bill Sammon -- Washington Examiner correspondent and author of a new book titled "The Evangelical President" -- that Clinton will beat Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination because she is a "formidable candidate" and better known.

Sammon says Bush revealed that he has been sending messages to Clinton to urge her to "maintain some political wiggle room in your campaign rhetoric about Iraq."

The author said Bush contends that whoever inherits the White House will be faced with a potential vacuum in Iraq and "will begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy."

Bush ought to know about campaign rhetoric. Remember how he ridiculed "nation building" in the 2000 presidential campaign? Now he claims he is trying to spread democracy throughout the Middle East.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is another Democratic leader who has empowered Bush's war.

Pelosi removed a provision from the most recent war-funding bill that would have required Bush to seek the permission of Congress before launching any attack on Iran. Her spokesman gave the lame excuse that she didn't like the wording of the provision. More likely, she bowed to political pressure.

Is it any wonder the Democrats are faring lower than the president in a Washington Post ABC approval poll? Bush came in at 33 percent and Congress at 29 percent.

Members of Congress seem to have forgotten their constitutional prerogative to declare war; World War II was the last time Congress formally declared war.

Presidents have found other ways to make end runs around the law, mainly by obtaining congressional authorization "to do whatever is necessary" in a crisis involving use of the military. That's the way we got into the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

So what are the leading Democratic White House hopefuls offering? It seems nothing but more war. So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraqi debacle?


'A Coup Has Occurred'

By Daniel Ellsberg September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007)

Editor’s Note: Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20.

Below is an edited transcript of Ellsberg’s remarkable speech:

I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.

If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.

Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? … They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11.

And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran – an escalation – which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps.

It’s a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law.

This is an unusual gang, even for Republicans. [But] I think that the successors to this regime are not likely to roll back the assault on the Constitution. They will take advantage of it, they will exploit it.

Will Hillary Clinton as president decide to turn off NSA after the last five years of illegal surveillance? Will she deprive her administration her ability to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can provide? I don’t think so.

Unless this somehow, by a change in our political climate, of a radical change, unless this gets rolled back in the next year or two before a new administration comes in – and there’s no move to do this at this point – unless that happens I don’t see it happening under the next administration, whether Republican or Democratic.


Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That’s the next coup, that completes the first.

The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, … what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world – in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

I could go through a list going back before this century to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War, and before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 18th century. I think that none of those presidents were in fact what I would call quite precisely the current administration: domestic enemies of the Constitution.

I think that none of these presidents with all their violations, which were impeachable had they been found out at the time and in nearly every case their violations were not found out until they were out of office so we didn’t have the exact challenge that we have today.

That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable, they weren’t found out in time, but I think it was not their intention to in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.

It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 70s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but have believed in Executive government, single-branch government under an Executive president – elected or not – with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint.

When I say this I’m not saying they are traitors. I don’t think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country – but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country and Constitution thought.

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an Executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we’re getting with signing statements. Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says “I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.”

It’s [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the Executive Branch, essentially of the president. A concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the Founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution.


Now I’m appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right.

It’s not just “our way of doing things” – it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody including Americans. On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming.

That brings me to the second point. This Executive Branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran which even by imperialist standards, standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the Executive Branch but most of the leaders in Congress. The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment.

But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don’t mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it’s not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences.

Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn’t, it doesn’t even make it unlikely.

That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress – Democrats and Republicans – and the public and the media, we have freed the White House – the president and the vice president – from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever.

And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs.

And the question is what then, what can we do about this? We are heading towards an insane operation. It is not certain. It is likely. … I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible.

What I’m talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably; Whatever we do.

And … we will not succeed in moving Congress probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that’s where we’re heading. That’s a very ugly, ugly prospect.

However, I think it’s up to us to work to increase that small perhaps – anyway not large – possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives.


Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don’t get started now, it won’t be started under the next administration.

Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9/11, another attack, is for right now, it can’t be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little…

We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, “traitor,” “weak on terrorism” – names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called.

How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn’t just doing their jobs; Getting them to obey their oaths of office.

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the United States armed services.

And that oath is not to a Commander in Chief, which is not mentioned. It is not to a fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran.

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath which I eventually came to do.

I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada – who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war – is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. Everybody under him who understands what is going on and there are myriad, are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people.


On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate – and frankly of the Republicans – that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be Speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority.

I’m not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that.

Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they’re acting like it’s their sole concern. Which is business as usual. “We have a majority, let’s not lose it, let’s keep it. Let’s keep those chairmanships.” Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years?

I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read in the Washington Post who yesterday threatened a filibuster if we … get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution.

We need some way, and Ann Wright has one way, of sitting in, in Conyers office and getting arrested. Ray McGovern has been getting arrested, pushed out the other day for saying the simple words “swear him in” when it came to testimony.

I think we’ve got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it’s only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from mad men in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran.

And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves – they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relation with the president to the slightest degree.

That has to change. And it’s the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you.

Daniel Ellsberg is author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.

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By Joby WarrickWashington Post Staff WriterTuesday, October 9, 2007; A01

A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.

The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group's communications network.

"Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless," said Rita Katz, the firm's 44-year-old founder, who has garnered wide attention by publicizing statements and videos from extremist chat rooms and Web sites, while attracting controversy over the secrecy of SITE's methodology. Her firm provides intelligence about terrorist groups to a wide range of paying clients, including private firms and military and intelligence agencies from the United States and several other countries.

The precise source of the leak remains unknown. Government officials declined to be interviewed about the circumstances on the record, but they did not challenge Katz's version of events. They also said the incident had no effect on U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts and did not diminish the government's ability to anticipate attacks.

While acknowledging that SITE had achieved success, the officials said U.S. agencies have their own sophisticated means of watching al-Qaeda on the Web. "We have individuals in the right places dealing with all these issues, across all 16 intelligence agencies," said Ross Feinstein, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But privately, some intelligence officials called the incident regrettable, and one official said SITE had been "tremendously helpful" in ferreting out al-Qaeda secrets over time.

The al-Qaeda video aired on Sept. 7 attracted international attention as the first new video message from the group's leader in three years. In it, a dark-bearded bin Laden urges Americans to convert to Islam and predicts failure for the Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan. The video was aired on hundreds of Western news Web sites nearly a full day before its release by a distribution company linked to al-Qaeda.

Computer logs and records reviewed by The Washington Post support SITE's claim that it snatched the video from al-Qaeda days beforehand. Katz requested that the precise date and details of the acquisition not be made public, saying such disclosures could reveal sensitive details about the company's methods.

SITE -- an acronym for the Search for International Terrorist Entities -- was established in 2002 with the stated goal of tracking and exposing terrorist groups, according to the company's Web site. Katz, an Iraqi-born Israeli citizen whose father was executed by Saddam Hussein in the 1960s, has made the investigation of terrorist groups a passionate quest.

"We were able to establish sources that provided us with unique and important information into al-Qaeda's hidden world," Katz said. Her company's income is drawn from subscriber fees and contracts.

Katz said she decided to offer an advance copy of the bin Laden video to the White House without charge so officials there could prepare for its eventual release.

She spoke first with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, whom she had previously met, and then with Joel Bagnal, deputy assistant to the president for homeland security. Both expressed interest in obtaining a copy, and Bagnal suggested that she send a copy to Michael Leiter, who holds the No. 2 job at the National Counterterrorism Center.

Administration and intelligence officials would not comment on whether they had obtained the video separately. Katz said Fielding and Bagnal made it clear to her that the White House did not possess a copy at the time she offered hers.

Around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, Katz sent both Leiter and Fielding an e-mail with a link to a private SITE Web page containing the video and an English transcript. "Please understand the necessity for secrecy," Katz wrote in her e-mail. "We ask you not to distribute . . . [as] it could harm our investigations."

Fielding replied with an e-mail expressing gratitude to Katz. "It is you who deserves the thanks," he wrote, according to a copy of the message. There was no record of a response from Leiter or the national intelligence director's office.

Exactly what happened next is unclear. But within minutes of Katz's e-mail to the White House, government-registered computers began downloading the video from SITE's server, according to a log of file transfers. The records show dozens of downloads over the next three hours from computers with addresses registered to defense and intelligence agencies.

By mid afternoon, several television news networks reported obtaining copies of the transcript. A copy posted around 3 p.m. on Fox News's Web site referred to SITE and included page markers identical to those used by the group. "This confirms that the U.S. government was responsible for the leak of this document," Katz wrote in an e-mail to Leiter at 5 p.m.

Al-Qaeda supporters, now alerted to the intrusion into their secret network, put up new obstacles that prevented SITE from gaining the kind of access it had obtained in the past, according to Katz.

A small number of private intelligence companies compete with SITE in scouring terrorists' networks for information and messages, and some have questioned the company's motives and methods, including the claim that its access to al-Qaeda's network was unique. One competitor, Ben Venzke, founder of IntelCenter, said he questions SITE's decision -- as described by Katz -- to offer the video to White House policymakers rather than quietly share it with intelligence analysts.

"It is not just about getting the video first," Venzke said. "It is about having the proper methods and procedures in place to make sure that the appropriate intelligence gets to where it needs to go in the intelligence community and elsewhere in order to support ongoing counterterrorism operations."

By David C. Lipscomb and Gary EmerlingOctober 9, 2007

The city of Alexandria, Va., is expected to pass a resolution tonight renewing its commitment to extend public services to illegal aliens.

"We are reaffirming and recommitting our services and outreach to international citizens," Mayor William D. Euille, a Democrat, said yesterday.

The seven-member City Council will vote on a two-page resolution that outlines Alexandria's intent to comply with state and federal immigration laws but not question the immigration status of people seeking public services.

Mr. Euille said that the resolution should pass unanimously but that Alexandria has no figures on the cost of providing services to illegal aliens.

"We haven't calculated that, and we probably won't calculate that," he said. "We have money designated for human services, but it's not broken down by race."

Alexandria must provide every resident with schooling, public health care and police protection. However, the city can extend such services as rental and burial assistance, job placement and emergency Medicaid without mandatory proof of legal residence, according to a memorandum to the resolution.

If the resolution is approved, Alexandria will follow Arlington as the second Northern Virginia jurisdiction in recent weeks to take such a stance.

The Alexandria resolution also states that police officers will check the immigration status of people who commit "serious crimes." However, that duty will be handled by the sheriff's office to keep the burden off city police, Mr. Euille said.

Alexandria Vice Mayor Redella S. Pepper, a Democrat, said the resolution is largely based on the commitment of city leaders to protect social diversity, not a direct response to other Virginia jurisdictions' cracking down on illegal aliens.

In July, Prince William and Loudoun counties passed resolutions that deny public services to illegal aliens and toughen local enforcement of immigration laws.

As a result, Prince William County police must check the immigration status of detainees if there is probable cause to think that they have violated immigration laws.

In Maryland, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners tonight also will consider whether to recommend state lawmakers introduce similar legislation in the General Assembly. The legislation must go through the Assembly because Frederick's government charter does not allow for such changes to be made.

Officials have said previously that the resolutions will likely fail in the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

The D.C. Council last week unanimously passed a resolution calling for federal enforcement of immigration laws but said the actions by Prince William and Loudoun officials were discriminatory.

"I thought someone in our jurisdiction needed to stand up to what in my view was a bullying environment," said David A. Catania, at-large independent, who brought the resolution to the council.

"The adoption of these laws — under the guise of assisting the federal government with its immigration enforcement — breeds a climate of fear, xenophobia and discrimination," Mr. Catania's measure reads.

The immigration debate over the past few years has been less contentious in the District than in surrounding suburbs.

But escalating tensions in the Brentwood neighborhood of Northeast between black residents and Hispanic day laborers has led council member Harry Thomas Jr., Ward 5 Democrat, to consider putting a city-funded facility at a shopping center to connect workers, including illegal aliens, with jobs, despite community opposition.

Mr. Thomas did not return a call yesterday seeking comment on the status of the center. But he and the 11 other council members joined Mr. Catania in introducing the immigration resolution.

"Our city, our region and our country in many ways heavily rely on these groups of individuals," said council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat. "We as a nation of immigrants should know better."

How would you change our nation?
Bismarck Tribune - ND, USAImpeachment. In my opinion, the 1787 impeachment (removal) mechanism is one of the principal flaws of the Constitution. There is a reason why there never ...See all stories on this topic

Is Presidential Impeachment a Possibility?Salem-News.Com - OR,USAI get into quite a few discussions lately regarding the subject of impeachment of President George W Bush (aka 'Shrub' to me and others) and Vice-President ...See all stories on this topic

Why Not Impeachment?For more details, please click on the link to read the -

Impeachment Not ImmunityBy Ted(creature) Our representatives are failing us. Badly. Freedom to think and communicate with one another, without fear that others are listening in and recording what we say, is what makes all other democratic liberties possible. ...State of the Day -

Bush's Wiretaps: Impeachment not ImmunityBy Bob Fertik If you have time, call your Representative and Senators at 202-225-3121 and politely express your outrage and your demand for impeachment, not immunity, for Bush's illegal wiretapping. ... blogs -


Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's "A Compelling Case for Impeachment"Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's "A Compelling Case for Impeachment" Presentation.

Rocky Anderson

by Seymour M. Hersh October 8, 2007

In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August. “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites.

Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.

The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.

During a secure videoconference that took place early this summer, the President told Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, that he was thinking of hitting Iranian targets across the border and that the British “were on board.” At that point, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice interjected that there was a need to proceed carefully, because of the ongoing diplomatic track. Bush ended by instructing Crocker to tell Iran to stop interfering in Iraq or it would face American retribution.

At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.” The former intelligence official added, “There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.’ But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.”

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, “The President has made it clear that the United States government remains committed to a diplomatic solution with respect to Iran. The State Department is working diligently along with the international community to address our broad range of concerns.” (The White House declined to comment.)

I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group. (A spokesman for the agency said, “The C.I.A. does not, as a rule, publicly discuss the relative size of its operational components.”)

“They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”

That theme was echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national-security adviser, who said that he had heard discussions of the White House’s more limited bombing plans for Iran. Brzezinski said that Iran would likely react to an American attack “by intensifying the conflict in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, their neighbors, and that could draw in Pakistan. We will be stuck in a regional war for twenty years.”

In a speech at the United Nations last week, Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was defiant. He referred to America as an “aggressor” state, and said, “How can the incompetents who cannot even manage and control themselves rule humanity and arrange its affairs? Unfortunately, they have put themselves in the position of God.” (The day before, at Columbia, he suggested that the facts of the Holocaust still needed to be determined.)

“A lot depends on how stupid the Iranians will be,” Brzezinski told me. “Will they cool off Ahmadinejad and tone down their language?” The Bush Administration, by charging that Iran was interfering in Iraq, was aiming “to paint it as ‘We’re responding to what is an intolerable situation,’ ” Brzezinski said. “This time, unlike the attack in Iraq, we’re going to play the victim. The name of our game seems to be to get the Iranians to overplay their hand.”

General David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, in his report to Congress in September, buttressed the Administration’s case against Iran. “None of us, earlier this year, appreciated the extent of Iranian involvement in Iraq, something about which we and Iraq’s leaders all now have greater concern,” he said. Iran, Petraeus said, was fighting “a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.”

Iran has had a presence in Iraq for decades; the extent and the purpose of its current activities there are in dispute, however. During Saddam Hussein’s rule, when the Sunni-dominated Baath Party brutally oppressed the majority Shiites, Iran supported them. Many in the present Iraqi Shiite leadership, including prominent members of the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, spent years in exile in Iran; last week, at the Council on Foreign Relations, Maliki said, according to the Washington Post, that Iraq’s relations with the Iranians had “improved to the point that they are not interfering in our internal affairs.”

Iran is so entrenched in Iraqi Shiite circles that any “proxy war” could be as much through the Iraqi state as against it. The crux of the Bush Administration’s strategic dilemma is that its decision to back a Shiite-led government after the fall of Saddam has empowered Iran, and made it impossible to exclude Iran from the Iraqi political scene.

Vali Nasr, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, who is an expert on Iran and Shiism, told me, “Between 2003 and 2006, the Iranians thought they were closest to the United States on the issue of Iraq.” The Iraqi Shia religious leadership encouraged Shiites to avoid confrontation with American soldiers and to participate in elections—believing that a one-man, one-vote election process could only result in a Shia-dominated government. Initially, the insurgency was mainly Sunni, especially Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Nasr told me that Iran’s policy since 2003 has been to provide funding, arms, and aid to several Shiite factions—including some in Maliki’s coalition. The problem, Nasr said, is that “once you put the arms on the ground you cannot control how they’re used later.”

In the Shiite view, the White House “only looks at Iran’s ties to Iraq in terms of security,” Nasr said. “Last year, over one million Iranians travelled to Iraq on pilgrimages, and there is more than a billion dollars a year in trading between the two countries. But the Americans act as if every Iranian inside Iraq were there to import weapons.”

Many of those who support the President’s policy argue that Iran poses an imminent threat. In a recent essay in Commentary, Norman Podhoretz depicted President Ahmadinejad as a revolutionary, “like Hitler . . . whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it . . . with a new order dominated by Iran. . . . [T]he plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force.” Podhoretz concluded, “I pray with all my heart” that President Bush “will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel.”

Podhoretz recently told that he had met with the President for about forty-five minutes to urge him to take military action against Iran, and believed that “Bush is going to hit” Iran before leaving office. (Podhoretz, one of the founders of neoconservatism, is a strong backer of Rudolph Giuliani’s Presidential campaign, and his son-in-law, Elliott Abrams, is a senior adviser to President Bush on national security.)

In early August, Army Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, told the Times about an increase in attacks involving explosively formed penetrators, a type of lethal bomb that discharges a semi-molten copper slug that can rip through the armor of Humvees. The Times reported that U.S. intelligence and technical analyses indicated that Shiite militias had obtained the bombs from Iran. Odierno said that Iranians had been “surging support” over the past three or four months.

Questions remain, however, about the provenance of weapons in Iraq, especially given the rampant black market in arms. David Kay, a former C.I.A. adviser and the chief weapons inspector in Iraq for the United Nations, told me that his inspection team was astonished, in the aftermath of both Iraq wars, by “the huge amounts of arms” it found circulating among civilians and military personnel throughout the country. He recalled seeing stockpiles of explosively formed penetrators, as well as charges that had been recovered from unexploded American cluster bombs. Arms had also been supplied years ago by the Iranians to their Shiite allies in southern Iraq who had been persecuted by the Baath Party.

“I thought Petraeus went way beyond what Iran is doing inside Iraq today,” Kay said. “When the White House started its anti-Iran campaign, six months ago, I thought it was all craziness. Now it does look like there is some selective smuggling by Iran, but much of it has been in response to American pressure and American threats—more a ‘shot across the bow’ sort of thing, to let Washington know that it was not going to get away with its threats so freely. Iran is not giving the Iraqis the good stuff—the anti-aircraft missiles that can shoot down American planes and its advanced anti-tank weapons.”

Another element of the Administration’s case against Iran is the presence of Iranian agents in Iraq. General Petraeus, testifying before Congress, said that a commando faction of the Revolutionary Guards was seeking to turn its allies inside Iraq into a “Hezbollah-like force to serve its interests.” In August, Army Major General Rick Lynch, the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, told reporters in Baghdad that his troops were tracking some fifty Iranian men sent by the Revolutionary Guards who were training Shiite insurgents south of Baghdad. “We know they’re here and we target them as well,” he said.

Patrick Clawson, an expert on Iran at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me that “there are a lot of Iranians at any time inside Iraq, including those doing intelligence work and those doing humanitarian missions. It would be prudent for the Administration to produce more evidence of direct military training—or produce fighters captured in Iraq who had been trained in Iran.”

He added, “It will be important for the Iraqi government to be able to state that they were unaware of this activity”; otherwise, given the intense relationship between the Iraqi Shiite leadership and Tehran, the Iranians could say that “they had been asked by the Iraqi government to train these people.” (In late August, American troops raided a Baghdad hotel and arrested a group of Iranians. They were a delegation from Iran’s energy ministry, and had been invited to Iraq by the Maliki government; they were later released.)

“If you want to attack, you have to prepare the groundwork, and you have to be prepared to show the evidence,” Clawson said. Adding to the complexity, he said, is a question that seems almost counterintuitive: “What is the attitude of Iraq going to be if we hit Iran? Such an attack could put a strain on the Iraqi government.”

A senior European diplomat, who works closely with American intelligence, told me that there is evidence that Iran has been making extensive preparation for an American bombing attack. “We know that the Iranians are strengthening their air-defense capabilities,” he said, “and we believe they will react asymmetrically—hitting targets in Europe and in Latin America.” There is also specific intelligence suggesting that Iran will be aided in these attacks by Hezbollah. “Hezbollah is capable, and they can do it,” the diplomat said.

In interviews with current and former officials, there were repeated complaints about the paucity of reliable information. A former high-level C.I.A. official said that the intelligence about who is doing what inside Iran “is so thin that nobody even wants his name on it. This is the problem.”

The difficulty of determining who is responsible for the chaos in Iraq can be seen in Basra, in the Shiite south, where British forces had earlier presided over a relatively secure area. Over the course of this year, however, the region became increasingly ungovernable, and by fall the British had retreated to fixed bases. A European official who has access to current intelligence told me that “there is a firm belief inside the American and U.K. intelligence community that Iran is supporting many of the groups in southern Iraq that are responsible for the deaths of British and American soldiers. Weapons and money are getting in from Iran. They have been able to penetrate many groups”—primarily the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias.

A June, 2007, report by the International Crisis Group found, however, that Basra’s renewed instability was mainly the result of “the systematic abuse of official institutions, political assassinations, tribal vendettas, neighborhood vigilantism and enforcement of social mores, together with the rise of criminal mafias.” The report added that leading Iraqi politicians and officials “routinely invoke the threat of outside interference”—from bordering Iran—“to justify their behavior or evade responsibility for their failures.”

Earlier this year, before the surge in U.S. troops, the American command in Baghdad changed what had been a confrontational policy in western Iraq, the Sunni heartland (and the base of the Baathist regime), and began working with the Sunni tribes, including some tied to the insurgency. Tribal leaders are now getting combat support as well as money, intelligence, and arms, ostensibly to fight Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

Empowering Sunni forces may undermine efforts toward national reconciliation, however. Already, tens of thousands of Shiites have fled Anbar Province, many to Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, while Sunnis have been forced from their homes in Shiite communities. Vali Nasr, of Tufts, called the internal displacement of communities in Iraq a form of “ethnic cleansing.”

“The American policy of supporting the Sunnis in western Iraq is making the Shia leadership very nervous,” Nasr said. “The White House makes it seem as if the Shia were afraid only of Al Qaeda—but they are afraid of the Sunni tribesmen we are arming. The Shia attitude is ‘So what if you’re getting rid of Al Qaeda?’ The problem of Sunni resistance is still there. The Americans believe they can distinguish between good and bad insurgents, but the Shia don’t share that distinction. For the Shia, they are all one adversary.”

Nasr went on, “The United States is trying to fight on all sides—Sunni and Shia—and be friends with all sides.” In the Shiite view, “It’s clear that the United States cannot bring security to Iraq, because it is not doing everything necessary to bring stability. If they did, they would talk to anybody to achieve it—even Iran and Syria,” Nasr said. (Such engagement was a major recommendation of the Iraq Study Group.) “America cannot bring stability in Iraq by fighting Iran in Iraq.”

The revised bombing plan for a possible attack, with its tightened focus on counterterrorism, is gathering support among generals and admirals in the Pentagon. The strategy calls for the use of sea-launched cruise missiles and more precisely targeted ground attacks and bombing strikes, including plans to destroy the most important Revolutionary Guard training camps, supply depots, and command and control facilities.

“Cheney’s option is now for a fast in and out—for surgical strikes,” the former senior American intelligence official told me. The Joint Chiefs have turned to the Navy, he said, which had been chafing over its role in the Air Force-dominated air war in Iraq. “The Navy’s planes, ships, and cruise missiles are in place in the Gulf and operating daily. They’ve got everything they need—even AWACS are in place and the targets in Iran have been programmed. The Navy is flying FA-18 missions every day in the Gulf.” There are also plans to hit Iran’s anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile sites. “We’ve got to get a path in and a path out,” the former official said.

A Pentagon consultant on counterterrorism told me that, if the bombing campaign took place, it would be accompanied by a series of what he called “short, sharp incursions” by American Special Forces units into suspected Iranian training sites. He said, “Cheney is devoted to this, no question.”

A limited bombing attack of this sort “only makes sense if the intelligence is good,” the consultant said. If the targets are not clearly defined, the bombing “will start as limited, but then there will be an ‘escalation special.’ Planners will say that we have to deal with Hezbollah here and Syria there. The goal will be to hit the cue ball one time and have all the balls go in the pocket. But add-ons are always there in strike planning.”

The surgical-strike plan has been shared with some of America’s allies, who have had mixed reactions to it. Israel’s military and political leaders were alarmed, believing, the consultant said, that it didn’t sufficiently target Iran’s nuclear facilities. The White House has been reassuring the Israeli government, the former senior official told me, that the more limited target list would still serve the goal of counter-proliferation by decapitating the leadership of the Revolutionary Guards, who are believed to have direct control over the nuclear-research program. “Our theory is that if we do the attacks as planned it will accomplish two things,” the former senior official said.

An Israeli official said, “Our main focus has been the Iranian nuclear facilities, not because other things aren’t important. We’ve worked on missile technology and terrorism, but we see the Iranian nuclear issue as one that cuts across everything.” Iran, he added, does not need to develop an actual warhead to be a threat. “Our problems begin when they learn and master the nuclear fuel cycle and when they have the nuclear materials,” he said. There was, for example, the possibility of a “dirty bomb,” or of Iran’s passing materials to terrorist groups. “There is still time for diplomacy to have an impact, but not a lot,” the Israeli official said. “We believe the technological timetable is moving faster than the diplomatic timetable. And if diplomacy doesn’t work, as they say, all options are on the table.”

The bombing plan has had its most positive reception from the newly elected government of Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. A senior European official told me, “The British perception is that the Iranians are not making the progress they want to see in their nuclear-enrichment processing. All the intelligence community agree that Iran is providing critical assistance, training, and technology to a surprising number of terrorist groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, through Hezbollah, in Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine, too.”

There were four possible responses to this Iranian activity, the European official said: to do nothing (“There would be no retaliation to the Iranians for their attacks; this would be sending the wrong signal”); to publicize the Iranian actions (“There is one great difficulty with this option—the widespread lack of faith in American intelligence assessments”); to attack the Iranians operating inside Iraq (“We’ve been taking action since last December, and it does have an effect”); or, finally, to attack inside Iran.

The European official continued, “A major air strike against Iran could well lead to a rallying around the flag there, but a very careful targeting of terrorist training camps might not.” His view, he said, was that “once the Iranians get a bloody nose they rethink things.” For example, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani and Ali Larijani, two of Iran’s most influential political figures, “might go to the Supreme Leader and say, ‘The hard-line policies have got us into this mess. We must change our approach for the sake of the regime.’ ”

A retired American four-star general with close ties to the British military told me that there was another reason for Britain’s interest—shame over the failure of the Royal Navy to protect the sailors and Royal Marines who were seized by Iran on March 23rd, in the Persian Gulf. “The professional guys are saying that British honor is at stake, and if there’s another event like that in the water off Iran the British will hit back,” he said.
The revised bombing plan “could work—if it’s in response to an Iranian attack,” the retired four-star general said. “The British may want to do it to get even, but the more reasonable people are saying, ‘Let’s do it if the Iranians stage a cross-border attack inside Iraq.’ It’s got to be ten dead American soldiers and four burned trucks.” There is, he added, “a widespread belief in London that Tony Blair’s government was sold a bill of goods by the White House in the buildup to the war against Iraq. So if somebody comes into Gordon Brown’s office and says, ‘We have this intelligence from America,’ Brown will ask, ‘Where did it come from? Have we verified it?’ The burden of proof is high.”

The French government shares the Administration’s sense of urgency about Iran’s nuclear program, and believes that Iran will be able to produce a warhead within two years. France’s newly elected President, Nicolas Sarkozy, created a stir in late August when he warned that Iran could be attacked if it did not halt its nuclear program. Nonetheless, France has indicated to the White House that it has doubts about a limited strike, the former senior intelligence official told me. Many in the French government have concluded that the Bush Administration has exaggerated the extent of Iranian meddling inside Iraq; they believe, according to a European diplomat, that “the American problems in Iraq are due to their own mistakes, and now the Americans are trying to show some teeth. An American bombing will show only that the Bush Administration has its own agenda toward Iran.”

A European intelligence official made a similar point. “If you attack Iran,” he told me, “and do not label it as being against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will strengthen the regime, and help to make the Islamic air in the Middle East thicker.”

Ahmadinejad, in his speech at the United Nations, said that Iran considered the dispute over its nuclear program “closed.” Iran would deal with it only through the International Atomic Energy Agency, he said, and had decided to “disregard unlawful and political impositions of the arrogant powers.” He added, in a press conference after the speech, “the decisions of the United States and France are not important.”

The director general of the I.A.E.A., Mohamed ElBaradei, has for years been in an often bitter public dispute with the Bush Administration; the agency’s most recent report found that Iran was far less proficient in enriching uranium than expected. A diplomat in Vienna, where the I.A.E.A. is based, said, “The Iranians are years away from making a bomb, as ElBaradei has said all along. Running three thousand centrifuges does not make a bomb.” The diplomat added, referring to hawks in the Bush Administration, “They don’t like ElBaradei, because they are in a state of denial. And now their negotiating policy has failed, and Iran is still enriching uranium and still making progress.”

The diplomat expressed the bitterness that has marked the I.A.E.A.’s dealings with the Bush Administration since the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “The White House’s claims were all a pack of lies, and Mohamed is dismissive of those lies,” the diplomat said.

Hans Blix, a former head of the I.A.E.A., questioned the Bush Administration’s commitment to diplomacy. “There are important cards that Washington could play; instead, they have three aircraft carriers sitting in the Persian Gulf,” he said. Speaking of Iran’s role in Iraq, Blix added, “My impression is that the United States has been trying to push up the accusations against Iran as a basis for a possible attack—as an excuse for jumping on them.”

The Iranian leadership is feeling the pressure. In the press conference after his U.N. speech, Ahmadinejad was asked about a possible attack. “They want to hurt us,” he said, “but, with the will of God, they won’t be able to do it.” According to a former State Department adviser on Iran, the Iranians complained, in diplomatic meetings in Baghdad with Ambassador Crocker, about a refusal by the Bush Administration to take advantage of their knowledge of the Iraqi political scene. The former adviser said, “They’ve been trying to convey to the United States that ‘We can help you in Iraq. Nobody knows Iraq better than us.’ ” Instead, the Iranians are preparing for an American attack.

The adviser said that he had heard from a source in Iran that the Revolutionary Guards have been telling religious leaders that they can stand up to an American attack. “The Guards are claiming that they can infiltrate American security,” the adviser said. “They are bragging that they have spray-painted an American warship—to signal the Americans that they can get close to them.” (I was told by the former senior intelligence official that there was an unexplained incident, this spring, in which an American warship was spray-painted with a bull’s-eye while docked in Qatar, which may have been the source of the boasts.)

“Do you think those crazies in Tehran are going to say, ‘Uncle Sam is here! We’d better stand down’? ” the former senior intelligence official said. “The reality is an attack will make things ten times warmer.”

Another recent incident, in Afghanistan, reflects the tension over intelligence. In July, the London Telegraph reported that what appeared to be an SA-7 shoulder-launched missile was fired at an American C-130 Hercules aircraft. The missile missed its mark. Months earlier, British commandos had intercepted a few truckloads of weapons, including one containing a working SA-7 missile, coming across the Iranian border. But there was no way of determining whether the missile fired at the C-130 had come from Iran—especially since SA-7s are available through black-market arms dealers.

Vincent Cannistraro, a retired C.I.A. officer who has worked closely with his counterparts in Britain, added to the story: “The Brits told me that they were afraid at first to tell us about the incident—in fear that Cheney would use it as a reason to attack Iran.” The intelligence subsequently was forwarded, he said.

The retired four-star general confirmed that British intelligence “was worried” about passing the information along. “The Brits don’t trust the Iranians,” the retired general said, “but they also don’t trust Bush and Cheney.”

Same Old Party
By PAUL KRUGMAN: Go to Columnist Page » (Well worth the click)

Published: October 8, 2007

There have been a number of articles recently that portray President Bush as someone who strayed from the path of true conservatism. Republicans, these articles say, need to return to their roots.

Well, I don’t know what true conservatism is, but while doing research for my forthcoming book I spent a lot of time studying the history of the American political movement that calls itself conservatism — and Mr. Bush hasn’t strayed from the path at all. On the contrary, he’s the very model of a modern movement conservative.

For example, people claim to be shocked that Mr. Bush cut taxes while waging an expensive war. But Ronald Reagan also cut taxes while embarking on a huge military buildup.

People claim to be shocked by Mr. Bush’s general fiscal irresponsibility. But conservative intellectuals, by their own account, abandoned fiscal responsibility 30 years ago. Here’s how Irving Kristol, then the editor of The Public Interest, explained his embrace of supply-side economics in the 1970s: He had a “rather cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit and other monetary or fiscal problems” because “the task, as I saw it, was to create a new majority, which evidently would mean a conservative majority, which came to mean, in turn, a Republican majority — so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.”

People claim to be shocked by the way the Bush administration outsourced key government functions to private contractors yet refused to exert effective oversight over these contractors, a process exemplified by the failed reconstruction of Iraq and the Blackwater affair.

But back in 1993, Jonathan Cohn, writing in The American Prospect, explained that “under Reagan and Bush, the ranks of public officials necessary to supervise contractors have been so thinned that the putative gains of contracting out have evaporated. Agencies have been left with the worst of both worlds — demoralized and disorganized public officials and unaccountable private contractors.”

People claim to be shocked by the Bush administration’s general incompetence. But disinterest in good government has long been a principle of modern conservatism. In “The Conscience of a Conservative,” published in 1960, Barry Goldwater wrote that “I have little interest in streamlining government or making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size.”

People claim to be shocked that the Bush Justice Department, making a mockery of the Constitution, issued a secret opinion authorizing torture despite instructions by Congress and the courts that the practice should stop. But remember Iran-Contra? The Reagan administration secretly sold weapons to Iran, violating a legal embargo, and used the proceeds to support the Nicaraguan contras, defying an explicit Congressional ban on such support.

Oh, and if you think Iran-Contra was a rogue operation, rather than something done with the full knowledge and approval of people at the top — who were then protected by a careful cover-up, including convenient presidential pardons — I’ve got a letter from Niger you might want to buy.

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration’s efforts to disenfranchise minority groups, under the pretense of combating voting fraud. But Reagan opposed the Voting Rights Act, and as late as 1980 he described it as “humiliating to the South.”

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration’s attempts — which, for a time, were all too successful — to intimidate the press. But this administration’s media tactics, and to a large extent the people implementing those tactics, come straight out of the Nixon administration. Dick Cheney wanted to search Seymour Hersh’s apartment, not last week, but in 1975. Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, was Nixon’s media adviser.

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration’s attempts to equate dissent with treason. But Goldwater — who, like Reagan, has been reinvented as an icon of conservative purity but was a much less attractive figure in real life — staunchly supported Joseph McCarthy, and was one of only 22 senators who voted against a motion censuring the demagogue.

Above all, people claim to be shocked by the Bush administration’s authoritarianism, its disdain for the rule of law. But a full half-century has passed since The National Review proclaimed that “the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail,” and dismissed as irrelevant objections that might be raised after “consulting a catalogue of the rights of American citizens, born Equal” — presumably a reference to the document known as the Constitution of the United States.

Now, as they survey the wreckage of their cause, conservatives may ask themselves: “Well, how did we get here?” They may tell themselves: “This is not my beautiful Right.” They may ask themselves: “My God, what have we done?”

But their movement is the same as it ever was. And Mr. Bush is movement conservatism’s true, loyal heir.

Up until now, she has displayed remarkable imperturbability — gliding along with the help of good lighting, a hearty guffaw and a clever husband.

But on Sunday in New Hampton, Iowa, Hillary lost her cool at last. Sparring with a voter on Iran, she sounded defensive and paranoid.

A Democrat, Randall Rolph, asked Senator Clinton why he should back her when she did not learn her lesson after voting to authorize W. to use force in Iraq. He did not understand how she could have voted yea to urge W. to label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, possibly setting the stage for more Cheney chicanery.

Hillary said that “labeling them a terrorist organization gives us the authority to impose sanctions on their leadership. ...I consider that part of a very robust diplomatic effort.”

Fearful that her questioner was an enemy spy creeping into her perfect little world, she suggested that he had been put up to the question and did not have his information right.

“I take exception,” Mr. Rolph insisted. “This is my own research. ... I’m offended that you would suggest that.”

Hillary apologized and said that she had been asked “the very same question in three other places.” She explained that she had signed on to a rewritten version of the amendment that did not, as he claimed, give a green light for combat.

In the original “sense of Senate on Iran” document, sponsored by Joe Lieberman and the Republican Jon Kyl last month, there was a paragraph that supported “the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence and military instruments, in support of the policy with respect to” Iran. That original draft, called “tantamount to a declaration of war” and “Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream” by Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, was softened.

Even so, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd voted no, and Barack Obama would have voted no if he had voted.

If you know the dingbat vice president is agitating for a conflict with Iran, if you know that Condi is chasing after Cheney with a butterfly net on Iran and Syria, if you know you can’t believe anything this administration says, why vote to give them more backing on their dysfunctional Middle East policy?

The schism in the administration is deepening in a way that should alarm Hillary. Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper report in today’s Times that Cheney and his hawks are arguing that the Israeli intelligence about Syria’s nascent nuclear capabilities that led to last month’s Israeli strike on Syria was credible and should dictate a harsher policy toward Syria and North Korea, while Condi, Bob Gates and calmer heads “did not believe the intelligence presented so far merits any change in the American diplomatic approach.”

Hillary’s hawkish Iran vote was an ill-advised move, especially given her private view that Cheney is untrustworthy and given Sy Hersh’s New Yorker report claiming that Cheney had pushed to devise a plan to attack the Revolutionary Guard facilities in Iran.

She made a course correction on Oct. 1, co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Mr. Webb to prohibit the use of funds for military operations against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization.

Her opponents have sounded the fool-me-once-shame-on-you, fool-me-twice-shame-on-me drumbeat. Obama chided Hillary for her willingness “to once again extend to the president the benefit of the doubt.” John Edwards wondered if in “six months from now he goes to war in Iran, are we going to hear her once again say if only I had known then what I know now?”

When Hillary voted to let W. use force in Iraq, she didn’t even read the intelligence estimate. She wasn’t trying to do the right thing. She was trying to do the opportunistic thing. She felt she could not run for president, as a woman, if she played the peacenik.

By throwing in with Joe Lieberman and the conservative hawks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issue, she once more overcompensated in a cynical way. She’d like to paint Obama as the weak reed who wants to cozy up to dictators, while she’s the one who will play tough. It was odd, given her success in the debates conveying the sense that she is the manliest candidate among the Democrats, that she felt the need to man-up on Iran.

But maybe she knows that Rudy will hurl thunderbolts at her, as he did in the debate yesterday, suggesting that she doesn’t have the guts to use a military option to stop Iran from going nuclear.

Voters seem more concerned with Hillary’s political expediency — which the vote underscored — than with her ability to be manly.

Her camp seems to think her vote was a safe one because W. and Cheney do not have the time or support to bomb Iran, and that Bob Gates can stop it. But she may be underestimating W. and Cheney. She should be at least as paranoid about that pair as she was about an Iowa Democrat.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, ahead in polls and fund-raising and seeking to position herself as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is doing what candidates in her circumstances like to do: avoiding risky moves, sidestepping clashes with rivals from her own party and trying to run simultaneously as a primary and general-election candidate.

The strategy reflects a growing confidence among Mrs. Clinton’s aides that she has so far weathered the intense personal scrutiny her candidacy has attracted. But it carries risks for any candidate — and particularly for one named Clinton, as she has found in recent days.

In trying to appeal both to the Democrats’ liberal base and to a more centrist general-election audience, Mrs. Clinton, like her husband before her, risks feeding into the assessment of critics that she is more about political calculation than about conviction. The point has been driven home these past few days in her efforts to present herself as the antiwar hawk: vowing to an audience of Democrats to end the war in Iraq while voting in Congress for a harder line against Iran, a move that some Democrats argue could lead to another war.

That vote led an Iowa Democrat to challenge her heatedly on Sunday in an exchange that ended with her apologizing for accusing him of being a plant for a rival campaign. And it was mocked Monday by a statement from the Republican National Committee that pointedly described it as Mrs. Clinton’s “Iran calculation,” and condemned by one Democratic opponent, former Senator John Edwards, who suggested that Mrs. Clinton was giving President Bush license to wage war in Iran.

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to another Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, said: “She has straddled a lot of issues, but I think this one was a miscalculation born of a misplaced comfort of where she is in the process. She got caught looking ahead to a general election.”

Beyond the matter of trying to please two groups of voters at once, Mrs. Clinton’s adoption of a front-runner’s posture has made her an object of attacks not only by fellow Democrats but also by Republicans, who see in her an easy target, and by editorial writers, now judging her as her party’s likely presidential nominee.

And her campaign’s apparent moves to limit her appearances in uncontrolled environments like news conferences and meetings with voters run counter to the political culture of Iowa and New Hampshire, even though such tactics are common for a candidate in the lead.

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers dispute the notion that she is engaged in an exercise of triangulation, to use the word that came to describe her husband’s politics.

“She’s been running a primary campaign that’s also been doing well in the general,” said Mark Penn, her senior campaign strategist. “The positions she took on the issues was that it was right to end the Iraq war and also right to be strong against terrorism. That has been the key to a primary campaign that happens to be successful in the general.”

Her aides also deny that she is running a take-no-chances campaign, pointing to the health plan she offered last month as an example.

Still, as more polls come in suggesting that her position is strengthening — an Iowa poll published in The Des Moines Register on Sunday showed her taking the lead away from Mr. Edwards among likely caucus goers — the contrast between her campaign and those of her rivals has become undeniable.

While Mr. Obama, for instance, spent last week delivering speeches that set an ambitious goal of eliminating the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons and implicitly attacking Mrs. Clinton for initially supporting the war in Iraq, she gave a speech criticizing the Bush administration’s policies on science and announced that she was beginning a “Middle Class Express” bus tour through Iowa.

Nor has she frequently engaged in full-blown question-and-answer sessions with reporters of late. A review of her daily campaign schedule since Labor Day shows that she has spent much of her time delivering speeches and headlining rallies, with few town-hall-style meetings or other public events where voters can ask her questions — exchanges that were a staple of her schedule in the spring and early summer, and that continue to be routine for Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama.

Indeed, the Iowa meeting where Mrs. Clinton was confronted on the Iran vote was notable precisely because it was so unusual. It was arranged after she had expressed concern to aides that she not appear guilty of hubris, and after reporters had begun asking her advisers about the safe road she appeared to be traveling.

At least some voters seem to be noticing that road. Mrs. Clinton came under fire after a debate in which she declined to say whether she would consider two proposals for dealing with Social Security: raising the retirement age or the payroll tax. “It seems like whenever Hillary is asked a question, she’s pretty good at evasion,” said Steve Maxon, 60, an undecided Democrat from Wellman, Iowa.

With the first of the nominating contests only three months away, the campaign is entering what promises to be a turbulent period in which Mrs. Clinton will come under greater attack from both inside and outside her party. And if past campaigns are any guide, this will also be a time of “Clinton in trouble” accounts in the press, inspired by missteps or any signs of slippage, real or merely perceived.

In short, the strategy will now be put to its most severe test.

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