from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2011, Issue No. 96
October 1, 2011
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
Last Friday, White House officials made at least two public references to Presidential Policy Directives (PPDs). PPD 1 was cited in a new executive order on computer security and PPD 8 was cited in a White House blog posting on disaster preparedness. Each Directive is a significant expression of national policy. Neither one is classified. And yet neither of them — nor any other Obama Presidential Policy Directive — can be found on the White House website.
The White House decision not to make these documents available is a stark reminder of the incoherence of the Obama Administration’s transparency policy, and its inconsistent implementation.
“Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset,” President Obama wrote in his January 21, 2009 memo on transparency and open government. “My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public.”
But as the withholding of the presidential directives illustrates, not even the Obama White House itself complies with this policy, and so its impact in the farther reaches of the executive branch has been muted. Those who seek access to Presidential Policy Directives must look elsewhere.
“I think it’s general policy that… Continue reading
Progressives find hope–in Ron Paul.
By Michael Tracey
The American Conservative
It’s no secret that Ralph Nader has held the Democratic Party establishment in low regard for decades now: the marginally more palatable alternative in an ugly duopoly, he claims, is still quite ugly. But lately Nader’s disdain has reached a new high. “It’s gotten so bad,” he tells me, “that you can actually say a Republican president–with a Democratic Senate–would produce less bad results than the present situation. That’s how bollixed stuff has gone.”
Not that he was ever particularly optimistic about the Obama administration, especially its potential to make headway on curtailing corporate welfare, now Nader’s signature policy objective. But in that, as with so many aspects of Obama’s presidency, the adjectives “disappointing” or “inadequate” don’t even begin to capture the depths of progressive disillusionment. Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential race, one might assume that Nader has little to be cheerful about.
Yet he says there is one candidate who sticks out–who even gives him hope: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
That might sound counterintuitive. Nader, of course, is known as a stalwart of the independent left, having first gained notoriety for his 1960s campaign to impose greater regulatory requirements on automakers–a policy act that would seem to contravene the libertarian understanding of justified governmental power. So I had to ask: how could he profess hope in Ron Paul, who almost certainly would have opposed the very regulations on which Nader built his career?
“Look at the… Continue reading
Obama: Osama bin Laden is dead
By Kase Wickman
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the number one most-wanted fugitive for nearly a decade, was killed in Pakistan Sunday, the White House announced.
President Barack Obama made a live statement shortly after 11:30 p.m. from the East Room of the White House.
“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children,” he began.
The U.S. received an intelligence lead last August about bin Laden’s whereabouts, Obama said, and that he had enough information by Sunday to launch a targeted military operation on the compound pinpointed as bin Laden’s location, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability,” Obama said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
White House officials said that the operation was in cooperation with Pakistani authorities, and was carried out by Navy SEALs in helicopters who rehearsed the operation to avoid civilian casualties. Reportedly, one woman who was used as a human shield was killed.
Crowds gathered outside the White House and around the country after the speech, waving flags and singing the National Anthem. U.S. diplomatic centers are reportedly on high alert in… Continue reading
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 8, 2011; A02
It was another important moment in the education of Barack Obama.
He began his presidency with a pledge to close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay within a year. Within months, he realized that was impossible. And now he has essentially formalized George W. Bush’s detention policy.
With Monday’s announcement that the Obama administration will resume military tribunals at Gitmo, conservatives rushed out triumphant I-told-you-sos. Liberal supporters were again feeling betrayed. Administration officials had some ‘splainin’ to do.
And so they assembled some top-notch lawyers from across the executive branch and held a conference call Monday afternoon with reporters. The ground rules required that the officials not be identified, which is appropriate given their Orwellian assignment. They were to argue that Obama’s new detention policy is perfectly consistent with his old detention policy.
Not only had he revoked his pledge to close Gitmo within a year, but he also had contradicted his claim that the policy “can’t be based simply on what I or the executive branch decide alone.” His executive order did exactly what he said must not be done, in a style pioneered by Obama’s immediate predecessor in the Oval Office.
“This detention without trial – what’s different from the Bush administration?” a French reporter from Le Monde asked during the call.
Good question. The answer, from the Anonymous Lawyers, was technical. “We have a much more thorough process here of representation. . . .… Continue reading
In this discussion, Professor Falk gives his assessment of the political context of the criticisms he is facing for identifying Israeli crimes in the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and for referring positively to the scholarly contributions of Professor David Ray Griffin and other academics who have identified serious shortcomings in government and mainstream media interpretations concerning the contested events of 9/11.
Dr. Falk’s article that originally kicked off this matter:
by Richard Falk
January 13, 2011
Foreign Policy Journal
…The arguments swirling around the 9/11 attacks are emblematic of these issues. What fuels suspicions of conspiracy is the reluctance to address the sort of awkward gaps and contradictions in the official explanations that David Ray Griffin (and other devoted scholars of high integrity) have been documenting in book after book ever since 2001. What may be more distressing than the apparent cover up is the eerie silence of the mainstream media, unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an al Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials. Is this silence a manifestation of fear or cooption, or part of an equally disturbing filter of self-censorship? Whatever it is, the result is the withering away of a participatory citizenry and the erosion of legitimate constitutional government. The forms persist, but the content is missing. …
By David Edwards
The Senate passed a bill by unanimous consent Wednesday that will provide health care benefits to first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Original report follows…
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) earned himself a visit from some 9/11 first responders after he threatened to block a bill that would provide them health benefits.
A group of former Ground Zero workers visited the senator’s office Tuesday to give him a piece of their mind but Coburn refused the meeting.
“Mr. Coburn should be ashamed of himself,” John Feal, the leader of the group, told Think Progress. “Because I think before he was a senator he was a doctor and he took an oath to help people that are sick. He’s going against his oath as a doctor. He can vote any way he wants as a senator, but as a doctor, he just embarrassed the medical profession.”
“What about going office to office? Have their staff and the senators been very receptive to the group?” Think Progress asked.
“Once in a while we’ll run into some resistance and some arrogance and some rude people. Listen, we busted our asses since 9/11. We’ve fought and advocated for ourselves so others wouldn’t. So to be insulted by the staff of the United States Senate and Congress — most of them were 12 years old when 9/11 happened — doesn’t bother me,” Feal said.
All but one of the 42 Republican senators stood together last week… Continue reading
By Nathan Diebenow
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
A Time Magazine ‘Person of the Year’ argues WikiLeaks serves the public good
A member of a group of former intelligence professionals that has rallied behind WikiLeaks suggested in a recent interview with Raw Story that the world would be a different and better place had the online secrets outlet come into existence years sooner.
“If there had been a mechanism like Wikileaks, 9/11 could have been prevented,” Coleen Rowley, a former special agent/legal counsel at the FBI’s Minneapolis division, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview.
Rowley and her colleague Bogdan Dzakovic, a special agent for the FAA’s security division, explained this position in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times in October. However, they admit no claim to the original idea of an established pro-whistle-blower infrastructure. It’s purely the US government’s, she said.
“That’s not even us,” she told Raw Story. “That’s not our personal opinion. We’re really reciting the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission
that attributed the failures of 9/11 to a failure to share information not only inside agencies, not only between agencies, but with the public and the media.”
“People have forgotten that that was the main conclusion of the 9/11 Commission,” Rowley added.
“The 9/11 Commission was based on four other major investigation inquiries,” she continued “One was called the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry. That started in Jan. 2002. It went on for well over a year. Then I testified to the Judiciary Committee, and… Continue reading
November 11, 2010
by Frances Shure
Colorado Democrats Call for New 9/11 Investigation: An Insider Tells Us How They Did It
It’s true! The Democratic Platform for the state of Colorado is the first major party in the US to adopt a resolution for a new investigation into the official story of the events surrounding 9/11.
It started in 2004 when I, a complete novice in political processes, decided to participate in my precinct caucus in order to try to make a difference here in Colorado.1 The night before, I learned that the caucus is also a time to bring policy resolutions for consideration. Hurriedly, I wrote a resolution for a new, independent investigation into 9/11, figuring that here is an opportunity, at least, to educate a few more people. To my surprise, my precinct caucus neighbors voted for it!
The next step was to get it passed at the county level: the Denver County Assembly and Convention. To do this, I needed to get 10% of the attendees to sign a petition — another chance to educate more people! I needed 200 signatures, which I managed to get with the spontaneous help of a couple of other 9/11 truth activists. Now I could present this resolution to the Assembly, at the end of a long hard day, which wound up being attended by about 100 of the most serious participants.
Managing to transcend my considerable stage fright, and fearing I might be tarred and feathered, I read the… Continue reading
by Philip Shenon
September 10, 2010
The Daily Beast.com
Why didn’t the commission investigating the devastating 2001 al Qaeda attacks thoroughly scrub the NSA’s files? Philip Shenon on the crucial records the government has never explored.
Are many of the secrets of 9/11 still hidden in top-secret government files?
Almost certainly, say former staff members of the 9/11 Commission. With the nation scheduled to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks this weekend, former staffers tell The Daily Beast it is clear that the 9/11 Commission, which went out of business in 2004, failed to conduct a thorough inspection of the government’s most important library of raw intelligence on al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot. And nobody appears to have inspected that intelligence since.
The archives, maintained by the National Security Agency at its headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, were reviewed — in a cursory fashion — only in the final days of the commission’s investigation, and then only because of last-minute staff complaints that the NSA’s vast database was being ignored.
Throughout its investigation, staffers complained, the commission’s leaders were fixated on what could be found in the terrorism files of the CIA and the FBI, the two big targets for criticism in the panel’s final report, and largely ignored the NSA, the government’s chief eavesdropping agency.
When the commission did get into… Continue reading
May 21, 2010
by Sander Hicks
This Sunday will be historic.
We are talking about starting what will soon become a major political force:
something optimistic, smart, and savvy.
We will win elections. We will change the world.
As many of you saw from my blog, I have left the Green Party. But I learned
a lot there, and it’s time for a new formation.
All good people are invited to an experimental, exploratory discussion and
meeting, chaired by me, Sander Hicks, regarding the founding of a new political
party. The working name of the party is currently “The Truth Party”
but there’s also been some discussion of that name, see below.
WHERE: Ukrainian East Village Restaurant, on 2nd Ave and
E. 1Oth Street
WHEN: 6 PM, Sunday, May 23.
RSVP: sanderhicksdotcom AT gmail.com
THOUGHTS ON WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT:
I’m not talking about starting a “third party” or anything
marginal like that. I’m talking about starting something that has great
appeal, great politics, smart marketing, empowering culture, and a winning strategy.
The two big parties are going through twin identity crises: neither really
understands what is going on with the global economic meltdown. Neither can
tell you what they believe. So the GOP is doing this little dance with the Tea
Parties, and letting unfocussed anger rule the day. Meanwhile, the Democrats
have become the leaders of a bloody empire with wars too expensive to continue,
with a dollar in decline, and mounting debts… Continue reading
In a bizarre, Soviet-style move, the White House has threatened to veto the intelligence budget unless everyone accepts the FBI frame up of Dr. Bruce Ivins.
As Bloomberg writes :
President Barack Obama probably would veto legislation authorizing the next budget for U.S. intelligence agencies if it calls for a new investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, an administration official said.
A proposed probe by the intelligence agencies’ inspector general “would undermine public confidence” in an FBI probe of the attacks “and unfairly cast doubt on its conclusions,” Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
Given that an FBI investigation into a specific crime has nothing to do with the budget or any of OMB’s other core responsibilities, it seems that Orszag simply drew the short straw for this little assignment.
As I wrote Thursday:
The FBI says that the anthrax case is closed, and that they have proved that Dr. Bruce Ivins did it.
But Congress is not convinced.
On March 3, 2010, Representative Holt called for a new investigation:
Last week, [Congressman Holt] succeeded in including language in the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill that would require the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community to examine the possibility of a foreign connection to the 2001 anthrax attacks.
“The American people need credible answers to all of these and many other questions. Only a comprehensive investigation–either by the Congress, or through the… Continue reading
Originally published by Brad Friedman on February 6, 2010 at Bradblog.com
You’re welcome. My 2000+ word article on former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is now featured in the March 2010 edition of Hustler. Sorry, she’s wearing all her clothes. Go buy it anyway.
The article brings the story of Edmonds, who was twice-gagged by the Bush Administration‘s outrageous use/abuse of the “States Secrets Privilege,” fully up to date following her naming of names, finally, under oath, in remarkable testimony last summer. (Some of those names: Hastert, Burton, Blunt, Lantos, Schakowsky, Wolfowitz, Perle, Grossman, etc.)
The Hustler piece, “Sibel Edmonds: The Traitors Among Us,” also explores reasons for the perhaps-even-more-remarkable complete avoidance of her 4-hour, detailed, video-taped testimony by the corporate media (Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine excepted, if you consider them to be “corporate media”) concerning allegations of blackmail of sitting U.S. Congressmembers, the theft and sale of nuclear secrets to the foreign blackmarket, and other allegations of treasonous activities by top State and Defense Department officials over the last decade or more, as we have covered in great detail here at The BRAD BLOG over the years, as the story has unfolded.
So there’s your latest excuse to go buy Hustler. While you’re at the newsstand, please pick up a copy of the February issue of Maxim as well, featuring Simon Worrall’s feature article on the formerly-’censored’ story of the mysterious death of GOP IT guru Mike Connell, as detailed in our… Continue reading
Originally published by Alex Lantier on February 3, 2010 at wsws.org
A January 27 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security established that US intelligence agencies stopped the State Department from revoking the US visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The Nigerian student, whom US officials suspected of being affiliated with the Yemeni terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, attempted to set off a bomb on Northwest Flight 253 into Detroit on Christmas Day. Revocation of Abdulmutallab’s visa would have prevented him from boarding the airplane.
The hearing was reported in a brief article posted January 27 on the web site of the Detroit News, headlined, “Terror Suspect Kept Visa to Avoid Tipping Off Larger Investigation.”
The revelation that US intelligence agencies made a deliberate decision to allow Abdulmutallab to board the commercial flight, without any special airport screening, has been buried in the media. As of this writing, nearly a week after the hearing, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have published no articles on the subject. Nor have the broadcast or cable media reported on it.
This is despite–or perhaps more accurately, because of–the fact that this information exposes the official government story of the near-disaster to be a lie. President Obama, who has joined with top US intelligence, FBI and Homeland Security officials to insist that Abdulmutallab was inadvertently allowed to board the plane carrying explosives because of a failure to “connect the dots,” has… Continue reading
January 10, 2010
by Tom Burghart
New revelations about the failed Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 continue to emerge as does evidence of a systematic cover-up.
With the White House in crisis mode since the attempted bombing, President Obama met for two hours January 5 with top security and intelligence officials. Obama said that secret state agencies “had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot … but that intelligence officials had ‘failed to connect those dots’,” The New York Times reports.
The latest iteration of the “dot theory” floated by the President, aided and abetted by a compliant media, claims “this was not a failure to collect intelligence” but rather, “a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”
“Mr. Obama’s stark assessment that the government failed to properly analyze and integrate intelligence served as a sharp rebuke of the country’s intelligence agencies,” declared the Times uncritically.
While the President’s remarks may have offered a “sharp [rhetorical] rebuke,” Obama’s statement suggests that no one will be held accountable. Indeed, the President “was standing by his top national security advisers, including those whose agencies failed to communicate with one another.”
While the President may be “standing by” his national security advisers, the question is, are the denizens of America’s secret state standing by him? One well-connected Washington insider, MSNBC pundit Richard Wolffe, isn’t so sure.
Wolffe, the author of a flattering portrait of Obama, Renegade: The Making of a President, when asked… Continue reading
Thursday, 17. December 2009
Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs
Podcast Show #16
The Boiling Frogs Presents Russ Baker
Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of Family of Secrets — the Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. He has written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Village Voice and Esquire. He has served as a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, and is the founder of WhoWhatWhy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.
Here is our guest Russ Baker unplugged!
Saturday November 14, 2009 7:51 am
A senior counsel for the 9/11 Commission, John Farmer, has written a book exposing the degree to which our response to 9/11 was disorganized and outdated, geared to respond to an attack from Russia rather than from terrorists. Most significantly, Farmer reveals that FAA and NORAD altered their chronologies of the day only after a briefing at the White House.
Perhaps nothing perturbs Farmer more than the contention that high-ranking officials responded quickly and effectively to the revelation that Qaeda attacks were taking place. Nothing, Farmer indicates, could be further from the truth: President George W. Bush and other officials were mostly irrelevant during the hijackings; instead, it was the ground-level commanders who made operational decisions in an ad hoc fashion.
Yet both Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney, Farmer says, provided palpably false versions that touted the military’s readiness to shoot down United 93 before it could hit Washington. Planes were never in place to intercept it. By the time the Northeast Air Defense Sector had been informed of the hijacking, United 93 had already crashed. Farmer scrutinizes F.A.A. and NORAD records to provide irrefragable evidence that a day after a Sept. 17 White House briefing, both agencies suddenly altered their chronologies to produce a coherent timeline and story that “fit together nicely with the account provided publicly by Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and Vice President Cheney.”
We’ve known for a long time that the… Continue reading
Yesterday afternoon, Justice Edward Lehner of the State Supreme Court rubberstamped Referee Louis Crespo’s recommendation that the decision to establish a local commission to investigate the events of September 11th not be put before the voters on November 3rd.
After showing interest in weighing both sides’ arguments in the hearing, the Judge’s short decision gives no indication of having considered the arguments put forth in the Petitioners’ memorandum of law, nor any acknowledgement of the need for a new investigation, which the City of New York callously dismissed as “irrelevant”.
On a dark day for democracy, the patriotic call for answers by hundreds of 9/11 families, first responders and survivors has been stifled, and the will of the people of New York City once again denied.
Judge Lehner ruled that modifying the petition to make it “legally permissible” would result in it being “inconsistent with the law sought by the signatories of the Petition” despite the fact that all 80,000 signatories agreed by signing the Petition that “If any provision of this law is held to be unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remaining provisions shall be in no manner affected thereby but shall remain in full force and effect.”
RELATED NEWS COVERAGE
The deadline for inclusion on the ballot falls just before the election, making it possible to appeal Judge Lehner’s decision. NYC CAN is weighing all options and will make an announcement early next week on this issue, as well as on how it will be moving… Continue reading
BREAKING: 9/11 Families March on City Hall As City Seeks to Stop Fresh Probe of Attacks from Going on November Ballot;
NY Supreme Court Hearing 9:30AM Tuesday Will Determine Fate of Referendum
March For Answers 9/27/09
New York City — Yesterday, The New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), a group comprising 9/11 family members, first responders and survivors, led 300 New Yorkers from Battery Park to City Hall in protest of the City’s attempt to block the referendum for a fresh probe of the 9/11 attacks from going on the November ballot.
Today, the Court ordered litigants to present arguments before Judge Edward Lehner at a hearing scheduled for 9:30AM, Tuesday at the New York Supreme Court, Room 252, 60 Centre Street.
On Sunday, 9/11 family member Manny Badillo welcomed the crowd at Battery Park, “Today we are marching peaceably to let the world know that the City of NY is defying the will of the people to have one question on the ballot, the question to have a proper independent investigation to answer 100% of the questions raised by the 9/11 families.”
Mark Crispin Miller, author and professor of Media Studies at NYU spoke of the lack of accountability. He noted that after 9/11 “no heads rolled”; until recently when Obama adviser Van Jones was forced to resign because he [ Ed.: allegedly ] signed the “9/11 Truth Statement” in 2004.…Continue reading