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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee If the American public fully understood how we are treating our veterans they d be outraged Except for military families such as those belonging to the 1 600 surviving wounded in the current war the public generally doesn t know The news teleconference Murray held with several colleagues Tuesday didn t make the wires and rarely is there news in the land of Fox and football of the sacrifice that continues when Johnny and Jane come marching home We ve been very frustrated that we can t penetrate the curtain that Bush has pulled down over the country to justify this war says Joseph Farah Indiana president of the antiwar group Veterans for Peace There are long term implications that nobody s thought out yet and we should have thought them out before we committed troops to battle In addition to the time of day this is an area where Farah is in agreement with the American Legion In congressional testimony recently Legion National Commander John Brieden politely but pointedly drew a comparison between the figures 87 billion and 1 8 billion and said If the ever present courage of our men and women in the armed forces exists also in Congress and in the White House then our nation will do the right thing for America s veterans The courage seems to exist not among the politicians who beat the drums for war but among those who dared ask what we were getting into It takes more than the bravado of bring it on Sen Patrick Leahy the Vermont liberal Democrat said at the press conference Unfortunately they did bring it on Now a wide open spigot of American tax dollars is paying Iraqi soldiers and American defense entrepreneurs while American soldiers who escape the mess find themselves to be a trimmable budget item I m deeply concerned Sen Murray said that the wrong message is being sent to the next generation that will be asked to serve our country Over the cheers speeches and flyovers on Tuesday nobody will hear that message anyway Carpenter is Star op ed columnist Contact him at 1 317 444 6172 or via e mail at dan carpenter indystar com Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental political economic democratic domestic and international issues etc We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law In accordance with Title 17 U S C Section 107 the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes For more information go to http www law cornell edu uscode 17 107 shtml If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site

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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    his longtime Texas crony and benefactor to help write key pieces of Medicare legislation that guarantees nothing for seniors but billions for his friend s business Bush had been an investor in a Halbert owned predecessor company to AdvancePCS called Advance Paradigm the center reported Bush s trust sold his shares in 1998 Halbert contributed to Bush campaigns from his 1994 gubernatorial race through his White House bid in 2000 White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the administration consulted a wide range of experts in putting together the drug bill I m not going to be able to say anything about specific conversations the White House had in crafting this legislation said Duffy pointing out that no decision has been made on which companies will distribute the discount cards I will say the president designed this bill with 40 million special interests in mind the seniors of the United States of America Halbert could not be reached for comment but AdvancePCS spokesman Dale Thomas said AdvancePCS is not going to dignify this with a response Democrats have been highly critical of the discount drug cards complaining that they won t benefit seniors Only in this administration would the words discount card mean seniors get the card while corporations get the discounts said US Senator Edward M Kennedy Democrat of Massachusetts The drug discount card is meant as a stopgap measure to ease the burden of prescription drug costs for seniors until 2006 Senior citizens would pay a maximum of 30 a year for the card All Medicare recipients would be eligible for the card However the companies called prescription benefit managers would not be required to pass on all the saving that they might be able to negotiate from drug manufacturers Instead the law allows firms to pocket much of the discount themselves passing a smaller amount on to consumers Phil Blando a spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said seniors were likely to get healthy discounts An analysis in March by researchers at Brandeis University found that drug discount cards administered by pharmacy benefit management companies provide average discounts of 25 percent for generic drugs and 14 percent for brand name prescriptions Blando called the report ludicrous and said many firms might not even compete for Medicare s endorsement to offer discount cards since costs might exceed revenues from enrollment fees This is a red herring a diversionary tactic but we re not going to be swayed by it he said This story ran on page A3 of the Boston Globe on 12 12 2003 Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental political economic democratic domestic and international issues etc We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law In accordance with Title 17 U

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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    national emergency indeed particularly in such times it is the obligation of the Judicial Branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the Executive Branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the majority We cannot simply accept the government s position Reinhardt continued that the Executive Branch possesses the unchecked authority to imprison indefinitely any persons foreign citizens included on territory under the sole jurisdiction and control of the United States without permitting such prisoners recourse of any kind to any judicial forum or even access to counsel regardless of the length or manner of their confinement Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental political economic democratic domestic and international issues etc We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law In accordance with Title 17 U S C Section 107 the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes For more information go to http www law cornell edu uscode 17 107 shtml If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use you must obtain permission from the copyright owner 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    and commitment of the Reagan administration in which George Bush Snr served as Vice President It was rapidly agreed after the shock of the discovery of the ozone hole the size of the US and findings that the layer had thinned worldwide The layer is made up of a type of oxygen so thinly scattered though the upper atmosphere that if gathered together it would girdle the globe with a ring no thicker than the sole of a shoe But it screens out harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun that otherwise would wipe out life As the layer weakens increasing amounts of rays get through causing skin cancer and blindness from cataracts The provisions of the treaty forecast to prevent two million cancers in the West alone have been progressively tightened as the use of ozone destroying chemicals has been phased out in industrialised countries developing countries follow after a period of grace Methyl bromide which has also been linked with prostate cancer is one of the last to be controlled developed countries agreed in 1997 to stop using it by the end of next year So far they have succeeded in reducing it to 30 per cent of its former level by introducing substitutes Several countries however foresee difficulties in completing the phase out in time and have asked for year long critical exemptions for some limited uses as permitted under the treaty But uniquely the US which already accounts for a quarter of the world s use of the pesticide is demanding that it should indefinitely increase its use It is responding to pressure from farmers particularly in Florida and California While the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor has bolstered the Republicans hopes in California Florida is expected to be critical in next year s presidential poll as it was in 2000 When EU and Third World governments refused to agree to the demand at the meeting the US said legislation had been introduced into Congress to exempt it from the treaty s provisions on the pesticide altogether Claudia McMurray the head of its delegation said that this would either put us out of compliance or would lead us to violate the protocol When all attempts at compromise failed the meeting agreed to defer negotiations to a special extraordinary conference in Montreal in March But unless Mr Bush has a change of heart the world will then be faced with choosing between two alternative means of undermining the treaty allowing the US to reverse the process of phase out with the risk other nations will follow or seeing it ignore the agreement altogether 2003 Independent Digital UK Ltd Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental political economic democratic domestic and international issues etc We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for

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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    regulations will curtail their work We think it could shield securities firms owned by banks from state regulation said Bob Webster a spokesman for the Washington D C based North American Securities Administrators Association which represents state securities regulators Webster and company are calling for more public input into the rulemaking process an echo of the recent battle over media ownership at the Federal Communications Commission Given the whole climate of corporate scandal we think it s time to strengthen not weaken investor protections he said We re the early warning system Investors naturally turn to their state officials for help before they call on Washington The ongoing probe of possible fraud in the mutual fund market Webster pointed out originated with New York Attorney General Spitzer Spitzer also orchestrated a global settlement between a dozen states and 10 prominent investment banks accused of feeding bogus information to mom and pop investors In April the banks paid 1 4 billion a new record and agreed to a host of reforms to make the case go away On the West Coast California Corporations Commissioner Demetrios Boutris who recently won a 6 5 million judgment against deceptive stock peddlers also is annoyed by the OCC plan In a previously unpublished October 6 letter obtained by In These Times the commissioner challenged the proposal saying the OCC lacks the necessary Congressional authority to overrule certain state laws At the OCC spokesman Kevin Mukri played down the controversy He portrays the whole effort as a simple attempt to untangle a mess of overlapping and contradictory state and federal statues Our banks operate in 50 states and you have 50 states passing consumer protection laws some very stringent some not Mukri told In These Times This creates a uniform field It s kind of like a housecleaning rule Asked about criticisms leveled by the states he replied they re entitled to their opinions and pointed out that the proposal is backed by banking industry trade groups Mukri said his office has received more than 1 000 comments on the issue but has set no timeline for putting the rules into place The banking proposal looks suspiciously like another Bush administration scheme HR 2179 a House bill introduced this session by Rep Richard Baker R La and supported by Rep Michael Oxley R Ohio Bush s point man on corporate crime The pending legislation is supposed to beef up the anemic and long under funded Securities Exchange Commission But it too would curb the power of states to combat stock market scams HR 2179 which is currently idling but could be revived has drawn howls from state authorities and consumer advocates with Spitzer labeling it an absolute outright betrayal of the small investor A C Thompson is a staff reporter with the San Francisco Bay Guardian Freelance writer James A Thompson lives in Tucson Arizona Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright

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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    no idea they could use planes as weapons when we had FBI records from 1991 stating that this is a possibility said Kristen Breitweiser one of four New Jersey widows who lobbied Congress and the president to appoint the commission The widows want to know why various government agencies didn t connect the dots before Sept 11 such as warnings from FBI offices in Minnesota and Arizona about suspicious student pilots If you were to tell me that two years after the murder of my husband that we wouldn t have one question answered I wouldn t believe it Breitweiser said Kean admits the commission also has more questions than answers Asked whether we should at least know if people sitting in the decision making spots on that critical day are still in those positions Kean said Yes the answer is yes And we will Kean promises major revelations in public testimony beginning next month from top officials in the FBI CIA Defense Department National Security Agency and maybe President Bush and former President Clinton MMIII CBS Broadcasting Inc All Rights Reserved Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental political economic democratic domestic and international issues etc We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law In accordance with Title 17 U S C Section 107 the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes For more information go to http www law cornell edu uscode 17 107 shtml

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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    invoked the privilege But William Weaver a professor at the University of Texas El Paso who recently completed a study of the historical use of the privilege says the Bush administration is asserting it with offhanded abandon In one case Weaver says the government invoked the privilege 245 times In another involving allegations of racial discrimination the Central Intelligence Agency demanded and won return of information it had provided to a former employee s attorneys only to later disclose the very information that it claimed would jeopardize national security New administration policies have thwarted the ability of Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to monitor the executive branch and in some cases even to obtain basic information about its actions One Republican lawmaker Rep Dan Burton of Indiana became so frustrated with the White House s refusal to cooperate in an investigation that he exclaimed during a hearing This is not a monarchy Some see a fundamental transformation in the past three years What has stunned us so much says Gary Bass executive director of OMB Watch a public interest group in Washington that monitors government activities is how rapidly we ve moved from a principle of right to know to one edging up to need to know The White House declined repeated requests by U S News to discuss the new secrecy initiatives with the administration s top policy and legal officials Two Bush officials who did comment defended the administration and rejected criticism of what many call its penchant for secrecy Dan Bartlett the White House communications director says that besides the extraordinary steps the president has taken to protect the nation Bush and other senior officials must keep private advice given in areas such as intelligence and policymaking if that advice is to remain candid Overall Bartlett says the administration is open and the process in which this administration conducts its business is as transparent as possible There is he says great respect for the law and great respect for the American people knowing how their government is operating Bartlett says that some administration critics such as environmentalists want to use secrecy as a bogeyman He adds For every series of examples you could find where you could make the claim of a penchant for secrecy I could probably come up with several that demonstrate the transparency of our process Asked for examples the communications director offered none There are no precise statistics on how much government information is rendered secret One measure though can be seen in a tally of how many times officials classify records In the first two years of Bush s term his administration classified records some 44 5 million times or about the same number as in President Clinton s last four years according to the Information Security Oversight Office an arm of the National Archives and Records Administration But the picture is more complicated than that In an executive order issued last March Bush made it easier to reclassify information that had previously been declassified allowing executive branch agencies to drop a cloak of secrecy over reams of information some of which had been made available to the public Bait and switch In addition under three other little noticed executive orders Bush increased the number of officials who can classify records to include the secretary of agriculture the secretary of health and human services and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Now all three can label information at the secret level rendering it unavailable for public review Traditionally classification authority has resided in federal agencies engaged in national security work We don t know yet how frequently the authority is being exercised says Steven Aftergood who publishes an authoritative newsletter in Washington on government secrecy But it is a sign of the times that these purely domestic agencies have been given national security classification authority It is another indication of how our government is being transformed under pressure of the perceived terrorist threat J William Leonard director of the information oversight office estimates that up to half of what the government now classifies needn t be You can t have an effective secrecy process he cautions unless you re discerning in how you use it From the start the Bush White House has resisted efforts to disclose information about executive branch activities and decision making The energy task force headed by Cheney is just one example In May 2001 the task force produced a report calling for increased oil and gas drilling including on public land The Sierra Club and another activist group Judicial Watch sued to get access to task force records saying that energy lobbyists unduly influenced the group Citing the Constitution s separation of powers clause the administration is arguing that the courts can t compel Cheney to disclose information about his advice to the president A federal judge ordered the administration to produce the records prompting an appeal to the Supreme Court Energy interests aren t alone in winning a friendly hearing from the Bush administration Auto and tire manufacturers prevailed in persuading the administration to limit disclosure requirements stemming from one of the highest profile corporate scandals of recent years Four years ago after news broke that failing Firestone tires on Ford SUVs had caused hundreds of deaths and many more accidents Congress enacted a new auto and tire safety law A cornerstone was a requirement that manufacturers submit safety data to a government early warning system which would provide clues to help prevent another scandal Lawmakers backing the system wanted the data made available to the public After the legislation passed officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said they didn t expect to create any new categories of secrecy for the information they indicated that key data would automatically be made public That sparked protests from automakers tire manufacturers and others After months of pressure transportation officials decided to make vital information such as warranty claims field reports from dealers and consumer complaints all potentially valuable sources of safety information secret It was more or less a bait and switch says Laura MacCleery auto safety counsel for Public Citizen a nonprofit consumer group You re talking about information that will empower consumers The manufacturers are not going to give that up easily Get out of jail free Government officials unsurprisingly don t see it that way Lloyd Guerci a Transportation Department attorney involved in writing the new regulations declined to comment But Ray Tyson a spokesman for the traffic safety administration denies the agency caved to industry pressure We ve listened to all who have opinions and reached a compromise that probably isn t satisfactory to anybody Some of the strongest opposition to making the warning system data public came from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers The organization whose membership comprises U S and international carmakers argued that releasing the information would harm them competitively The Bush administration has close ties to the carmakers Bush Chief of Staff Card has been General Motors top lobbyist and head of a trade group of major domestic automakers Jacqueline Glassman NHTSA s chief counsel is a former top lawyer for DaimlerChrysler Corp In the months before the new regulations were released industry officials met several times with officials from the White House s Office of Management and Budget The administration s commitment to increased secrecy measures extends to the area of critical infrastructure information or CII In layman s terms this refers to transportation communications energy and other systems that make modern society run The Homeland Security Act allows companies to make voluntary submissions of information about critical infrastructure to the Department of Homeland Security The idea is to encourage firms to share information crucial to running and protecting those facilities But under the terms of the law when a company does this the information is exempted from public disclosure and cannot be used without the submitting party s permission in any civil proceeding even a government enforcement action Some critics see this as a get out of jail free card allowing companies worried about potential litigation or regulatory actions to place troublesome information in a convenient homeland security vault The sweep of it is amazing says Beryl Howell former general counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee Savvy businesses will be able to mark every document handed over to government officials as CII to ensure their confidentiality Companies wanted liability exemption long before 9 11 adds Patrice McDermott a lobbyist for the American Library Association which has a tradition of advocacy on right to know issues Now they ve got it Under the administration s plan to implement the Homeland Security Act some businesses may get even more protection When Congress passed the law it said the antidisclosure provision would apply only to information submitted to the Department of Homeland Security The department recently proposed extending the provision to cover information submitted to any federal agency A department spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Business objections were also pivotal when the Environmental Protection Agency recently backed off a plan that would have required some companies to disclose more about chemical stockpiles in communities If the administration s secrecy policies have helped business they have done little for individuals worried about health and safety issues The residents of the small town of Aberdeen Md can attest to that On a chilly fall evening some 100 people gathered at the Aberdeen firehouse to hear the latest about a toxic substance called perchlorate An ingredient in rocket fuel perchlorate has entered the aquifer that feeds the town s drinking water wells The culprit is the nearby U S Army s Aberdeen Proving Ground where since World War I all manner of weapons have been tested Trigger finger After word of the perchlorate contamination broke a coalition of citizens began working with the Army to try to attack the unseen plume of pollution moving through the ground But earlier this year the Army delivered Aberdeen residents a sharp blow It began censoring maps to eliminate features like street names and building locations information critical to understanding and tracking where contamination might have occurred or where environmental testing was being done The reason The information the Army says could provide clues helpful to terrorists Arlen Crabb the head of a citizens group doesn t buy it It s an abuse of power says Crabb a 20 year Army veteran whose well lies just a mile and a half from the base His coalition is suing the Army citing health and safety concerns We re not a bunch of radicals We ve got to have the proof The government has to be transparent Aberdeen is but one example of the way enhanced security measures increasingly conflict with the health and safety concerns of ordinary Americans Two basics drinking water and airline travel help illustrate the trend A public health and bioterrorism law enacted last year requires among other things that operators of local water systems study vulnerabilities to attack or other disruptions and draw up plans to address any weaknesses Republicans and Democrats praised the measure pushed by the Bush administration as a prudent response to potential terrorist attacks But there s a catch Residents are precluded from obtaining most information about any vulnerabilities This wasn t always the case In 1996 Congress passed several amendments to the Clean Water Act calling for source water assessments to be made of water supply systems The idea was that the assessments covering such things as sources of contamination would arm the public with information necessary to push for improvements Today the water assessments are still being done but some citizens groups say that because of Bush administration policy the release of information has been so restricted that there is too little specific information to act upon Theyblame the Environmental Protection Agency for urging states to limit information provided to the public from the assessments As a result the program has been fundamentally reshaped from one that has made information widely available to one that now forces citizens to essentially operate on a need to know basis says Stephen Gasteyer a Washington specialist on water quality issues People are being overly zealous in their enforcement of safety and security and perhaps a little paranoid he says So you re getting releases of information so ambiguous that it s not terribly useful Cynthia Dougherty director of EPA s groundwater and drinking water office described her agency s policy as laying out minimal standards so that states that had been intending to more fully disclose information had the opportunity to decide to make a change The Federal Aviation Administration has its own security concerns and supporters say it has addressed them vigorously In doing so however the agency has also made it harder for Americans to obtain the kind of safety information once considered routine The FAA has eliminated online access to records on enforcement actions taken against airlines pilots mechanics and others That came shortly after the 9 11 attacks when it was discovered that information was available on things like breaches of airport security says Rebecca Trexler an FAA spokeswoman Balancing such concerns isn t easy But rather than cut off access to just that information the agency pulled back all enforcement records The FAA has also backed away from providing access to safety information voluntarily submitted by airlines As worrisome as the specter of terrorism is for many Americans many still grumble about being kept in the dark unnecessarily Under rules the Transportation Security Administration adopted last year with no public notice or comment the traveling public no longer has access to key government information on the safety and security of all modes of transportation The sweeping restrictions go beyond protecting details about security or screening systems to include information on enforcement actions or effectiveness of security measures The new TSA rules also establish a new looser standard for denying access to information Material can be withheld from the public the rules say simply if it s impractical to release it The agency did not respond to requests for comment This same pattern can be seen in one federal agency after another As Joseph McCormick the former Army Ranger trying to learn more about the pipeline planned for Virginia s Shenandoah Valley learned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission now restricts even the most basic information about such projects The agency says its approach is balanced adding that security concerns amply justify the changes The Bush administration is pressing the courts to impose more secrecy too Jeffrey Sterling 36 a former CIA operations officer can testify to that Sterling who is black is suing the CIA for discrimination In September with his attorneys in the midst of preparing important filings a CIA security officer paid them a visit demanding return of documents the agency had previously provided A mistake had been made the officer explained and the records contained information that if disclosed would gravely damage national security The officer warned that failure to comply could lead to prison or loss of a security clearance according to the lawyers Although vital to Sterling s case the lawyers reluctantly gave up the records What was so important In a federal courtroom in Alexandria Va a Justice Department attorney recently explained that the records included a pseudonym given to Sterling for an internal CIA proceeding on his discrimination complaint In fact the pseudonym which Sterling never used in an operation had already been disclosed through a clerical error Mark Zaid one of Sterling s attorneys says the pseudonym is just a misdirection play by the CIA The real reason the agency demanded the files back he says is that they included information supporting Sterling s discrimination complaint Zaid says he has never encountered such heavy handed treatment from the CIA When they have an administration that is willing to cater to secrecy they go for it he says because they know they can get away with it A CIA spokesman declined comment In this case which is still pending the administration is invoking the state secrets privilege in which it asserts that a case can t proceed normally without disclosing information harmful to national security The Justice Department says it can t provide statistics on how often it invokes the privilege But Jonathan Turley a George Washington University law professor active in national security matters says In the past it was an unusual thing The Bush administration is faster on the trigger Surveillance At the same time the government is opening up a related front Last spring the TSA effectively shut down the case of Mohammed Ali Ahmed an Indian Muslim and naturalized citizen In September 2001 Ahmed and three of his children were removed from an American Airlines flight Last year Ahmed filed a civil rights suit against the airline But TSA head James Loy intervened saying that giving Ahmed information about his family s removal would compromise airline security The government in other words was asserting a claim to withhold the very information Ahmed needed to pursue his case says his attorney Wayne Krause of the Texas Civil Rights Project You re looking at an almost unprecedented vehicle to suppress information that is vital to the public and the people who want to vindicate their rights Krause says Secret evidence of a different kind comes into play through a little noticed effect of the U S A Patriot Act A key provision allows information from surveillance approved for intelligence gathering to be used to convict a defendant in criminal court But the government s application which states the case for the snooping isn t available for defendants to see as in traditional law enforcement surveillance cases With government agencies now hoarding all manner of secret information the growing stockpile represents an opportunity for abusive leaks critics say The new law takes note of that by allowing suits against the federal government But

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  • Topplebush.com: A premier collection of articles on Bush and his family, past and present, including many articles on his failures as a businessman and as Governor of TX and President
    the threat saying on May 17 2002 Had I know that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people Soon after these denials ABC News reported White House officials acknowledged that U S intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the Sept 11 attacks that bin Laden s terrorist network might try to hijack American planes The president received that briefing around the same time the FBI was receiving information that a large number of Arabs were training at U S flight schools When CBS asked other Administration officials about Rice and Bush s denials they hit a brick wall The usually talkative Attorney General John Ashcroft just stared when reporters asked him about the terror warnings FBI Chief Robert Mueller also refused to comment Others were outraged Kristen Breitweiser a 9 11 widow said How is it possible we have a national security advisor coming out and saying we had no idea they could use planes as weapons when we had FBI records from 1991 stating that this is a possibility The pre 9 11 warnings that the White House acknowledges receiving were so specific in fact that at least one prominent member of the administration was already taking precautions Attorney General John Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines because of what the Justice Department called a threat assessment Since the 9 11 attacks the White House has sought at every turn to prevent an independent investigation into the failure to prevent the attacks First the administration opposed the creation of the commission Then when public outcry forced Congress to create the commission the White House tried to choke off its funding The administration then classified key portions of a bipartisan 9 11 congressional inquiry Then the White House dragged its feet in providing documents to the commission And now it continues to refuse to hand over key documents forcing the commission to threaten court subpoenas But it seems like the White House should have learned by now that that kind of obfuscation and denial is only going to backfire This piece originally appeared in the Center for American Progress daily e mail bulletin the Progress Report To sign up visit americanprogress org Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental political economic democratic domestic and international issues etc We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law In accordance with Title 17 U S C Section 107 the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes For more information go to http www law

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