Tuesday, December 11, 2007

CIA's Hayden testifies & Cheney's $400 Arabic coat...

From American Progress:

Think Fast...

CIA Director Michael Hayden begins two days of testimony today about the agency's destruction of videotaped interrogations of terrorist suspects. Hayden will answer questions today from the Senate Intelligence Committee "and Wednesday from its House counterpart. Both are closed sessions."

"Lawyers within the clandestine branch of the" CIA "gave written approval in advance to the destruction" of hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting interrogations. The revelation of "written documents" is expected to "widen the scope of the inquiries into the matter."

Last week on ABC's The View, Whoopi Goldberg called the estate tax "horrible." Anti-tax groups such as Americans For Tax Reform and the American Family Business Institute are already using her words in their campaigns as an "anti-Buffett" tool. "Her statement is all we need," said John Kartch, a spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform.

Iraq will never allow permanent U.S. military bases on its soil, a top government official said yesterday. "I say one thing, permanent forces or bases in Iraq for any foreign forces is a red line that cannot be accepted by any nationalist Iraqi," said Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "said a plan is in the works for him to visit Iraq, although he did not reveal a timetable for a trip. 'I am hoping to do that,' Ahmadinejad said. 'We are negotiating to arrange a program.'"

Five years ago, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee concluded that the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba was bad for businesses. "Now that he's a top-tier candidate for president, Huckabee has decided he favors the embargo -- so much so that he vowed Monday to outdo even President Bush in strangling the regime of Cuban President Fidel Castro and punishing those who do business there."

President Bush intends to name conservative commentator James Glassman "to lead the State Department's struggling efforts to improve the U.S.'s image abroad" and replace Karen Hughes. Glassman is a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington and publisher of the group's magazine, The American.

Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Scott Lilly examines the little-known Office of Labor-Management Services, which under the Bush administration, has worked to "undermine the reputation of the labor union movement through a classic political misinformation campaign." A Labor Department spokesman simply responded that the OLMS "serves a vital purpose in protecting rank-and-file union members."

And finally: According to the State Department, White House officials -- including President Bush -- "received thousands of dollars worth of gifts from foreign leaders and friends last year." For example, former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi gave Bush the CD "Junichiro Koizumi Presents: My Favorite Elvis Songs," valued at $50. Vice President Cheney received a "fur-lined cashmere Arabic coat" from Saudi King Abdullah, valued at $400.


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