House Judiciary Panel OKs Subpoena For Roveamy:
Member of a House Judiciary subcommittee have voted to authorize subpoenas to require Karl Rove and four other senior Bush administration officials to testify under oath in the inquiry into the dismissals of eight federal prosecutors. President Bush has vowed to fight the subpoenas if they are issued. White House Counsel Fred Fielding has said Rove and others can meet with lawmakers but only it is done behind closed doors and not under oath. This is House Judiciary Chair John Conyers.
Rep. John Conyers: "What Fred Fielding said to us yesterday was so disconcerting and so off the mark that obviously anyone who comes before the committee would have to be under oath. we don't do anything off the record."
16-Day Gap Revealed in Emails Released on U.S Attorneys Firings
Earlier this week, the Justice Department released 3,000 pages of documents related to the firings but it has been revealed that there is a 16-day gap in the emails. The documents include almost no correspondence between November 15 and December 2, right before the attorneys were asked for their resignations.
Ex-U.S. Attorney Accuses Justice Dept of Politicizing Prosecutionamy:
In related news, the Washington Post reports that a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies has admitted that political appointees in the Justice Department repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's case. Sharon Eubanks said she was ordered to drop a recommendation that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. The Justice Department also urged Eubanks to seek less money from the tobacco companies. The government originally sought a $130 billion settlement but at the last moment, the request was dropped to just $10 billion. Eubanks said, "When decisions are made now in the Bush attorney general"s office, politics is the primary consideration. . . . The rule of law goes out the window."
Pentagon Looks to Send More Arms to Middle Eastern Nationsamy:
The Boston Globe is reporting the State Department and the Pentagon are quietly seeking congressional approval for significant new military sales to US allies in the Persian Gulf region. The move is seen as part of a broader U.S. strategy to contain Iranian influence by strengthening Iran's neighbors. The arm sales could spark concerns that further military buildup in the region would bring Washington closer to a confrontation with Iran. The Bush administration is reportedly considering sales of sophisticated air and missile defense systems, advanced early warning radar aircraft that could detect low-flying missiles, and light coastal combat ships that could sweep the Gulf for mines and help gather underwater intelligence. All of the nations that might receive the new arms are Sunni-ruled countries. They include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman.
Pakistan Tests Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missilesamy:
The Pakistani military has announced it has successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable cruise missile with the capability to avoid radar detection. The missile reportedly has a range of over 400 miles.
U.S. Gives Pakistani Gov't Sophisticated Spy Technology
Meanwhile the Guardian newspaper reports the Bush administration has been providing the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, with sophisticated new spy technology to trace mobile phones, bug houses and telephone calls, and monitor large volumes of email traffic. The Guardian reports the Bush administration gave Pakistan the technology to help track members of Al Qaeda but the government has also used the technology to track political dissidents. Since 9/11, hundreds of Pakistanis with no ties to Al Qaeda have disappeared after being seized by the ISI. One former CIA official said the Pakistani government now has the ability drive vans down streets and monitor phone conversations taking place in every house they pass.
Conservatives Form Campaign to Protect Civil Liberties
A coalition of prominent conservative writers and former government officials have launch a new campaign to restore checks and balances and to protect civil liberties Founding members of the American Freedom Agenda include former Republican Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who led the effort to impeach President Clinton, David Keene of the American Conservative Union, constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, and the writer and conservative direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie. They are also calling for Congress to restore habeas corpus, end torture and extraordinary rendition, narrow the President's authority to designate "enemy combatants," prevent unconstitutional domestic spying and protect journalists from prosecution under the Espionage Act.