From Josh Marshall TPM:

Feinstein asks the question everyone’s been wondering about (from the AP)…

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday she wants answers about the departure of the former U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, who resigned last October before the Justice Department’s dismissal of eight other U.S. attorneys sparked controversy.

“I have questions about Debra Yang’s departure and I can’t answer those questions right at this time,” Feinstein, D-Calif. and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters in response to a question. “Was she asked to resign, and if so, why? We have to ferret that out.”

Debra Wong Yang went to work for a private law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and has said she left of her own accord.

A Gibson Dunn spokeswoman issued a statement on Yang’s behalf Tuesday night. “Debra Wong Yang’s decision to leave her post as U.S. attorney to pursue a private practice was entirely her own, and she had many options to choose from. We are delighted that she chose Gibson Dunn,” it said.

You’ll remember that the Duke Cunningham investigation spread out in several directions. One was into the CIA. Another was on to Capitol Hill. The big fish there was Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), then Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The Lam investigation in San Diego sparked the Lewis investigation. But the Lewis investigation itself was and is being run out of the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. And that brings us to Debra Yang.

And from The Hill:

…Gutierrez and Abramoff had discussed removing Black from his position, “need[ing] to get this guy sniped out of there,” according to one of the lobbyist’s e-mails. Black had already indicted several members of Gutierrez’s administration and was starting to look at Abramoff.

Black’s case may get another look from Congress. Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) wrote to both the Senate and House judiciary committees last week, asking them to add Black’s demotion to their broader investigation of the U.S. attorney scandal.

In a statement made to The Hill, Miller repeated his calls for another investigation.

“The letter from Fred Black is another good example of why it’s necessary to re-open the investigation into Black’s demotion and to closely examine whether Abramoff or anyone working with him tampered with anti-corruption efforts in the U.S. attorney’s office,” he said.

“This letter is indicative of Fred Black’s perspective, which leads one to wonder why the Justice Department removed him, when he seems to be doing his job,” said Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D) in a statement…



Hey! where’s the Outrage?

ThinkProgress:  (video-clip and transcript from Hersh/Blitzer/CNN 2-25 interview )

Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked GroupsNew Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Must we do it ourselves then? the oversight? Make some anti-war noise! Follow Wes Clark’s lead. 

Petition here: Please take some time to search the site tools, contact your congressionals, write letters to the editors of your local rags.

Statement On The President’s New Intelligence Commission, February 6, 2004

Clark says: President shouldn’t blame CIA for failures: “They report; he decides”

Little Rock – General Wesley Clark issued the following statement on today’s announcement by President Bush of his new commission to investigate intelligence failures on Iraqi weapons.

“President Bush’s announcement today is a disappointment but not a surprise – George W. Bush’s presidency has been a series of failures followed by buck-passing.

“The President of the United States must be responsible for the use of intelligence by his Administration. The President should not use a panel like the one announced today to lay blame on the intelligence community, whose job it is to provide information to policy makers. If there were failures, they were his – the buck should stop with him. As the President’s favorite network would say, ‘they report; he decides.’

“The President also should not be using a panel to sweep pressing issues under the rug. Waiting until 2005 for the commission’s report simply is not acceptable – if there is a major threat posed by these weapons, we should have that information in 90 days, not a year from now.

“I also would like to know why the commission is being created now – it appears that the President delayed the creation of the commission and created a report date in a way that makes it difficult for citizens to know the degree of responsibility and accountability of this administration. This follows the 9/11 Commission – the Administration put up road blocks and delays so that Americans won’t hear their report until after the election. George Bush’s modus operandi is to keep the public in the dark. I believe that in a democracy the government belongs to the people and I’ll be a president who believes in being accountable to the people, not hiding from the people.”

Press Release, January 16, 2004

Manchester – Today, Wes Clark opened the doors to his Manchester Reading Room and Clark slammed the Bush Administration for governing behind closed doors. The public can come to the Manchester Reading Room to find out about Wes Clark’s personal and financial track record.

“It’s time President Bush played it straight with the American people,” Clark said. “President Bush has shut the people out of government and told them they have no right to know what he says to special interests in the Oval Office. As President, my administration will be an open book. We need a higher standard of leadership in Washington.”

Clark put forward a two-part plan to reverse the Bush Administration’s secrecy policies and to make his administration the most open presidency in history:

Reverse Bush Secrecy Policies:

1. End hiding of documents through classification extension and FOIA rollbacks.
2. End the stonewall of the investigation of September 11th and Bush’s Energy Task Force.

Establish an Openness Doctrine:

1. Restrict the assertion of executive privilege.
2. Eliminate secret task forces.
3. Disclose all meetings with special interests.
4. Require lobbyists to reveal more.
5. Use the Internet to make government transparent.

Clark isn’t just talking the talk – he’s walking the walk. Today, he opened his records — military records, tax returns that cover the period since he left the military, financial records and voting registration documents to the public.

The documents will be available at the Sheraton Four Points hotel in Manchester. They will be posted at as soon as they are scanned.

“This is just another way for the people of New Hampshire to get to know me and to know that I mean what I say when I call for openness,” Clark said.

During the past three years, President Bush has refused to turn over documents on issues ranging from September 11th to the formulation of energy policy. In October 2001, he signed a new Executive Order, to restrict the Freedom of Information Act. In March 2003, he extended the length of time that classified documents are withheld from the public.

“Voters should be able to scrutinize the track record of those who seek to sit in the Oval Office,” Communications Director Matt Bennett said. “To beat Bush in November, we need a nominee who is willing to open himself up. We call on the other contenders to make their records as available as Wes Clark’s.”