Saturday, May 13, 2006

Was Iraq Worth It? An award-winning Iraqi journalist wonders about the cost of the U.S. invasion.

Was Iraq Worth It?
An award-winning Iraqi journalist wonders about the cost of the U.S. invasion.
By Eleanor Clift

May 12, 2006 - On Wednesday I sat in a darkened room at the Kennedy Library in Boston watching photos from Iraq projected on a wall screen as an Associated Press photographer talked about covering the anguish of war. She has produced Pulitzer Prize-winning work, her camera capturing images of bodies piled in a heap, anguished mothers and terrified children, victims of the U.S.-led invasion. But inside, she always wondered if she was in the wrong profession. "Is it more important to take pictures," she would ask herself, "or to give medical help?"

That question still haunts German-born Anje Niedringhaus, winner of a 2005 Courage in Journalism award from the International Women's Media Organization (full disclosure: I am a co-chair of the IWMF). Niedringhaus was among the speakers at a panel about humanitarian intervention, a subject on a lot of people's minds right now given the worsening situation in Iraq. President Bush's job-approval rating had sunk to a perilous 31 percent, with dissatisfaction over the Iraq war one of the main reasons why.

Bush insists progress is being made in Iraq, but at what pace and at what cost? It's difficult to verify the administration's claims. Since Iraq has become a supremely dangerous country, most foreign journalists remain in the American-protected Green Zone in Baghdad, venturing out only with military escort. "It's not that I'm afraid," Niedringhaus says, but as a Western woman carrying camera gear, she won't be returning to Iraq. The risk of kidnapping is too great. "I would go back to sit in the Palestine Hotel guarded by American soldiers to edit the work of our Iraqi colleagues. They are our only eye. I am very sorry, but I can't show you anymore what I showed you before, and I think it is a terrible situation."

Two thirds of Americans think going into Iraq was a mistake, and they don't believe Bush can successfully extricate this country from the deepening disaster. A story in USA Today on Thursday about a secret government program to collect the phone records of tens of millions of Americans is another reminder of the broad powers this administration has assumed while ignoring existing law and constitutional protections in the name of fighting terrorism.

But it's important to remember that it didn't have to turn out this way. At the Kennedy Library on Wednesday Anne Barnard, The Boston Globe's Middle East bureau chief, recalled those heady days right after Saddam Hussein was toppled. "It was as if a Band-Aid had been ripped off—it hurt, but it was something new and exciting and people wanted a better life, and they wanted justice." Barnard filed stories that chronicled what she called these "raw desires." She saw people digging up recently discovered graves and watched one man "pulling up fistfuls of his brother's bones out of the ground." She expected to see a flood of agencies and aid workers come in to help the Iraqi people and stabilize the country after decades in which 100,000 people died at the hands of Saddam's regime, and others suffered from sanctions and neglect. The deliverance never happened. Instead, in the summer of 2003 the United Nations headquarters was bombed, and everything began to unravel. "That's when we understood journalists and aid workers would not be granted safe haven," says Barnard, who lived in Iraq for almost two years.

The panel marked the second Elizabeth Neuffer Forum on Human Rights and Journalism. The winner of an IWMF Courage in Journalism Award in 1998, Neuffer was killed in an auto accident in Iraq in 2003 while on assignment for The Boston Globe. To continue her legacy, the IWMF sponsors a woman journalist for a nine-month research fellowship in human-rights journalism and social justice issues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies. The awardee this year is a young Iraqi journalist, Huda Ahmed, whose essay touches on many of the sentiments expressed by her American counterparts. Ahmed wrote that in April 2003 there were thousands of foreign journalists in Baghdad. "Today, I can just about name every foreign writer left in my country." With fewer outsiders reporting, she wants to prepare for the day when only Iraqi journalists will tell the story of their country, and she wants to better understand the U.S. policies and politics that made Iraq "the Bush administration's experiment in exporting its own democratic ideals to the Middle East." She notes that Americans debate over how much freedom they would give up to protect themselves from terrorists. "Here in Baghdad, where we plan trips to buy groceries like military operations—precise, swift and with hopes of avoiding casualties ... I hear people ask, 'What is the use of freedom if it means nothing but death?'" Like so many people, Ahmed asks, "Is it worth it?"



Rep. Tom DeLay to leave office on June 9

DeLay to leave office on June 9

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Tom DeLay, the once-powerful majority leader whose career was undermined by scandal, said Thursday he would resign from the House on June 9.

"As you are aware," the Texas Republican wrote House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., "I have recently made the decision to pursue new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day from an arena outside of the U.S. House of Representatives."

He told Hastert he would resign at the close of business on June 9.

The combative conservative last month stated his intention to resign in June, saying he did not want to allow Democrats to turn the next election in his district near Houston into a negative personal campaign.

DeLay, 59, an 11-term congressman, faced a tough re-election bid following his indictment in Texas as part of an investigation into the allegedly illegal use of funds for state legislative races.

Two of DeLay's former staffers have also pleaded guilty as part of the influence-peddling investigation into former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. No one involved in the investigation has publicly accused DeLay of breaking the law.

DeLay stepped down as majority leader, the second-most powerful position in the House, last fall after his indictment in Texas.

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Secrecy Privilege Invoked in Fighting Ex-Detainee's Lawsuit
Secrecy Privilege Invoked in Fighting Ex-Detainee's Lawsuit
By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer

For at least the fifth time in the past year, the Justice Department yesterday invoked the once rarely cited state secrets privilege to argue that a lawsuit alleging government wrongdoing should be dismissed without an airing, this time in the case of a German citizen seeking an apology and monetary compensation for having been wrongfully imprisoned by the CIA.

Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Joseph Sher said yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia that the government cannot confirm or deny the allegations made by Khaled al-Masri, who sources have said was held by the CIA for five months in Afghanistan. His allegations, Sher contended, "clearly involve clandestine activity abroad." Therefore, he said, "there is no way that the case can go forward without causing the damage to the national security."

Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Masri in his lawsuit against former CIA director George J. Tenet and 10 unnamed CIA officials, said "the government is moving to dismiss this case at the outset on the basis of a fiction: that discussion in this courtroom of the very same facts being discussed throughout the world will harm the nation." Granting the motion, he argued, would amount "to giving a broad immunity to the government to shield even the most egregious activities."

He noted that the case has received extensive public attention. Masri's detention has been cited by the German chancellor, acknowledged by State Department and intelligence officials speaking on the condition of anonymity, and partially verified by German prosecutors and the European Parliament.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said he will issue a ruling soon.

The state secrets privilege, created in the 1950s during the Cold War, allows the federal government to urge courts to dismiss legal cases that it asserts would damage foreign policy or national security. The courts have usually accepted the government's request.

The state secrets privilege was invoked about 55 times from 1954 to 2001, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and in the first four years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it was invoked 23 times.

In April, the government invoked the state secrets privilege in an attempt to block a lawsuit against AT&T and the National Security Agency brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF alleges that the government has secret computer rooms within AT&T's buildings for conducting broad, illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.

Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, was arrested by police in Macedonia in December 2003 because his name was the same as that of another man suspected of terrorist links, and because Macedonian police believed he was carrying a false passport, according to former and current intelligence officials and U.S. diplomats.

He was held for five months largely because the head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center's al-Qaeda unit "believed he was someone else," a former CIA official said last year.

This year, German investigators confirmed most of Masri's allegations, which have received extensive publicity in Europe.

In December, during a joint news conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Rice had admitted the mistake. Rice declined to comment on the Masri case but said she told Merkel that "when and if mistakes are made, we work very hard . . . to rectify them."

Rice aides told reporters later that she had not admitted an error, but a senior administration official traveling with Rice confirmed that U.S. officials had previously informed the Germans that Masri was released because the intelligence was insufficient to justify his detention.

In a declaration filed in the Masri lawsuit, outgoing CIA Director Porter J. Goss said the secrecy was needed "to protect classified intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure."

Wizner argued that the court could limit the lawyers' "discovery" of facts to protect state secrets.

Goss's statement, however, said that such "special procedures are not adequate to protect these sensitive matters" but that the reasoning "cannot be described in the public record."

Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.


Lewinsky Case's Prosecutor Accused Of Stalking Woman
Lewinsky Case's Prosecutor Accused Of Stalking Woman
By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer

NEW YORK, May 12 -- Robert W. Ray, the former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica S. Lewinsky, turned himself in to police Thursday on charges of stalking a former girlfriend, according to the Manhattan district attorney's office.

New York police say Ray's former girlfriend, a 40-year-old Manhattan woman, filed a complaint that he persisted in sending e-mail and knocking on her door months after she broke off their relationship. Police charged Ray, 46, with a misdemeanor count of stalking in the fourth degree.

Ray works in the Parsippany, N.J., law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, where he specializes in white-collar criminal defense. A telephone call to his office was not returned.

Ray entered the 2002 race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey, seeking the seat held by Robert G. Torricelli (D), who was plagued by charges of unethical conduct. But Ray came under sustained criticism in Congress for considering a partisan race while still serving as independent counsel. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) called for the U.S. comptroller general to investigate Ray's conduct in lining up political consultants and discussing fundraising while he was independent counsel.

Ray later dropped out of the race, saying there was not enough time to raise money and mount a serious challenge.

Once a hard-driving federal prosecutor in New York, Ray came into the public spotlight during his years of work for independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. He investigated Clinton's affair with White House intern Lewinsky and the Whitewater land deal in Arkansas. Ray took over for Starr in October 1999.

Ray sat with Clinton in the Map Room of the White House on Dec. 27, 2000, and cut the beginnings of the deal that allowed the soon-to-be-former president to avoid indictment on perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges.

"To cut to the chase, it was important to go directly in," Ray told The Washington Post later. "That was all that was necessary -- one time to communicate directly with the president."

Ray released a report in March 2002 that was highly critical of Clinton's conduct. In the report, Ray said Clinton easily could have been indicted and convicted.

Ray was released Thursday and is due in court June 12, according to the district attorney's office.


'Do-Nothing Congress' Raises Critics' Ire; What Would Harry Truman Say About This Group of Legislators?

ABC News
'Do-Nothing Congress' Raises Critics' Ire
What Would Harry Truman Say About This Group of Legislators?

May 12, 2006 — - Members of Congress know the Washington-area airports very well. Most members use them twice a week, arriving for work late Tuesday and scurrying back to their home states on Thursday. Congress is on schedule to meet fewer days this year than any Congress since 1948 -- the year President Harry Truman campaigned against what he called the "do-nothing Congress."

"They call it the Tuesday to Thursday Club," said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. "That means you get here Tuesday night, you have a few easy votes, you vote on Wednesday and then you go back home Thursday afternoon. And that, believe it or not, is considered a work week in Washington."

Rank-and-file members of Congress earn $165,200 a year, and this year for the first time they took off for a St. Patrick's Day holiday.

Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, said voters wonder why he spends so much time in Houston instead of Washington. "I've been hearing from people saying they see me more than they do their city council member," Green said.

He said that is one reason Congress is held in low esteem, adding, "poll numbers for Congress are dismally low, in fact lower than the president's." A recent Associated Press poll found that only 25 percent of the country approves of the job Congress is doing.

"What first caught my attention was seeing that the House was going to take the entire month of January off and then be here basically three days in February," Congress-watcher Norm Ornstein from the American Enterprise Institute said.

He added, "It's stunning to see how much time off there is, how little time is being spent in Washington doing any of the people's business."

Even members from Hawaii jet home for long weekends, unthinkable not so long ago. Under both Democratic and Republican leadership, the work schedule has gradually decreased: In the '60s and '70s, Congress met on average 162 days a year; in the '80s and '90s, 139 days. This year the House is expected to meet 71 days.

Of course, some voters think that is a good thing. "For those who really believe in limited government, then there's virtue in being away from Washington," said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. "It's not all bad that we spend less time here. A lot of what we do and a lot of the disdain people have for Washington is because we do too much, not too little."

Flake broke into a hearty laugh when he said, "I still believe that if people understood exactly what we do here, they'd probably demand we take more time off."

Enough Time for Oversight?

But even the conservative Flake said Congress has failed to spend the time needed for oversight of federal agencies. He worries that in the rush to get out of town each week, Congress does not pay enough attention to how the government spends the taxpayers' money.

Ornstein also said he believes Congress is failing in its oversight responsibilities. He said if Congress had paid more attention to FEMA in recent years, then the disaster agency would have been more prepared to deal with Hurricane Katrina.

Important bills are now rushed through Congress, resulting in sloppy legislation, Ornstein said. Among the examples of such legislation, he said, are the Medicare prescription drug bill that perplexed many senior citizens and the bankruptcy reform bill that has come back to haunt Katrina victims faced with ruin.

Ornstein and other critics also believe the government's failure to deal efficiently with Katrina can be blamed partly on congressional haste in setting up the new Department of Homeland Security, which had overall responsibility for disaster relief.

"When I go back home to the Rotary Club and tell them we're meeting so few days, sometimes they think that's good news," said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. "But it's really bad news for America because we're simply not doing our jobs. They're paying us full salaries, but we're not working full time."

Many in Congress point out that they do some work when they go back home -- they meet with constituents and learn what the voters really want. But as money has become more important in election campaigns, many House members and senators also spend a great deal of time in their states raising funds for re-election.

Nothing 'Worth a Toot'

Congress has accomplished some things this year, perhaps most notably this week passing tax cut legislation. But all in all, this has not been a productive year, leading to Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott's recent comment, "We haven't done anything worth a toot in three months."

Because Congress spends less time in Washington, members spend less time with one another. Gone are the days when members from rival parties and factions had plenty of time to socialize together, perhaps in the evening to partake of a little "bourbon and branch water." Those informal get-togethers were often crucial to reaching compromises on important, sometimes historic, legislation.

This Congress can still avoid the "do-nothing" label. But it has precious little time to do it. An immigration bill is a top priority for President Bush and many on Capitol Hill.

The trouble is finding a compromise that can pass both houses and get the president's signature. That is a time-consuming process, but so far Congress is sticking pretty much to its three-day-a-week routine. And Congress does not want to deal with complicated legislation this fall because this is an election year.

Green said voters will be watching. "They would like to see our work product improved," he said, "and if that includes an extra day a week, so be it."


Alabama AG Candidate's Views on Race, Holocaust Catch Democrats by Surprise

ABC News
Ala. Candidate's Views Startle Democrats
Alabama AG Candidate's Views on Race, Holocaust Catch Democrats by Surprise
The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Democratic Party leaders are wondering what to do about a candidate for attorney general who denies the Holocaust occurred and wants to "reawaken white racial awareness."

Larry Darby, the founder of the Atheist Law Center, made an abortive bid for the AG job as a Libertarian in 2002, but only recently have his views on race and the Holocaust come to light.

He has no money for campaign advertising and has made only a few campaign speeches, but garnered 12 percent support in the June 6 primary in a poll of 400 registered voters last month.

The poll, which was conducted by a university professor for Alabama media outlets and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, shows Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson ahead with 21 percent of the vote but about two-thirds of respondents undecided.

The state Democratic chairman, Joe Turnham, said the party began an investigation last week after hearing about some of Darby's comments in a television interview.

While the party supports the free-speech rights of any candidate, Turnham said some of Darby's views appear to be in "a realm of thought that is unacceptable."

"Any type of hatred toward groups of people, especially for political gain, is completely unacceptable in the Alabama Democratic Party," said Turnham.

It is unclear whether the party could do anything at this point, although the party could decline to certify the results should he win.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Darby said he believes no more than 140,000 Jewish people died in Europe during World War II, and most of them succumbed to typhus.

Historians say about 6 million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, but Darby said the figure is a false claim of the "Holocaust industry."

Darby said he will speak Saturday near Newark, N.J., at a meeting of National Vanguard, which bills itself as an advocate for the white race. Some of his campaign materials are posted on the group's Internet site.

"It's time to stop pushing down the white man. We've been discriminated against too long," Darby said in the interview.

Tyson said he does not consider Darby to be a serious candidate.

"I am astonished as anyone has ever been that anyone is running for public office in Alabama on that platform," he said.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face either Attorney General Troy King or Mark Montiel, his opponent in the Republican primary.


Bush job approval falls to 29 pct in new poll

Bush job approval falls to 29 pct in new poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's job approval rating has hit a new low, with 29 percent of the U.S. public saying he is doing an "excellent or pretty good job," down from 35 percent in April, according to a Harris Interactive poll in The Wall Street Journal Online.

The poll of 1,003 U.S. adults said 71 percent of Americans said Bush was doing an "only fair or poor job," up from 63 percent in April. It said the survey was conducted May 5-8 and had a 3 percent margin of error.


Rice, Rumsfeld block access to secret detainees

Rice, Rumsfeld block access to secret detainees: ICRC

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States has again refused the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to terrorism suspects held in secret detention centers, the humanitarian agency said on Friday.

The overnight statement was issued after talks in Washington between ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger and senior officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

"Mr. Kellenberger deplored the fact that the U.S. authorities had not moved closer to granting the ICRC access to persons held in undisclosed locations," the Geneva-based agency said.

Kellenberger said: "No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right to conceal a person's whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained."

The former senior Swiss diplomat said that the ICRC would continue to seek access to such people as a matter of priority.

The main objective of his annual visit this week was for the ICRC to be granted access to "all persons held by the U.S. in the context of the fight against terrorism, an issue he first raised with the U.S. government over two years ago," the agency said.

Antonella Notari, chief ICRC spokeswoman, noted that Kellenberger had first raised the issue with former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Rice, then National Security Adviser, in January 2004.

"We have just received a negative response again," Notari said on Friday.

The agency recognized there were legitimate grounds for holding foreign terrorism suspects who posed a threat to the United States, she said.

"Having said that, it is absolutely vital for such people to be held in a clear legal framework and that they are granted all basic judicial safeguards," Notari added. "Obviously this includes those people held in secret places of detention."

A Washington Post report last year, which said that the CIA had run secret prisons in Europe and flown suspects to states where they would have been tortured, unleashed a spate of investigations. But none so far have produced solid proof.

The United Nations torture investigator, Manfred Nowak, told a European Union parliamentary committee probing the allegations there was evidence of secret detention centers outside the United States, but no definite proof they had existed in Europe.

John Bellinger, the State Department's legal adviser, reiterated last week Washington's position that it does not outsource torture or transfer people it suspects of being involved in terrorism to places where it can expect them to be tortured.


Bush housing chief investigated over contract flap

Bush housing chief investigated over contract flap
By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An inspector general is investigating allegations that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson may have improperly considered politics in withholding a federal contract.

But a White House official said on Friday that President George W. Bush was standing by his Cabinet secretary and longtime friend and would withhold judgment on any investigation "at this point."

Jackson was quoted in the Dallas Business Journal as citing a contractor's dislike of Bush in describing an incident in which that person was denied a contract.

The report said that Jackson had told a real estate forum: "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

Jackson and a spokeswoman later disavowed the comments but Democrats called for an investigation.

"We have received a number of complaints from the public as well as from members of Congress," said Michael Zerega, spokesman for HUD's inspector general. "We are reviewing this matter and will look to the facts and any applicable law or requirements."

Pressed on whether Bush would withhold judgment pending an investigation by the Inspector General's office, White House spokesman Tony Snow said, "At this point the president is supporting Alphonso Jackson.

"Alphonso Jackson has admitted that what he said earlier was improper, that it was a mistake, and the president accepts that and still supports a man with whom he's had a long and close relationship," Snow said.

Two Democratic congressmen, Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Henry Waxman of California, wrote to Jackson saying the comments originally reported by Jackson would be "improper and most likely illegal."

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, has called for Jackson's resignation.

HUD spokeswoman Dustee Tucker has said Jackson was speaking anecdotally and offering an example of "how politics works in D.C." She also said Jackson was not involved in contract decisions at HUD.

(Additional reporting by Kristin Roberts)


Friday, May 12, 2006

Employees of the Month
Employees of the Month
Cotty Chubb

Here's a way to send some thanks to Joe Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, who initially refused the NSA's request for records, and Robert Notebaert, the current CEO who inherited the mess and blew the NSA off. Must not be easy to start a job with the Federal Government threatening you.

Note that, according to USA Today, "an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled. In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government."

Foot-dragging. Nice.

Seems like Nacchio and Notebaert tried to work it out.

"Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused. The NSA's explanation did little to satisfy Qwest's lawyers. 'They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them,' one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events."

You're running a modern telecommunications company, fully aware that you have a well established legal responsibility to maintain the privacy of your customer's records, and you think, "Well, let's see. We ask the NSA for a legal opinion from the court created to rule on these sorts of things that it's okay to turn over these records, and they say no. So we ask how about the attorney general (John Ashcroft, by the way, not Ramsay Clark) and they say no. What are we going do? Compromise our customers' privacy, under threat of retribution, for a request of highly dubious legality?"

If you're C. Michael Armstrong (AT&T), you say sure. Ditto F. Duane Ackerman (BellSouth), Ed Whitacre (SBC), and Ivan Seidenberg (Verizon). No problem.

But not Joe Nacchio or Robert Notebaert.

Qwest's website gives you a way to nominate an employee for most exemplifying the Qwest Spirit of Service.

Why don't you let them know that you think Notebaert and Nacchio are worthy of commendation?

You can do that here.

We all owe them a vote of thanks. They have served their country and its Constitution well.


The Case of Chief Justice Roberts's Missing Papers; Investigators Are Still Unable to Locate File On Affirmative Action
The Case of Roberts's Missing Papers
Investigators Are Still Unable to Locate File On Affirmative Action
By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer

The country has John G. Roberts Jr. as its newest chief justice. What it doesn't have is an answer to the mystery of the missing file of his work papers on affirmative action.

The file, compiled during Roberts's tenure as an associate counsel in the Reagan White House, vanished in July when lawyers from the Bush administration were reviewing the materials at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., as part of a vetting process before Roberts's formal nomination to the Supreme Court.

A newly released report from the National Archives inspector general's office shows that federal investigators failed in their first attempt to nail down what happened to the file, which became a flashpoint in Roberts's otherwise smooth confirmation process.

"This investigation is unresolved and the file is still missing," says the 64-page IG report, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a Washington area researcher and posted Tuesday on the Web site Memory Hole. ". . . The OIG was unable to determine whether the missing file was taken intentionally, unintentionally, or lost."

Investigators did conclude, however, that the Archives staff did not follow agency policies and procedures in providing tens of thousands of pages of requested material to the two lawyers, who were allowed to review the documents in a private office "because it would be discreet and keep them out of sight of the main research room."

The lawyers working for the White House "were allowed to bring personal belongings with them into the room while they worked," investigators wrote. The lawyers also were left alone in the office with the records for as long as 30 minutes while they participated in conference calls with the White House, the report said.

All of which is unusual, because researchers normally work in public reading rooms under the supervision of Archives staff. Federal rules prohibit researchers from bringing in anything that could be used to conceal a document, and researchers must use paper and pencils provided by the Archives.

The report's findings contradicted the assertions of Archives officials, who said last August that an attendant had been in the room at all times and that the lawyers had been separated from their bags. Susan Cooper, an Archives spokeswoman, said yesterday that agency officials provided the best information they had at the time. Cooper said Reagan library staffers had to provide access to more than 70,000 pages within a few weeks.

"There were people there who didn't have a day off for six weeks," she said. "So it was not only the magnitude but the speed with which this review had to be performed that I think contributed to some of these procedures not being followed."

Allen Weinstein, the archivist of the United States, disclosed that the file was missing in August and requested the IG review, Cooper said. After receiving the report, management reminded all presidential library directors that federal rules must be followed even under pressure and tight deadlines.

"I think we just need to make sure that the procedures that are in place are implemented," Cooper said. "Unfortunately, the investigation also did not turn up the whereabouts of the file."

The White House has declined to publicly reveal the identities of the lawyers who conducted the document review, and their names and those of Archives officials were redacted in the IG report.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said yesterday that "the administration cooperated with NARA and its inquiry, and the report indicates that there's no evidence that anybody reviewing the files engaged in wrongdoing."

Officials who have attempted to reconstruct the file have said they believe it included a memo from Roberts urging the White House to withhold any response to two church officials who had complained about the administration's policies on affirmative action in the workplace.

"The debate is still raging" about proposed changes that would eliminate affirmative action goals and timetables, Roberts wrote, so "I recommend closing them out with no response," according to a copy of the memo the administration provided in August.


Path Clear for Katherine Harris in Senate Bid (yes, that Katherine Harris!); Republicans Unable to Recruit an Alternative Candidate
Path Clear for Harris in Senate Bid
Republicans Unable to Recruit an Alternative Candidate
By Chris Cillizza
Special to The Washington Post

The White House and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush were again unable to recruit an alternative candidate to Rep. Katherine Harris in the state's U.S. Senate race yesterday as Florida's top legislative leader announced that he will not run. The decision virtually ensures that the controversial congresswoman will be the Republican nominee against Sen. Bill Nelson (D).

Asked whether Harris could win the seat, Florida GOP communications director Jeff Sadosky offered something less than a ringing endorsement. "We'll have to wait and see what happens between now and Friday," he said. Friday is Florida's last day for candidates to file for federal office.

Harris insisted that she has "turned it around" and that going forward she will turn the focus onto Nelson, who is seeking a second term, and away from herself. "This isn't about me," she said.

Nonetheless, the pessimism over Harris's chances in a state that had been seen as one of the Republicans' best opportunities to gain a U.S. Senate seat shows the difficulty posed by the national political environment, which favors Democrats.

Faced with polls showing the president's approval ratings south of 50 percent for much of the past year, the White House -- in tandem with the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- has struggled to recruit their preferred candidates in North Dakota, West Virginia and now Florida, all three of which were carried by President Bush in 2004.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) said GOP candidates are backing away from races because they "are loath to spend the next six months defending the status quo."

The no-go decision yesterday by Florida House Speaker Allan G. Bense ends a year-long recruitment drive to find a Harris alternative that included overtures to former congressman Joe Scarborough, now a television commentator, and U.S. Rep. Mark Foley -- among others. Bense was encouraged to run over the summer but then, as now, declined. NRSC spokeswoman Brian Nick said Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), committee chairman, had not spoken to Bense in months about the race.

Even so, in recent days there appeared to be optimism about a Bense candidacy as evidenced by comments by White House political director Sara M. Taylor, who praised the state legislator as a "class act" and a "very strong leader," the first time the White House had spoken publicly in favor of any candidate in the Senate race.

But yesterday, Bense announced that he was leaving politics. Without Bense, state and national GOP leaders face the difficult task of lining up behind Harris and arguing that she can defeat Nelson after spending much of the past several months trying to find someone -- anyone -- to challenge her in the September primary.

The scale of that challenge is summed up in comments made earlier this week by the state's GOP governor. "I just don't believe she can win," Jeb Bush told reporters Monday in a frank assessment of the party's now-likely nominee.

Harris said she spoke "extensively" to the governor on Tuesday about the race and is "confident that whomever is in the general election against Bill Nelson that they will have the support of Republicans across the state."

From the start, Harris's campaign has been greeted with skepticism by party leaders in Washington and Florida, in large part because of the divisive role she played as secretary of state during the 2000 presidential recount in Florida. Those worries were exacerbated by the circuslike atmosphere that quickly engulfed the campaign as top aides abandoned the effort.

Harris struggled to raise the millions she would need to be competitive with Nelson, while news stories emerged linking her to a defense contractor convicted of bribing then-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.). Polling showed Harris trailing Nelson by double digits.

Seeking to quash rumors that she would drop out, Harris made an unusual appearance on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" program in March in which she said she would risk the estate and legacy of her recently deceased father by donating $10 million to the campaign.

"I'm going to put everything on the line. Everything. Not just my career and my future but my father's name," she said at the time.


House Appropriations Chairman Is Facing Federal Investigation
House Appropriations Chairman Is Facing Federal Investigation
By Charles R. Babcock
Washington Post Staff Writer

The Justice Department has begun investigating the activities of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, focusing in part on his dealings with a lobbying firm that hired some of his former staff members, sources familiar with the inquiry said.

One source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, said subpoenas have been issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Lewis said in a statement yesterday: "Neither I nor any of my staff have been contacted" by federal investigators. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney, had no comment on the investigation, which was first reported in yesterday's editions of the Los Angeles Times.

Recent news accounts have outlined the close relationship between Lewis and former representative Bill Lowery, whose lobbying firm, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, specializes in seeking earmarks -- money set aside in legislation for specific projects.

John Scofield, a spokesman for Lewis, said that the chairman and Lowery, a former House member from a neighboring Southern California district, are "very good friends."

Two former Lewis staff aides have joined Lowery's lobbying firm in recent years. Last year, when Lewis became Appropriations chairman, one of them, Jeffrey S. Shockey, returned to become a top committee aide.

When he did so, he filed a financial disclosure report that showed he earned $1.5 million in 2004 as a lobbyist and was paid $600,000 last year in a separation agreement with Lowery's firm. Scofield said Shockey received ethics committee approval of the separation agreement.

Lowery did not return calls to his office yesterday.

The Lewis inquiry is at least tangentially connected to an ongoing congressional bribery case centered in San Diego and Washington, one source said. In that case, former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) admitted he had accepted $2.4 million in bribes. Brent Wilkes, a San Diego defense contractor, is under investigation for allegedly bribing Cunningham.

Cunningham, a longtime colleague of Lewis's and, like him, a member of the Appropriations Committee, pleaded guilty and resigned in November. He was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Wilkes has been identified as a co-conspirator in that case but has not been charged. Another contractor, Mitchell J. Wade, of Washington, pleaded guilty early this year for his role in bribing Cunningham.

In his statement yesterday, Lewis denounced Cunningham's behavior. Lewis said he had never told anyone seeking funding that they must hire a particular lobbying firm, and that he and his staff "never consider who the Washington representative is when reviewing project requests. I welcome a thorough review of these projects by anyone."

Research editor Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.


House Injects Prayer Into Defense Bill; Evangelical Christian groups demand that chaplains pray in the name of Jesus, and disregard other faiths
House Injects Prayer Into Defense Bill
By Alan Cooperman and Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writers

The House passed a $513 billion defense authorization bill yesterday that includes language intended to allow chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus at public military ceremonies, undercutting new Air Force and Navy guidelines on religion.

The bill, which passed by a vote of 396 to 31, also contains significant adjustments to the Pentagon's original request, mainly by shifting hundreds of millions of dollars toward military personnel -- in the form of troop increases, protective gear and health-care benefits -- and away from new weapons systems. The measure includes $50 billion for next year's cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We're not a rubber stamp," House Armed Services Committee ranking Democrat Ike Skelton (Mo.) told reporters.

Before the bill reached the House floor, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee added the provision on military chaplains. It says each chaplain "shall have the prerogative to pray according to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience, except as must be limited by military necessity, with any such limitation being imposed in the least restrictive manner feasible."

Air Force and Navy rules issued in recent months allow chaplains to pray as they wish in voluntary worship services. But the rules call for nonsectarian prayers, or a moment of silence, at public meetings or ceremonies, especially when attendance is mandatory for service members of all faiths.

Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition and other evangelical Christian groups have lobbied vigorously against the Air Force and Navy rules, urging President Bush to issue an executive order guaranteeing the right of chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus under any circumstances. Because the White House has not acted, sympathetic members of Congress stepped in.

"We felt there needed to be a clarification" of the rules "because there is political correctness creeping into the chaplains corps," said Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.). "I don't understand anyone being opposed to a chaplain having the freedom to pray to God in the way his conscience calls him to pray."

Among the provision's opponents is the chief of Navy chaplains, Rear Adm. Louis V. Iasiello, a Roman Catholic priest.

"The language ignores and negates the primary duties of the chaplain to support the religious needs of the entire crew" and "will, in the end, marginalize chaplains and degrade their use and effectiveness," Iasiello wrote in a letter to a committee member.

The National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, a private association of religious groups that provide more than 70 percent of U.S. chaplains, also objected to the language. "Chaplains represent their faith communities and we endorse them to represent that faith community with integrity and loyalty to that tradition, not to the dictates of their individual conscience," the association's executive committee wrote.

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called the language "divisive." Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to add that chaplains should show "sensitivity, respect and tolerance for all faiths," but it was defeated on a party-line vote in committee, and the Rules Committee did not allow floor debate on the chaplaincy provision.

On military manpower, the bill boosts the authorized strength of the active-duty Army by 30,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps by 5,000 Marines. In addition, it adds $318 million to fully fund the Army National Guard's 350,000 troop positions -- rejecting a Pentagon bid to fund only those positions that are filled, or some 17,000 fewer slots.

The proposed cut in National Guard funding "didn't make sense. It was actually a slap at the National Guard," Skelton said. "It would send a terrible message that you guys don't count."

Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R) of California said he believes the Army National Guard will succeed in recruiting enough soldiers to raise its ranks to 350,000. "We're more optimistic about recruiting than they are," he said of defense officials.

The bill also adds $471 million to pay for Tricare health-care benefits and other programs for the National Guard, while blocking the Pentagon's proposed fee increases for some Tricare recipients.

The measure includes several items intended to bolster protection for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $109.7 million for jamming devices in vehicles to disrupt radio-detonated IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, and $100 million for surveillance aircraft to patrol roads.

At the same time, lawmakers trimmed some major weapons programs, making cuts of $326 million from the Army's Future Combat Systems and $183.5 million from missile defense.

The bill also slows the development of a new presidential helicopter and requires manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. to restore an alternative engine to the aircraft.

And it delays the retirement of B-52 bombers and F-117 stealth attack aircraft to allow more time for alternatives to be fielded.


Ever-Expanding Secret

The New York Times
Ever-Expanding Secret

Ever since its secret domestic wiretapping program was exposed, the Bush administration has depicted it as a narrow examination of calls made by and to suspected terrorists. But its refusal to provide any details about the extent of the spying has raised doubts. Now there is more reason than ever to be worried — and angry — about how wide the government's web has been reaching.

According to an article in USA Today, the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting telephone records on tens of millions of Americans with the cooperation of the three largest telecommunications companies in the nation. The scope of the domestic spying described in the article is breathtaking. The government is reported to be working with AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth to collect data on phone calls made by untold millions of customers.

President Bush has insisted in the past that the government is monitoring only calls that begin or end overseas. But according to USA Today, it has actually been collecting information on purely domestic calls. One source told the paper that the program had produced "the largest database ever assembled in the world."

The government has stressed that it is not listening in on phone calls, only analyzing the data to look for calling patterns. But if all the details of the program are confirmed, the invasion of privacy is substantial. By cross-referencing phone numbers with databases that link numbers to names and addresses, the government could compile dossiers of what people and organizations each American is in contact with.

The phone companies are doing a great disservice to their customers by cooperating. To its credit, one major company, Qwest, refused, according to the article, because it had doubts about the program's legality.

What we have here is a clandestine surveillance program of enormous size, which is being operated by members of the administration who are subject to no limits or scrutiny beyond what they deem to impose on one another. If the White House had gotten its way, the program would have run secretly until the war on terror ended — that is, forever.

Congress must stop pretending that it has no serious responsibilities for monitoring the situation. The Senate should call back Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and ask him — this time, under oath — about the scope of the program. This time, lawmakers should not roll over when Mr. Gonzales declines to provide answers. The confirmation hearings of Michael Hayden, President Bush's nominee for Central Intelligence Agency director, are also a natural forum for a serious, thorough and pointed review of exactly what has been going on.

Most of all, Congress should pass legislation that removes any doubt that this kind of warrantless spying on ordinary Americans is illegal. If the administration finds the current procedures for getting court approval of wiretaps too restrictive, this would be the time to make any needed adjustments.

President Bush began his defense of the N.S.A. program yesterday by invoking, as he often does, Sept. 11. The attacks that day firmed the nation's resolve to protect itself against its enemies, but they did not give the president the limitless power he now claims to intrude on the private communications of the American people.


After Vivid Ads, a Bill Stalls

The New York Times
After Vivid Ads, a Bill Stalls

WASHINGTON, May 11 — A provocative advertisement featuring a bright red push-up bra symbolized the fierce opposition to a small business health insurance bill that collapsed in the Senate on Thursday.

The advertisement, by the American Cancer Society, seemed to pop off the pages of newspapers and Internet screens for the past week in a three-dimensional way. "Don't Let the U.S. Senate Leave Women Exposed," it warned of the Republican-sponsored bill to allow small businesses to band together across state lines to buy health insurance for employees.

The Cancer Society and 200 other groups contended the bill would strip away protections for consumers, including state laws that mandate insurance coverage for cancer screenings, and would endanger sick or older workers.

Republicans called those claims scare tactics. The bill's primary sponsor, Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming, told a gathering of small business owners on Thursday that there would be ample coverage.

Trade groups, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses, had mounted an advertising campaign to lobby for the measure. The House has passed a similar bill eight times.

All week, Democrats were united. They said Senator Bill Frist, the Republican majority leader, who had been promoting a Senate "Health Week," barred them from debating health issues like stem cell research or an extension of the May 15 Medicare enrollment deadline.

"We haven't had a health care minute," Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The bra advertisement surfaced in certain states, including Maine, which has two female Republican senators, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe, who is chairwoman of the Small Business Committee.

To woo Democrats, Ms. Snowe wanted to offer an amendment that would have protected benefits, like mammograms and contraceptives, as long as a majority of states required insurers to cover them.

Describing the bill as "a very important beginning," Senator Snowe said: "What's the alternative? Nothing or catastrophic coverage? That's the choice. This includes the coverage we care about as women and for women."

To quell other objections, Mr. Enzi had revised his bill to reduce the variations in premium costs for healthy or sick or older people. Democrats rejected that. Democrats eventually thwarted the measure on Thursday night with a filibuster. Mr. Frist fell five votes short of the 60 votes necessary to move the bill forward.


Career C.I.A. Figure Is at Eye of Scandal

The New York Times
Career C.I.A. Figure Is at Eye of Scandal

WASHINGTON, May 11 — In a scandal featuring a cast of characters with nicknames like Nine Fingers and Duke, a former C.I.A. undercover operative called Dusty has become a center of attention.

Kyle Foggo, who is the man known by friends and associates as Dusty — and who on Monday resigned his post as the third-ranking official at the Central Intelligence Agency — has become entangled in a widening investigation that has already brought down former Representative Randy Cunningham, a k a Duke. Investigators say they are examining what could be a larger pattern of bribery and government corruption.

Mr. Foggo is an agency veteran who spent two decades undercover in five foreign postings, including Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Vienna; and Frankfurt. In each case, he provided logistical support for intelligence gathering and covert operations. Porter J. Goss, who has resigned as C.I.A. director, plucked him from obscurity in November 2004 and elevated him to the position of executive director.

Mr. Foggo's past is the focus of multiple investigations, including a C.I.A. inspector general inquiry into whether he improperly awarded agency contracts to a longtime friend, Brent R. Wilkes, a military contractor whose companies have received nearly $100 million in government contracts over the years.

Mr. Foggo has not been formally charged with any misconduct, and his lawyer says his client has done nothing wrong. But apart from investigations by the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. inspector general, Mr. Foggo's appointment to the No. 3 post provided a window on what many at the agency saw as erratic management by Mr. Goss.

The arrival of Mr. Goss in September 2004 led to immediate clashes between senior career officers and the Congressional staff members that Mr. Goss brought with him, some of whom had previously served at the agency. Mr. Goss's chief of staff, Patrick Murray, and the other top aides came to be known derisively as the Gosslings.

The man Mr. Goss first selected to become the C.I.A.'s executive director, Michael V. Kostiw, had to turn down the job when it surfaced in the news media that he had resigned from the agency in the 1980's after being caught shoplifting bacon.

It was finger-pointing over who leaked word of Mr. Kostiw's shoplifting arrest that led to the resignation of several top officials in the agency's clandestine service. Among those who left were Stephen R. Kappes, the deputy director of operations, and his deputy, Michael Sulick. Mr. Kappes is expected to return as the agency's No. 2 if Gen. Michael V. Hayden is confirmed as the new director.

Days before Mr. Goss submitted his resignation, the C.I.A. director asked Mr. Foggo to step down as executive director, according to one intelligence official who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the circumstances of Mr. Foggo's departure. The official said that Mr. Goss had concluded that the inquires into Mr. Foggo's activities had become a distraction and had the potential to damage the agency's reputation.

Mr. Foggo, 51, has admitted attending poker parties throughout the 1990's that Mr. Wilkes held in a suite at the Watergate Hotel in Washington. The parties were primarily attended by C.I.A. officials and congressmen, and Mr. Cunningham, a California Republican, occasionally attended. Several news media accounts have reported that prostitutes frequented the parties.

But Charlie Wilson — the former Texas congressman who helped engineer the C.I.A. mission to arm Afghan rebels in the 1980's — said he attended two of Mr. Wilkes's poker parties, in 1994 and 1999, and that they usually ended by midnight and that he never saw prostitutes at the parties.

Mr. Wilson said that the gatherings were small affairs of seven or eight card players that always had ample supplies of Scotch, beer and Dominican cigars. "The only thing that took place there that was out of order was cigar smoking on a nonsmoking floor," Mr. Wilson said.

Mr. Foggo was one of many C.I.A. officials close to Mr. Wilkes. In May 2000, Mr. Wilkes paid Brant G. Bassett, a retired German-speaking C.I.A. official known as Nine Fingers, a $5,000 fee to travel to Germany for five days as a consultant on a business deal that Mr. Wilkes was negotiating with a German software engineer, according to a former agency official aware of the arrangement. The official was granted anonymity to speak about the business deal.

Documents revealing the $5,000 payment to Mr. Bassett from Mr. Wilkes first appeared on the Internet on Tuesday.

Mr. Foggo introduced Mr. Bassett to Mr. Wilkes in the early 1990's in Mexico City, the former official said.

Before ascending to the top tier of the agency, Mr. Foggo had spent his career in what was previously known as the directorate of administration, now called the directorate of support. It is responsible for running the business side of the agency, and its duties include buying supplies, renting offices and handling bookkeeping.

Before being picked by Mr. Goss to become executive director, Mr. Foggo ran a secret C.I.A. base in Frankfurt that supported operations in the Middle East and Africa. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, as agency operations have expanded in the region, the volume of money and goods handled by the Frankfurt base has grown rapidly, intelligence officials say.

According to Mr. Foggo's lawyer, William G. Hundley, the C.I.A. is investigating whether during Mr. Foggo's time in Frankfurt he knowingly granted a contract to Archer Logistics, a Virginia company headed by a relative of Mr. Wilkes. Mr. Hundley said the contract was for delivery of bottled water to C.I.A. operatives in Iraq.

The lawyer said that while it was possible that his client had signed off on the contract, Mr. Foggo had no idea that Archer Logistics was associated with Mr. Wilkes.

Scott Shane and Paul von Zielbauer contributed reporting from Washington for this article.


US spy agency 'monitoring calls'

US spy agency 'monitoring calls'

A United States intelligence agency has been collecting data on the phone calls of tens of millions of Americans, a report in USA Today has alleged.

The country's three biggest phone companies have been handing over call records to the National Security Agency (NSA) since 2001, the newspaper says.

President Bush refused to confirm or deny the existence of the programme.

He said he had authorised intelligence gathering in the wake of 9/11, adding that the activities were "lawful".

"Our intelligence activities strictly target al-Qaeda and their known affiliates," he said in a brief White House statement after the newspaper report appeared.

"The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected," he said, adding: "We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans."

The USA Today report does not claim the government listened in on phone calls.

But it cites an unnamed source as saying the NSA has used data on telephone calls to build "the largest database ever assembled in the world".

Senate response

US senators reacted quickly to the allegation, saying they would order the phone companies to testify about it.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, reacted with anger to the report, brandishing the newspaper in committee meeting.

"We need to know what our government is doing to spy upon Americans," he said.

But Republican senators suggested Mr Leahy was over-reacting.

They pointed out that the story did not allege wiretapping, only the creation of a database in order to analyse calling patterns.

Experts disagree about whether the government has the authority to demand the data it is allegedly compiling.

"I'm quite confident that if it's true it's illegal," Prof Michael Greenberger of the University of Maryland school of law told the BBC.

US government intelligence service founded as a code-breaking agency in 1952
Intercepts communications using satellites and bugs
Said to be largest employer of mathematicians in the US
Budget and staff size classified
Agency as a whole is so secretive its initials are said to stand for "No Such Agency"

The communications act of 1934 bars companies from releasing information about callers, he said.

But the three phone companies in question - AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth - all told USA Today they had not broken any laws.

Together the firms serve more than 200 million customers. A fourth company, Qwest, reportedly declined to participate in the programme.

A civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, filed suit against AT&T last month after a former AT&T employee indicated the company was engaging in the kind of data-mining the USA Today report described.

Sensitive time

The Bush administration has asserted that the president has the authority to monitor communications in order to disrupt terrorist activity.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has testified before the Senate in defence of a programme of wiretapping without warrant ordered by the president.

The USA Today report comes at a potentially sensitive moment for the administration.

Gen Michael Hayden, the man who headed the NSA when the data-mining operation was allegedly launched, was nominated this week to head the CIA.

He is due to face confirmation hearings from the Senate soon.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein warned the latest allegations would "present a growing impediment to the confirmation".

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president was standing by his choice: "We're full steam ahead on the confirmation."

Story from BBC NEWS:


UK debates assisted dying bill

Lords debate assisted dying bill

A bill which would allow terminally ill people to be helped to die by physicians is to be debated by peers.

Lord Joffe's bill would apply to those in England and Wales set to die within six months and suffering unbearably, but still able to make decisions.

The bill proposes that after signing a legal declaration that they wanted to die, patients could be prescribed a lethal dose of medication to take.

The bill is not set to become law, but 81 peers are due to speak on the issue.

The debate highlights divisions between supporters of the right to die and those who want better palliative care.

Lord Joffe's bill, which is having its second reading in the Lords, proposes that doctors would be able to opt out if a request was made to them.

Care Not Killing

The bill is modelled on legislation in place in Oregon, in the US.

The debate over physician-assisted suicide provokes strong feelings and the House of Lords is starting at 1000 BST - an hour earlier than normal for a Friday - to allow everyone to take part.

Even if the bill survives an amendment tabled by Lord Carlile of Berriew to halt its progress, the government would have to allow debating time in order for it to become law.

'Vulnerable at risk'

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is among those due to speak against the bill.

He has written a joint letter to Friday's Times newspaper with Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks.

In it, they say they believe all human life is "sacred and God-given with a value that is inherent, not conditional".

"We urge legislators to withhold support for this bill so as to ensure that British law continues to safeguard the principle that the intention to kill, or assist in the killing, of an innocent human being is wrong."

Dignity in Dying

Disability campaigners argue that assisted dying would create pressure for vulnerable people to end their lives and that the real need is to ensure that they get the best possible care.

The group Care Not Killing said it will deliver a petition signed by 100,000 people demanding an end to attempts to change the law.

Campaign director Dr Peter Saunders said: "We believe this is a very bad bill and one that would create serious problems for old and sick patients and the medical and nursing professions."

Earlier this week, a Royal College of Physicians poll found three quarters of members surveyed were against a change in the law, favouring better palliative care for the dying instead.

'Clear support'

But supporters of the bill say doctors should be able to prescribe drugs so a terminally ill person suffering terrible pain could choose to end their own life.

A YouGov survey of 1,770 people for Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) found 76% were in favour of assisted dying as long as there were safeguards in place.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, said: "The public is being massively turned off by this week's well-funded demonstration of religious opposition against a bill they clearly support.

"Even with the high quality of our palliative care, some people will still want this option."

Story from BBC NEWS:


Kentucky governor indicted over political hiring

Kentucky governor indicted over political hiring

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) - A grand jury indicted Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher on Thursday with illegally hiring workers on the basis of their political allegiance.

Fletcher has denounced the probe of his administration as politically motivated.

In the indictment handed up by the Franklin County grand jury, Fletcher was charged with three misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail -- conspiracy, official misconduct and violating a prohibition against political discrimination.

Fletcher was elected governor in 2003, the first Republican since 1967 to capture the post, and 13 members of his administration have been charged with replacing some state employees with Republican loyalists. State law forbids the awarding of jobs on the basis of political clout except for some high-ranking jobs.

In August, Fletcher declared a blanket pardon for anyone except himself to be charged in the yearlong probe led by Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo, a Democrat.


Republicans create new issue bring conservatives to the polls in November

Congress targets social network sites

By Declan McCullagh is facing a new threat on Capitol Hill.

MySpace and other social-networking sites like and Facebook are the potential targets for a proposed federal law that would effectively require most schools and libraries to render those Web sites inaccessible to minors, an age group that includes some of the category's most ardent users.

"When children leave the home and go to school or the public library and have access to social-networking sites, we have reason to be concerned," Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican, told CNET in an interview.

Fitzpatrick and fellow Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, on Wednesday endorsed new legislation (click here for PDF) that would cordon off access to commercial Web sites that let users create public "Web pages or profiles" and also offer a discussion board, chat room, or e-mail service.

That's a broad category that covers far more than social-networking sites such as Friendster and Google's It would also sweep in a wide range of interactive Web sites and services, including, AOL and Yahoo's instant-messaging features, and Microsoft's Xbox 360, which permits in-game chat.

Fitzpatrick's bill, called the Deleting Online Predators Act, or DOPA, is part of a new, poll-driven effort by Republicans to address topics that they view as important to suburban voters. Republican pollster John McLaughlin polled 22 suburban districts and presented his research at a retreat earlier this year. Rep. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican, is co-sponsoring the measure.

The group, which is calling itself the "Suburban Caucus," convened a press conference on Wednesday to announce new legislation it hopes will rally conservative supporters--and prevent the Democrats from retaking the House of Representatives during the November mid-term election.

For its part, MySpace has taken steps in recent weeks to assuage concerns among parents and politicians (Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly also took aim at MySpace this week). It has assigned about 100 employees, about one-third of its workforce, to deal with security and customer care, and hired Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam, a former Justice Department prosecutor as chief security officer last month.

"We have been working collaboratively on security and safety issues with an array of government agencies, law enforcement and educational groups, nonprofits and leading child safety organizations," said Rick Lane, vice president for government affairs at MySpace owner News Corp. "We've also met with several state and federal legislators and are working with them to address their concerns. We hope this healthy dialogue will continue."

Fitzpatrick, who represents a suburban district outside Philadelphia, acknowledged that MySpace "is working" on this. Still, he said, children are "unattended on the Internet through the course of the day" when they're at libraries and schools.

"My bill is both timely and needed and will be very well-accepted, certainly by the constituents I represent," Fitzpatrick said.

Backers of the proposal argue that it's necessary to protect children. Hastert said on Wednesday that it "would put filters in schools and libraries so that kids can be protected... We've all heard stories of children on some of these social Web sites meeting up with dangerous predators. This legislation adds another layer of protection."
To curb teenage access to interactive Web sites, Republicans chose to target libraries and schools by expanding a federal law called the Children's Internet Protection Act.

That law, signed by President Clinton in December 2000, requires schools and libraries that receive federal funding to block access to off-color materials. Librarians challenged it in federal court on First Amendment grounds, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law by a 6-3 vote in June 2003.

DOPA would add an additional requirement. It says that libraries, elementary and secondary schools must prohibit "access to a commercial social-networking Web site or chat room through which minors" may access sexual material or be "subject to" sexual advances. Those may be made available to an adult or a minor with adult supervision "for educational purposes."

Lynne Bradley, director of the American Library Association's office of government relations, said she was still reviewing the legislation. She added that: "We're as protective of kids as any other protection in this whole field, but we do know there are legitimate uses (of social-networking sites)."

"ALA is always in favor of having quality and detailed education on how best to use the Internet and these other digital tools and the best user is an informed user that knows the risks, how to avoid them, and knows how to keep him or herself safe," Bradley said.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, there have been 25,707 agreements to provide federal funding to school districts or individual schools, and 3,902 agreements to libraries or library systems. The ALA estimates that as many as two-thirds of libraries receive federal funding and would be affected by DOPA.

DOPA would also require the Federal Trade Commission to set up a Web site about the "potential dangers posed by the use of the Internet by children" and order the Federal Communications Commission to create a committee and publish a list of Web sites "that have been known to allow sexual predators" access to minors' personal information.

Rosa Aronson, director of advocacy for the National Association of Secondary School Principals also said her organization did not currently have a position on DOPA.

"We are grappling with the tension between promoting our normal policy, which is to promote local control for schools, and on the other end of the spectrum, there is the issue of protection of students," Aronson said.

Adam Thierer, a senior fellow at the free-market Progress & Freedom Foundation, was not as reticent. "This is the next major battlefield in the ongoing Internet censorship wars: social- networking Web sites," he said.

"Many in government will want to play the role of cyber traffic cop here, just as they have for other types of speech on the Internet," Thierer said, adding that it will "chill legitimate forms of speech or expression online."
In other news:

* Unlikely bidders eye wireless spectrum
* This is your brain on a microchip
* Solar panels keep low profile
* Extra: Analyst predicts Wii will cost $200
* Video: Microsoft bites back at E3

Laws restricting Web sites tend to be challenged in the courts. The ALA, for instance, sued to overturn the Communications Decency Act in 1996 and the library-filtering requirement a few years later.

But DOPA seems to have been written to benefit from the high court's 2003 ruling that library filtering was permissible. Bob Corn-Revere, a partner at the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine who has argued before the Supreme Court, said the eventual fate of DOPA may depend on whether it's implemented narrowly or broadly.

Even so, Corn-Revere said, "treating MySpace sites like poison seems like an extreme overreaction."

CNET's Anne Broache contributed to this report.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dobbs to president: Do you take us for fools?
Dobbs to president: Do you take us for fools?
By Lou Dobbs

NEW YORK -- Reports this week that the Border Patrol is notifying the Mexican government of the locations of Minutemen volunteers are being denied by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. True or not, the Bush administration continues to follow absurd policies on both issues of border security and illegal immigration.

President Bush continues to push his guest worker program and amnesty for anywhere between 11 million and 20 million illegal aliens, and he insists still that nothing less than what he calls comprehensive immigration reform is acceptable.

And the lies keep coming from both political parties. This president is not enforcing the immigration laws enacted by Congress, and this Congress is failing in its duty of oversight to demand that those laws be followed.

Only a fool, Mr. President, Sen. Kennedy, Sen. McCain, would believe you when you speak of new legislation. You don't enforce the laws now.

Would you do so if the law were more to your liking? Would you secure our borders and ports? Would you halt illegal immigration? Those are rhetorical questions, only, I assure you. The answers are obvious; obvious because of your conduct.

As many as 3 million illegal aliens continue to cross our border with Mexico each year. Enforcement against illegal employers of illegal aliens in this country is all but nonexistent, Mr. President. How do you explain that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have all but ended their investigations and inspections of employers that hire illegal aliens? Again, only a rhetorical question, because we all know the answer.

But here is the official record of your sense of duty: 318 employers out of five and a half million in this country have been fined for hiring illegal aliens since 2001. In 2004, only three employers were fined. That is a dismal record, Mr. President, as dismal as the fact that the number of ICE agents assigned to enforce immigration laws in the workplace has declined from only 240 back in 1999 to now less than 100.

Illegal employer
alien fines
2001 100
2002 53
2003 162
2004 3
(Source: GAO reports,8/31/05)

The problem in our lack of border security and illegal immigration is becoming increasingly obvious: two political parties that are beholden to corporate America, the largest employers of illegal aliens, and the leadership of both parties that are selling out American citizens in search of cheap labor and political advantage. How dumb do you all think we are? Again, that's only a rhetorical question.

Over the next few days on my broadcast, I'm going to make a suggestion that I hope may help the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties begin to take some notice of our laws and our expectations that those laws be enforced. And also take at least some notice of the fact that Republicans and Democrats also represent American citizens, not just corporate America and special interests.

Find this article at:


Minute-by-minute schedule for the President's trip to Florida found in trash hours before the trip took place
White House Responds To 9 News Exclusive

Bush Administration officials insist they have no idea how a minute-by-minute schedule for the President's trip to Florida landed in a pile of trash, where almost anyone could grab it, hours before the President took off.

But the White House does admit the document should have been burned not tossed.

The document in question appears to be a White House staff schedule for the President's trip to Florida Tuesday. And a sanitation worker was alarmed to find in the trash long hours before Mr. Bush left for his trip.

It's the kind of thing you would expect would be shredded or burned, not thrown in the garbage.

Randy Hopkins could not believe what he was seeing.

There on the floor next to a big trash truck was a thick sheaf of papers with nearly every detail of the President's voyage.

“I saw locations and names and places where the President was going to be. I knew it was important. And it shouldn't have been in a trash hole like this,” he said.

Hopkins works in sanitation. He's an ex-con, and he's worried about fallout from talking to us, so he's asked us not to say exactly where he's employed. But he also felt it was his civic duty to tell somebody about what he'd found.

“We're going through a war, and if it would have fell into the wrong hands at the right time, it would have been something really messy for the President's sake,” he said.

The documents details the exact arrival and departure time for Air Force One, Marine One and the back up choppers, Nighthawk 2 and Three.

It lists every passenger on board each aircraft, from the President to military attaché with nuclear football. It offers the order of vehicles in the President's motorcade.

We faxed a copy to the Secret Service, which as usual rule declined to say much, other than insisting that it was a White House staff document, not a Secret Service document.

A spokesman traveling with President Bush says officials are still trying to learn more about the papers. The White House confirms the 9 News story and says many White House offices have "burn bags" that are used to discard sensitive documents like the schedule. However, it appears this one ended up in the general trash.

What do you think the message is that comes out of this? Shred the important papers.


Thousands of homes in foreclosure could put Colorado's housing market under severe stress

Thousands of homes in foreclosure could put Colorado's housing market under severe stress this summer, according to real-estate experts.

Colorado reported 5,392 foreclosures in March, making for the highest rate per household of any state, according to RealtyTrac, a provider of foreclosure listings.

Of the Colorado foreclosures:

--Thirty-one percent, or 1,648, were in the preforeclosure or notification stage, where delinquent borrowers have the best chance to keep their property.

--Fifty-four percent, or 2,894, were headed to auction, where outside investors can claim the property by paying off the mortgage.

--Sixteen percent, or 850 homes, were in the hands of lenders, who are often forced to sell the properties for whatever they can get.

Should a larger share of homes in the auction phase end up with banks and mortgage companies, that would indicate a troubling weakness in Colorado's home market.

Such a surge could put additional pressure on markets where the number of unsold homes has swollen.

"If that number starts to spike, that is a red flag," said Rick Sharga, a vice president with RealtyTrac, a California company that tracks foreclosures through public records.

Most of the homes that are in the auction process don't end up with lenders, because either homeowners find a buyer or investors step in and pay off the mortgage, Sharga said.

One of every 339 homes in Colorado is in foreclosure, but the percentage of homes owned by lenders is below the national average of 19.6 percent, Sharga said.

In the past 12 months, the inventory of unsold homes in the seven-county metro area has gone from about 23,000 to more than 27,300, said Mike Rinner, a senior real-estate analyst with the Genesis Group in Englewood.

Should buyers not step up in sufficient numbers over the coming weeks to purchase the homes in foreclosure, lenders could be forced to unload them at below-market prices. That would make it more difficult for other home sellers to get their asking price, lengthen the time homes spend on the market and cause the already-high count of unsold homes to grow.

Entry-level housing markets away from job centers such as the Denver Tech Center, downtown Denver and the Boulder corridor have proved the most vulnerable, Rinner said.

Adams and Arapahoe counties are suffering the highest foreclosure rates in the state, while higher-end markets such as Boulder and Douglas counties are holding up much better.

A foreclosure can take about six months, and many lenders are willing to work with homeowners to keep them in their homes or get them out with the least damage to both sides.

"The saddest thing I see is that people don't know they have options," said Lori Strange, director of planning and resource development at the Adams County Housing Authority.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, is willing to take whatever proceeds a homebuyer can get in a sale, even if it doesn't cover the mortgage.

originally published April 26, 2006


Will Iran carry out the next Holocaust?

Washington Post
Never Again?
By Charles Krauthammer

When something happens for the first time in 1,871
years, it is worth noting. In A.D. 70, and again in
135, the Roman Empire brutally put down Jewish revolts
in Judea, destroying Jerusalem, killing hundreds of
thousands of Jews and sending hundreds of thousands
more into slavery and exile. For nearly two millennia,
the Jews wandered the world. And now, in 2006, for the
first time since then, there are once again more Jews
living in Israel -- the successor state to Judea --
than in any other place on Earth.

Israel's Jewish population has just passed 5.6
million. America's Jewish population was about 5.5
million in 1990, dropped to about 5.2 million 10 years
later and is in a precipitous decline that, because of
low fertility rates and high levels of assimilation,
will cut that number in half by mid-century.

When 6 million European Jews were killed in the
Holocaust, only two main centers of Jewish life
remained: America and Israel. That binary star system
remains today, but a tipping point has just been
reached. With every year, as the Jewish population
continues to rise in Israel and decline in America
(and in the rest of the Diaspora), Israel increasingly
becomes, as it was at the time of Jesus, the center of
the Jewish world.

An epic restoration, and one of the most improbable.
To take just one of the remarkable achievements of the
return: Hebrew is the only "dead" language in recorded
history to have been brought back to daily use as the
living language of a nation. But there is a price and
a danger to this transformation. It radically alters
the prospects for Jewish survival.

For 2,000 years, Jews found protection in dispersion
-- protection not for individual communities, which
were routinely persecuted and massacred, but
protection for the Jewish people as a whole. Decimated
here, they could survive there. They could be
persecuted in Spain and find refuge in Constantinople.
They could be massacred in the Rhineland during the
Crusades or in the Ukraine during the Khmelnytsky
Insurrection of 1648-49 and yet survive in the rest of

Hitler put an end to that illusion. He demonstrated
that modern anti-Semitism married to modern technology
-- railroads, disciplined bureaucracies, gas chambers
that kill with industrial efficiency -- could take a
scattered people and "concentrate" them for

The establishment of Israel was a Jewish declaration
to a world that had allowed the Holocaust to happen --
after Hitler had made his intentions perfectly clear
-- that the Jews would henceforth resort to
self-protection and self-reliance. And so they have,
building a Jewish army, the first in 2,000 years, that
prevailed in three great wars of survival (1948-49,
1967 and 1973).

But in a cruel historical irony, doing so required
concentration -- putting all the eggs back in one
basket, a tiny territory hard by the Mediterranean,
eight miles wide at its waist. A tempting target for
those who would finish Hitler's work.

His successors now reside in Tehran. The world has
paid ample attention to President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel must be
destroyed. Less attention has been paid to Iranian
leaders' pronouncements on exactly how Israel would be
"eliminated by one storm," as Ahmadinejad has

Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the
presumed moderate of this gang, has explained that
"the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave
nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the
world of Islam." The logic is impeccable, the
intention clear: A nuclear attack would effectively
destroy tiny Israel, while any retaliation launched by
a dying Israel would have no major effect on an
Islamic civilization of a billion people stretching
from Mauritania to Indonesia.

As it races to acquire nuclear weapons, Iran makes
clear that if there is any trouble, the Jews will be
the first to suffer. "We have announced that wherever
[in Iran] America does make any mischief, the first
place we target will be Israel," said Gen. Mohammad
Ebrahim Dehghani, a top Revolutionary Guards
commander. Hitler was only slightly more direct when
he announced seven months before invading Poland that,
if there was another war, "the result will be . . .
the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."

Last week Bernard Lewis, America's dean of Islamic
studies, who just turned 90 and remembers the 20th
century well, confessed that for the first time he
feels it is 1938 again. He did not need to add that in
1938, in the face of the gathering storm -- a
fanatical, aggressive, openly declared enemy of the
West, and most determinedly of the Jews -- the world
did nothing.

When Iran's mullahs acquire their coveted nukes in the
next few years, the number of Jews in Israel will just
be reaching 6 million. Never again?

originally published Friday, May 5, 2006


Another Misleading Republican Attack In California
Another Misleading Republican Attack In California

An NRCC ad says Democrat Francine Busby "praised a teacher reported to have child porn," but fails to mention she voted to fire him.


A National Republican Congressional Committee television advertisement says California House Democratic Candidate Francine Busby "praised a teacher reported to have child porn saying he was always willing to lend a hand."

The ad calls that "dangerous," but it fails to tell the whole story. In fact, Busby had acted months earlier as a member of California's Cardiff School Board to strip the teacher of his teaching license.

The ad also says "with Busby on the school board the district's deficit sky-rocketed" and that "Busby voted to lay off teachers." Those statements give a misleading picture. While the ad faults Busby for "poor judgment" and "poor management," the fact is that the school district had a comfortable cash reserve every year Busby served on the board. The five lay-offs resulted from funding cuts by the state and produced almost no change in pupil-teacher ratios.

The NRCC released another 30-second television ad attacking Democratic House candidate Francine Busby of California. It first aired April 21 in the San Diego media market. A special election to fill the House seat vacated by former Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham takes place June 6.

NRCC Ad: "Busby Poor Record"

Announcer: Francine Busby's record? With Busby on the school board the district's deficit sky-rocketed by over 250 per cent. That's poor management.
(On Screen: footage of Francine Busby behind a microphone.)
Announcer: Busby voted to lay off teachers but gave raises to administrative bureaucrats. That's poor judgment.
(On Screen: footage of Francine Busby applauding with screen text saying, "Praised teacher reported to have Child Porn.")
Announcer: Busby even praised a teacher reported to have child porn saying he was always willing to lend a hand. That's dangerous.
Announcer: Liberal Francine Busby, poor management, poor judgment, dangerous.
Announcer: The National Republican Congressional Committee is reponsible for the content of this advertising.

The ad, titled “Busby Poor Record,” mischaracterizes Busby’s work as a member of California’s Cardiff School Board from 2001 to 2006. Cardiff, an affluent town 30 miles outside San Diego, consists of two elementary schools with a current total of 741 students.

Praised for Having Child Porn?

The NRCC ad says that Busby “praised a teacher reported to have child porn saying he was always willing to lend a hand. That's dangerous.” It is true that Busby said this about former California elementary school teacher Dale Regazzi, but she also expressed shock at the allegations and had previously acted to get him out of teaching entirely.

An April 2004 report in the San Diego Union-Tribune quotes Busby speaking about Regazzi after he had been investigated and charged with attempting to possess child pornography and destroying evidence:

Busby: He is a teacher who put in a lot of extra time…he was always willing to lend a hand. I am shocked about the investigation.

The school board stripped Regazzi of his teaching credentials when they were told about the investigation in September 2003. The Union-Tribune reported investigators found evidence of child pornography in Regazzi’s trash can. Regazzi pleaded guilty to destruction of evidence as part of a plea deal, and was sentenced to one year probation. The newspaper said that as of February 2006 Regazzi was a truck driver.

Administrators’ Salaries at Teachers’ Expense?

The NRCC ad says that “Busby voted to lay off teachers but gave raises to administrative bureaucrats. That's poor judgment.” Busby did participate in a unanimous vote to approve a 3 per cent raise for supervisors and non-teaching staff employees in 2003, but the ad fails to mention that teachers got the same 3 per cent raise. The raise did not affect Busby or other school board members, who get a $120 monthly stipend.

It is also true that the board sent lay-off notices to 23 teachers in anticipation of large funding cuts by the state. But local newspapers reported that the cuts turned out to be smaller than at first thought, and school officials say ultimately only five teachers were let go. Despite that, pupil-teacher ratios hardly suffered, going from 17.8 students per teacher in 2002-2003 school year to 18.0 the following year, according to the Education Data Partnership website Ed-Data. Cardiff managed this by shedding out-of-district pupils for whom the state cut funding.

It Depends on How You Define Deficit

The NRCC ad says that “with Busby on the School Board the district’s deficit sky-rocketed by over 250 per cent.” The ad is correct as far as it goes, but ignores the Cardiff school district's large cash reserves.

By law, California school districts are not allowed to borrow money to finance their operating costs. The Cardiff school district is no exception. According to a budget summary supplied to by the school district's Director of Finance, Sandie Luehrs, the district's expenditures were higher than its revenue from 2001 to 2005, and in that sense ran a deficit in the most recent four years. Nevertheless, the district ended each year with a positive balance, not a negative one:

Cardiff School Board Budget Summary by School Year

School Years 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005
Beginning Balance $950,458 $1,185,433 $988,550 $891,888 $536,041
Revenue $5,847,682 $5,987,178 $6,130,560 $5,846,238.00 $6,164,985.00
Expenditures $5,612,707 $6,184,061 $6,227,222 $6,202,085.00 $6,220,732.00
Excess/Deficit $234,975 ($196,883) ($96,662) ($355,847) ($55,747)
Ending Balance $1,185,433 $988,550 $891,888 $536,041 $480,294

Source: Sandie Luehrs, Director of Finance, Cardiff School District

The "over 250 per cent" rise in the deficit refers to the years between 2002 and 2004, when the deficit indeed increased by 268 per cent. However, the deficit also declined by 84.3 per cent the following year.

-by Emi Kolawole

Friedrich, Alex. "Local Schools Pleased by Smaller Budget cuts,'" The Monterey County Herald. 30 July 2003.

Mihailovich, Steven. "More School Layoffs," The Coast News. 17 April 2003.

Jimenez, Jose Luis. "Ex-teacher strikes deal in porn case," The San Diego Union-Tribune. 7 February 2006.

Parmet, Sherry. "Cardiff teacher faces child-porn accusations; State commission suspends credential," The San Diego Union-Tribune. 29 April 2004.

Parmet, Sherry. "Cardiffy may turn away some pupils; Funding change affects interdistrict students," The San Diego Union-Tribune. 31 May 2003.

"School District to halt transfers," The San Diego Union-Tribune. 11 June 2003.

"NRCC: More Lies, More Slander." Francine Busby for Congress. News Release. 25 April 2006.