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Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
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Archive: June 2008

The Long Road to the Cole Bombing Indictment

The road from Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri's secret capture by CIA officials in Kuwait in November 2002 to his indictment today by U.S. military prosecutors for his alleged role in the attack on the USS Cole, a bombing that killed 17 U.S. service members, has been a long one. The charges...

By Derek Kravitz | June 30, 2008; 6:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Magazine Sheds Light on Pentagon Resignation

A New Yorker magazine report claims that the Bush administration is expanding covert operations inside Iran as part of a $400 million effort to spy on the country's nuclear program and support rebel groups opposed to Iran's ruling clerics. The article by Seymour M. Hersh is based on information from...

By Derek Kravitz | June 30, 2008; 4:02 PM ET | Comments (3)

A "Two-Fer" for Congressman Etheridge

When Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) flew to Kansas City, Mo., in May to brief crop insurance company officials on the just-passed farm bill, he scored a two-fer. * The non-profit National Crop Insurance Services, Inc., paid his $1,592 travel and hotel tab so he could speak to an "education and...

By The Editors | June 30, 2008; 7:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lawyer Who Took On Tobacco is Sentenced

The Mississippi lawyer who became one of the wealthiest civil lawsuit attorneys in the country by taking on tobacco, asbestos and insurance companies was sentenced today to five years in prison for conspiring to bribe a judge. Richard Scruggs is famed for taking on Big Tobacco with evidence from insiders...

By The Editors | June 27, 2008; 3:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Justice Department Official Fired After No-Show

A top Justice Department official being investigated as part of a probe about potentially illegal hiring practices and misused travel expenses was fired after she failed to appear to a congressional hearing last week, ABC News reports. Michele DeKonty, a former chief of staff to J. Robert Flores in the...

By Derek Kravitz | June 26, 2008; 9:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

A Decade Later, Details On Campaign Ethics Case

The Federal Elections Commission has closed a decade-old campaign finance ethics case that snared a number of top Republican donors and lawmakers, shuttered an influential Washington consulting firm and resulted in six people paying roughly $75,000 in civil fines. The case centered on a $3 million political advertising blitz aimed...

By Derek Kravitz | June 26, 2008; 2:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Air Force Exaggerated Boeing Costs, GAO Finds

In February, the Air Force based much of its decision to give defense contractor Northrop Grumman a multi-billion contract to build tankers because it was the low bidder. But it turns out that Northrop Grumman's "low bid" was only .03 percent off the price of its nearest competitor, Chicago-based aerospace...

By Derek Kravitz | June 25, 2008; 6:48 PM ET | Comments (2)

Abramoff Ex-Partner Gets Sentence Reduced

Jack Abramoff, the disgraced former GOP lobbyist who pleaded guilty for his role in a federal influence-peddling scandal, has yet to be sentenced on those charges. He is serving prison time, though, in another case involving an ill-fated Florida casino boat business, as is his former partner, Adam Kidan. The...

By The Editors | June 25, 2008; 5:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Post Series Prompts Building Inspections

In light of a Post series focusing on landlords who had emptied more than 200 buildings of tenants in recent years, thwarting a decades-old tenant protection law, the District announced today it will inspect the city's 11,000 rental buildings regularly, with the city's most troubled buildings coming under inspection this...

By Derek Kravitz | June 24, 2008; 7:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Army Defends Contract With Indicted Arms Dealer

The State Department had put a Miami-based arms dealer on a watchlist of firms not to deal with, but the Pentagon apparently ignored the designation, U.S. Army officials said today during a testy two-hour hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Today's hearing followed a New York...

By Derek Kravitz | June 24, 2008; 4:42 PM ET | Comments (6)

Political Favoritism at Justice

Another example of how politicized the Bush Administration's Justice Department became under former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales: Internal auditors issued a report today saying that the agency's officials improperly used political and ideological factors to screen applicants for its prestigious honors and summer intern programs, sometimes rejecting otherwise qualified...

By The Editors | June 24, 2008; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (45)

Len Downie's Investigative Roots

Leonard Downie Jr., who today announced his coming retirement as executive editor of The Washington Post after a 44-year career here, counts the newspaper's commitment to investigative and accountability journalism as one of his greatest legacies. Among his favorite projects, Downie has singled out three that won the coveted Pulitzer...

By Derek Kravitz | June 23, 2008; 7:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Arabic TV Station Under Heavy Lens

An Arabic-language television network financed by the U.S. government and based in Springfield, Va., has come under heavy criticism for hiring a largely foreign and inexperienced staff that has had little impact in winning over the hearts and minds of the Arab world. Al-Hurra has cost taxpayers $350 million and...

By Derek Kravitz | June 23, 2008; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (18)

Investigations by the Numbers

It's Monday morning, so to get things started and bring you up to date, we decided to take a look at some of the numbers that made headlines last week in the world of investigative reporting: 11 -- the number of men formerly held in U.S. detention camps overseas that...

By Derek Kravitz | June 23, 2008; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

GSA Report Notes Criminal Prosecutions, Omits Doan

"Washington Watchdogs," a periodic feature of the Post's Investigations blog, looks at the findings of the federal government's official investigators. The watchdog for the General Services Administration, the government's premier contracting agency, had an eventful year in catching government employees with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. The...

By Derek Kravitz | June 20, 2008; 4:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wiretap Program Leaps Hurdle

A deal to extend the Bush administration's controversial wiretap program through at least 2012 was brokered yesterday in Congress -- a significant victory for a program that saw widespread criticism when it was first uncovered in 2005. The agreement extends the government's ability to eavesdrop on espionage and terrorism suspects...

By Derek Kravitz | June 20, 2008; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (5)

How Abramoff Pulled White House Strings

A rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes string pulling that allowed disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff to negotiate the firing of a State Department official is examined today by The Post's R. Jeffrey Smith. Abramoff, now serving a nearly six-year federal prison sentence for fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy, and his colleagues...

By Derek Kravitz | June 19, 2008; 3:43 PM ET | Comments (3)

Bear Stearns Arrests

The arrests today of two former Bear Stearns managers in the wake of the Wall Street's firm collapse and the subprime mortgage crisis comes after a year-long investigation. Matthew Tannin and Ralph Cioffi became the first executives to be criminally charged in the subprime market debacle. The federal investigation has...

By Derek Kravitz | June 19, 2008; 1:15 PM ET | Comments (2)

GAO Sides With Boeing in Tanker Deal

The Government Accountability Office's decision to side with Boeing over a $40 billion contract with rival Northrop Grumman to build new aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force represents an abrupt about-face in the government's dealings with the Chicago-based aerospace company. The contract to supply the tankers had originally been...

By Derek Kravitz | June 18, 2008; 5:07 PM ET | Comments (5)

Psychology of Suffering Detainees Examined

The most extensive medical study of former detainees published so far has found that uncharged or innocent former terrorism suspects are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and lingering physical injuries and scars that can be traced to their imprisonment, The Associated Press reports. The release of the study comes a...

By Derek Kravitz | June 18, 2008; 2:23 PM ET | Comments (2)

Halliburton Subsidiary Faulted For Hurricane Work

"Washington Watchdogs," a periodic feature of the Post's Investigations blog, looks at the findings of the federal government's official investigators. Reports of problems with defense contractor KBR Inc. just keep piling up. The Houston-based company's efforts to repair Navy facilities following Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina were deemed shoddy and...

By Derek Kravitz | June 17, 2008; 5:13 PM ET | Comments (30)

U.S. Hid Abused Detainees, Congress Finds

The Senate Armed Services Committee disclosed today previously secret and privately-held memos dating back from 2002 that show U.S. military advisers hid prisoners who were being treated harshly from Geneva Convention compliance officers, The Associated Press reports. Today's congressional hearing is the latest wrinkle as Senate investigators document the history...

By Derek Kravitz | June 17, 2008; 1:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Big Setback for Federal Abramoff Task Force

A federal appeals court today threw out some charges and ordered a new trial for David Safavian, the first Bush administration official convicted in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Safavian, the former chief of staff for the General Services Administration, was convicted of lying to investigators about his relationship with...

By The Editors | June 17, 2008; 11:58 AM ET | Comments (3)

McClatchy Investigates U.S. Detention System

Reporters for the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers have unveiled the results of an eight-month investigation of the U.S. detention system created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They report that the government imprisoned dozens of innocent men, subjected them to abuse and stripped them of their legal rights. The...

By Derek Kravitz | June 16, 2008; 6:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Boeing Sought $1 Billion-Plus It Didn't Deserve

"Washington Watchdogs," a periodic feature of the Post's Investigations blog, looks at the findings of the federal government's official investigators. The federal government overpaid Boeing between $300 million and $475 million in "economic price adjustment" charges on contracts to build three types of aircraft, according to a Department of...

By Derek Kravitz | June 16, 2008; 4:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mystery Over Nuclear Blueprints Grows

The revelation that blueprints to build a smaller, easily transportable nuclear weapon were discovered on computers in a handful of foreign nations has set off a worldwide search to see if any rogue nations or groups got ahold of the plans. The A.Q. Khan smuggling ring, which is accused of...

By Derek Kravitz | June 16, 2008; 12:33 PM ET | Comments (17)

Mortgage Discounts for VIPs

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson in New Orleans. (Bill Haber, Associated Press). An investigation by Conde Nast Portfolio magazine has turned up two senators, two former Cabinet members and a former United Nations ambassador who received "V.I.P." discounts on their loans from Countrywide Financial Corp., a...

By Derek Kravitz | June 13, 2008; 5:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pork Spending Alive and Kicking

A closer look at the self-described "big kahuna" database of congressional earmarks developed by Taxpayers for Common Sense, the focus of Robert O'Harrow's story today, shows how lawmakers are gearing up for another pork-barrel spending binge for their home districts. Earmark spending in the House's defense authorization bill alone soared...

By Derek Kravitz | June 13, 2008; 2:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

House Panel Approves Abramoff Report

After little debate and few corrections, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform this afternoon approved a 33-page report documenting the ties between disgraced uberlobbyist Jack Abramoff and the White House. The committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has pressed for two years to determine the links between...

By Derek Kravitz | June 12, 2008; 6:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Focuses Again on Detainees

The Supreme Court decision announced today rejecting as unconstitutional the Bush adminstration's handling of terrorism detainees at Guantanamo Bay is the latest in a string of criticism of U.S. treatment of foreign suspects at the detention center. By a 5 to 4 vote, the majority held that an alternative procedure...

By Derek Kravitz | June 12, 2008; 3:36 PM ET | Comments (8)

Abramoff Scandal Reaches To Albany

Federal agents yesterday raided the offices of a New York congressman tied to disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, as federal officials prepare for the former Republican power broker to be sentenced. Files and computers were collected Tuesday from Powers & Company, a Albany, N.Y., lobbying firm, The Albany Times Union first...

By Derek Kravitz | June 11, 2008; 7:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Interrogation Video Still Missing

A DVD showing the final interrogation of Jose Padilla, the former Chicago gang member originally accused of plotting with al-Qaeda to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" on U.S. soil, is missing and cannot be found among federal records. The March 2, 2004, Defense Intelligence Agency video showed the interrogation of...

By Derek Kravitz | June 11, 2008; 3:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Abramoff Sentencing Closer

Attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, imprisoned for a fraud case in Florida, have asked a federal judge to sentence the former Republican power broker in September for his actions in the Washington lobbying scandal, according to documents filed in federal court. Abramoff is currently serving...

By The Editors | June 10, 2008; 2:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Suspect Helped Design Computer System

The scandal-plagued D.C. Tax Office has decided to replace its $135 million software system, budgeting $10 million to search for a replacement. The office has been in the news recently since a manager there was charged in an embezzlement scheme involving $50 million, the largest in city history. The computer...

By The Editors | June 10, 2008; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

Program That Was Focus of Series Is Terminated

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has cut off funding to a teacher training organization that has been paid millions of dollars by the school system, citing questions raised by the city's inspector general and effectively halting the nonprofit operation. The Post had explored possible problems at the Teachers Institute...

By The Editors | June 10, 2008; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Inspectors Find Bad Practices at Oil Office

"Washington Watchdogs," a periodic feature of the Post's Investigations blog, looks at the findings of the federal government's official investigators. A multi-billion-dollar government program designed to reward oil and gas companies for drilling in expensive locales is plagued with bad business practices, according to an inspector general's report released...

By Derek Kravitz | June 9, 2008; 4:49 PM ET | Comments (1)

Abramoff Had White House Juice, Report Says

A congressional investigation has found that lobbyist Jack Abramoff influenced some actions by the White House by lavishing exclusive sports tickets and meals on political staffers in the executive mansion, but the panel has uncovered no indication that President Bush had a role in the actions, reports The Post's James...

By The Editors | June 9, 2008; 2:35 PM ET | Comments (21)

New Currie Documents Filed

Newly filed court documents shed more light on the focus of a federal investigation into Maryland state Sen. Ulysses Currie, pointing to his dealings with a grocery store chain, the Post's Rosalind S. Helderman reports. Federal agents last week searched Currie's home and the Lanham headquarters of Shoppers Food and...

By The Editors | June 6, 2008; 10:58 AM ET | Comments (3)

Pentagon Forces Out Air Force Chiefs

A long, bumpy flight at the Air Force came to an abrupt end yesterday, at least for the leadership. Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley resigned under pressure earlier today after Pentagon brass decided they'd had enough. The Air Force problems became...

By The Editors | June 5, 2008; 4:23 PM ET | Comments (6)

GAO Says Detainee Abuse Not 'Pervasive'

An official in charge of keeping government officials in line regarding the treatment of immigrant detainees told the House Judiciary Committee today that a review of records at U.S. facilities did not reveal widespread problems regarding medical care. Richard M. Stana, GAO's director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, told...

By Derek Kravitz | June 4, 2008; 7:50 PM ET | Comments (3)

New Canadian Theory On Leaked Obama Memo

Canadian news organizations are continuing to speculate on how a controversial memo that embarrassed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on the campaign trail got leaked. A Toronto Star columnist is floating a theory that a 1,300-word memo was leaked in March to The Associated Press by Frank Sensenbrenner, a former Canadian...

By Derek Kravitz | June 4, 2008; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lockheed Martin Failing to Maintain Weapons Program, Audit Says

"Washington Watchdogs," a periodic feature of the Post's Investigations blog, looks at the findings of the federal government's official investigators. Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defense contractor, has failed to properly plan for and control a multibillion weapons program, a leaked government audit shows. The November 2007 Pentagon report,...

By Derek Kravitz | June 3, 2008; 1:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

NASA Press Office Distorted Findings

James E. Hansen told of being censored. (Melanie Patterson - AP). Political appointees in NASA's public affairs office distorted accounts of its researchers' findings about climate change for at least two years, the NASA inspector general's office said yesterday. The revelation, reports The Post's Juliet Eilperin, came after The...

By Derek Kravitz | June 3, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Another Hill Staffer Caught in Abramoff Net

It has been more than four years since The Post first reported on the questionable activities of now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The indictments are still coming. In the latest case, John C. Albaugh, a former chief of staff to a senior GOP lawmaker, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit...

By The Editors | June 3, 2008; 8:24 AM ET | Comments (5)

McCain and The Nonprofit

The relationship between Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, and the nonprofit Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) was examined in a Saturday Post article. What's the problem with a candidate aligning himself with a nonprofit? As The Post's Robert O'Harrow reports, CAGW and other nonprofits, or 501(c)3s,...

By Derek Kravitz | June 2, 2008; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (3)


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