Archive: April 2009
The 'Fort Murtha' Debate; Kennedy Is Key in Voting Rights Ruling; Immigration Focus Shifts to Employers
The 'Fort Murtha' Debate » The Pentagon has spent about $30 million on upgrades at a little-used airport named for Rep. John P. Murtha (D), though most of the improvements have not been used for their intended military purpose. Critics complain that the projects, funded through appropriations approved by Murtha's panel, are a waste of taxpayer dollars. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 30, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (0)
NYC Flyover Fallout » White House press secretary Robert Gibbs yesterday said the administration is conducting an internal review of the Air Force One flyover that caused panic Monday in New York City. "It was a mistake," Obama said of the photo-op flight, which reportedly cost taxpayers $328,835. Meanwhile, documents suggest federal officials knew the Air Force mission would cause alarm, but proceeded anyway. — Washington Post, Bloomberg, WCBS-TV
By Amanda Zamora | April 29, 2009; 9:03 AM ET | Comments (0)
Gauging Swine Flu Response » As the White House works to confront the growing threat of swine flu to U.S. citizens, dozens of key public health and emergency response jobs in the administration remain vacant. Meanwhile, Mexico is facing criticism for its slow and confused response to the gathering epidemic, as families of victims await medicine two weeks after the country confirmed its first death from the virus. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 28, 2009; 9:49 AM ET | Comments (0)
Effectiveness of Harsh Tactics Unclear » Whether harsh tactics were decisive in Khalid Sheik Mohammed's interrogation may never be conclusively known, in large part because the CIA appears not to have tried traditional tactics for much time, if at all. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 27, 2009; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (0)
Obama Rebuffs Truth Panel » President Obama appeared to back away from an earlier suggestion that he could support an independent commission on detainee treatment, telling congressional leaders that he wants to look forward instead of litigating the past. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also rejected calls for an independent panel, saying he preferred to await the findings of an ongoing investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. — Washington Post, Wall Street Journal ($)
By Amanda Zamora | April 24, 2009; 10:58 AM ET | Comments (1)
Almost exactly nine years after Chandra Levy was slain in D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, a District judge today ruled that there was probable cause for the arrest of a 27-year-old man for first-degree murder.
By The Editors | April 23, 2009; 2:44 PM ET | Comments (0)
Rice Greenlighted CIA Methods in '02; Freddie Disclosures Examined; Lewis: U.S. Urged Silence on Merrill Deal
Rice Greenlighted CIA Methods in '02 » Condoleezza Rice, John D. Ashcroft and other top Bush administration officials approved as early as the summer of 2002 the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, according to a newly declassified chronology prepared by the Senate intelligence committee. Rice's approval came months before the Justice Department provided a legal rationale for such tactics. — Washington Post, USA Today
By Amanda Zamora | April 23, 2009; 9:52 AM ET | Comments (0)
If Barack Obama thought last week's release of four Justice Department memos would bring closure to the controversy surrounding the Bush adminsitration's authorization of torture against "high value" detainees, he'll need to think again.
By Amanda Zamora | April 22, 2009; 5:00 PM ET | Comments (13)
Report Details Interrogation Plans; U.S. May Drop Espionage Charges; Quadrangle Caught in Pension Probe
Report Details Interrogation Plans » Intelligence and military officials under the Bush administration began preparing to conduct harsh interrogations long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods, according to a Senate Armed Services Committee report to be released today. Meanwhile, President Obama yesterday raised the possibility of legal consequences for those who authorized harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA, also suggesting that an independent commission may be be better suited than Congress to conduct an investigation into the matter. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 22, 2009; 9:58 AM ET | Comments (0)
Rep. Jane Harman is asking the Justice Department to release its transcripts of wiretapped telephone conversations she reportedly had with a suspected Israeli agent in 2005 or 2006, according to the Wall Street Journal.
By The Editors | April 21, 2009; 5:30 PM ET | Comments (35)
Pay Limits Rebuffed? » Top officials at Chrysler Financial turned away a government loan because executives didn't want to abide by new federal limits on pay, according to new findings by a federal watchdog agency. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department's inspector general is expected to report today that firms participating in a $1 trillion program to relieve banks of toxic assets may be subject to executive pay limits, contrary to the Obama administration's previous public position. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 21, 2009; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)
Murtha's Earmarks Keep Airport Aloft; Memos Reveal Extent of Waterboarding; Report: Harman Heard on NSA Tap
Murtha's Earmarks Keep Airport Aloft » The newly-renamed John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, which sees few travelers on a given weekday, is a testament to Rep. John P. Murtha's ability to tap streams of federal money for pricey, state-of-the-art projects that are rare among regional airports of comparable size. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 20, 2009; 9:29 AM ET | Comments (0)
NSA Intercepts Violate Limits; Report Questions Pentagon's Brain-Trauma Focus; Passport Probe Reveals Flaws
NSA Intercepts Violate Limits » The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, though Justice Department officials say steps have been taken to rectify compliance issues with the surveillance program. — New York Times, Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 16, 2009; 9:43 AM ET | Comments (0)
The lead investigator into the 2007 murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey is facing disciplinary action for his alleged mishandling of the case. Police say Sgt. Derwin Longmire failed to document at least two telephone conversations he had with the Your Black Muslim Bakery leader in 2008. During one of the phone calls (listen to them here), Longmire reportedly said that he would "defend his friendship" with Bey IV, who remains in jail on unrelated kidnapping charges. Bey IV has not been charged in Bailey's murder.
By Amanda Zamora | April 15, 2009; 3:08 PM ET | Comments (0)
Hedge Fund Exec Aids Pension Probe » A hedge fund executive has pleaded guilty to securities fraud and is cooperating with New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo's investigation of corruption at the state pension fund, according to court records unsealed in Manhattan on Tuesday. — New York Times, Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 15, 2009; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (0)
Joseph Nacchio, the former head of Qwest Communications and the last of the big telecom chiefs convicted of wrongdoing during the 1990s bubble, reported today to federal prison in Pennsylvania.
By The Editors | April 14, 2009; 1:16 PM ET | Comments (0)
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has formally pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering and fraud charges, according to the Associated Press. Blagojevich arrived this morning at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago, along with his brother, Robert, to be arraigned on charges of trying to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.
By Amanda Zamora | April 14, 2009; 12:34 PM ET | Comments (6)
SEC Reviewing Merrill Bonuses »The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing whether Bank of America broke the law by failing to disclose bonuses it was planning to pay Merrill Lynch employees before buying the Wall Street investment bank last year. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 14, 2009; 9:32 AM ET | Comments (0)
Shortfalls Unraveled Stevens's Case; TARP Panel Probes Fee Hikes; State Cuts Delay Disability Benefits
Shortfalls Unraveled Stevens's Case » The Justice Department team charged with prosecuting former senator Ted Stevens miscalculated by not seeking more time to prepare high for the-stakes corruption trial and fell victim to inexperience and thin staffing, which contributed to its alleged mishandling of witnesses and evidence, according to interviews with more than a dozen lawyers who followed the case. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 13, 2009; 9:34 AM ET | Comments (0)
Holder Appoints New Ethics Chief » Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. began a series of personnel moves yesterday in one of the most sensitive and secretive sections of the Justice Department, including naming a longtime prosecutor to lead the department's internal ethics unit.— Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 9, 2009; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (0)
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) has now confirmed that a congressional ethics board has launched a preliminary inquiry into his bid to take over the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. The Office of Congressional Ethics is reviewing Jackson's ties to Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor. Blagojevich was...
By The Editors | April 8, 2009; 4:45 PM ET | Comments (0)
The Stevens Six » A closer look at the six U.S. attorneys facing possible criminal charges for their handling of the corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens. A federal judge yesterday dismissed Stevens' conviction and appointed an outside lawyer to investigate allegations of misconduct by the Justice Department lawyers. — AP, Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 8, 2009; 9:52 AM ET | Comments (0)
The U.S. attorneys responsible for prosecuting the government's corruption case against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens are facing contempt proceedings for their alleged misconduct in the handling of the case.
By Amanda Zamora | April 7, 2009; 5:10 PM ET | Comments (10)
In a development that could signal a shift in the murky and unregulated world of online gambling, the parent company of one of the most popular Internet poker sites said today it has agreed to pay the U.S. government $105 million to settle charges that it illegally offered gambling to players in the United States.
By The Editors | April 7, 2009; 1:38 PM ET | Comments (0)
Stanford's Tearful Interview; Report: Detainee Treatment 'Inhuman'; Merkin Faces Charges in Madoff Scam
Report: Detainee Treatment 'Inhuman' » Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a confidential report that labeled the CIA program "inhuman." — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 7, 2009; 9:48 AM ET | Comments (0)
Summers Earned $5.2M From Hedge Fund; Madoff Complaint Implicates Aide; Pfizer Settles Drug-Trial Case
Summers Earned $5.2M From Hedge Fund » Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations. — Washington Post, New York Times
By Amanda Zamora | April 6, 2009; 9:21 AM ET | Comments (1)
Anas Mustapha, a Nigerian child believed to have been subjected to a Pfizer drug trial during the '96 meningitis epidemic, now suffers brain damage. (George Osodi / AP File 2007) More than eight years after The Washington Post investigated a clinical drug trial carried out by Pfizer Inc. in...
By The Editors | April 3, 2009; 3:27 PM ET | Comments (0)
Blagojevich, Brothers Indicted » Federal prosecutors expanded their case against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Thursday in an indictment that drew more of his closest aides into the scandal and adds new schemes to the list of charges against him: Pocketing money funneled through his wife through a phony real estate job. Shaking down a powerful congressman. Running the state as a racket. Reaction to the indictment — Chicago Tribune
By Amanda Zamora | April 3, 2009; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (0)
Ex-AIG Chief: Bailout Failed » Former AIG CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg says the bailout has "failed" and is expected to propose an alternative plan to breaking up the mega-insurer during a hearing this morning before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. AIG launched a pre-emptive strike ahead of today's hearing, putting out a four-page dossier attacking Greenberg's credibility. — Politico, ProPublica
By Amanda Zamora | April 2, 2009; 9:53 AM ET | Comments (0)
The town of Fairfield, Conn., has joined a growing list of aggreived parties seeking restitution from Ponzi mastermind Bernard L. Madoff. Members of Fairfield's pension fund are suing several executives at "feeder funds" that invested millions with Madoff. The lawsuit (Fairfield Retirement Program v. Madoff) names executives at Tremont Group Holdings, Maxam Capital Management and Fairfield Greenwich Group, along with the Madoff and his wife, brother and two sons.
By Amanda Zamora | April 1, 2009; 4:42 PM ET | Comments (0)
U.S. to Drop Stevens Case » Attorney General Eric Holder announced this morning that he is dropping all the charges against former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who was convicted last year on corruption charges. Holder had reviewed the case because of charges of prosecutorial misconduct that were being examined by the federal judge presiding over the case. — Washington Post
By Amanda Zamora | April 1, 2009; 9:57 AM ET | Comments (1)