FROM Evan Perez
Election-Year Politics and the 'Fast and Furious' Affair For the first time in history, the US House of Representatives has held a Cabinet member in contempt. Attorney General Eric Holder was sanctioned yesterday for failing to disclose internal documents subpoenaed as part of an investigation into "Fast and Furious," the ATF operation which involved the sale of guns that reached Mexican drug lords and were involved in the death of a US Border Patrol agent. While the sanction doesn't pose a significant legal threat to Holder, it does add more fuel to the fire of the politically and constitutionally charged debate. Many Democrats called the proceedings a witch hunt, while a handful of their colleagues voted yes. But what's really behind the story of the "gun walking" operation gone wrong? How much of the blame lies with personal politics and inter-agency disagreements? What's the role of gun laws and the gun lobby?
Attorney General Faces Questions on 'Fast and Furious' Attorney General Eric Holder was back before a House committee today, with Republicans accusing his Justice Department of knowing more than it's admitted about "Operation Fast and Furious." Holder claims he never authorized allowing suspected gun-traffickers to by arms without arresting them immediately. Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
ATF under Fire Republicans have been highly critical of "Operation Fast and Furious," a federal operation that lost track of firearms purchased by suspected gun smugglers. Some of the weapons have turned up in the wake of shootings in Mexico. Now Democrats are fighting back on behalf of high level Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials who claim they didn't know much about the tactics employed by the operation. At a Congressional hearing yesterday, ATF agents said they tried to blow the whistle on the operation. Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
Osama bin Laden: Targeted Killings and Torture The killing of Osama bin Laden was an act of finality, but international debate about its legality and morality has just begun, and the discovery of his hideout in Pakistan has renewed arguments in this country over what some call "enhanced interrogation" and others call "torture."
Osama bin Laden: Targeted Killings and Torture The killing of Osama bin Laden was an act of finality, but international debate about its legality and morality has just begun. The presidential order to kill the al Qaeda leader has raised questions about executive powers under the laws of war and produced a UN investigation. The intelligence work that led to bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan has raised other questions about "enhanced interrogation techniques." When can a president decide who lives and who dies? Should bin Laden have been captured and tried? Does discovery of his hideout justify torture? We hear different answers about law, morality, national security and the international reputation of the United States.
Obama Administration Reverses Plan on 9/11 Trials Despite months of insisting that America's civilian courts could handle the most despised accused terrorist in American history, the Obama Administration has capitulated to Congress and public opinion. Just 17 months after announcing a civilian trial in New York City for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday it'll be a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay after all. Now attorneys for the confessed 9/11 mastermind and others are asking, how soon will justice be served? Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
Policing Domestic Muslim Radicalism Since September 11 — most recently in Baltimore, Portland and Washington, DC -- suspects have been arrested before the terrorist acts they were planning ever occurred. Young Muslim Americans have been tricked into thinking that undercover FBI informants were their accomplices. Some critics claim that, in those and other cases, agents engaged in entrapment.
Are Muslim-Americans Living Dangerously? While Muslim-American groups give the Obama Administration high marks for combating bigotry, they are divided over "sting" operations by the FBI. Since September 11 — most recently in Baltimore, Portland and Washington, DC -- suspects have been arrested before the terrorist acts they were planning ever occurred. Young bombing suspects have been arrested before they could do any harm, but after FBI agents acted as false accomplices. Anti-terrorist agents routinely appear uninvited at mosques, workplaces and homes. Are the Feds just "getting to know the community" or spying? Do agents inadvertently help to radicalize young men? Are they stepping on American rights to privacy, freedom of speech and religion?
US Charges 14 Linked to Somali Terror Group Al-Shabab is a radical Islamic group headquartered in Somalia. It claimed credit for bombings that killed 76 people watching a World Cup soccer match in Uganda this year. Today, US authorities charged 14 people , mostly American citizens, with crimes that include providing al-Shabab with recruits and money. Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
Justice Department Challenges Arizona Immigration Law The Obama Administration filed a lawsuit against Arizona yesterday in a case that appears likely to wind up as a matter for the Supreme Court to settle. The Justice Department's suit, which alleges that "S.B. 1070 unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government's authority to set and enforce immigration policy," has stirred up debate among legal scholars. Evan Perez writes for the Wall Street Journal .
Bombing Suspect Faisal Shahzad Continues to Provide "Useful Information" Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad is still being questioned about his connections to Pakistan, and some members of Congress are complaining that he’s being treated like any other American citizen accused of a crime. Here’s Attorney General Eric Holder answering a question from the Senate Appropriations Committee
US Intelligence Had the Goods on Umar Abdulmutallab President Obama said yesterday there were warning signs that could have averted the near-disaster on Christmas Day. He branded the government's failure to share and act upon information about "known extremist" Umar Abdulmutallab "totally unacceptable." Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
Eric Holder for Attorney General? Barack Obama’s nominee for Attorney General got some tough grilling from Senate Republicans today. But he was introduced to the Judiciary Committee by Virginia’s newly-retired Republican Senator John Warner as a man whose “misjudgments will not be repeated.” Holder’s admission of mistakes came in the context of President Clinton’s pardon of Mark Rich, a financier who fled the country under charges of tax evasion—and whose wife had contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton Library and the Democratic Party.
Gonzales Resigns, Bush Says Critics 'Dragged Him Through the Mud' Brutal treatment of terrorist detainees, electronic surveillance without judicial approval, politics in the administration of justice. Republicans as well as Democrats accused Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of being less than candid about policies dealing with human rights and the Constitution. Today, he announced his resignation , effective September 17. The son of migrant workers in Texas, Gonzales said, "Even my worst days as Attorney General have been better than my father's best days," and thanked President Bush for his friendship and the opportunity to serve the American people. Less than two hours after he stepped down, President Bush reluctantly accepted , lamenting that "his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons." Bush said Solicitor General Paul Clement will be interim Attorney General until the Senate approves a full-time successor. We look at the latest transition at the highest levels of the Bush Administration and explores where the President goes from here.
Senate Votes to End President's Power to Name Prosecutors The Senate has voted 94-to-2 to rescind the President's unilateral power to replace US attorneys. Meantime, Mr. Bush called Alberto Gonzales this morning to reaffirm what the White House called "strong backing" of his Attorney General. Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
Libby Verdict Strikes Another Legal Blow to Bush Administration The former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney faces up to 25 years in federal prison. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been convicted on four of five counts of obstructing justice, perjury and lying to the FBI; he was acquitted on the count of making false statements to the FBI in a conversation about Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. The case stemmed from efforts to discredit a critic of the rationale for war in Iraq. One juror called Libby, "the fall guy." We join journalists for an update today's jury verdict, to hear how each side responded and assess the political consequences.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.