FROM Tim Starks
The CIA Torture Tapes In 2005, the CIA destroyed videotape that showed interrogations of terrorist suspects. Today's New York Times reports that CIA lawyers gave written permission--despite advice from the White House and the Department of Justice, and without asking their own boss. CIA Director Michael Hayden says the objective was protecting the identities of the interrogators themselves. Today, Hayden was called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee —behind closed doors, about why the videotapes, despite advice from the White House. Outside the closed hearing, Democrats and Republicans are among those suggesting possible crimes of torture and obstruction of justice. Might the tapes have made a difference to the 9/11 Commission , trials of accused terrorists and enactments by Congress? Are there any new lessons about the CIA and the quality of US intelligence?
Senate Votes to Open Debate on Iraq President Bush wound up his Latin American tour today at a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, but was dogged by questions about domestic politics. He said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales can still be effective despite admitting mistakes in firing US Attorneys. Meantime, in an 89-to-9 vote, the Senate broke a deadlock and agreed to debate the war in Iraq for the first time since the Democrats took control. Tim Starks reports for Congressional Quarterly .
McConnell Sworn-in as New 'Top Spy' Retired Admiral Mike McConnell was sworn in today as the second Director of National Intelligence , a job created after intelligence failures before 9/11 and the Iraq invasion. One of his jobs will be briefing the President on a daily basis. The President, speaking at McConnell's swearing-in , reaffirmed that he values the "intelligence products" created by the military, calling them an "important part of my strategic thought." Tim Starks reports on intelligence for Congressional Quarterly .
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
East Asia: President Trump's first foreign policy test Starting with North Korea's latest test of nuclear missiles, a chain of events is causing instability in Asia. Could it turn into the first real foreign policy crisis of the Trump Administration?
CBO: Under GOP plan, millions will lose coverage Republicans are divided and Democrats are saying, "we told you so," when it comes to official estimates of what it will cost to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Trump White House says the Congressional Budget Office is just wrong.