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 .
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?