Thursday, December 22, 2005
"H.R.4241 To provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 201(a) of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2006." is just a fancy title for the "deficit reduction act" which provides more tax cuts for the highest brackets and fuding cuts for student loans, medicaid cuts, and many more that directly affect King's constituents.
The bill was passed once before in a tight vote with King voting YES but the Senate made some changes and sent it back to the House. King was a deciding vote the first time and a deciding vote the second time. The vote was 217-215. The vote occured at 1:41am on Monday. In order to get their vacation started, House votes went through the night.
King could have voted to help your kids get a college education but he didn't.
King could have voted to help poor children get early testing but he didn't.
King could have voted to help ensure child care funds for states. BUT HE DID'NT
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Intelligent Design was made up by creationists who want to get the theory taught in public schools. They want "ID" taught alongside evolution. There are no facts taht can be taught as there are with evolution.
The problem is that just because one may "believe" in creationism, that does not make it a provable scientific fact.
Newsday was probably trolling around for comment and got this from King "I believe school districts should have the right to teach intelligent design as part of American culture without saying it's science,"
Where will ID be taught in King's view?
Because students today are required to learn so much and pass advancement tests, ID will just be a clutter.
How is ID part of "American culture?" Does King want it taught in Social Studies or History classes?
King is right that ID is NOT science. ID is religion.
Religion should be taught in parochial schools and ID belongs in Sunday School not Public Elementary Schools.
King would have said more about the ruling and the judge but the judge was appointed by George W. Bush. Can't smear him now.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
It looks like there will be a serious candidate in 2006 to oppose King. While well-intentioned, the last two opponents of King had no real experience in the political arena and it showed.
A poll conducted by Suffolk Leg. David Bishop and the DCCC had King beating Bishop 55-37 (a better margin than the last two elections) but when linked to Bush, the numbers flip 55-38 for Bishop. King is on the wrong side of many issues and when constituents see that, they turn on him.
Because there was a lack of enthusiasm by fellow LI representatives to step up and help, Bishop dropped out. Yes it's true Caroline McCarthy, Steve Isreal and Tim Bishop don't have an easy time getting re-elected considering the party registration in thier districts, but they really haven't tried to help King challangers. Newsday reports "Without firm assurances that the committee would assist Bishop in raising at least "$1.5 million and technical support," Schaffer said he advised Bishop not to mount a challenge.Bishop declined to comment yesterday, except to say, "I'm disappointed because I know I could have beaten him."
King in all his arrogance says "I was not that concerned but, having said that, I always take every race seriously," The fact is, King doesn't campaign. he barely spends any funds he has raised on campaign materials. He opens a campaign office, makes a few signs and some bumper stickers and sits back while under-funded Democratic candidates try to get name recognition.
Bishop was a real challenger because his 12 year legislative record is impeccable, he has a high name recognition and he was willing to fight.
King took a quick slap at anyone who tried to pick up the torch by saying "It is unfortunate whoever runs will be the second choice."
There wasn't a "choice" since no one declared. King is trying to denegrate the person who does declare.
Which brings us to Nassau Leg. Dave Mejias. A thrity-five year old attorney who just one re-election in a hotly contested race in a republican "strong-hold" has been approached to run. Mejias went to DC on friday to meet with NY lawmakers and DNC officals. Mejias tells Newsday "Right now, I'm considering it very seriously."
Mejias' re-election race was the one King cited when trying to make a point about how close control of the Nassau Legisalture was and how it wasn't such a bad night for republicans "Things are going well for the Democrats. Denis Dillon’s defeat was a blow, but the Republicans came within 400 votes of taking the legislature. There’s no doubt it went to the Democrats, but it wasn’t an earthquake.”
Problem with that is, after re-canvasing districts and finding shall we say anomolies in some election districts, Mejias almost doubled his margin of victory. And that victory was again in a heavily republican district on a race where the Nassau PBA threw alot of money out to defeat Mejias and his opponent had high name recognition.
Mejias is a very smart lawmaker and a great public speaker who unlike King is not afraid to talk to his constituents.
Mejias has already be out front on an issue very important to the 3rd CD. He along with other local leaders lashed out at a plan in Washington DC to cut the mortage interest deduction and getting rid of them for state and local taxes. Because the home prices are so high in Nassau, cutting the mortgage interest deduction will affect homeowners in the worst way. Mejias said "The proposal is a classic example of shifting wealth from the middle class to the wealthy by funding tax cuts for the wealthy through elimination of tax breaks for the middle class... The rich have capital gains tax cuts and the AMT cut, and the middle class loses its greatest tax breaks - the local real estate tax and mortgage interest write offs."
Where is King on this issue? MIA.
While Mejias has voted on local legislation to help the working people in Nassau, King has voted against his constituents over and over again.
So how will this play out if Mejias does opt to run?
He needs money. Lots of money. As of the end of september, King has $863,921 cash on hand. When the election season picks up, King will be bringing in more cash.
Mejias - or any candidate - needs to raise alot of cash fast.
This race is winnable and it's time King went back to Seaford.
Monday, December 19, 2005
"Amendment IV, US Constitution
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
King was on CNN's Situation Room sunday night with Rep. Charlie Rangel. The exchange is what you would expect from King; ill-informed and belligerent. The session touched on Iraq but for now we're just going to deal with the wiretap scandal.
Blitzer starts off asking rangel if Bush broke the law. rangel responded "It seems that way to me, but the president ought to come forward. If -- if they say there was a law, he ought to bring it to the Congress immediately."
King true to form invokes 9/11 and throws in a little blame for Clinton "Well, first of all, Wolf, if he had done this back in 1998, 1999 and 2000, we probably wouldn't have had the attacks of September 11."
The fact is through conventional methods AND using the FISA Court, which has issued a few thousand warrants over the past few years, the Clinton administration was able to stop terroris attacks here and abroad. In fact, conventional legal methods did lead to the August 8th Presidential Daily Briefing warning of imminent terrorist attacks in the US... which were dutifully ignored by the Bush adminstration.
King continues "As far as the legal justification, I was listening to well, Professor Rodstein (ph), from Georgetown, today, who said you could certainly make an argument that Article 2 of the Constitution and also the legislation passed after September 11 does give the president that power."
Well.. no. Any and all powers given to the president other than pardons are subect to advice and consent of congress. The president can issue executive orders but those cannot violate existing law. Existing law says the NSA cannot spy domestically and wiretaps like those ordered by Bush require the approval of the FISA Court. Nothing in legislation after 9/11 or in Article 2 allows an imperal presidency.
King goes for the next excuse saying that Bush consulted with Democratic leaders "And let's keep in mind, there's nothing secret about this politically. The president brought in the democratic leaders of the House and Senate and the democratic leaders on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. So, he was faced with a situation where there were Islamic terrorists attempting to kill us. And he brought in the opposition. If he was trying to sneak something over, you wouldn't bring in Nancy Pelosi, you wouldn't bring in Harry Reid, you wouldn't bring in Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, at J. Rockefeller."
Really? In a statement issued by Sen. Reid, he says something quite different. The Democrats were not made aware of the wiretap program until 3 years after it began and was about to be made public anyway "The President asserted in his December 17th radio address that “leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it.”
This statement gives the American public a very misleading impression that the President fully consulted with Congress.
“First, it is quite likely that 96 Senators of 100 Senators, including 13 of 15 on the Senate Intelligence Committee first learned about this program in the New York Times, not from any Administration briefing.
“I personally received a single very short briefing on this program earlier this year prior to its public disclosure. That briefing occurred more than three years after the President said this program began.
“The Administration briefers did not seek my advice or consent about the program, and based on what I have heard publicly since, key details about the program apparently were not provided to me.
“Under current Administration briefing guidelines, members of Congress are informed after decisions are made, have virtually no ability to either approve or reject a program, and are prohibited from discussing these types of programs with nearly all of their fellow members and all of their staff."
Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi says (via jesseberney.com) "When I was advised of President Bush’s decision to authorize these activities, I expressed my strong concerns verbally and in a classified letter to the Administration. The Bush Administration, however, made clear that it did not believe that Congressional notification was required and it also did not believe that Congressional approval was required to conduct these activities. I have attached a copy of my statement on the President’s disclosure."
Senator Jay Rockefeller in a statemnet also destroys the "we let the opposition know" lie "For the last few days, I have witnessed the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General repeatedly misrepresent the facts.
“The record needs to be set clear that the Administration never afforded members briefed on the program an opportunity to either approve or disapprove the NSA program. The limited members who were told of the program were prohibited by the Administration from sharing any information about it with our colleagues, including other members of the Intelligence Committees.
“At the time, I expressed my concerns to Vice President Cheney that the limited information provided to Congress was so overly restricted that it prevented members of Congress from conducting meaningful oversight of the legal and operational aspects of the program.
“These concerns were never addressed, and I was prohibited from sharing my views with my colleagues.
“Now that this issue has been brought out into the open, I strongly urge the Senate Intelligence Committee to immediately undertake a full investigation into the legal and operational aspects of the program, including the lack of sufficient congressional oversight.”
So King is under the impression that Democrats were in on this from the beginning and never said anything? He keeps on this thread for a few more minutes even after being corrected:
"RANGEL: Well, at least one of those four people have indicated that they were sworn to secrecy and they did protest. I tell you this, that bringing in someone and says a secret. If you tell the rest of the world what I'm doing and being subjected to an indictment by the grand jury is not really as open as you say, Mr. Chairman.
KING: Charlie, it's certainly opened up -- if he was trying to put one over on anyone, you wouldn't bring in the opposition."
Even Blitzer jumped in "BLITZER: But my point is that what good is it bringing in just the leaders and swearing them to secrecy? And the second point is that any dictator can do what he's done and then say there should be a law. The question is, he ought to show us the constitutional law in which he acted."
King swings around a little saying Bush SHOULD have imperial powers "And Charlie, my point is listen, maybe we should pass laws to make it more specific that he has the right to do it. But he's charged -- you know, not you or I, but he's charged with defending the lives of all Americans. In the wake of September 11, I think he did the right thing and I think if we do want to question it, then I think we should say how do we change the law to accommodate it? Because this is a real need. If you have people in the United States who are telephoning out or receiving calls in from a known terrorist overseas, certainly we should be using our track surveillance on that."
"Well, as Professor Rodstein (ph) said today, arguments have been made at that -- Article 2 of the constitution does give the president the inherent power to carry this out. And if not, we should make sure he does have it. Because I think if we're going to survive as a nation, we have to give the president of the United States that power. And I don't think any dictator brings in leaders of the opposition to tell them what he's doing if he's trying to put one over on the American people or any people."
So King is saying in a convoluted way that Bush DID NOT have the power under law. When soemone lies so often, the web they weave gets tangled. The fact is the FISA courts do the job that needs to be done and there is no need for Bush to have such absolute, unchecked power.
Again King tries to say that the Democrats knew about this from the beginning when in fact they did not.
Blitzer to his credit doesn't let up on King and pushed for a real answer. King doesn't give one as usual.
"BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a moment, but Congressman King, the argument is that the president could have done this by simply going to that -- what's called that "Phizer Court," the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act court. There's a judge there who sits in super-secret session over at the Justice Department. And also on a routine basis, rubber stamps these requests for wire taps, for surveillance. So what was the problem with simply doing that and then you have the cover of a court order?
KING: Wolf, I was not present at the meetings, but I do know -- I've spoken to members of Congress who were at the meetings, -- the end of each meeting at the White House, they would be asked -- they would ask you of any concern or any problems with this, and people I spoke to were there, said none were ever raised. I mean, that's -- I assume the reason why they were brought down to the White House was to explain to them why they were using this extraordinary procedure, rather than getting the Phizer Court Order. If they could get it -- I assume they would have gotten it. It could have been a question of time. They also had the chief judge of the Phizer Court there for at least one of those meetings."
1) King wasn't at the meetings so everything he says is pure B..... er... conjecture.
2) So why would the FISA Court reject Bush administration requests? What was so wrong with the requests? Since 1979, the FISA Court has recieved about 19,000 requests. They have denied only 5.
King again invokes 9/11 ignoring that current law through proper legal channel allows warrants for wiretaps. "In the wake of September 11, I think he did the right thing and I think if we do want to question it, then I think we should say how do we change the law to accommodate it? Because this is a real need. If you have people in the United States who are telephoning out or receiving calls in from a known terrorist overseas, certainly we should be using our track surveillance on that."
King once again admits that Bush had no legal authority on one had while he is still arguing that Bush DID have legal authority on the other. King is getting confused.
And no one is arguing against using our LEGAL resources to keep track of terrorists. This is just a cheap straw-man argument to portray Bush opponents as soft on terrorism. This of course is what King is good at doing.
I'll let Rep. Rangel and Wolf Blitzer push King further into the corner:
BLITZER: We just heard Congressman King, Charlie Rangel say that this is an extraordinary time after 9/11 and the president has to do whatever is necessary to protect the American people, including this extraordinary authorization. You don't buy that..
RANGEL: Of course not. First of all, when Pete says would the president be doing something and then invite the leaders in and tell them? You bet your life. If he swears them to secrecy and they're subject to the grand jury indictment, then they can't not talk with Pet or with me about what went on in those meetings. But the whole concept because we're at war, it is at this time, if we're trying to instill democracy in a foreign country -- even though I don't think that's the mandate of the United States military. The one thing we should do is to obey the law. And you just can't say because it's war time that the president is above the law. That's absolutely ridiculous.
BLITZER: Alright, Congressman King, you want to just briefly respond to that?
KING: I don't think he is above the law, I think is it that within his inherent powers as commander in chief? And Charlie, when he had the Democratic leaders in, I'd like to know did any of them forcefully object? If I were called into a meeting with the president...
BLITZER: ... Well, let me interrupt for, Congressman King, I'll respond because they've issued statements saying they were briefed, the leaders of the Senate, the Democratic leader of the Senate, the democratic leader in the house, the ranking democrats on the intelligence committees in the Senate and the House; and several of them have said, yes they knew about it, but they did express their concerns. Of course, given the highly natured classification how secretive and sensitive this was, they couldn't say anything publicly.
KING: Well, if there were 12 meetings -- I mean, if I were called into one of those meetings and I really thought there was a constitutional problem, I would do more than just to say I have a concern. Every meeting I went to, I would say, Mr. President, this is wrong. I don't want to be a part of it. I mean, so certainly, they could have protested a little more than they apparently did. I mean, all of us could have different concerns where this go too far or that goes too far.
RANGEL: I thought about that too, Pete. But after the guy tells you you're sworn to secrecy, then you just can't get up and look out.
BLITZER: Well, the other argument, or let me just wrap this up, Congressman Rangel. The other argument the White House makes is that career lawyers at the National Security Agency, at the Justice Department, as well as the White House counsel -- they authorized this opinion and said it was okay for the president to do this.
RANGEL: Well, I hope he's right and he should really come forward and say that. The same way he said that he had mistaken intelligence that led us to war and mislead the Congress. Let it all hang out. But I have not heard publicly where the president got the authority to eavesdrop on American citizens when the law is abundantly clear?
BLITZER: And we're anxious, Congressman King, to get that legal opinion from the White House, and we'll have a much better sense as Senator Spector, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said today he wants to get that legal justification for this extraordinary move by the president.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
The ONLY part of Article 2 that may apply in the case of criminality on the part of Bush is Section 4. Disqualification: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
We'll have more when we get a transcript.
The long and short of it is that Bush had a legal obligation to have the UNITED STATES FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE COURT rule on a warrant for the survellence.
He didn't do that and he broke the law.
And what does King do when backed into another Bush-created corner? He BLAMES CLINTON for 9/11!!!
King tells Wolf Blitzer that if there were illegal wiretaps in 1998 and 1999, 9/11 wouldn't have happened. Simply put, he's a liar.
More when we have the full transcript......
Even far-right republican Bob Barr has called Bush on the illegality:
"BOB BARR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What's wrong with it is several-fold. One, it's bad policy for our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security Agency. Secondly, it's bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight. And thirdly, it's bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without court order....
Well, the fact of the matter is that the Constitution is the Constitution, and I took an oath to abide by it. My good friend, my former colleague, Dana Rohrabacher, did and the president did. And I don't really care very much whether or not it can be justified based on some hypothetical. The fact of the matter is that, if you have any government official who deliberately orders that federal law be violated despite the best of motives, that certainly ought to be of concern to us."
Where is the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee on this?
King ought to denounce the criminality of Bush and his Attorney General Gonzales.
Sadly, it's shoot the messenger time. Bush supporters are trying to attack the media for exposing the crimes of this administration. The right-wing blogs are starting their defense by attacking the media.
Bush started the ball rolling on Friday "This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country."
When the Bush administration committed treason by offering the media the name of an undercover CIA operative and the media reported the story of the treason, King got his marching orders and went on the attack. King wanted the media "shot" and Karl Rove the suspected leaker given a medal.
King seems to love Bush breaking the law.
Will King defend the administration now?
Here's a gem from a fervent Bush supporter, Congressman Rohrbacher (R-CA) has no use for the constitution because "Well, I'll tell you something, if a nuclear weapon goes off in Washington, DC, or New York or Los Angeles, it'll burn the Constitution as it does. So I'm very happy we have a president that's going to wiretap people's communication with people overseas to make sure that they're not plotting to blow up one of our cities."
Friday, December 16, 2005
Turns out that Congress did not receive the same intelligence that the President got and he has been lying about it.
King said on the House floor in July of 2003:
"Mr. Speaker, in light of the incessant barrage of attacks of inaccurate and baseless charges being made against President Bush by his political opponents and their allies in the media, I thought it important to include in the Record the declassified portions of the National Intelligence Estimate released by the White House this past Friday. This NIE clearly states the consensus view of our intelligence agencies that Saddam Hussein was attempting to reconstitute his nuclear capacity. The first half of these documents are being submitted today and the second half tomorrow. I commend these documents to all willing to approach this vital issue with an open mind."
This was just more water-carrying by King for Bush. The fact is, Saddam had no capabilities to "reconstitute" a "nuclear capacity" he didn't have.
King stood by at a reception at the Carltun at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow in March 2004 as Bush said " September the 11th, 2001 taught a lesson I will never forget: America must confront threats before they fully materialize. In Iraq, my administration looked at the intelligence, and we saw a threat. The Congress looked at the same intelligence, and they saw a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence, and it saw a threat. The previous administration and Congress looked at the intelligence and made regime change in Iraq the policy of our country."
When will the lies about pre-war Iraq intelligence stop?
Seems there is a worry that local websites/blogs from Democrats have the advantage. So far we do. There are some Long Island republican sites we plan on covering the next few days but they fall into the angry screed style. Here is the post:
"The New York Political Blog War
Readers here should be aware of the growing movement of energetic liberal bloggers setting up space online targeting specific Republican elected leaders. These are not the occassional rants/criticisms lumped into larger blogs, but blogs dedicated solely to one person.
Peter King Watch
Nassua GOP Watch
Now this does not mecessarily mean such easily-set up sites can make an impact, but there is residual impact. The larger media loves fights. They will never write about a general blogger bashing Fossella, but the will not a single blog dedicated to fighting Fossella. A one-person crusade against everything is not news. A one-person crusade against one politician has the potential to become Cindy Sheehan-ized in the wrong hands.
Readers should consider proper defenses. Pro-candidate blogs? Anti-Dem elected officials blogs? Counter posts? Etc.
We cannot lose the blog war in New York.
Scott Sala's blog"
As far as impact, we and our sister sites have contributed to news stories in various media on Long Island. Wish it was more though, but it's still early.
I welcome more blogs added to the fray but it would be nice if the sites stuck with facts and avoid making stuff up as I will be pointing out in future posts and did point out about the Coalition for Long Island's Future website.
There were a few comments on the Urban Elephants blog that we want to address here and there too:
Submitted by quickjustice on Thu, 12/15/2005 - 1:35pm.
What's our strategic vision with respect to the blogosphere? I looked at these sites, and the anti-Vito one is low-quality trash: "Vito loves torture", and similar claptrap. If the MSM are just looking for dreck to repeat, we can't help that.
The anti-King site is more effective, but it's riding on Suozzi's coattails. "In a county where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats, Suozzi trounced his GOP opponent."
Hey, guess what? Suozzi is a reformer who will go after Democrats to get reform! That message resonates in Nassau County with GOP voters! Is anyone in the state GOP paying attention?
As for us, spin-off blogs are only worthwhile if we can deliver high quality and controversy to our readers. That requires time, money, and effort. Do we want to consider finding investors in such a project?"
Once again I am flattered by the comments re: this blog. But no, it's not Suozzi's coattails we're riding. Suozzi would make a great congressman/senator/governor but that's not what the site is about. It's about Peter King. Keep in mind, even before Suozzi's election, Democrats took the Nassau Legislature and a couple of GOP held House seats. The state GOP is in shambles far worse than Mondello's machine in Nassau. At this point, as long as they hold the state senate they are happy.
Why do you need money to do an effective blog?
Scott Sala the author of the original blog entry answers for us: "Well, blogs historically have
Submitted by Scott Sala on Thu, 12/15/2005 - 2:15pm.
Well, blogs historically have been built on blood and tears, not money. But a change is already sweeping the national scene. It's a topic worthy of discussion."
Another person named Sean chimes in not really understanding what is going on: "That Peter King website is fu
Submitted by Sean on Thu, 12/15/2005 - 3:09pm.
That Peter King website is funny. Railing against King for reducing spending and cutting taxes is definitely not the right way to go in his district. They are some of the most heavily taxed people in the country, and any party/candidate that thinks they ought to be taxed more isn't going to do very well.
Again, I say keep up the good work, Dems. Those rants are like campaign ads FOR King."
Well let's be honest, King has voted for increases in spending, not reductions. He stands against NY and with Bush defending the administration and DHS for them not increasing funds for subway/transportation security. As for taxes cuts, no one in the district will feel a positive effect from them. You-know-what rolls down hill and as program funding like education and medicare/medicaid get cut on the federal level, it falls on local town and county governments to make up the difference. We in nassau are heavily taxed on edcuation because we don't get enought federal and state help as we should. There are of course other factors which need to be addressed but the underfunding NCLB (No Child Left behind) regulations will leave NYS a short-fall of tens of millions of dollars over the next couple of years. That coupled with NYS having a projected deficit of $2.5billion next year means taxpayers get the shaft again. It all rolls down hill.
King constituents know this and see this. They file thier taxes and see no real difference. In fact, the Bush administration is looking into the idea of cutting the mortgage deduction which will hurt King's constituents the most since the median home price is $500,000 in his district.
We thank Urban Elephants for the mention of us and our sister sites. We look forward to the clash of ideals and principles to come.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
"The majority of the GOP caucus, like the White House, still have a hankering for torture:
In a symbolic move, the House endorsed a Senate-passed ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign terrorism suspects Wednesday as negotiations between the White House and Sen. John McCain over the provision appeared at an impasse.Approved 308-122, the procedural vote puts political pressure on House negotiators - but does not require them - to include the ban and another provision standardizing interrogation techniques used by U.S. troops in a final wartime military spending bill.
The vote tally was 200 Democrats, 1 independent and 107 Republicans against torture; 121 Republicans and 1 Democrat for torture. You can see the actual tally of the members of Congress who support torture here."
King votes for keeping torture as a method to be used by the United States to get information. As Chairman of the Homeland Security committee and allegedly well-versed in intelligence matters, King should know that torture leads to more bad information. A person being tortures will say anything to get it to stop.
An authority on torture - because he was tortured for 5 years himself - Senator John McCain has said "Obviously, to defeat our enemies we need intelligence, but intelligence that is reliable. We should not torture or treat inhumanely terrorists we have captured. The abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war effort. In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear—whether it is true or false—if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse. It seems probable to me that the terrorists we interrogate under less than humane standards of treatment are also likely to resort to deceptive answers that are perhaps less provably false than that which I once offered."
"The mistreatment of prisoners harms us more than our enemies. I don't think I'm naive about how terrible are the wages of war, and how terrible are the things that must be done to wage it successfully. It is an awful business, and no matter how noble the cause for which it is fought, no matter how valiant their service, many veterans spend much of their subsequent lives trying to forget not only what was done to them, but some of what had to be done by them to prevail."
Intelligence agency veterans also agree that torture does not work.
Brigadier General David R. Irvine, a retired Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years with the Sixth Army Intelligence School says in his recent article 'Why Torture Doesn't Work', "Exhibit A is the torture-extracted confession of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al Qaeda captive who told the CIA in 2001, having been "rendered" to the tender mercies of Egypt, that Saddam Hussein had trained al Qaeda to use WMD. It appears that this confession was the only information upon which, in late 2002, the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state repeatedly claimed that "credible evidence" supported that claim, even though a now-declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from February 2002 questioned the reliability of the confession because it was likely obtained under torture. In January 2004, al-Libi recanted his "confession," and a month later, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements."
"If there is reliable evidence that torture has, in fact, interrupted ticking time bombs and saved lives, the gravity of the crisis created by the administration's free-wheeling torture policy demands straight answers which can be weighed and evaluated by a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission whose membership might include interrogators, jurists, theologians, national security specialists, military leaders, and political leaders. The damage to our national interests and the dismal record of war candor by this administration has made "trust us" an insufficient justification for such a profound change in American law and moral values."
King likes to use the word "morally wrong" when attacking his opponents. As a Catholic and a human being, King is morally wrong in his support of torture. "Speaking at a College of William and Mary forum last year, for example, Burton L. Gerber, a decorated Moscow station chief who retired in 1995 after 39 years with the CIA, surprised some in the audience when he said he opposes torture "because it corrupts the society that tolerates it."
"The reason I believe that torture corrupts the torturers and society," Gerber says, "is that a standard is changed, and that new standard that's acceptable is less than what our nation should stand for. I think the standards in something like this are crucial to the identity of America as a free and just society."
King ought to stand up and say no to torture. As Chairman and allegedly more powerful, he should add his voice to the anti-torture chorus.
Seems the man King thanks god every day that he is President Bush jumped ship today and agrees with McCain. "Bush said the agreement will "make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad."
"It's a done deal," said McCain, talking to reporters in a driving rain outside the White House after he met with the president."
"Still holding out was Rep. Duncan Hunter (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He said he would try preventing the measure from reaching a House vote unless he got White House assurances that the new rules would still allow "the same high level of effective intelligence gathering" as under current procedures.
The White House at one point threatened a veto if the ban was included in legislation sent to the president's desk, and Vice President
Dick Cheney' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to all Republican senators to give an exemption to the CIA.
But congressional sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of the ban, and McCain, a former Navy pilot who was held and tortured for five and a half years in Vietnam, adopted the issue.
The Republican maverick and the administration have been negotiating for weeks in search of a compromise, but it became increasingly clear that he, not the administration, had the votes in Congress.
Bush called McCain "a good man who's honored the values of America."
"We have worked very closely with the senator and others to achieve that objective as well as to provide protections for those who are the front line of fighting the terrorists," Bush said.
McCain thanked Bush for his personal participation in the negotiations and his effort to resolve their disagreements.
McCain said there are no loopholes in the agreement. The negotiations with the White House produced an agreement to provide to civilian interrogators the same legal defense protections as those afforded military interrogators and to set up a process for legal counsel.