December 3, 2015 |
Once captain of Wissahickon High School's basketball team and a criminal justice major at the University of Maryland, Justin Lee stood before a federal judge Tuesday to apologize for his role in one of the largest contracting and bribery cases to emerge from the Iraq War. Lee, caught in what he called a "culture of corruption," said he knew right from wrong. He said he wanted to please his father, absent from Lee's childhood and described by prosecutors as the mastermind behind a scheme that brought in millions.
October 13, 2015
SOMETHING'S ABOUT to happen in Vegas that really won't stay in Vegas. The Democrats running for president square off there tomorrow night. Yep, after months of focus on Donald Trump, Hillary's emails and whether Biden's in or out, the first Democratic debate's at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel live on CNN. Will Hill feel the Bern? Who are those other guys? Is Joe a go or no? All eyes will be on Clinton, whose campaign's been less than flawless. The best description I've heard is she campaigns like a driver who's been in 20 accidents.
August 26, 2015
Puzzle maestro leaves empty space It's impossible to imagine Sundays without crossword creator Merl Reagle in my house ("Merl Reagle, 65, crossword maker," Sunday). How dutifully I first read everything else just so I could go guilt-free to his crossword reward. Reagle was accessible and kind, always answering e-mail. One of my favorite Reagle puzzles, published on Mother's Day, revealed a message on completion: "Call your mother. " I wasn't the only mother who wrote to thank him. I got a response from his wife, who wrote that he received so many appreciative notes that he commandeered her to help answer them.
August 14, 2015 |
Thank you, Jeb Bush, for steering the Republican presidential race away from whether Donald Trump implied that premenstrual syndrome caused Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to question him pointedly during last week's debate. Bush, however, made a dubious choice of a new topic in bringing up the Iraq War, which most Americans consider the signature failure of his brother's presidency. In fact, Bush had avoided the subject for months after his stumbling answers to reporters who asked if he would have gone to war knowing what intelligence later revealed.
August 14, 2015 |
Gov. Christie on Wednesday criticized presidential rival Jeb Bush as "re-litigating" the Iraq War, arguing that the unpopular conflict is "not a winning fight" for the Republican Party as it seeks to win the White House in 2016. Christie's remarks to the conservative radio host Laura Ingraham came a day after Bush, a former Florida governor, accused President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton of hastening a "premature withdrawal" from Iraq and allowing the Islamic State to fill a void.
July 10, 2015 |
A military contractor at the center of what the Defense Department has described as the largest contracting and bribery case to come out of the Iraq War was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison Wednesday. But as George H. Lee Jr. saw it, he did little, if anything, wrong. In a rambling speech to U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky, Lee, 72, a Montgomery County native, said he was remorseful, yet repeatedly denied having done anything to be remorseful for. Despite pleading guilty to bribery this year, Lee rejected prosecution claims that he gave more than $1 million in cash, jewelry, spa treatments, and hotel stays to Army officials who steered $20 million in contracts his way. "I know what I did was wrong, but I just have this feeling that I didn't do anything wrong," he said.
May 14, 2015 |
Gov. Christie said Tuesday that if he'd been president in 2003 and had known that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, he would not have gone to war. "Now, I think President Bush made the best decision he could at the time," given the information the intelligence community had provided to him, Christie told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview. "But I don't think you can honestly say that if we knew then that there was no WMD, that the country should've gone to war," Christie said.
February 27, 2015 |
As ISIS barbarities make headlines, Republican presidential candidates are scrambling to outdo each other's hawkish pronouncements on foreign policy. That makes political sense. With the economy improving, polls show that voters now consider terrorism to be as important a campaign issue for 2016 as economic issues. And Obama's incoherent efforts to degrade ISIS make him an easy target. But when Jeb Bush, in a major foreign policy speech last week, tried to pin the blame for ISIS's rise entirely on Obama it made my blood boil.
February 22, 2015 |
The picture painted by federal prosecutors is worthy of a spy novel: Globe-hopping trips to clandestine meetings in luxury hotels. Coded ledgers tracking cash bribes shoved into shopping bags. Raucous parties involving drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes. These were the methods by which Montgomery County military contractor George H. Lee Jr. hustled for poorly monitored government business during the Iraq war's early days. On Friday, Lee, 71, chairman of Kuwait-based Lee Dynamics International, pleaded guilty to bribery charges, the latest development in a years-long investigation aimed at exposing fraud and graft that emerged in the 2003 run-up to the war. So far, five high-ranking Army officers tied to Lee have admitted accepting $1.2 million in cash, jewelry, spa treatments, and hotel stays in exchange for steering $20 million in contracts his way. Stoop-shouldered and hoarse, Lee entered his plea in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia two months after Thai immigration agents detained him in what prosecutors say was an attempt to flee from justice.
February 7, 2015
Williams yanks Iraq story OK, what? Brian Williams , tall, slim, hair-in-place perma-tanned prevaricator? Man of trust? News anchor for NBC? Heir to Tom Brokaw , Chet Huntley , and David Brinkley ? Now just another celebrity fibber? Gosh, we hope not. On Wednesday, B-Will had to withdraw claims he made in a Friday show, that he was in a helicopter shot down by rocket-propelled grenades in Iraq, where he went to report in 2003. He said American soldiers rescued him and his news team from the downed chopper.