May 20, 2013 |
As the nation's top law-enforcement official, Eric Holder is privy to all kinds of sensitive information. But he seems to be proud of how little he knows. Why didn't his Justice Department inform the Associated Press, as the law requires, before pawing through reporters' phone records? "I do not know," the attorney general told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon, "why that was or was not done. I simply don't have a factual basis to answer that question. " Why didn't the DOJ seek the AP's cooperation, as the law also requires, before issuing subpoenas?
May 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - From the moment Barack Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004, he has enjoyed a reputation as a politician with a claim to the high ground. Now, even supporters are questioning whether his administration abused the offices of government for political gain. "Those who are found to have been responsible for this betrayal of public trust should be fired," Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) said of revelations that IRS workers targeted Republican-leaning advocacy groups for extra scrutiny.
May 16, 2013
IN WASHINGTON, as in any seat of power, most acts of folly begin with hubris. Government leaders usually don't intend to do the wrong thing, but they become so certain of their purpose that they are blinded by their pride. Perhaps that's the root of the problem infecting the Justice Department, where officials secretly obtained months of telephone records of journalists working for the Associated Press. That Attorney General Eric Holder or anyone else there could find that action acceptable is frightening, to say the least.
May 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama seemed to lose control of his second-term agenda even before he was sworn in, when a school massacre led him to lift gun control to the fore. Now, as he tries to pivot from a stinging defeat on that issue and push forward on others, the president finds himself rocked by multiple controversies that are demoralizing his allies, emboldening his political foes, and posing huge distractions for all. It's unclear how long he will be dogged by inquiries into last year's deadly attack in Libya, the IRS targeting of tea party groups, and now the seizure of Associated Press phone records in a leak investigation.
May 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Political considerations influenced the talking points that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used five days after the deadly Sept. 11 assault in Benghazi, Libya, with State Department and other senior administration officials asking that references to terror groups and prior warnings be deleted, according to department e-mails. The latest disclosures Friday raised new questions about whether the Obama administration tried to play down any terrorist factor in the attack on a diplomatic compound just weeks before the November presidential election.
May 8, 2013 |
Sometimes the absurdities of an official policy or action are so clear that they need not be elucidated. Such is the case with the Obama administration's maintenance of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Last week, President Obama told reporters that he intends to once again press Congress to close the facility, as he had promised to do in his first campaign. But there is no indication that the president intends to devote any of his remaining political capital to the task - any more than he did during his first term.
May 3, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Despite President Obama's new vow, closing the Guantanamo Bay prison is still a tough sell in Congress. So the White House may look toward smaller steps like transferring some terror suspects back overseas. Shutting down the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba is a goal that has eluded Obama since he took office. In his first week, he signed an executive order for its closure, but Congress has used its budgetary power to block detainees from being moved to the United States.
April 30, 2013 |
HERE ARE three things the Obama administration has done that you probably didn't know about: Ever struggle with those accordion-style rubber sleeves on nozzles at the gas station? The sleeve - technically a "vapor recovery nozzle" - was required by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep gasoline vapors from leaking into the air. But most cars and trucks now have technology that does the job better, so last year, the EPA abolished the nozzle requirement. Because each sleeve-equipped nozzle can cost as much as $300, the change will save gas stations thousands of dollars.
April 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is expected to give Syrian rebels broader nonlethal military assistance, including body armor and night-vision goggles, while stopping short of providing weapons to forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The timing and scope of the stepped-up aid package is unclear. President Obama has not given final approval, and an announcement is not imminent, said a senior administration official, who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the internal deliberations.
April 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - After more than four years of diplomacy, the Obama administration is struggling to contain the nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran, a pair of nations already isolated internationally and resistant to the economic incentives offered in return for an end to their programs. The nuclear ambitions of both countries predate the Obama administration, which has focused its efforts on international diplomacy to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and to stop North Korea from restarting its once-dormant nuclear program.