Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal


Timing Entwined War Vote, Election

By Ronald Brownstein and Emma Vaughn
Times Staff Writers
November 28, 2005

WASHINGTON — Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota, remembers the exchange vividly.

The time was September 2002. The place was the White House, at a meeting in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney pressed congressional leaders for a quick vote on a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

But Daschle, who as Senate majority leader controlled the chamber's schedule, recalled recently that he asked Bush to delay the vote until after the impending midterm election.

"I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: 'Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?' He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: 'We just have to do this now.' "

Daschle's account, which White House officials said they could not confirm or deny, highlights a crucial factor that has drawn little attention amid rising controversy over the congressional vote that authorized the war in Iraq. The recent partisan dispute has focused almost entirely on the intelligence information legislators had as they cast their votes. But the debate may have been shaped as much by when Congress voted as by what it knew.

Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, did not call for a vote authorizing the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm election. But the vote paving the way for the second war with Iraq came in mid-October of 2002 — at the height of an election campaign in which Republicans were systematically portraying Democrats as weak on national security.

Few candidates sparred over the war resolution itself. But Republicans in states including Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Georgia strafed Democratic senators seeking reelection who had supported military spending cutbacks in the 1990s, accepted money from a liberal arms-control group, opposed Bush's preferred approach for organizing the new Department of Homeland Security, and voted in 1991 against the Persian Gulf War.

With national security then such a flashpoint in so many campaigns, many Democrats believe, the vote's timing enormously increased pressure on their party's wavering senators to back the president, whose approval rating approached 70% at the time.

"There was a sense I had from the very beginning that this was in part politically motivated, and they were going to maximize the timing to affect those who were having some doubt about this right before the election," Daschle said.

White House counselor Dan Bartlett denied that charge, saying the vote's timing represented a desire to increase pressure on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, not Democrats.

"The president, during the run-up to the war, went out of his way not to make it political," Bartlett said.

Whatever the motivation for the vote's timing, the effect was to produce a clear contrast between the Democratic senators who sought reelection that November and those who did not.

The Democrats not on the ballot split almost evenly, with 19 supporting the war resolution and 17 opposing it. Among those facing the voters, 10 voted for the resolution while only four opposed it. And of those four, only one — Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, who died in a plane crash a few weeks after the resolution vote — was in a seriously competitive race.

"The political currents were extraordinarily strong for everybody involved," said Jim Jordan, then executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "I'm certainly not implying that Democrats had their finger to the wind and didn't make votes of conscience, but it was a piece of the puzzle, clearly."

It is, of course, impossible to say whether more Democrats would have opposed the war resolution — which passed the Senate 77 to 23 on Oct. 11, just hours after the House approved it 296 to 133 — if the vote had occurred after the 2002 election.

Daschle, who voted for the resolution and was not up for reelection that year, said he did not think so, "given the circumstances, the environment, the sense that we were responding to 9/11, and all of the urgency that was created by the rhetoric and cajoling of the administration."

But Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said recently that a delay might have prompted more Democrats to vote no by increasing the time available to study the evidence for war and by dissipating the political pressures surrounding the decision.

"There was a stampede to vote on this," Kennedy said. "A lot of our people got caught up in it."

Bartlett said that if some Democrats felt "like they would have made a different decision before the election or after, that doesn't speak very well of them, because the facts didn't change in the course of one month."

Democrats themselves were divided over the vote's timing. Kennedy, Wellstone and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) were among those who passionately urged Daschle to defer the vote until after the election, said several sources who requested anonymity when discussing the party's internal debate.

The sources said that other Democratic senators supported Bush's push, in part because the senators believed an early vote might help the party shift attention to domestic issues it wanted to spotlight before election day. Democrats also felt more pressure to act because they recognized that the GOP-controlled House would agree to Bush's request on the vote's timing.

Against this backdrop, Republicans across the country were escalating attacks on their Democratic opponents on defense issues.

Starting in mid-September, for instance, then-Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued statements and organized news conferences by veterans to criticize Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson for voting against the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

On Oct. 4, one week before the Senate vote, Thune released an ad that used images of Hussein and terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to criticize Johnson for voting against missile defense systems.

In Minnesota beginning in mid-September, Republican Norm Coleman organized retired military officials to hold news conferences charging that Wellstone "didn't just vote to devastate our defense; he voted to dismantle it." In late September, the National Republican Senatorial Committee ran ads attacking Wellstone over votes to reduce military spending.

The committee ran similar ads against Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) one week before the vote.

Although he did not criticize Democrats over Iraq, Bush stoked the overall security debate during a series of appearances between Sept. 23 and Oct. 4. He criticized Senate Democrats who were blocking the administration's preferred version of legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security because, they said, it gave the president too much freedom to suspend workers' civil service protections.

"The Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people," Bush said in New Jersey.

Bush's comments reverberated most powerfully in the Senate race in Georgia, where Saxby Chambliss, then a Republican House member, began criticizing incumbent Democrat Max Cleland over the Homeland Security issue.

Less than a day after the Senate authorized the use of force in Iraq, Chambliss aired what became the most talked-about ad of the 2002 election: a sharply worded jab that used pictures of Hussein and Bin Laden to accuse Cleland of voting "against the president's vital Homeland Security efforts."

Cleland, Johnson and Harkin were among the Democrats who voted for the war resolution; Wellstone voted no.

Less than a month later, Johnson and Harkin were reelected, Cleland was defeated and Coleman beat former Vice President Walter F. Mondale for Wellstone's seat after the senator's death. Overall, Republicans widened their majority in the House and swept back into control of the Senate.


Cheney's Trouble with Truth

by Robert Scheer

You've got to hand it to Dick Cheney; no other modern politician has come so close to perfecting the theater of the absurd. Even as he protests his innocence of lying about matters of state, he lies about matters of state.

In speeches Friday and Monday, the vice president, who has long insisted Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were allies, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, we would be greeted as liberators in Baghdad, and that the Iraqi insurgency is in its ''last throes," again evidenced his trademark inability to speak the truth.

Continuing the administration's recent shrill defensive barrage over whose fault the Iraq mess is and with the truth chasing the lies in full view, Cheney had the gall to smear the war's critics as ''corrupt and shameless." Then, within a few sentences, he showed again why 52 percent of those polled by Newsweek believe Cheney deliberately "misused or manipulated" prewar intelligence.

First, he shamelessly repeated the absurd notion that a bum-rushed Congress, most of which does not have high security clearance, was privy to the same intelligence as he and his war-salesmen allies. In fact, not only was Cheney and his staff poring over the classified testimonials of an array of known liars, forgers, drunks, opportunists and desperate exiles we now know supplied White House speechwriters with their best lines, he also had access to the intelligence community's combined disclaimers, rebuttals and outright denunciations of these sources and their conveniently tawdry tales.

"Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war," wrote former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., in a devastating statement in the Washington Post on Sunday. ''Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud."
Graham, then the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says the declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate was a sham. "It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed (WMD), avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version," wrote Graham.

Parsed out, Cheney's recent statements amount to a defensive claim the Bush administration didn't lie so much as it was just calamitously incompetent, too eager for invasion to bother to do its due diligence.

The reality, however, is that while the Yalie president may not be the brightest star on the horizon, the owlish Cheney is nobody's dummy. What he is, and has always been, is the most bald-faced of the administration's war hustlers, shamelessly peddling, for example, the cloak-and-dagger tale of a Hussein operative meeting with Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta in Prague long after U.S. intelligence had dismissed it.

Similarly, it was Cheney who was instrumental in getting Colin Powell to make the astonishing claims of the intelligence source code-named "Curveball" the centerpiece of the secretary of state's prewar presentation to the United Nations.

Now, thanks to a definitive investigation by the Los Angeles Times published Sunday, we find out that top German intelligence sources in charge of interrogating Curveball had already declared him an unreliable source.

"'We were shocked" a high-level German intelligence officer told the Times. "Mein Gott! We had always told (the United States) it was not proven -- it was not hard intelligence."
But perhaps the most outrageous lie Cheney and the White House kept -- and keep -- making is that invading Iraq was a sensible part of the response to Sept. 11.

''In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away," noted Graham on Sunday. ''Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda."
In making his continued one-man jihad against the facts, Cheney is apparently throwing Hail Mary passes to that part of the Republican base that will believe anything it is told -- having already lost the trust of the majority of Americans.

But as Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said in response to the slander by a Republican congresswoman that he, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, is a coward for arguing for the quick and complete withdrawal from Iraq, "You can't spin this. You've got to have a real solution. This is not a war of words, this is a war."

Yes, Cheney's war.


Justice Dept. May Pursue Halliburton Probe

Sat Nov 19,12:12 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is deciding whether to pursue an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing over how a division of the Halliburton Co. was awarded a contract in Iraq .

Sen. Byron Dorg, , ), D-N.D., released a letter Friday from Defense Department Assistant Inspector General John R. Crane that said the department‘s Defense Criminal Investigative Services is investigating the allegations and "has shared its findings with the Department of Justice ."

Last year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers‘ top procurement official criticized Iraq-related work awarded to Halliburton by the Corps of Engineers. Bunnatine H. Greenhouse said her main objection was the issuance to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root of a no-bid, five-year contract to restore Iraqi oil fields shortly before the Iraq war began in 2003.

Dorgan said that the referral of the allegations for criminal investigation "add to the growing cloud of scandal that surrounds too much of the contracting effort regarding reconstruction in Iraq."


Kerry: Cheney ‘misleading’ on war

By Kimberly Atkins
Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - Updated: 02:49 AM EST

Sen. John Kerry locked jaws yesterday with White House pitbull Vice President Dick Cheney over a congressman’s call to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq within six months.

From the lobby of his Boston office, Kerry blasted the vice president, accusing Cheney of dodging honest debate in favor of “inappropriate and misleading” partisan attacks.

“It is time for the vice president to stop continually misleading America,” Kerry said, adding that the administration “ought to be trying to fix the problems they have created with their incompetence over the last three years.”

Earlier, Cheney toned down his criticism of decorated war veteran and U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), even calling him “my friend and former colleague.” But Cheney then blasted lawmakers for “dishonest and reprehensible” claims that the United States fudged intelligence to make the case for war.

“Some of the most irresponsible comments have come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein,” Cheney said. “These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence materials. They are known to have a high opinion of their own analytical capabilities.”

Cheney did not mention any senator by name, but Kerry still shot back.

“That is just plain, flat, not true,” Kerry said. “We did not see the same intelligence and I challenge the vice president, I challenge him to answer the fundamental questions from the facts.”

Kerry joined a number of senators who spoke out against Cheney, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who said the administration “manipulated and misused intelligence information that rushed us to war.”

But one Democrat, New York’s Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, said an immediate pullout from Iraq would be a mistake that could incite a civil war “that would cause more problems for us in America.”

Kerry said Murtha’s call reflects the feelings of Americans and Iraqis of the urgent need to disengage U.S. forces the country. “There is no time to spare – that really was the message of John Murtha, whether you agree or disagree with how he said it,” Kerry said.

But Kerry declined to sign on to Murtha’s call to withdraw troops in six months. “It can be done in about a year under my plan,” Kerry said. “Others have different plans.”


Powell aide: Torture 'guidance' from VP
Former staff chief says Cheney's 'flexibility' helped lead to abuse

Sunday, November 20, 2005; Posted: 5:18 p.m. EST (22:18 GMT)

U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson said he does not know "if the president was witting in this or not."

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A former top State Department official said Sunday that Vice President Dick Cheney provided the "philosophical guidance" and "flexibility" that led to the torture of detainees in U.S. facilities.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.

"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"There's no question in my mind where the philosophical guidance and the flexibility in order to do so originated -- in the vice president of the United States' office," he said. "His implementer in this case was [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department."

At another point in the interview, Wilkerson said "the vice president had to cover this in order for it to happen and in order for Secretary Rumsfeld to feel as though he had freedom of action."

Traveling in Latin America earlier this month, President Bush defended U.S. treatment of prisoners, saying flatly, "We do not torture." (Full story)

Cheney has lobbied against a measure in Congress that would outlaw "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" of prisoners, calling for an exception for the CIA in cases that involve a detainee who may have knowledge of an imminent attack.

The amendment was included in a $491 billion Pentagon spending bill that declared 2006 to be "a period of significant transition" for Iraq. (Full story)

Proposed by Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, the amendment was approved in the Senate last month by a 90-9 vote. It was not included in the House version of the bill.

The White House has said that Bush would likely veto the bill if McCain's language is included, calling the amendment "unnecessary and duplicative."

Rumsfeld told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the White House was in negotiations with the Senate over the amendment.

"There's a discussion and debate taking place as to what the implications might be and what is supportable and what is not," he told the program. "But the fact of the matter is the president from the outset has said that he required that there be humane treatment."

Cheney has come under mounting criticism for his position. Last week, Stansfield Turner, a military veteran who served as director of the CIA during the Carter administration, labeled him the "vice president for torture." (Full story)

In a statement responding to Turner's remark, Cheney said his views "are reflected in the administration's policy. Our country is at war and our government has an obligation to protect the American people from a brutal enemy that has declared war upon us."

"We are aggressively finding terrorists and bringing them to justice and anything we do within this effort is within the law," the statement said, adding that the United States "does not torture."

Rumsfeld denies 'cabal' charge
Bush administration officials, including Rumsfeld and military officials, have denied that instances of torture were ever officially condoned. Some personnel accused of torture have been convicted and sentenced for prisoner abuse.

"All the instructions I issued required humane treatment," Rumsfeld told ABC. "Anything that was done that was not humane has been prosecuted."

But Wilkerson argued last month in a speech that Cheney and Rumsfeld formed a cabal that "made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made."

Wilkerson told CNN Sunday he does not know "if the president was witting in this or not."

"I voted for him twice," he said. "I prefer to think that he was not."

Earlier, on the same CNN program, Rumsfeld dismissed as "ridiculous" the claim that he was involved in a cabal.

Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said they had no recollection of Wilkerson having attended meetings with Rumsfeld or Cheney.

"In terms of having first-hand information, I just can't imagine that he does," said Rumsfeld. "The allegation is ridiculous."

"I was in every meeting with the joint chiefs. I was in every meeting with the combatant commanders. I went to the White House multiple times to meet with the National Security Council and with the president of the United States. I have never seen that colonel," added Pace.

"They made my point for me," responded Wilkerson. "The decisions were not made in the principals' process, in the deputies' process, in the policy coordinating committee process. They were not made in the statutory process."

Wilkerson said his "insights" came from Powell "walking through my door in April or March of 2004 and telling me to get everything I could get my hands on with regard to the detainee abuse issue -- ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] reporting, memoranda, open-source information and so forth -- so that I could build some kind of story, some kind of audit trail so we could understand the chronology and we can understand how it developed."

While he acknowledged having no proof that the United States is torturing detainees, Wilkerson said, "I can only assume that, when the vice president of the United States lobbies the Congress on behalf of cruel and unusual punishment and the need to be able to do that in order to get information out of potential terrorists... that it's still going on."

He said U.S. officials should realize they are involved in "a war of ideas" that cannot be advanced with torture.

"In a war of ideas, you cannot damage your own ideas, your own position by seeming to do things that are in contradiction of your values," he said.

Rumsfeld told ABC that the military has "overwhelmingly treated people humanely."

"The history of the United States military is clear. Torture doesn't work. The military knows that. We want our people treated humanely," he said.


Cheney Picks a Fight With a Marine

Published on Saturday, November 19, 2005 by The Nation
by John Nichols

When Dick Cheney, a Wyoming congressman who had never served in the military and who had failed during his political career to gain much respect from those who wore the uniform he had worked so hard to avoid putting on during the Vietnam War, was selected in 1989 by former President George Herbert Walker Bush to serve as Secretary of Defense, he had a credibility problem. Lacking in the experience and the connections required to effectively take charge of the Pentagon in turbulent times, he turned to a House colleague, Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha, a decorated combat veteran whose hawkish stances on military matters had made him a favorite of the armed services. "I'm going to need a lot of help," Cheney told Murtha. "I don't know a blankety-blank thing about defense."

Murtha, a retired Marine colonel who earned a chest full of medals during the Vietnam fight and who has often broken with fellow Democrats to back U.S. military interventions abroad -- most notably in Latin America, where Murtha often supported former President Ronald Reagan's controversial policies regarding El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s -- gave that assistance.

During both the first and second Bush administrations he emerged as a key ally -- often, the most important Democratic ally -- of the Republican presidents. Cheney frequently acknowledged their long working relationship, describing Murtha in public statements as a Democrat he could "work with."

In the 2004 vice presidential debate, Cheney noted that, "One of my strongest allies in Congress when I was Secretary of Defense was Jack Murtha, a Democrat who is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee." The vice president was particularly complimentary over the years of the Pennsylvania representatives decision to provide high-profile backing of the administration's 2002 request for authorization to use force against Iraq.

But the cross-party relationship has soured as Murtha, whose concern has always been first and foremost for the men and women who serve in the military, has reached the conclusion that the Iraq intervention has steered U.S. troops into a quagmire from which they must be extracted. Typically blunt, Murtha said this week: "The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring (the troops) home."

Cheney's response to the man he begged to help him understand military affairs during the first Bush administration was to rip into Murtha and other Democrats who had tried to work with the administration. "Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorising force against Saddam Hussein," the vice president growled in a speech to the conservative Frontiers of Freedom Institute. In another clear reference to Murtha, Cheney said, "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone -- but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history."

Of course, it is not Murtha but Cheney who is rewriting history -- or, at least, attempting to obscure it.

As Murtha noted, he's the one who put on a Marine uniform, took his shots in Vietnam and went on to a long career of working with and defending the military, while Cheney is the one who did everything in his power to avoid serving in southeast Asia and has never been seen as a friend of the men and women who actually fight the wars the vice president so shamelessly -- and disingenuously -- promotes. "I like guys who got five deferments and (have) never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done," said Murtha, referencing the vice president's long record of draft avoidance in the 1960s.

The clearest evidence that Cheney still does "get it" when it comes to defense policy is his decision to take on Jack Murtha. The draft dodger who not all that many years ago admitted that he "(didn't) know a blankety-blank thing about defense" will come to regret picking a fight with the Marine he called in to help him understand military matters.

An expanded paperback edition of John Nichols' biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, The Rise and Rise of Richard B. Cheney: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Most Powerful Vice President in American History (The New Press: 2005), is available nationwide at independent bookstores and at www.amazon.com. The book features an exclusive interview with Joe Wilson and a chapter on the vice president's use and misuse of intelligence. Publisher's Weekly describes the book as "a Fahrenheit 9/11 for Cheney" and Esquire magazine says it "reveals the inner Cheney."


'Cheney is vice president for torture'

9.02AM, Fri Nov 18 2005

A former CIA director has claimed that torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.

The devastating accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner who labelled Dick Cheney "a vice president for torture".

He said: "We have crossed the line into dangerous territory".

The American Senate says torture should be banned - whatever the justification. But President Bush has threatened to veto their ruling.

The former spymaster claims President Bush is not telling the truth when he says that torture is not a method used by the US.

Speaking of Bush's claims that the US does not use torture, Admiral Turner, who ran the CIA from 1977 to 1981, said: "I do not believe him".

On Dick Cheney he said "I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture.

"He condones torture, what else is he?".

Admiral Turner claims the secret CIA prisons used for torture are known as 'black sites', terror suspects are picked up in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They are flown by CIA-controlled private aircraft to countries where there are secret interrogation centres, operating outside any country's jurisdiction.

No one will confirm their locations, but there are several possibilities: The Mihail-Kogalniceanu military airbase in Romania is believed by many to be one such facility.

Admiral Turner's remarks were echoed by Republican Senator John McCain, himself a victim of torture in Vietnam.

He said torturing to get information was immoral, was not effective and encouraged potential enemies to do the same to Americans.

Both Mr Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have repeatedly stated that torture by US forces is not condoned.


Dick Cheney, who outright lied to justify invading Iraq, now attacks Demcrats for calling him on his lies

by John in DC - 11/16/2005 06:58:00 PM

UPDATE: Cong Henry Waxman has a document online detailing 51 times that Cheney misled the country about Iraq! (The Cheney stuff begins on page 26 of the document, which is actually page 32 of the pdf file.)

Oh this is rich. Cheney is the newest attack dog Bush is sending out to chastize Dems for calling Bush and company liars. The only problem? Cheney himself is one of the liars who repeatedly and intentionally misled the country in order to justify the war.

Do you remember the one where...

1. Cheney Claimed Iraq Was Providing WMD Training To Al-Qaeda Months After Source Recanted

or the one where...

2. Cheney claimed Saddam was harboring Al Qaeda? He wasn't.

or the one where...

3. Cheney claimed Saddam gave Al Qaeda bomb-making expertise and trained Al Qaeda terrorists how to use chemical and biological weapons? Saddam didn't.

or the one where...

4. On Sept 14, 2003 Cheney claimed, for the second time at least, that there was evidence suggesting Mohammad Atta visited the Iraqi embassy in the Czech Republic? He didn't, and Cheney knew the supposed evidence had already been debunked, yet repeated the charge on Tim Russert's show as a justification for the war.
With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack

or the one where...

5. Cheney said during the VP debates last October that he NEVER had publicly connected Iraq and 9/11. Of course, he did on Meet the Press a year before:
Cheney: "If we're successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it's not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it's not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

or the one where...

6.Cheney denied linking Atta to the Iraqis, when he did:

June 17, 2004. Vice President Cheney talking to CNBC's Gloria Borger:
Borger: 'Well, let's go to Mohamed Atta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was, quote, 'pretty well confirmed.' '

Cheney: 'No, I never said that.'

Borger: 'Okay.'

Cheney: 'Never said that.'

Borger: 'I think that is . . . '

Cheney: 'Absolutely not. What I said was the Czech intelligence service reported after 9/11 that Atta had been in Prague on April 9th of 2001, where he allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence official. We have never been able to confirm that nor have we been able to knock it down.'

On Dec. 9, 2001. Cheney talking to NBC's Tim Russert (this is perhaps the first time he made this lie):

Cheney: 'Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that -- it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don't know at this point, but that's clearly an avenue that we want to pursue.


Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

By Dana Milbank and Justin Blum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 16, 2005; Page A01

A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

Testifying at a Senate hearing last week were, from left, Lee R. Raymond of Exxon Mobil, David J. O'Reilly of Chevron, James J. Mulva of ConocoPhillips, Ross Pillari of BP America and John Hofmeister of Shell Oil. (By Chip Somodevilla -- Getty Images)

In a joint hearing last week of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees, the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips said their firms did not participate in the 2001 task force. The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate "to my knowledge," and the chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know.

Chevron was not named in the White House document, but the Government Accountability Office has found that Chevron was one of several companies that "gave detailed energy policy recommendations" to the task force. In addition, Cheney had a separate meeting with John Browne, BP's chief executive, according to a person familiar with the task force's work; that meeting is not noted in the document.

The task force's activities attracted complaints from environmentalists, who said they were shut out of the task force discussions while corporate interests were present. The meetings were held in secret and the White House refused to release a list of participants. The task force was made up primarily of Cabinet-level officials. Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club unsuccessfully sued to obtain the records.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who posed the question about the task force, said he will ask the Justice Department today to investigate. "The White House went to great lengths to keep these meetings secret, and now oil executives may be lying to Congress about their role in the Cheney task force," Lautenberg said.

Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment on the document. She said that the courts have upheld "the constitutional right of the president and vice president to obtain information in confidentiality."

The executives were not under oath when they testified, so they are not vulnerable to charges of perjury; committee Democrats had protested the decision by Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) not to swear in the executives. But a person can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years for making "any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation" to Congress.

Alan Huffman, who was a Conoco manager until the 2002 merger with Phillips, confirmed meeting with the task force staff. "We met in the Executive Office Building, if I remember correctly," he said.

A spokesman for ConocoPhillips said the chief executive, James J. Mulva, had been unaware that Conoco officials met with task force staff when he testified at the hearing. The spokesman said that Mulva was chief executive of Phillips in 2001 before the merger and that nobody from Phillips met with the task force.

Exxon spokesman Russ Roberts said the company stood by chief executive Lee R. Raymond's statement in the hearing. In a brief phone interview, former Exxon vice president James Rouse, the official named in the White House document, denied the meeting took place. "That must be inaccurate and I don't have any comment beyond that," said Rouse, now retired.

Ronnie Chappell, a spokesman for BP, declined to comment on the task force meetings. Darci Sinclair, a spokeswoman for Shell, said she did not know whether Shell officials met with the task force, but they often meet members of the administration. Chevron said its executives did not meet with the task force but confirmed that it sent President Bush recommendations in a letter.

The person familiar with the task force's work, who requested anonymity out of concern about retribution, said the document was based on records kept by the Secret Service of people admitted to the White House complex. This person said most meetings were with Andrew Lundquist, the task force's executive director, and Cheney aide Karen Y. Knutson.

According to the White House document, Rouse met with task force staff members on Feb. 14, 2001. On March 21, they met with Archie Dunham, who was chairman of Conoco. On April 12, according to the document, task force staff members met with Conoco official Huffman and two officials from the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, Wayne Gibbens and Alby Modiano.

On April 17, task force staff members met with Royal Dutch/Shell Group's chairman, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Shell Oil chairman Steven Miller and two others. On March 22, staff members met with BP regional president Bob Malone, chief economist Peter Davies and company employees Graham Barr and Deb Beaubien.

Toward the end of the hearing, Lautenberg asked the five executives: "Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001?" When there was no response, Lautenberg added: "The meeting . . . "

"No," said Raymond.

"No," said Chevron Chairman David J. O'Reilly.

"We did not, no," Mulva said.

"To be honest, I don't know," said BP America chief executive Ross Pillari, who came to the job in August 2001. "I wasn't here then."

"But your company was here," Lautenberg replied.

"Yes," Pillari said.

Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, who has held his job since earlier this year, answered last. "Not to my knowledge," he said.


Cheney's Presence More Scarce at White House


(Nov. 13) -- The signs, apparent to insiders for months, surfaced at a quick clip. Vice President Dick Cheney, once viewed as training wheels for a President who was a novice on the world stage, was becoming less essential.

He disappeared to a new weekend place in Maryland, and friends fretted about his weight. Katrina hit, and he tarried at his home in Wyoming, checking in by videoconference. Harriet Miers was picked for the Supreme Court, and he found out secondhand.

On Capitol Hill last week, the Republican Party was coping with an impasse over spending cuts and the fallout from an embarrassing loss in the Virginia Governor's race, and he was in South Dakota for a week of pheasant hunting. "I just haven't seen him around as much lately," said Sam Brownback, the conservative Republican Senator from Kansas.

Friends say Cheney is well aware that his unique bond with the President, while not broken, is diminished. "He has become," said a former aide still close to the White House, "one adviser among many." Renewing his relationship with a troubled President, the friends say, has become a more urgent mission for the 64-year-old Vice President than bolstering his own sagging public image.

The President's poll ratings remain at a five-year low, and two of the big reasons are a discouraging war for which Cheney served as head hawk, and the indictment of Cheney's chief of staff in an investigation that sprang from a heavy-handed White House effort to discredit an annoying critic. The prosecutor's narrative makes tantalizing reference to one or more conversations Cheney had about the matter with the aide, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, which raises the possibility of a fight for the Vice President's testimony.

Cheney, according to friends and subordinates, sees himself as an uber-staffer whose mission is to shape and promote the President's agenda, even at the expense of his own popularity. Lately, with the Vice President making a signature issue out of opposing new restrictions on the treatment of suspected terrorists, the price has been steep. In one poll, Cheney's approval rating slipped into the 20s, and a former White House nemesis has gained traction on the issue.

Republican John McCain, the Senate's most famous prisoner of war, has won strong bipartisan support for a ban on inhumane treatment of suspected terrorists and other detainees, and is fighting Cheney's push for an exemption for the CIA. With the issue in the headlines, McCain raised just over $1 million last week for his probable presidential campaign.

A former Administration official sees Cheney's lack of interest in running for President as a liability. "It liberates him to risk his own standing on behalf of the policy and the President," the official said. "But it can be a real problem when that approach starts to affect the President's standing." And while the Vice President's partisans remain convinced that most conservatives still love him, even some of those bedrock fans are expressing growing doubts.

"Cheney's war is swallowing Bush's presidency," said a conservative leader who is an ally of the Vice President's. "The cost of Iraq is everything else Bush wanted to do." Cheney's office argues, of course, that the partnership continues on the same keel. "Obviously," said Steve Schmidt, Cheney's counselor, "the Vice President works tirelessly every day on behalf of the American people, alongside President Bush."

One problem, according to former staff members, is the tightness of the Veep's circle. He relies heavily on his wife Lynne and two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, for advice on media and internal politics. Insiders took his decision to replace Libby with counsel David S. Addington as a sign that Cheney was circling the wagons rather than making peace with his detractors inside the government. They reason that Addington is a hard-liner who has made enemies around the West Wing with his unwillingness to cooperate or yield on troublesome issues like a court fight for access to records of Cheney's energy task force.

In the end, it's Cheney's steely certainty, a quality the President has so appreciated in the past, that may be most damaging to him now in this season of political reinvention, say people who have worked closely with the Vice President. While Bush has shown an ability to reverse himself in the face of heavy headwinds, suddenly embracing the 9/11 commission or campaign-finance reform, Cheney takes pride in not backing down.

In March 2004, when Cheney was about to walk onstage to deliver his first formal excoriation of Senator John Kerry as being soft on Saddam, a frantic aide telephoned to urge him to tone it down. A suicide car bomber had just torn the front off a hotel in central Baghdad. Cable news was going crazy, and aides had nightmares of Cheney speaking in split screen with smoldering rubble.

According to a person familiar with the incident, Cheney raised his right eyebrow, gave a quarter grin and shook off the advice. "The guy cannot be unnerved," the person said. A former Administration official put it this way: "If the VP isn't proven right until after he has kicked off, he's fine with that. The idea of being proved right before the end of his life is a false deadline in his mind. Right is right."

Is Dick Cheney less important to the president lately?

No, he's just laying low right now 54%
Yes, he's less relevant 46%

Does Cheney help or hurt the administration?

Hurts 72%
Helps 16%
Neither 12%

What's your impression of Cheney overall?

Mostly negative 76%
Mostly positive 17%
Neutral 8%

Total Votes: 150,121


Halliburton violated pension law

NYT Staff and agencies
11 November, 2005

NEW YORK - An investigation by the U.S. Labor Department found that Halliburton Co.‘s (NYSE:HAL - news) pension plans violated the law three times and the company paid more than $8.6 million to correct the violations, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing correspondence from the department.

The abuses included charging some costs of the company‘s executive pension and bonus plans to a workers‘ pension fund, the paper said, and the company was found to have violated federal pension law prohibitions against self-dealing and using pension money for the benefit of the company.

Halliburton was required to replenish improperly withdrawn funds, repay those individuals affected and pay an undisclosed tax penalty.

According to the Times, two of the violations began while Vice President Dick Cheney Dick Cheney was the company‘s chief executive, but the largest infraction took place after he resigned in the summer of 2000.

Halliburton told the paper the issues had been fully resolved.