Also sometimes referred to as secular, modern, or humanistic. This is an umbrella term for Protestant denominations, or churches within denominations, that view the Bible as the witness of God rather than the word of God, to be interpreted in its historical context through critical analysis. Examples include some churches within Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. There are more than 2,000 Protestant denominations offering a wide range of beliefs from extremely liberal to mainline to ultra-conservative and those that include characteristics on both ends.
|•||Belief in Deity |
Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty. Many believe God is incorporeal.
Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God's incarnation. Some believe we are all sons and daughters of God and that Christ was exemplary, but not God.
|•||Origin of Universe and Life |
The Bible's account is symbolic. God created and controls the processes that account for the universe and life (e.g. evolution), as continually revealed by modern science.
|•||After Death |
Goodness will somehow be rewarded and evil punished after death, but what is most important is how you show your faith and conduct your life on earth.
|•||Why Evil? |
Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good, but also with free will and imperfect nature, which leads some to immoral behavior.
Various beliefs: Some believe all will go to heaven, as God is loving and forgiving. Others believe salvation lies in doing good works and no harm to others, regardless of faith. Some believe baptism is important. Some believe the concept of salvation after death is symbolic or nonexistent.
|•||Undeserved Suffering |
Most Liberal Christians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God's plan, will, or design, even if we don't immediately understand it. Some don't believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.
|•||Contemporary Issues |
Most churches teach that abortion is morally wrong, but many ultimately support a woman's right to choose, usually accompanied by policies to provide counseling on alternatives. Many are accepting of homosexuality and gay rights.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
By Edward Alden in Washington
Published: October 20 2005 00:00 | Last updated: October 20 2005 00:19
Dick CheneyVice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.
In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.
“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”
Mr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran.
It also resulted in bitter battles in the administration among those excluded from the decisions.
“If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.”
The comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, were the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar, and Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary, early last year.
Mr Wilkerson said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out with Mr Powell, whom he served for 16 years at the Pentagon and the State Department.
“He's not happy with my speaking out because, and I admire this in him, he is the world's most loyal soldier."
Among his other charges:
■ The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was “a concrete example” of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.”
■ Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.
■ The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel”.
Mr Wilkerson said former president George H.W. Bush “one of the finest presidents we have ever had” understood how to make foreign policy work. In contrast, he said, his son was “not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either”.
“There's a vast difference between the way George H.W. Bush dealt with major challenges, some of the greatest challenges at the end of the 20th century, and effected positive results in my view, and the way we conduct diplomacy today.”
Transcript: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson
By Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson
Published: October 20 2005 00:17 | Last updated: October 20 2005 00:17
The following is a transcript of talk given by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson:The 1947 National Security Act. In other words, he thought it was a piece of legislation that was passed by the Congress of the United States, the peoples’ representative and he damn well ought to follow it.
And did so probably to an extent that few Presidents, if any, have since.
I want to thank Steve and the American Foundation for giving me this opportunity and thank some of my friends for turning out. I see an assistant secretary over here. I think he’s left that post now, who used to spend some time in my office.
And I see others around the room. I see some journalists in here who have been trying religiously to get me over the last 3 or 4 months. You finally got me, at least on this topic.
I was out in Montana recently fly fishing in Yellowstone National Park, standing in a river and mistakenly brought my cell phone.
And it went off and I answered it and I won’t say who it was, but it was someone from the New York Times wanting to interview me about the detainee abusage.
And I feel so strongly about that issue [UI noise] got out of the Madison River, got up on the bank, told my son-in-law to keep fishing and talked to the gentleman for about a half an hour. And if any of you have any questions on that issue, of course, I’d be glad to address them.
I have 2 approaches to what Steve was alluding to as my topic today. The one is the approach of an academic for some 6 years at the Naval War College at Newport and then the Marine Corps War College at Quantico.
I taught some of the brightest people in America, 35 to 40 year old military officers of all services, both genders, and all professional skills within the services.
You want to teach someone who will challenge you on an hourly basis, try to…one of the things that I taught them was a very esoteric subject to most of them who are battalion commanders, fighter squadron commanders, destroyer or cruiser captains or some other really tactical [UI] position in their service [UI] 15 years in some cases. In other cases maybe as much as 18 or 20.
They came to me as tactical experts, as the very best. In most services, they were picked out of the top 15 to 20%. In all services, I would say, they were picked out of the top 50%.
So I’m looking at a very bright seminar of 15 to 16 people who know a whole hell of a lot more than I do about their services, particularly if they’re not in the army, and who know a great deal about [UI] applications of power, if you will.
But they know very little about such esoteric subjects as the national security decision-making process. So you go through a lot trying to get them up to speed so that they can then deal with what you’re going to throw at them at a really rapid pace after they’re up to speed.
Some of them can’t take it. Some of them tell you I’d like to go back to my battalion. I’d like to go back to my ship. I don’t like this world of strategy, international relations, politics, inter-agency activities and so forth.
And they’re very honest with you. Others take to it, like I think probably Colin Powell did at the National War College in the mid to late 70’s, and become bigger because of the experience and then go on hopefully to gain stars and be fairly influential in their own professions.
As I dealt with the national security [UI] process; therefore, I developed a bifurcated view about it. The one side was academic. The one side read the 1947 National Security Act that Harry Truman signed on 26 July 1947, and the amendments thereto. And understood that the Goldwater Nichols Act, the DOD reorganization act 1985 I believe it was, actually brought the 1947 act into a new [UI - coughing], actually closed some gaps that had been in the original act and created the finest military staff in the world, from a staff that theretofore had been a desultory, at best, and even mediocre staff.
And put at its head the man who had been the titular boss of the armed forces before, and titular is probably too strong a word, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and made him the principal [UI] to the Secretary of Defense, the President of the United States and the National Security Council.
So this was a monumental change and I will tell you, because I was there in the midst of the fight, I was in the arena, so to speak, it was tough. It was very, very tough to force the armed forces into jointness, which is the jargon that we used to describe it. Today we desperately need a Goldwater Nichols Act for the entire federal government. Desperately.
We need to force the inter-agency process, for example, to conform to President Clinton’s PDD 56, if you’re familiar with that. It was a document that described, it could be improved on, but it described very well how America should deal with crisis. The problem was nobody followed it.
Problem was nobody followed it so bad that when a Senate group was set up to investigate that very subject and called my boss, that was then a private citizen for whom I was working in a private capacity, and said, would you come sit on our group, would you help us with this, because we really think the process is [UI].
My boss’ answer was simply, no, I won’t because you’ve got it already. You can’t hardly improve on what you’ve got already. You just have to force execution of what you’ve got.
Now there are many critics who will say you cannot in our system of government force the executive branch to do something that it doesn’t want to do. The framers of the 1947 act I don’t think would agree with that.
Now, before I turn to the formal part of my presentation here, which is a little bit of history, let me just say that the other side, the reason my views are bifurcated, the other side is my practical experience.
Practical experience, sitting at the right hand of a very powerful Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [UI noise] and watching probably one of the finest Presidents we’ve ever had, that’s how I feel about George H. W. Bush, exercise one of the greatest adeptnesses at foreign policy I’ve ever seen.
So many things happened in George H. W. Bush’s 4 years that I think when historians write about it with dispassion 25, 30 years from now, they’re going to give that man enormous credit for knowing how to make the process work. Took him a while, took them about 9 to 10 months to get their act together. But once they did, they worked very well.
So I’ve seen that aspect of it. I saw the Clinton administration up close and personal and it took them a little longer than that to get their act together. And in a very intimate way, I saw the George W. Bush administration from 2001 to early 2005. I saw a little over 4 years.
So I have 2 approaches, if you will, the academic over here and the practitioner over here. And sometimes I get them confused. The ground is so rich for an academic and for a person who’s taught the National Security Act and what has come out of the National Security Act, that I sometimes get too candid, if you will.
On the other hand, as a practitioner and as a citizen of this great republic, I kind of believe that I have an obligation to say some of these things and I believe furthermore that the people’s representatives over on the Hill in that other branch of government have truly abandoned their oversight responsibilities in this regard and have let things atrophy to the point that if we don’t do something about it, it’s going to get even more dangerous than it already is.
Now, when the framers, again, [UI] about, and I say framers, we’re talking about dozens, if not literally hundreds of people here, but we’re talking about some minds who were engaged in this, if I cited some names [UI] of course, you’d probably recognize them [UI] and one of them, of course, committed suicide [UI].
But these were probably some people who I think rivaled those who got together that hot summer in Philadelphia and put together the Constitution. We have had some peaks and valleys in our history, but I think post-World War II and World War II itself was a peak and we had some really good people thinking hard about these issues. And one of the things that they probably wouldn’t tell you if they were here today, unless they had a few drinks, and Harry Truman would have had a few, is that they didn’t want another FDR.
They did not want another Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They even amended the Constitution to make sure they didn’t get one for more than 8 years. But they didn’t want the secrecy.
They didn’t want the concentration of power. They didn’t want the lack of transparency into principle decisions that got people killed. Even though they’ve been successful in arguably one of the greatest conflicts the world has seen. And so they set about trying to insure that this wouldn’t happen again.
I don’t think even his critics would have argued that FDR wasn’t a brilliant politician and a brilliant leader. But let’s think about it for a moment. If you’re one of the framers. How often does America get brilliant leaders? Put them down on paper. I can count them myself on one hand.
You can perhaps count them on 2 hands and make persuasive arguments for the additions. I prefer one hand. So we need a system of checks and balances and institutional fabric that can withstand anybody, or at least nearly so. You laugh, but I’m not trying to solicit your laughter.
I think it’s a real problem in our democracy. You have to have a system that is so elastic, so resilient, so able to take punches that at one time one branch can supplant another or one branch can come up and check another. It’s the old business of checks and balances. If you concentrate power and you do it in a way that is not that different from the way Franklin Roosevelt concentrated it, but you don’t have someone who is brilliant [UI] the utilization of that power, you’ve got problems.
You’ve got problems. You may have problems even if you have someone who’s brilliant. Go ask people who’ve written about Woodrow Wilson. Although I wouldn’t say Woodrow Wilson concentrated power quite the way FDR did and, of course, the war and the depression gave him ample opportunity to do things to abridge civil liberties, for example, that even Abraham Lincoln didn’t go to in a conflict that produced far more casualties and arguably was more passionately fought, certainly in terms of the families of America.
But too much power, too much secrecy, they want to get rid of that. They also wanted to institutionalize, more or less, the very thing that had brought about their success in World War II. They wanted to institutionalize that product, that success, that whatever. And so they wanted to consolidate the armed forces. They wanted to bring them together. They wanted to put one person in charge of those armed forces.
Talk about secrecy, Harry Truman, when he took over in April of 1945, didn’t even know about the atomic bomb. He had had hints because he’d written, as chairman of the investigating committee in the Senate, he’d written to Stemson and he had said I’ve heard about this land buying out in Washington, tremendous acres, numbers of acres are being bought. What’s going on. And Stemson had said, please, Mr. Senator, it’s too big for you, essentially.
And Truman had backed off. Give you a sense of the times and the seriousness of what was happening. But it took Stemson and Leslie [UI] who sneaked in the back door so no one would know he was coming over and George Marshall didn’t even attend because he was afraid it would bring too attention to the meeting and Leslie [UI], it was Brigadier General Leslie [UI] and Stemson briefed the President with essentially 2 papers in the Oval Office 12 days after he took office and he found out exactly how serious this was, and exactly what he had to deal with in terms of the nation’s nuclear program.
So the process these people were going through was to try and make the system more transparent, make decision making more transparent, make sharing of information and critical data more the likelihood rather than the exception.
And they set about doing this through a legislative process. Now, how do you legislate that sort of thing? I heard the same thing about Goldwater Nichols. I heard the same thing over and over again from my armed forces colleagues. You cannot legislate the armed forces into being a team. It’s impossible, you can’t do it. They did it.
They did it. And the people who did it did a fantastic job because they didn’t jump through their rear end like Joe Byden wanted to do when I talked to his staff about something similar to this. They actually went about it in a very concerted, very organized, a very disciplined way.
And they built the information that they needed in order to make good decisions about how to make the armed forces work together. And it involved everybody. It involved education. It involved assignments.
It involved the professionalism of the forces. It involved almost every aspect of the armed forces that is crucial to building people up into a team. And they enacted it. I used to use the 1985 committee print from the Senate on civil military relations as my text for my students because it was such a brilliant exposition of civil military relations since the beginning of our country.
That’s how good a work they did on that legislation. It wasn’t pull it our of your rear end. It was 5, 6 years in the making. It was superb legislation. Can it be perfected even further? Probably so. People are debating that now. But it was legislation that changed things.
We need something like that today. Let me tell you why I say that. Decisions that send men and women to die, decisions that have the potential to send men and women to die, decisions that confront situations like natural disasters and cause needless death or cause people to suffer misery that they shouldn’t have to suffer, domestic and international decisions, should not be made in a secret way.
That’s a very, very provocative statement, I think. All my life I’ve been taught to guard the nation’s secrets. All my life I have followed the rules. I’ve gone through my special background investigations and all the other things that you need to do and I understand that the nation’s secrets need guarding.
But fundamental decisions about foreign policy should not be made in secret. Let me tell you the practical reason and here I’m jumping over in, really into both realms. The practical reasons why it’s true.
You’ve probably all read books on leadership, 7 Habits of Successful People, or whatever. If you, as a member of bureaucracy, do not participate in a decision, you are not going to carry that decision out with the alacrity, the efficiency and the effectiveness you would if you had participated.
When you cut the bureaucracy out of your decisions and then foist your decisions on us out of the blue on that bureaucracy, you can’t expect that bureaucracy to carry your decision out very well and, furthermore, if you’re not prepared to stop the feuding elements in that bureaucracy, as they carry out your decision, you’re courting disaster.
And I would say that we have courted disaster, in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran, generally with regard to domestic crises like Katrina, Rita and I could go on back, we haven’t done very well on anything like that in a long time. And if something comes along that is truly serious, truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence. Read it some time again.
I just use it for a tutoring class for my students in the District of Columbia. Forced me to read it really closely because we’re doing metaphors and similes and antonyms and synonyms and so we’re…read in there what the founders say in a very different language than we use today. Read in there what they say about the necessity of people to [UI background voice] tyranny or to throw off ineptitude or to throw off that which is not doing what the people want it to do.
And you’re talking about the potential for, I think, real dangerous times if we don’t get our act together. Now, let me get a little more specific. This is where I’m sure the journalists will get their pens out. Almost everyone since the ’47 act, with the exception, I think, of Eisenhower, has in some way or another, perterbated, flummoxed, twisted, drew evolutionary trends with, whatever, the national security decision-making process.
I mean, John Kennedy trusted his brother, who was Attorney General, made his brother Attorney General, probably far more than he should have. Richard Nixon, oh my God, took a position that was not even envisioned in the original framers of the act’s minds, national security minds, that are not subject to confirmation by the Senate, advise and consent. Took that position and gave it to his Secretary of State, concentrating power in ways that still reverberate in this country.
Jimmy Carter allowed [UI] Brezinsky to essentially negate his Secretary of State. I could go on and say what Sandy Berger did to Madeline Albright in [UI] foreign policy. And I could make other provocative statements, too. Another one in my study of the act’s implementation has so flummoxed the process as the present administration. What do I mean by that?
Remember what I said about the bureaucracy if it’s going to implement your decisions having to participate in those decisions. And let me add one other dimension to that. If you accept the fact, and I do today, and if you’ll look around you at some of these magazine covers, I don’t need any more testimony than that I don’t think. The complexity of crises that confront governments today is just unprecedented. Let me say that again.
The complexity of the crises that confront governments today are just unprecedented. At the same time, especially in America, but I submit to you that in Japan, in China and in a number of other countries soon to be probably the European Union, it’s just as bad, if not in some ways worse.
The complexity of governing is unprecedented. You simply cannot deal with all the challenges that government has to deal with, meet all the demands that government has to meet in the modern age, in the 21st century, without admitting that it is hugely complex. That doesn’t mean you have to add a Department of Homeland Security with 70,000 disparate entities thrown under somebody in order to handle them. But it does mean that your bureaucracy has got to be staffed with good people and they’ve got to work together and they’ve got to work under leadership they trust and leadership that, on basic issues, they agree with.
And that if they don’t agree, they can dissent and dissent and dissent. And if their dissent is such that they feel so passionate about it, they can resign and know why they’re resigning. That is not the case today. And when I say that is not the case today, I stop on 26 January 2005.
I don’t know what the case is today. I wish I did. But the case that I saw for 4 plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberration, bastardizations, [UI], changes to the national security [UI] process. What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense and [UI] on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.
And then when the bureaucracy was presented with those decisions and carried them out, it was presented in such a disjointed incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn’t know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out.
Read George Packer’s book The Assassin’s [UI] if you haven’t already. George Packer, a New Yorker, reporter for The New Yorker, has got it right. I just finished it and I usually put marginalia in a book but, let me tell you, I had to get extra pages to write on.
And I wish, I wish I had been able to help George Packer write that book. In some places I could have given him a hell of a lot more specifics than he’s got. But if you want to read how the Cheney Rumsfeld cabal flummoxed the process, read that book. And, of course, there are other names in there, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas [UI], whom most of you probably know Tommy Frank said was stupidest blankety blank man in the world. He was. Let me testify to that. He was. Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.
And yet, and yet, after the Secretary of State agrees to a $400 billion department, rather than a $30 billion department, having control, at least in the immediate post-war period in Iraq, this man is put in charge. Not only is he put in charge, he is given carte blanche to tell the State Department to go screw themselves in a closet somewhere. That’s not making excuses for the State Department.
That’s telling you how decisions were made and telling you how things got accomplished. Read George’s book. In so many ways I wanted to believe for 4 years that what I was seeing, as an academic, what I was seeing was an extremely weak national security [UI]. And an extremely powerful Vice President and an extremely powerful in the issues that impacted him, Secretary of Defense, remember a Vice President who’s been Secretary of Defense, too, and obviously has an inclination that way and also has known the Secretary of Defense for a long time, and also is a member of what Dwight Eisenhower wanted that God bless Eisenhower in 1961 in his farewell address the military industrial complex and don’t you think they aren’t the [UI] today in a concentration of power that is just unparalleled. It all happened because of the end of the Cold War.
[UI] tell you how many contractors who did billion dollars or so business with the Defense Department that we have in 1988 and how many do we have now. And they’re always working together. If one of them is the lead on the satellite program, I hope there’s some Lockheed and Grumman and others here today [UI] if one of them’s a lead on satellites, the others are subs. And they’ve learned their lesson there in every state.
They’ve got every Congressman, every Senator, they got it covered. Now, it’s not to say that they aren’t smart businessmen. They are, and women. They are. But it’s something we should be looking at, something we should be looking at. So you’ve got this collegiality there between the Secretary of Defense and the Vice President. And then you’ve got a President who is not versed in international relations. And not too much interested in them either.
And so it’s not too difficult to make decisions in this, what I call Oval Office cabal, and decisions often that are the opposite of what you thought were made in the formal process. Now, let’s get back to Dr. [UI]. For so long I said, yeah, Rich, you’re right. Rich being Under Secretary of State Richard [UI]. It is a dysfunctional process. And to myself I said, okay, put on your academic hat. Who’s causing this? Well, the national security advisor. Even if the framers didn’t envision that position, even if it’s not subject to confirmation by the Senate, the national security advisor should be doing a better job. Now, I’ve come to a different conclusion.
Weapons Inspector Puts Diplomacy Over Military
An angry President Bush rebuked chiefThe article goes on to say:
political guru Karl Rove two years ago for
his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources
told the Daily News.
"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a
presidential counselor told The News. "He
made his life miserable about this."
Other sources confirmed . . . that Bush wasAnd finally:
initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his
deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked
to the press about the Plame leak.
A second well-placed source said some recently(sidenote: do you think that, many years from now, people will mistakenly think that the term "bush-league" is actually a reference to the world-class incompetence of this particular administration?)
published reports implying Rove had deceived
Bush about his involvement in the Wilson
counterattack were incorrect and were leaked
by White House aides trying to protect the
"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and
others as believing that they handled it in a
ham-handed and bush-league way," the
Anyway, it's clear that the "Rove misled the President" talking point is no longer operative. That may have just been a trial balloon. The new story is that Rove came clean and was privately admonished by the President in 2003. This new story raises some interesting questions, though.
First, as Rep. John Conyers points out at the Huffington Post, this new story doesn't explain why President Bush said in June 2004 that he would fire anyone found to be involved in the leak. And if Rove came clean in 2003, was that before or after Scott McClellan told the press that he was "not involved" in the leak?
More importantly, if this story is true, particularly the part about this disclosure taking place in 2003, there is a potentially far more serious problem. Let's go back to Murray Waas' Oct. 7 article in the National Journal, which was one of three articles that leaked the "Rove misled Bush" story. Waas wrote:
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl RoveSo if this new story is true--Rove "came clean" to Bush in 2003--and Waas is also right, doesn't that mean that Bush lied to Fitzgerald in June 2004?
personally assured President Bush in the early
fall of 2003 that he had not disclosed to anyone
in the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of an
administration critic, was a CIA employee,
according to legal sources with firsthand
knowledge of the accounts that both Rove and
Bush independently provided to federal
prosecutors . . .
In his own interview with prosecutors on
June 24, 2004, Bush testified that Rove
assured him he had not disclosed Plame as a
CIA employee and had said nothing to the
press to discredit Wilson, according to sources
familiar with the president's interview.
Moreover, it has previously been reported that Rove failed to mention his conversation with Cooper in either his initial FBI interview or his first grand jury appearance. Only after finding his email to Hadley did Rove come forward and correct his prior testimony. Now, the conventional wisdom is that this email was discovered in 2004, after Fitzgerald took over the case and issued subpoenas. If that's true, then the fact that Rove "came clean" to the President back in 2003 (presumably before the email was discovered) does not look good for Rove. It could mean that Rove made no effort to correct testimony he knew to be misleading until the discovery of the Hadley email forced his hand.
Given all these questions and potential inconsistencies, I expect we'll see a third, clarifying version of Bush's story emerge in coming days.
19.10.2005 - 18:37
By Adam Entous
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats asked the White House on Wednesday for details of President George W. Bush's private conversations in 2003 with top political adviser Karl Rove after conflicting reports about whether Bush was aware of any role by Rove in the outing of a covert CIA operative.
Rove and Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, are at the centre of federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, challenged the administration's prewar intelligence on Iraq.
Fitzgerald is wrapping up the nearly two-year investigation but a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no charges in the CIA leak investigation were expected this week.
White House officials have been discussing what to do if Rove is indicted and is forced to step down.
Bush and Cheney were interviewed last year by Fitzgerald and White House spokesman Scott McClellan said earlier this week that the prosecutor has not asked to question either the president or vice president a second time.
In a letter to Bush on Wednesday, Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, asked for details about the president's conversations with Rove after The New York Daily News reported that the president was initially furious with when Rove conceded in 2003 that he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.
The Daily News account appeared to contradict assertions earlier this month by sources close to the case that Rove had kept his role from Bush, assuring him in a brief conversation in the fall of 2003 that he was not involved in any effort to punish Wilson by disclosing his wife's identity.
The Daily News said those earlier reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the president.
"I urge you to immediately and publicly clear up the record," Schumer wrote.
"When was the president told?" asked the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan.
NEWS ACCOUNT CHALLENGED
McClellan has refused to provide details about Bush's private conversation with Rove, though he has referred to it publicly. Around that time McClellan also flatly denied that Rove and Libby had any involvement in the leak, but reporters have since identified them as sources.
McClellan on Wednesday broke with his usual practice of refusing to comment on the leak case, saying of the Daily News report: "I would challenge the overall accuracy of that news account."
When reporters pressed him on which facts he was challenging, though, McClellan refused to say.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller and other witnesses have been questioned by investigators about whether Cheney was aware or authorised Libby to talk to reporters about Wilson.
Two legal sources involved in the case said investigators also asked witnesses what Bush knew about the leak.
Wilson says White House officials outed his wife, damaging her ability to work undercover, to discredit him for accusing the Bush administration of twisting intelligence to justify the Iraq war in a New York Times opinion piece on July 6, 2003.
After initially promising to fire anyone found to have leaked information about Plame, Bush offered a more qualified pledge in July, saying, "If someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my administration."
(Additional reporting by Jim Vicini, Caren Bohan and Steve Holland)
FindLaw's Writ - Dean: The Serious Implications Of President Bush's Hiring A Personal Outside Counsel For The Valerie Plame Investigation
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Dan Plesch evaluates the evidence pointing towards a new conflict in the Middle EastDan Plesch
Tuesday October 18, 2005
Guardian UnlimitedThe Sunday Telegraph warned last weekend that the UN had a last chance to avert war with Iran and, at a meeting in London last week, the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, expressed his regret that any failure by the UN security council to deal with Iran would damage the security council's relevance, implying that the US would solve the problem on its own.
Only days before, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, had dismissed military action as "inconceivable" while both the American president and his secretary of state had insisted war talk was not on the agenda. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have found that Iran has not, so far, broken its commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, although it has concealed activities before.
It appears that the UK and US have decided to raise the stakes in the confrontation with Iran. The two countries persuaded the IAEA board - including India - to overrule its inspectors, declare Iran in breach of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and say that Iran's activities could be examined by the UN security council. Critics of this political process point to the fact that India itself has developed nuclear weapons and refused to join the NPT, but has still voted that Iran is acting illegitimately. On the Iranian side there is also much belligerent talk and pop music now proudly speaks of the nuclear contribution to Iranian security.
The timing of the recent allegations about Iranian intervention in Iraq also appears to be significant. Ever since the US refused to control Iraq's borders in April 2003, Iranian backed militia have dominated the south and, with under 10,000 soldiers amongst a population of millions, the British army had little option but to go along. No fuss was made until now. As for the bombings of British soldiers, some sources familiar with the US army engineers report that these supposedly sophisticated devices have been manufactured inside Iraq for many months and do not need to be imported.
But is the war talk for real or is it just sabre rattling? The conventional wisdom is that for both military and political reasons it would be impossible for Israel and the UK/US to attack and that, in any event, after the politically damaging Iraq war, neither Tony Blair nor George Bush would be able to gather political support for another attack.
But in Washington, Tel Aviv and Downing Street, if not the Foreign Office, Iran is regarded as a critical threat. The regime in Tehran continues to demand the destruction of the state of Israel and to support anti-Israeli forces. In what appeared to be coordinated releases of intelligence assessments, Israeli and US intelligence briefed earlier this year that, while Iran was years from a nuclear weapons capability, the technological point of no return was now imminent.
Shortly after the US elections, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, warned that Israel might attack Iran. Israel has the capability to attack Iranian targets with aircraft and long-range cruise missiles launched from submarines, while Iranian air defences are still mostly based on 25-year-old equipment purchased in the time of the Shah. A US attack might be portrayed as a more reasonable option than a renewed Israeli-Islamic confrontation.
The US army and marines are heavily committed in Iraq, but soldiers could be found if the Bush administration were intent on invasion. Donald Rumsfeld has been reorganising the army to increase front-line forces by a third. More importantly, naval and air force firepower has barely been used in Iraq. Just 120 B52 and stealth bombers could target 5,000 points in Iran with satellite-guided bombs in just one mission. It is for this reason that John Pike of globalsecurity.org thinks that a US attack could come with no warning at all. US action is often portrayed as impossible, not only because of the alleged lack of firepower, but because Iranian facilities are too hard to target. In a strategic logic not lost on Washington, the conclusion then is that if you cannot guarantee to destroy all the alleged weapons, then it must be necessary to remove the regime that wants them, and regime change has been the official policy in Washington for many years.
For political-military planners, precision strikes on a few facilities have drawbacks beyond leaving the regime intact. They allow the regime too many retaliatory options. Certainly, Iran's neighbours in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf who are worried about the growth of Iranian Shia influence in Iraq would want any attack to be decisive. From this logic grows the idea of destroying the political-military infrastructure of the clerical regime and perhaps encouraging separatist Kurdish and Azeri risings in the north-west. Some Washington planners have hopes of the Sunnis of oil-rich Khuzestan breaking away too.
A new war may not be as politically disastrous in Washington as many believe. Scott Ritter, the whistleblowing former UN weapons inspector, points out that few in the Democratic party will stand in the way of the destruction of those who conducted the infamous Tehran embassy siege that ended Jimmy Carter's presidency. Mr Ritter is one of the US analysts, along with Seymour Hersh, who have led the allegations that Washington is going to war with Iran.
For an embattled President Bush, combating the mullahs of Tehran may be a useful means of diverting attention from Iraq and reestablishing control of the Republican party prior to next year's congressional elections. From this perspective, even an escalating conflict would rally the nation behind a war president. As for the succession to President Bush, Bob Woodward has named Mr Cheney as a likely candidate, a step that would be easier in a wartime atmosphere. Mr Cheney would doubtless point out that US military spending, while huge compared to other nations, is at a far lower percentage of gross domestic product than during the Reagan years. With regard to Mr Blair's position, it would be helpful to know whether he has committed Britain to preventing an Iranian bomb "come what may" as he did with Iraq.
John Nichols2 hours, 23 minutes ago
The Nation -- Well, of course, the investigation of who leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame's name -- violating the federal law that bars the "outing" of intelligence operatives -- has come around to Vice President Dick Cheney's office. While it may be news to the Washington Post -- which headlined a breathless report on Tuesday: "Cheney's Office Is A Focus in Leak Case" -- the fact is that Cheney and his aides have been likely suspects from day one.
No prominent member of the administration had more to lose as a result of the 2003 revelation by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, that the White House's pre-war claims regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been inflated than did Cheney -- who, to a far greater extent than George Bush, had a hand in shaping the arguments for going to war, plugged them in media appearances and defended them after all evidence suggested his pronouncements had been wrong. It is important to recall that, while Bush may have deliberately fuzzed the facts in his 2003 State of the Union address, it was Cheney who leapt off the cliff of speculation with the pre-war declaration that, "We know Saddam Hussein's been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
No key player in the administration was more at odds with the Central Intelligence Agency than Cheney. Indeed, Cheney's badgering of the agency to come up with "evidence" of Iraqi WMDs and al-Qaeda connections was so aggressive -- he regularly stormed into the CIA headquarters to demand a briefing and then, when the information did not fit his biases, demanded that someone else brief him -- that members of the House Intelligence Committee complained in a reprimanding letter, "These visits are unprecedented. Normally, vice presidents, including yourself, receive regular briefings from (the) CIA in your office and have a CIA officer on permanent detail. There is no reason to make personal visits to the CIA."
No top office within the administration was better positioned than Cheney's to gather the information that was used to attack Wilson and his wife and to peddle that information to the press. In fact, as Joe Wilson told me in an interview about the leaking of his wife's name that we did early in 2004, "With respect to who actually leaked the information, there are really only a few people -- far fewer than the president let on when he said there are a lot of senior administration officials -- who could have done it. At the end of the day, you have to have the means, the keys to the conversations at which somebody might drop my wife's name -- deliberately or not -- a national security clearance, and a reason to be talking about this. When you look at all that, there are really very few people who exist at that nexis between national security and foreign policy and politics. You can count them, literally, on two hands."
Wilson added that, without a doubt, "the vice president is one of those people."
And no one, repeat no one, in Washington is known to be more vindictive than Dick Cheney. So the notion that Cheney would not only have been aware of but in fact delighted in punishing Wilson by ruining the career of the ambassador's wife is entirely plausible. By all accounts, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating that prospect as his long examination of crimes that may have been committed in relation to the Plame leak draws to a close.
Does this mean that the vice president will be indicted by the federal grand jury that is currently examining the actions of White House political czar Karl Rove and, more importantly, Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby?
Don't bet on it.
Libby is blood-oath, fall-on-the-sword loyal to Cheney. A Reagan-era State Department hand and Congressional staffer who came to know his future boss when Cheney was serving in Congress during the 1980s, Libby went with Cheney to George H. W. Bush's Defense Department -- serving Secretary of Defense Cheney as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Strategy and Resources and Deputy Under Secretary for Policy. Libby was then a founder of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century, which promoted the vision of American Empire that Cheney and his staff had cooked up in their controversial draft Defense Policy Guidance statement during their final days at the Pentagon. And when Cheney returned to the corridors of power, as vice president, Libby was at his side.
But the Cheney-Libby partnership is not merely a power and policy connection. Their relationship is more father-son than boss-surrogate. Libby vacations with Cheney at the vice president's $2.9 million villa in Wyoming, and Libby's access is such that he is welcome to invite friends and compatriots along to enjoy the skiing near Jackson Hole.
The likelihood that Libby would give up a relationship that has buttered his bread for the better part of a quarter century is even more remote than the likelihood that Rove would turn on Bush.
Yet, no one who knows about how Cheney and Libby operate will doubt that the two men had no secrets from one another during the period when the attacks on the CIA, in general, and Wilson and Plame, in particular, were taking place.
The vice president is a famously hands-on player. He personally requested information about claims that the Iraqis were attempting to obtain uranium from African countries -- the issue that Wilson examined in 2002, when he was dispatched to Africa and found that the claims were not credible. And while Cheney now says that he knew nothing of the report that Wilson produced before the war, the former ambassador has never believed him.
"If you are senior enough to ask the question, you are senior enough to get a very specific response," said Wilson. "In addition to the circular report that was sent around as a consequence of my trip, I have every confidence that one way or another the vice president was briefed as well." Yet, it was the vice president who continued to claim, long after Bush had dropped the line, that Saddam Hussein was a nuclear threat. And Cheney always went much further than Bush or others in the administration when making that claim. Indeed, it was Cheney who specifically stated prior to the Congressional votes on authorizing the use of force in Iraq that, Hussein had "resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons." Cheney claimed in the same speech that, "Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror, and seated atop 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten American friends throughout the region, and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail."
It is certainly reasonable to argue that Cheney had more reason to strike out at Wilson than anyone else in the administration when the former ambassador revealed the truth in a New York Times opinion piece that appeared in the summer of 2003. And, while Cheney may not have done the deed directly, it is comic to suggest that the vice president -- who was in constant contact with both Libby and Rove around the time of the leak -- could have been unaware of any serious effort to discredit Wilson by "outing" his wife as a CIA agent.
John Nichols' biography of Vice President Cheney, Dick: The Man Who Is President (The New Press, 2004) is currently available nationwide at independent bookstores and at www.amazon.com. An expanded paperback version of the book, which Publisher's Weekly describes as "a Fahrenheit 9/11 for Cheney" and Esquire magazine says "reveals the inner Cheney," will be available this fall under the title, The Rise and Rise of Richard B. Cheney: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Most Powerful Vice President in American History (The New Press).
Like this article? Try 4 issues of The Nation at home (and online) FREE.
Copyright © 2005 The Nation
Filed by Larisa Alexandrovna and Jason Leopold
A senior aide to Vice President Dick Cheney is cooperating with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, sources close to the investigation say.
Individuals familiar with Fitzgerald’s case tell RAW STORY that John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from the offices of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John Bolton, was named as a target of Fitzgerald’s probe. They say he was told in recent weeks that he could face imminent indictment for his role in leaking Plame-Wilson’s name to reporters unless he cooperated with the investigation.
Others close to the probe say that if Hannah is cooperating with the special prosecutor then he was likely going to be charged as a co-conspirator and may have cut a deal.
Hannah did not return two calls and several emails to his White House address seeking comment.
Fitzgerald is investigating whether officials in the Bush Administration illegally outed a CIA agent to get back at her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was a critic of the Administration’s faulty intelligence and lead-up to war.
In a July 2003 editorial, Wilson wrote that the Bush administration “twisted” pre-Iraq war intelligence in order to win public support for the Iraq conflict.
Specifically, Wilson called into question the veracity of President Bush’s claim in his January 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq tried to purchase yellow-cake uranium from Africa. Wilson had been sent on a fact-finding mission to Niger a year before and reported that those allegations were unfounded. Bush administration officials said Wilson’s trip was a boondoggle, and was set up by his wife who worked at the CIA on weapons of mass destruction.
Those close to the investigation said in June 2003, Hannah was given orders by higher-ups in Cheney’s office to leak Plame’s covert status and identity in an attempt to muzzle Wilson, who had been a thorn in the side of the administration since May 2003, when he started questioning the administration’s claims that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. and its neighbors in the Middle East. The specifics of who issued those orders and what directives were given were not provided.
Hannah had been fingered by Wilson
To many following the case, Hannah’s involvement will not come as a surprise. Wilson pointed to Hannah as a possible leaker in his book, The Politics of Truth.
“In fact, senior advisers close to the president may well have been clever enough to have used others to do the actual leaking, in order to keep their fingerprints off the crime,” Wilson writes.
“John Hannah and David Wurmser, mid-level political appointees in the vice-president’s office, have both been suggested as sources of the leak …Mid-level officials, however, do not leak information without the authority from a higher level,” Wilson notes.
The revelation that Hannah has become a prosecution witness strongly suggests that Fitzgerald is now looking into the motive for outing Plame and how Wilson’s complaints threatened to destroy public support for the war, which the Bush administration worked diligently to win.
Fitzgerald may be looking at a broader conspiracy case of pre-war machinations by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) and by the Pentagon’s ultra-secret Office of Net Assessment, the former operating out of Dick Cheney’s office and tasked with “selling” the war in Iraq, and the latter operating out of Defense Under Secretary for Policy, Douglas Feith’s office and tasked with creating a war to “sell,” as some describe.
To spread its message that Saddam Hussein was a nuclear threat, the White House Iraq Group relied heavily on New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who, after meeting with several of the organization’s members in August 2002, wrote an explosive story that many critics of the war believe laid the groundwork for military action against Iraq.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002, for example, Miller wrote a story for the Times quoting anonymous officials who said aluminum tubes found in Iraq were to be used as centrifuges. Her report turned out to be wrong.
Hannah under investigation for role with Chalabi group
Hannah is currently under investigation by U.S. authorities for his alleged activities in an intelligence program run by the controversial Iraqi National Congress (INC) and its leader, Ahmed Chalabi.
According to a Newsweek article, a memo written for the Iraq National Congress (INC) raised questions regarding Cheney’s role in the build up to the war in Iraq. During the lead up to the war, Newsweek asserts, the INC was providing intelligence on the now discredited Iraqi WMD program through Hannah and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff.
“A June 2002 memo written by INC lobbyist Entifadh Qunbar to a U.S. Senate committee lists John Hannah, a senior national-security aide on Cheney’s staff, as one of two ‘U.S. governmental recipients’ for reports generated by an intelligence program being run by the INC and which was then being funded by the State Department. Under the program, ‘defectors, reports and raw intelligence are cultivated and analyzed’; the info was then reported to, among others, ‘appropriate governmental, non-governmental and international agencies.’ The memo not only describes Cheney aide Hannah as a “principal point of contact” for the program, it even provides his direct White House telephone number.”
“…Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, were the two Cheney employees,’ We believe that Hannah was the major player in this,’ one federal law-enforcement officer told the magazine.
According to the Washington Post, Libby discussed Wilson's wife with at least two reporters before her identity became public.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is regarded as an incorruptible workaholic.
New York Daily News -
BY DENIS HAMILL
DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST
Tuesday, October 18th, 2005
A former doorman from Brooklyn now holds in his hands the fate of two of the most powerful men in America and possibly the future of the George W. Bush presidency.
This might be the heaviest door Patrick Fitzgerald Jr. from Flatbush ever held.
The son of two immigrants from County Clare, Ireland, Fitzgerald, 44, the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, has come a long way since the days when he attended Our Lady Help of Christians grammar school on E. 29th St. (now defunct) and played accordion with his brother as his two sisters did Irish stepdancing.
While attending Regis High School, and later Amherst College, Fitzgerald worked summers and part-time "holding the door" at a luxury high-rise on E. 72nd St. At Amherst, he also took a campus maintenance job.
"He had numerous funny anecdotes about being treated shabbily by residents who didn't realize this was a Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst and later a Harvard Law student holding the door," corporate lawyer John Goggins, who's known Fitzgerald since high school, told The Washington Post in July.
Fitzgerald, who is considered an incorruptible workaholic in the U.S. attorney's office, has said he developed his work ethic at an early age from his father, Patrick Sr., also a doorman, who in all his years opening doors for the swells in a swanky building on E. 75th St. near Madison Avenue in Manhattan never took a single vacation.
"Pat," as Fitzgerald's friends call him, is not registered with any political party.
"You've met a hundred guys like Pat," says Tony Bouza, a Los Angeles lawyer who befriended Fitzgerald at Amherst. "Likable, low key, self-effacing, funny ina New York kind of way. But he hasthis amazing brain like no one you've ever known. He's smarter than 99.9% of the people you'll ever meet. ... He didn't like anyone who was pompous or stuck up. He was also an amazingly nonpolitical guy. He really has no hidden agenda except getting at the truth. Pat never liked BS."
In 1988, he became a prosecutor with the U.S. attorney's office in lower Manhattan, where over the next 13 years he put away mobsters named Gambino, indicted Osama Bin Laden and brought in convictions of the blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and of the terrorists who bombed the U.S. embassies in Africa. After transferring to Chicago's U.S. attorney's office, Fitzgerald was labeled "Eliot Ness with a Harvard Law degree" when he indicted Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, and two aides to Mayor Richard Daley, a Democrat.
In December 2003, he was appointed as special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame-CIA outing case, which has sent shock waves through Washington where leaking classified government information is considered a daily lunch special. In the world according to Patrick Fitzgerald, this is known as a crime.
"It's kind of odd watching Pat getting all this attention," says Bouza. "But I really can't think of anyone who is better suited for the job. ... Pat would never come after you because of your politics or forpersonal reasons. He could be making a fortune in the private sector doing half as much work. But he loves what he's doing. And he's a straight shooter. So if you come in front of him and you're innocent and tell the truth, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. But if youare in any way guilty of a federal crime, I'd be worried. Especially if you lieabout it. Because I don't care how smart you are, if you're guilty, Pat Fitzgerald's gonna get ya."
The former doorman from Brooklyn has since grilled President Bush and Vice President Cheney, has jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to divulge her source, and had a dozen witnesses, including Karl Rove and Lewis (Scooter) Libby, in front of his grand jury.
Now the Beltway soothsayers are forecasting a pair of indictments against Rove and Libby coming out of Fitzgerald's grand jury.
This former doorman from Brooklyn has until Oct. 28 to wrap up his work on this case. And the next door Patrick Fitzgerald holds open for rich and powerful men could lead to a jail cell.
BY JAMES GORDON MEEK, THOMAS M. DeFRANK and KENNETH R. BAZINET
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Tuesday, October 18th, 2005
WASHINGTON - A special prosecutor's intensifying focus into who outed a CIA spy has raised questions whether Vice President Cheney himself is involved, knowledgeable sources confirmed yesterday.
At least one source and one reporter who have testified in the probe said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is pursuing Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame affair.
In addition, at least six current and former Cheney staffers - most members of the White House Iraq Group - have testified before the grand jury, including the vice president's top honcho, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, and two top Cheney national security lieutenants.
Cheney's name has come up amid indications Fitzgerald may be edging closer to a blockbuster conspiracy charge - with help from a secret snitch.
"They have got a senior cooperating witness - someone who is giving them all of that," a source who has been questioned in the leak probe told the Daily News yesterday.
Cheney was questioned last year byprosecutors and has hired a private attorney, former colleague Terrence O'Donnell, who declined to comment when contacted by The News.
Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride only offered the standard canned response that her boss is cooperating.
Libby and President Bush's political mastermind Karl Rove remain the focus of the probe into whether Plame's cover was blown in a scheme to embarrass her husband, ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who debunked claims that Iraq tried to buy nuclear materials in Niger.
Libby is often described as "Cheney's Cheney," a loyal and discreet lieutenant who shares his boss's hard-line philosophy and bareknuckle attitude toward political enemies of the Bush administration.
Cheney and Libby spend hours together in the course of a day, which causes sources who know both men very well to assert that any attempts to discredit Wilson would almost certainly have been known to the vice president.
"Scooter wouldn't be freelancing on this without Cheney's knowledge," a source told the Daily News. "It was probably some off-the-cuff thing: 'This guy [Wilson] could be a problem.'"
The News reported in July that Libby was "totally obsessed with Wilson."
Whether that obsession amounts to criminal misconduct will be decided by Fitzgerald - but if Libby is indicted or implicated in wrongdoing, Cheney's reputation will suffer as well.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005 12:01 a.m.
Two days after President Bush announced Harriet Miers's Supreme Court nomination, James Dobson of Focus on the Family raised some eyebrows by declaring on his radio program: "When you know some of the things that I know--that I probably shouldn't know--you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice."
Mr. Dobson quelled the controversy by saying that Karl Rove, the White House's deputy chief of staff, had not given him assurances about how a Justice Miers would vote. "I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade," Mr. Dobson said last week. "But even if Karl had known the answer to that--and I'm certain that he didn't because the president himself said he didn't know--Karl would not have told me that. That's the most incendiary information that's out there, and it was never part of our discussion."
It might, however, have been part of another discussion. On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe.
The call was moderated by the Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association. Participating were 13 members of the executive committee of the Arlington Group, an umbrella alliance of 60 religious conservative groups, including Gary Bauer of American Values, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and the Rev. Bill Owens, a black minister. Also on the call were Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court and Judge Ed Kinkeade, a Dallas-based federal trial judge.
Mr. Dobson says he spoke with Mr. Rove on Sunday, Oct. 2, the day before President Bush publicly announced the nomination. Mr. Rove assured Mr. Dobson that Ms. Miers was an evangelical Christian and a strict constructionist, and said that Justice Hecht, a longtime friend of Ms. Miers who had helped her join an evangelical church in 1979, could provide background on her. Later that day, a personal friend of Mr. Dobson's in Texas called him and suggested he speak with Judge Kinkeade, who has been a friend of Ms. Miers's for decades.
Mr. Dobson says he was surprised the next day to learn that Justice Hecht and Judge Kinkeade were joining the Arlington Group call. He was asked to introduce the two of them, which he considered awkward given that he had never spoken with Justice Hecht and only once to Judge Kinkeade. According to the notes of the call, Mr. Dobson introduced them by saying, "Karl Rove suggested that we talk with these gentlemen because they can confirm specific reasons why Harriet Miers might be a better candidate than some of us think."
What followed, according to the notes, was a free-wheeling discussion about many topics, including same-sex marriage. Justice Hecht said he had never discussed that issue with Ms. Miers. Then an unidentified voice asked the two men, "Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?"
"Absolutely," said Judge Kinkeade.
"I agree with that," said Justice Hecht. "I concur."
Shortly thereafter, according to the notes, Mr. Dobson apologized and said he had to leave the discussion: "That's all I need to know and I will get off and make some calls." (When asked about his comments in the notes I have, Mr. Dobson confirmed some of them and said it was "very possible" he made the others. He said he did not specifically recall the comments of the two judges on Roe v. Wade.)
Judge Kinkeade, through his secretary, declined to discuss the matter. Justice Hecht told me he remembers participating in the call but can't recollect who invited him or many specifics about it. He said he did tell the group that Ms. Miers was "pro-life," a characterization he has repeated in public. But he says that when someone asked him about her stand on overturning Roe v. Wade he answered, "I don't know." He doesn't recall what Judge Kinkeade said. But several people who participated in the call confirm that both jurists stated Ms. Miers would vote to overturn Roe.
The benign interpretation of the comments is that the two judges were speaking on behalf of themselves, not Ms. Miers or the White House, and they were therefore offering a prediction, not an assurance, about how she would come down on Roe v. Wade. But the people I interviewed who were on the call took the comments as an assurance, and at least one based his support for Ms. Miers on them.
The conference call will no doubt prove controversial on Capitol Hill, always a tinderbox for rumors that any judicial nominee has taken a stand on Roe v. Wade. Ms. Miers meets today with Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Chuck Schumer of New York, both stalwart Roe supporters, who surely will be interested to learn more about her views. After Mr. Dobson's initial comments about "things . . . that I probably shouldn't know," Sen. Arlen Specter, the pro-Roe Judiciary Committee chairman, said, "If there are backroom assurances and if there are backroom deals and if there is something that bears on a precondition as to how a nominee is going to vote, I think that's a matter that ought to be known." He and ranking Democrat Pat Leahy of Vermont threatened to subpoena Mr. Dobson as a witness.
Some participants in the Oct. 3 conference call fear that they will be called to testify at Ms. Miers's hearings. "If the call is as you describe it, an effort will be made to subpoena everyone on it," a Judiciary Committee staffer told me. It is possible that a tape or notes of the call are already in the hands of committee staffers. "Some people were on speaker phones allowing other people to listen in, and others could have been on extensions," one participant told me.
Should hearings begin on Nov. 7 as is now tentatively planned, they would likely turn into a spectacle. Mr. Specter has said he plans to press Ms. Miers "very hard" on whether Roe v. Wade is settled law. "She will have hearings like no nominee has ever had to sit through," Chuck Todd, editor of the political tip sheet Hotline, told radio host John Batchelor. "One slipup on camera and she is toast."
Should she survive the hearings, liberal groups may demand that Democrats filibuster her. Republican senators, already hesitant to back Ms. Miers after heavy blowback from their conservative base, would likely lack the will to trigger the so-called nuclear option. "The nomination is in real trouble," one GOP senator told me. "Not one senator wants to go through the agony of those hearings, even those who want to vote for her." Even if Ms. Miers avoids a filibuster, it's possible Democrats would join with dissident Republicans to defeat her outright.
There are philosophical reasons for Republican senators to oppose Ms. Miers. In 1987, the liberal onslaught on Robert Bork dramatically changed the confirmation process. The verb to bork, meaning to savage a nominee and distort his record, entered the vocabulary, and many liberals now acknowledge that the anti-Bork campaign had bad consequences. It led to more stealth nominees, with presidents hoping their scant paper trail would shield them from attack.
President Bush has now gone further in internalizing the lessons of the Bork debacle. Harriet Miers is a "superstealth" nominee--a close friend of the president with no available paper trail who keeps her cards so close to her chest they might as well be plastered on it. If Ms. Miers is confirmed, it will reinforce the popular belief that the Supreme Court is more about political outcomes than the rule of law.
Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Abramoff Used DeLay Aide, Attacks On Allies to Defeat Anti-Gambling Bill
By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, October 16, 2005; A01
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his team were beginning to panic.
An anti-gambling bill had cleared the Senate and appeared on its way to passage by an overwhelming margin in the House of Representatives. If that happened, Abramoff's client, a company that wanted to sell state lottery tickets online, would be out of business.
But on July 17, 2000, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act went down to defeat, to the astonishment of supporters who included many anti-gambling groups and Christian conservatives.
A senior aide to then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) helped scuttle the bill in the House. The aide, Tony C. Rudy, 39, e-mailed Abramoff internal congressional communications and advice, according to documents and the lobbyist's former associates.
Rudy received favors from Abramoff. He went on two luxury trips with the lobbyist that summer, including one partly paid for by Abramoff's client, eLottery Inc. Abramoff also arranged for eLottery to pay $25,000 to a Jewish foundation that hired Rudy's wife as a consultant, according to documents and interviews. Months later, Rudy himself was hired as a lobbyist by Abramoff.
The vote that day in July was just one part of an extraordinary yearlong effort by Abramoff on behalf of eLottery, a small gambling services company based in Connecticut. Details of that campaign, reconstructed from dozens of interviews as well as from e-mails and financial records obtained by The Washington Post, provide the most complete account yet of how one of Washington's most powerful lobbyists leveraged his client's money to influence Congress.
The work Abramoff did for eLottery is one focus of a wide-ranging federal corruption investigation into his dealings with members of Congress and government agencies. Abramoff is under indictment in another case in connection with an allegedly fraudulent Florida business deal.
Abramoff had deep roots in the conservative movement and rose to prominence by helping Republicans tap traditionally Democratic K Street lobbyists for campaign dollars. But in the eLottery fight, he employed a win-at-any-cost strategy that went so far as to launch direct-mail attacks on vulnerable House conservatives.
Abramoff quietly arranged for eLottery to pay conservative, anti-gambling activists to help in the firm's $2 million pro-gambling campaign, including Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, and the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. Both kept in close contact with Abramoff about the arrangement, e-mails show. Abramoff also turned to prominent anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist, arranging to route some of eLottery's money for Reed through Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform.
At one point, eLottery's backers even circulated a forged letter of support from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).
Rudy declined to comment for this report. A spokesman for Reed -- now a candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia -- said that he and his associates are unaware that any money they received came from gambling activities. Sheldon said that he could not remember receiving eLottery money and that he was unaware that Abramoff was involved in the campaign to defeat the bill. Norquist's group would say only that it had opposed the gambling ban on libertarian grounds.
Abramoff's lawyer declined requests for a comment.
DeLay, an outspoken opponent of gambling, was an instrument, witting or unwitting, in eLottery's campaign, documents and interviews show. Along with Rudy, he was a guest on a golfing trip to Scotland. As majority whip, he cast a rare vote against his party on the Internet gambling bill and for the rest of the year helped keep the measure off the floor. He told leadership colleagues that another vote could cost Republican seats in the hard-fought 2000 elections.
A statement from DeLay's lawyer said his votes "are based on sound public policy and principle."
The Scotland trip is one aspect of the gambling matter being investigated by the corruption task force. The trip took place more than five years ago, which ordinarily would be beyond the five-year statute of limitations on certain possible corruption charges. But legal sources say prosecutors have obtained a waiver of the time limit because of the need to gather information abroad.Desperate Company
Like many Internet companies emerging from the overheated 1990s, eLottery's money was drying up in the spring of 2000.
The company was founded in 1993 on the gamble that even a small fraction of the market for helping states and others put lotteries online could be worth a billion dollars a year. But the company faced many obstacles.
In 1998, the Justice Department had used existing gambling laws to force eLottery to shut down its first online lottery venture, with an Idaho Indian tribe. ELottery had not earned a dime since.
The Senate had passed the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act in late 1999, aiming to make it easier for authorities to stop online gambling sites. With a companion bill by Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.) advancing in the House in the spring of 2000, eLottery was desperate to ramp up its Washington lobbying. It had to sell off assets to stay afloat and raise cash.
In May, eLottery hired Abramoff's firm, Preston Gates & Ellis LLP, for $100,000 a month, according to lobbying reports. In the following months, Abramoff directed the company to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to various organizations, faxes, e-mails and court records show. The groups included Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform; Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition; companies affiliated with Reed; and a Seattle Orthodox Jewish foundation, Toward Tradition.
Robert Daum, a former eLottery official, said he could not recall the names of the groups that received the payments but noted that all the money spent by the company at Abramoff's direction was for the purpose of defeating the Internet bill.
"We were willing to pursue all legitimate means to ensure that outcome, as people do all the time in Washington," Daum said. "Nothing more, nothing less."
Arrayed against eLottery were many leading groups on the religious right who were pushing to ban Internet gambling, including the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition. James Dobson, influential leader of Focus on the Family, praised the bill in an opinion piece for the New York Times.
Still, according to his strategy e-mails, Abramoff thought he could turn conservatives in the House against the bill. He seized on some compromise language in the bill making exceptions for jai alai and horse racing.
Abramoff's plan: argue that the legislation and its exemptions would actually expand legalized gambling.Check in the Mail
To reach the House conservatives, Abramoff turned to Sheldon, leader of the Orange County, Calif. - based Traditional Values Coalition, a politically potent group that publicly opposed gambling and said it represented 43,000 churches. Abramoff had teamed up with Sheldon before on issues affecting his clients. Because of their previous success, Abramoff called Sheldon "Lucky Louie," former associates said.
Checks and e-mails obtained by The Post show that Abramoff recruited Reed to join Sheldon in the effort to pressure members of Congress. Reed had left the Christian Coalition in 1997 and started a political consulting firm in Georgia.
Abramoff asked eLottery to write a check in June 2000 to Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition (TVC). He also routed eLottery money to a Reed company, using two intermediaries, which had the effect of obscuring the source.
The eLottery money went first to Norquist's foundation, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and then through a second group in Virginia Beach called the Faith and Family Alliance, before it reached Reed's company, Century Strategies. Norquist's group retained a share of the money as it passed through.
"I have 3 checks from elot: (1) 2 checks for $80K payable to ATR and (2) 1 check to TVC for $25K," Abramoff's assistant Susan Ralston e-mailed him on June 22, 2000. "Let me know exactly what to do next. Send to Grover? Send to Rev. Lou?"
Minutes later Abramoff responded, saying that the check for Sheldon's group should be sent directly to Sheldon, but that the checks for Norquist required special instructions: "Call Grover, tell him I am in Michigan and that I have two checks for him totaling 160 and need a check back for Faith and Family for $150K."
According to the e-mails, Reed provided the name and address where Norquist was supposed to send the money: to Robin Vanderwall at a location in Virginia Beach.
Vanderwall was director of the Faith and Family Alliance, a political advocacy group that was founded by two of Reed's colleagues and then turned over to Vanderwall, Vanderwall said and records show.
Vanderwall, a former Regent University Law School student and Republican operative, was later convicted of soliciting sex with minors via the Internet and is serving a seven-year term in Virginia state prison.
In a telephone interview, Vanderwall said that in July 2000 he was called by Reed's firm, Century Strategies, alerting him that he would be receiving a package. When it came, it contained a check payable to Vanderwall's group for $150,000 from Americans for Tax Reform, signed by Norquist. Vanderwall said he followed the instructions from Reed's firm -- depositing the money and then writing a check to Reed's firm for an identical amount.
"I was operating as a shell," Vanderwall said, adding that he was never told how the money was spent. He said: "I regret having had anything to do with it."
Abramoff had previously paid Reed's consulting firms to whip up Christian opposition to Indian casinos and a proposed Alabama state lottery that would compete with the gambling business of Abramoff's tribal clients, sometimes using Norquist's foundation as a pass-through, a Senate investigation has found.
A spokeswoman for Reed said Century Strategies had no business relationship with eLottery. She said Reed did anti-gambling work for Abramoff but was assured by Abramoff's firm "that our activities would not be funded by revenues derived from gambling activities."
Norquist declined to be interviewed. His spokesman did not answer questions about the movement of funds.
Another check issued in 2000 by eLottery at Abramoff's direction wound up helping to fund the Scotland golfing trip attended by Rudy and DeLay. On May 25, 2000, as the trip got underway, the company sent $25,000 to the National Center for Public Policy Research, where Abramoff was a board member at the time. Along with money from another Abramoff client, that payment covered most of the Scotland travel costs, according to records and interviews.
DeLay has said that he thought the National Center sponsored and paid for the trip.
A few weeks after the golfing trip, Abramoff took Rudy to the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach, Calif. They traveled aboard a corporate jet belonging to SunCruz Casinos, a Florida cruise line Abramoff was negotiating to buy, according to a participant who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. Rudy did not report this trip in his House travel records.
Abramoff listed Rudy as a financial reference that summer in the SunCruz purchase. That transaction ultimately led to the indictment two months ago of Abramoff and a business partner on charges that they had forged a $23 million wire transfer.Working the Bill
In early June 2000, DeLay had not yet taken a position on the Internet gambling ban. But his aide, Rudy, was already providing advice to Abramoff about how to kill it.
Five days after Rudy and DeLay got back from the Scotland trip, Rudy sent an emergency message to Abramoff from a wireless device.
"911 gaming," Rudy typed on June 8.
He followed up with a suggestion that Abramoff's team get a conservative House caucus to seek a meeting with the chamber's top leaders, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Majority Leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) -- a key supporter of the bill. Abramoff forwarded the idea to his team members. "Message from Tony Rudy. Don't share it please. However we should take his advice."
Sheldon was also hard at work, holding news conferences and buttonholing House conservatives to argue against the bill. On July 10, he called Abramoff's group saying he had run into resistance from the staff of an influential member who still favored the bill.
"Lou just called," team member Shawn Vasell told colleagues in an e-mail. "We need to get together and draft a response for Lou." Kevin Ring, Vasell's associate, responded: "This is a disaster."
Abramoff weighed in minutes later, saying he would get Reed to ramp up efforts. "I just chatted with Ralph. We are going to have to go on the air nationally on radio. We must get the conservatives back on this or we are doomed," he told the team.
Abramoff got another strategy e-mail the next morning from Rudy. Rudy was on DeLay's staff but wrote "we" as though he belonged to Abramoff's team. "I think we should get weyrich to get like 10 groups to sign a letter to denny and armey on gaming bill," Rudy wrote, referring to Free Congress Foundation Chairman Paul M. Weyrich and the House leaders.
Sheldon got a private meeting with DeLay on July 13. "I told him I strongly opposed the bill," Sheldon told Congressional Quarterly at the time.
A former DeLay staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, "Lou was a credible face" because Sheldon's religious credentials carried some weight with conservative voters.
DeLay then told House Republican leaders that he was prepared to go against the anti-gambling bill.The Bush Forgery
Still, the Abramoff team was worried about the vote. So the eLottery forces pressed the argument that the Internet bill was an unfair infringement of the right of individual states to sell lottery tickets online. Amid the frenzied lobbying, a potentially influential letter making that case began circulating on Capitol Hill. It was purportedly signed by Jeb Bush.
"While I am no fan of gambling, I see this bill as a violation of states' rights and I am looking to prevent this encroachment," the letter said.
A surprised Hill staffer called the Florida governor's office, and the letter was exposed as a forgery.
Months later, a little-noted investigation by Florida authorities resulted in a confession from a Tampa man hired by a division of Shandwick Worldwide, a public affairs company. Shandwick was working on the eLottery account with Abramoff's team. The Florida man, Matthew Blair, told authorities in a plea bargain agreement that he was hired to get letters opposing the bill from the governor and others. He said he created the forged letter on his own after he was unable to obtain one from Bush's office.
Brian Berger, then a Shandwick official, said his firm had been hired to produce the letters by Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay press aide. Berger said in a recent interview that although he and Scanlon knew Blair, they did not sanction the forgery. "Essentially, we had a bad operative," Berger said.
But the letter still had an impact. It fed the confusion about the bill in the days before the floor vote. Goodlatte, the sponsor, had more than enough votes for his carefully crafted compromise. Yet he became worried that amendments might be introduced during the debate that could kill the bill.
One way to avoid a floor fight is to place a bill on the suspension calendar, which is supposed to be for non-controversial legislation; it suspends the usual rules, banning amendments and limiting debate. But doing so would require a two-thirds majority for passage.
Goodlatte agreed to the suspension calendar approach because he thought he could get the two-thirds. "We were told [by House leaders] to bring it up on the suspension calendar so you won't have to deal with all these amendments," said a member of Goodlatte's staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
That opening was exploited by the Abramoff team with Rudy's help -- fewer votes would be needed to stop the bill.
On July 17, the House debated for about 40 minutes. Rumors continued to fly about the Bush letter. Some members remained confused about the bill's contents. About 30 did not vote. "There was a lot of misinformation," said a congressional staff member who worked on the bill.
Still, Goodlatte had reason to be optimistic because nine out of 10 bills on the suspension calendar pass.
But Abramoff's efforts had eroded just enough votes. The roll call -- 245 in favor, 159 against -- left Goodlatte 25 members short. The bill failed.'All Systems Go'
The eLottery team was euphoric. Abramoff lobbyist Patrick Pizzella, who was in the Capitol to watch the vote, wrote in an e-mail to colleagues the next day that he saw Sheldon celebrating the victory, too. "There was lucky Louie out front hi-fiving with some lobbyists," said Pizzella, who the following year was named an assistant secretary of labor. Others partied across from the Capitol at the restaurant Tortilla Coast.
Supporters of the Internet gambling ban, though, were outraged. They vowed to resurrect it, perhaps as part of an appropriations bill.
The Christian Coalition issued an "action alert." Dobson took to the airwaves, saying, "I'm just sick about what the Republican leadership is doing with regard to gambling." He urged listeners to contact DeLay and other House leaders to revive the measure.
Abramoff's team realized there was no way to win enough support for a simple majority because they were down more than two dozen votes. Instead, they had to persuade the leadership to keep the bill off the House floor, despite intense pressure from Goodlatte and another backer, Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.) .
On July 21, DeLay's legislative director, Kathryn Lehman, e-mailed Rudy: "Goodlatte and Tauzin asked Tom [DeLay] what they needed to do to get his vote, and Tom said to talk to you!"
Rudy immediately forwarded the e-mail to Abramoff asking for help.
Documents show that Abramoff's strategy was to dispatch Sheldon to pressure about 10 social conservatives in their home districts, accusing them of being soft on gambling for supporting Goodlatte's bill. Abramoff's group hoped those members would stir fears among House leaders that another vote on the gambling bill could threaten those members and thus the GOP's thin 13-seat majority.
On Aug. 18, Abramoff faxed a message to eLottery's Daum ordering more money for Reed's activities. "I have chatted with Ralph and we need to get the funding moving on the effort in the 10 congressional districts," Abramoff wrote. "Please get me a check as soon as possible for $150,000 made payable to American Marketing Inc. This is the company Ralph is using."
ELottery issued the requested check to American Marketing on Aug. 24 and delivered it to Abramoff at Preston Gates. Five days later, Abramoff e-mailed Reed. The subject, "Internet Gambling: And so it continues." The message asked, "Where are we? You got the check, no? Are things moving?"
Reed answered the next day: "1. Yes, they got it. 2. Yes, all systems go."Targeting 'Our Guys'
Weeks later, a political mailer from Sheldon's group landed like a small bomb in the North Alabama district of Rep. Robert Aderholt.
The Republican was a member of the religious right's Values Action Team in Congress, a champion of public displays of the Ten Commandments and a vigorous gambling opponent. But now, in the midst of a tough reelection race, Aderholt was accused of being soft on gambling.
"Congressman Robert Aderholt voted with them in support of HR #3125 with the law the gamblers want on horse and dog racing," said Sheldon's mailer. Sheldon urged voters to call Aderholt's Washington office "and ask him to vote NO this time." Aderholt's opponent quickly incorporated Sheldon's attack in an ad of his own.
The bulk rate stamp on the mailing said it was paid for by American Marketing. Records show that the company is run by Robert Randolph, the president of Reed's direct-marketing subsidiary. A spokeswoman for Reed said that American Marketing is "a different company" and that she could not respond to questions about it.
Sheldon's fliers also targeted Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, then the House GOP deputy whip, and vulnerable incumbents, including Rep. James E. Rogan of California, one of the managers of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, and Rep. Robin Hayes of North Carolina.
Angry House members targeted by Sheldon complained to the leadership. "Certainly our displeasure was relayed on up the chain, so to speak," said Andrew Duke, the chief of staff for Hayes.
Abramoff's willingness to jeopardize Republican House seats startled his lobbying team, some of whom had come from DeLay's office. "Once we started talking about taking out our guys, I got worried," said a former associate of Abramoff's who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The same former Preston Gates lobbyist said Rudy played a key role in getting House leaders to pay attention to the plight of members under attack.
"Tony would say to members, 'Oh, you're getting phone calls on this? I better go tell the whip.' Lou Sheldon sending a letter is not going to do anything unless you have somebody on the inside. Tony exaggerated to leadership how backing the bill could hurt those members," the former Abramoff associate said.
The outrage prompted Sheldon to back off in some of the races. In Aderholt's district, he issued a letter praising the congressman and claiming that his previous mailer had been mistakenly distributed. In Rogan's district, he stopped pressuring the incumbent and, instead, attacked his challenger as "a champion of the homosexual agenda."
Sheldon said in an interview this week that he recalled little about his efforts against the bill in 2000. He said he did not remember receiving a $25,000 check from eLottery, but added that it is possible that his organization did receive it. He said he remembered some money coming in to pay for fliers he had printed and mailed to congressional districts to persuade members to oppose the bill.
"I wasn't aware the money was coming from them [eLottery]," Sheldon said. "I don't think I ever saw the check. It came in, and we paid the bill for some of the printing."
Sheldon also said he had no idea that Abramoff was lobbying against the bill or that he was working for eLottery.
"This is all tied to Jack?" Sheldon said. "I'm shocked out of my socks."Chilling Effect
Rudy, who had known Abramoff for years, went to work for Abramoff when the lobbyist switched law firms, to Greenberg Traurig LLP, in January 2001.
Rudy's wife, Lisa, was also drawn into Abramoff's orbit. She was paid fees by Toward Tradition, the Seattle-based Orthodox Jewish foundation that often allies with the Christian right on social issues. The foundation is headed by longtime Abramoff friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin and the lobbyist served as chairman of the board.
Toward Tradition was issued a $25,000 check dated Aug. 24, 2000, by eLottery. A copy of the check was obtained by The Post. Daum, the former eLottery official, said he could not remember the check but said all funds Abramoff directed him to spend were intended to defeat the Internet gambling bill.
Lapin said in an interview that he could not remember a check from eLottery but that the company could have made donations to his foundation. He said that any such donation would have been separate from his foundation's hiring of Liberty Consulting, a political firm founded and operated by Lisa Rudy.
"Lisa Rudy worked for us for six months -- six to nine months -- to organize groundwork for a conference," Lapin said. He said she was paid more than $25,000 but was unsure exactly how and when Lisa Rudy was hired. Lapin said her work could have been for an interfaith conference held in Washington in mid-September 2000. That conference, which opened a few weeks after the eLottery check was sent to Toward Tradition, featured such speakers as DeLay, Sheldon and Norquist.
Rudy declined to comment on the Toward Tradition contract and said that his wife was not available for a comment.
A month after the interfaith conference, the gambling bill's sponsors agitated to get House leaders to let them attach the measure to an end-of-the-year spending bill.
But Sheldon's campaign in conservative districts had the desired chilling effect on GOP leaders. That became clear on Oct. 24, when House Republicans met to discuss their year-end strategy.
What happened at the meeting was relayed to Abramoff by a former associate, David H. Safavian, who was then a lobbyist for a coalition of online gambling companies and who this month was indicted for allegedly lying to federal investigators in the Abramoff probe.
DeLay, Safavian wrote in an e-mail, "spoke up and noted that the bill could cost as many as four House seats. At that point, there was silence. Not even Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas) -- our previous opponent -- said a word."
When Congress prepared to adjourn in 2000 without revisiting the gambling bill, Safavian was ecstatic. He sent his clients an e-mail, which was posted on the Web site of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
"Relax a bit," Safavian wrote. "Policy beat politics once again. (Maybe the American system isn't really that bad.) The good guys won."
Researchers Alice Crites and Julie Tate contributed to this report.