“I Can’t Wait To Join You In The Afterlife”

“I Can’t Wait To Join You In The Afterlife”

November 19th, 2009 Posted By Erik Wong.

hasan_awlaki_091110_mn

ABC News:

United States Army Major Nidal Hasan told a radical cleric considered by authorities to be an al-Qaeda recruiter, “I can’t wait to join you” in the afterlife, according to an American official with top secret access to 18 e-mails exchanged between Hasan and the cleric, Anwar al Awlaki, over a six month period between Dec. 2008 and June 2009.

“It sounds like code words,” said Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a military analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. “That he’s actually either offering himself up or that he’s already crossed that line in his own mind.”

Other messages include questions, the official with access to the e-mails said, that include when is jihad appropriate, and whether it is permissible if there are innocents killed in a suicide attack.

“Hasan told Awlaki he couldn’t wait to join him in the discussions they would having over non-alcoholic wine in the afterlife,” the official said.

Major Hasan also wrote, “My strength is my financial capabilities.”

Federal investigators have found that Hasan donated $20,000 to $30,000 a year to overseas Islamic “charities.” As an Army major, his yearly salary, including housing and food allowances, was approximately $92,000. A number of Islamic charities have been identified by U.S. authorities as conduits to terror groups.

Two FBI task forces, in Washington and San Diego, received the intercepted messages, but deemed them innocent.

On Capitol Hill today, Senators questioned how that could be.

“The choice of this recipient of emails says a lot about what Hasan was looking for,” said Senator Joseph Lieberman, chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security committee. Lieberman’s committee held a hearing on the Fort Hood shootings, and announced that it was launching an investigation.

“What I’m getting at,” said Lieberman, “Is he may have been looking for spiritual sanctions for what he’s accused of ultimately doing.”

The American-born Awlaki is considered a recruiter for al-Qaeda. He has been in hiding since the shooting, but a Yemeni journalist told ABC News today that the e-mails show Hasan was “almost a member of al-Qaeda.”

Pentagon Probe Looking For Gaps, Gates Said

At Fort Hood today, federal investigators continued to gather evidence for the criminal prosecution of Hasan, while Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced his own investigation of the incident.

Gates said the Pentagon probe would try “to find possible gaps or deficiencies in Defense Department programs, processes and procedures for identifying service members who could potentially pose credible threats to others.”

Some members of Congress have raised questions about the military’s counter-intelligence unit, based at Fort Meade, and Gates said every question will be answered.

“I promise the Department of Defense’s full and open disclosure,” said Gates.

Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, was once the imam of a Falls Church, Virginia mosque attended by Hasan and two of the 9/11 hijackers. After an intensive investigation by the FBI, Awlaki moved to Yemen where he was imprisoned in 2006 and says he was interrogated by U.S. authorities.

A blog entry posted on Awlaki’s site after the Fort Hood massacre praised Hasan as a “hero” and a “man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.” The site has since been taken down, as has a Facebook fan page devoted to Awlaki. In a subsequent interview with the Washington Post, Awlaki described himself as Hasan’s “confidant.”

In addition to his contacts with Hasan, Awlaki served as an inspiration for men convicted in terror plots in Toronto and Fort Dix, New Jersey, according to government officials and court records reviewed by ABCNews.com.

In Toronto, members of the so-called Toronto 18 watched videos of Awlaki at a makeshift training camp where they allegedly planned an attack on the Canadian parliament and prime minister.

Sen. Reid’s Government-Run Health Plan Requires a Monthly Abortion Fee

Sen. Reid’s Government-Run Health Plan Requires a Monthly Abortion Fee

Posted by GOP Leader Press Office on November 19th, 2009

 

Follow @GOPLeader on Twitter for updates.

 

Just like the original 2,032-page, government-run health care plan from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new “abortion premium” fee on Americans in the government-run plan. 

 

Beginning on line 7, p. 118, section 1303 under “Voluntary Choice of Coverage of Abortion Services” the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run health plan.  Leader Reid’s plan also requires that at least one insurance plan offered in the Exchange covers abortions (line 13, p. 120).

 

What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan.  It’s right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under “Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.”  The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services.

 

Section 1303(a)(2)(C) describes the process in which the Health Benefits Commissioner is to assess the monthly premiums that will be used to pay for elective abortions under the government-run health plan and for those who are given an affordability credit to purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion through the Exchange.  The Commissioner must charge at a minimum $1 per enrollee per month.

 

A majority of Americans believe that health care plans should not be mandated to provide elective abortion coverage, and a majority of Americans do not believe government health care plans should include abortion coverage. Currently, federal appropriations bills include language known as the Hyde Amendment that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, while another provision, known as the Smith Amendment, prohibits federal funding of abortion under the federal employees’ health benefits plan.

 

Leader Reid’s 2,074-page health care monstrosity is an affront to the American people and drastically moves away from current policy.  The National Right to Life Committee has called the Reid abortion language “completely unacceptable.” The American people deserve more from their government than being forced to pay for abortion.  The pro-life Stupak/Pitts amendment passed the House by a vote of 240 to 194, enjoying the overwhelming support of 176 Republicans and 64 Democrats.  The Stupak/Pitts Amendment codifies current law by prohibiting federal funding of elective abortions under any government-run plan or plans available under the Exchange.  The Reid plan ignores the will of a bipartisan majority of the House, and indeed the American people, by rejecting this bipartisan amendment.

 

Health care reform should not be used as an opportunity to use federal funds to pay for elective abortions. Health reform should be an opportunity to protect human life – not end it – and the American people agree.  House Republicans have offered a common-sense, responsible solution that would reduce health care costs and expand access while protecting the dignity of all human life. The Republican plan, available at HealthCare.GOP.gov, would codify the Hyde Amendment and prohibit all authorized and appropriated federal funds from being used to pay for abortion. And under the Republican plan, any health plan that includes abortion coverage may not receive federal funds.

 

CIA recruits among Muslims More from Obama’s subvesrive apointees

CIA recruits among Muslims

What could go wrong? Surely the CIA will thoroughly vet prospective spies for adherence to the doctrines of jihad and Islamic supremacism — as well as the old adage of Muhammad, “war is deceit” — won’t they?

One may hope that they will, but certainly it would be more reassuring in this regard if any agency in official Washington had ever shown any awareness that those doctrines even exist, much less any awareness of the implications of their existence.

“CIA launches recruitment drive on internet and TV,” by Tim Reid in the Times Online, March 31 (thanks to Oao):

The CIA is attempting to recruit more spies by advertising on the internet, radio and television, and by holding meetings with American Muslims to make up a severe shortage of Arabic speakers….Leon Panetta, the new CIA director, will meet Muslim groups in cities such as Detroit to spearhead personally the new drive to recruit Arabic speakers. He recently lamented the fact that only 13 per cent of CIA officers speak a foreign language, and just 22 per cent come from minorities.

“In order to accomplish our vital intelligence mission we want to market our employment opportunities to speakers of Arabic, Russian, Korean, Pashtu and Urdu,” George Little, a CIA spokesman, told The Times….

Earlier this month Scott White, third in command at the CIA, held meetings with Arab-American and Chaldean-American representatives in Detroit, which has heavily populated American Muslim suburbs. He told the groups that he would bring Mr Panetta to a future meeting….

Senate approves ACORN/abortion radical judge David Hamilton

Senate approves ACORN/abortion radical judge David Hamilton

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 19, 2009 03:59 PM

David Hamilton is a hard Left, former ACORN fund-raiser and abortion radical who was rated “not qualified” by the ABA.

Now, via LifeNews, he is federal judge:

The Senate voted today 59-39 to confirm a pro-abortion federal judge President Barack Obama appointed to become a new appeals court justice. David Hamilton, of Indiana, is the first pro-abortion judge Obama selected, but he was held up for months because of his extreme views.

With less than 60 votes, the Senate could have defeated the nomination had lawmakers voted Tuesday to sustain the filibuster pro-life advocates launched against Hamilton.

The vote saw all but one Republican, Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, who is nominally pro-life, vote against Hamilton while all Democrats supported his nomination except two who were not present for the vote.

However, the cloture vote saw no Democrats joining the 29 pro-life Republicans who supported it and a defection of some of the more liberal Republicans in the caucus.

Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest said Hamilton should have been defeated because “judges should uphold Constitutional restrictions on abortion.”

“As a District Court judge, Hamilton promoted his radical pro-abortion agenda. His promotion to the Seventh Circuit” is a “serious concern to the pro-life community,” she told LifeNews.com.

Hamilton was tapped by Obama in March to fill a vacancy on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

As he promised he would do, pro-life Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama led the filibuster and said Hamilton should be opposed in part because of his pro-abortion views.

Sessions noted how Hamilton kept an informed consent measure from being enforced in Indiana, thereby prohibiting women from getting information about abortion’s risks and alternatives so they can find positive alternatives.

“And for seven years, through a series of rulings, Hamilton kept it form being enforced. This case is a blatant example of allowing personal views to frustrate the will of the people and the popularly elected representatives of the government of Indiana,” Sessions said. “This appeared to me to be obstructionism.”

Sen. Jim DeMint, a pro-life senator from South Carolina, agreed.

“Judge Hamilton is the definition of an activist judge and is clearly not qualified to sit on a court of appeals,” DeMint said during the debate. “Hamilton, who spent years working with the ACLU and ACORN, has used his position on the bench to drive his personal political agenda.”

The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List objected to Hamilton and said it worries about future Obama nominees.

“If Judge David Hamilton is considered a blueprint for the next judge President Obama will nominate for the U.S. Supreme Court, America is in trouble,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the organization, told LifeNews.com.

Yep, we’ve been in trouble since day one. Elections do indeed have consequences.

Here’s the roll call vote.

Health bill could get 34-hour reading in Senate

Health bill could get 34-hour reading in Senate

Joseph Curl

The 2,074-page Senate health care bill would take 34 hours to read cover to cover — and that’s just what Sen. Tom Coburn wants done on the Senate floor.

The Oklahoma Republican has threatened to invoke parliamentary rules to force the Senate clerk (or more likely, a team of clerks) to read the massive bill before the full Senate begins formal debate on the legislation.

The move is strictly according to Senate rules, which say any senator can demand a bill be read in its entirety before debate begins. While Democrats could, if they wish, repeatedly make motions to end the soliloquy, Republicans on the floor could object, and the reading would continue.

What’s even more interesting is that Senate Rule XIV (paragraph 2) states that every bill and joint resolution “shall receive three readings prior to its passage.”

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“Upon demand of a senator, these readings shall be on three different legislative days,” the rules say.

A little quick math shows that at a minute a page — an easily achieved pace since the pages are double spaced and in a rather large type face — it would take 34.5 hours to read straight through the measure put together this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Republican leadership and gallery staff say the reading — with occasional pauses and sips of water for parched throats — could take more like 48 to 54 hours.

Pity the poor Senate clerks.

See how fast you can read the bill.

“The Stimulus Has Been The Economic Bust That Critics Predicted It Would Be”

“The Stimulus Has Been The Economic Bust That Critics Predicted It Would Be”

November 19th, 2009 Posted By Pat Dollard.

obama-stimulus-plan-200901282212371

Wall Street Journal:

At least funny bones are being stimulated by the Obama Administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill.

To wit, how many Americans does it take to make nine pairs of work boots? According to the White House’s recovery.gov site, an $890 shoe order for the Army Corps of Engineers, courtesy of the stimulus package, created nine new jobs at Moore’s Shoes & Services in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

The job-for-a-boot plan may not be American productivity at its best. But such stories go a ways toward explaining how the Administration has come up with 640,329 jobs “created/saved” by the American Recovery Act as of October 30.

Jonathan Karl of ABC News deserves credit among Beltway reporters for committing journalism and actually fact-checking White House claims. Head Start in Augusta, Georgia claimed 317 jobs were created by a $790,000 grant. In reality, as Mr. Karl reported this week, the money went toward a one-off pay hike for 317 employees.

Other media outlets and government watchdog groups have also found numerous errors in the stimulus filings. Jobs have been overstated or counted multiple times. One Alabama housing authority claimed that a $540,071 grant would create 7,280 jobs. The Birmingham News reports that only 14 were created. In some cases, Recovery Act funds went to nonexistent Congressional districts, such as the 26th in Louisiana or the 12th in Virginia. Up to $6.4 billion went to imaginary places in America, according to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

Asked by the New Orleans Times-Picayune why so many recipients would misstate their districts, Ed Pound, the director of communications for the Obama Administration’s recovery.gov, said, “Who knows, man, who really knows.”

The nonexistence of the jobs and places allegedly stimulated by the Recovery Act doesn’t necessarily mean the money was misspent or stolen. But it does indicate that the claims made on its behalf are a political illusion. The true jobs measure of an economic recovery is the unemployment rate, which rose to 10.2% last month. No matter how hard or imaginatively the Administration spins, the reality is that the stimulus has been the economic bust that critics predicted it would be.

As American Men Chickify, Obama Tells Chinese We’re Chauvinists

As American Men Chickify, Obama Tells Chinese We’re Chauvinists

November 19th, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Transcript

 Obama tells the Chinese America isn’t that great

RUSH: I love the ChiComs.  I have to tell you, I love the ChiComs.  They took Obama on a tour of the Forbidden City, and they kicked everybody else out.  Obama did not get to go preen. He did not get to pretend he was in Berlin making a speech to 200,000 — nobody saw him.  They do not allow political showboats over there. (laughing) I mean in a number of ways I actually do have a kind of respect for the ChiComs.  So we are to believe that Eric Holder consulted no other human being that has any position of responsibility in the government about creating the trial of the millennium in New York City other than his wife and his brother.  Right.  Yeah.
President Obama visiting the ChiComs on his Asian trip.  Speaking of which, yesterday in Shanghai, President Obama held a town hall meeting with Chinese university students.  This is what our president said about our country.

OBAMA:  It’s very important for the United States not to assume that what is good for us is automatically good for somebody else.  We have to have some modesty about our attitudes towards other countries.  We think it’s important nevertheless to be true to our ideals and our values.  And we… When we do so, though, we will always do so with the humility and understanding that we are not perfect and that we still have much progress to make.  Uh, if you talk to women in America, they will tell you that there are still men who have a lot of old-fashioned ideas about the role of women in society.

RUSH:  Yah!  Okay.  President Barack Obama once again essentially saying, “Look, there’s nothing special about our country.  I’m sure that we’ve had presidents before me that have tried to impose such wonderful things as freedom, economic prosperity, capitalism, and golden education opportunities.  We’re sorry that we ever had anybody that tried to, quote, unquote, ‘impose’ that on you.  But we’re through doing that!  We’re not going to impose our ugly system, based on free markets and capitalism and liberty, on you. We’re not going to impose that on you anymore.  In fact, we’re going to be humble! We’re going to realize here that we are actually not nearly as good as you are, that we’re certainly no better than you are. We apologize here for all of the ways that we have offended you in the past.

Read More:

White House aides: No Afghan decision before Thanksgiving—- procrastination taken to absurdity

White House aides: No Afghan decision before Thanksgiving

By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 19, 2009 12:23 PM

SEOUL — President Obama will not announce his decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan before the Thanksgiving holiday, senior aides said Thursday.

The news came as the president greeted 1,500 troops at Osan Air Base in South Korea, just before boarding Air Force One and heading back to Washington after an eight-day trip to Asia.

Obama and his top military and diplomatic aides have been deliberating for months over how to proceed in Afghanistan, where the United States and its partners have sought for eight years to defeat the Taliban and deny al-Qaeda a safe haven from which it can plan and launch attacks.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has stated that without the deployment of up to 40,000 additional troops within the next year, the mission “will likely result in failure.” But some aides are arguing for a much smaller troop increase, and the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, Karl W. Eikenberry, has questioned whether the Afghan government can be a reliable partner.

Obama said in interviews Wednesday that he would reveal his decision within the next several weeks. On Thursday, aides clarified that there would be no announcement before Thanksgiving, one week away. Senior administration officials said Obama intends to meet with his national security team again before going public with his plans.

Obama did not mention the looming decision in his remarks to U.S. troops, referring to the Afghan conflict only by thanking South Korea for its efforts and expressing gratitude to the American military personnel who have served there.

But he did discuss the region in his meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, whose government is sending 150 civilian aid workers to Afghanistan.

Obama arrived on the base 3:19 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) and received a rousing welcome from 1,500 troops in camouflage uniforms, many holding cameras or pointing cell phones to snap pictures.

“You guys make a pretty good photo op,” the president said.

Standing on a riser wearing a blue suit and red tie, with a cluster of troops and a large American flag behind him, Obama expressed “the gratitude of the American public” and said his meetings in four countries over eight days in Asia will help deliver a “safer, more prosperous world for all of us.”

He got a huge cheer when he told them he was increasing military pay. “That’s what you call an applause line,” he said, before boarding his jet and taking off at 4:11 p.

GAO Says More Than 50,000 Jobs Claimed From Stimulus Projects That Have Spent No Money — More Obama Lies

GAO Says More Than 50,000 Jobs Claimed From Stimulus Projects That Have Spent No Money

November 19th, 2009

By JONATHAN KARL and MATTHEW JAFFE, ABC

 Obama’s Stimulus has been a total failure

More than 50,000 jobs, or one out of every 10 jobs the White House says were “saved or created” by their economic stimulus plan, came from projects that reported spending no money yet, according to a government report obtained by ABC News.

The report by the Government Accountability Office analyzes the administration’s October 2009 report on jobs saved or created by the $787 billion stimulus program and finds a “range of significant reporting and processing problems that need to be addressed.”

Even with the errors, GAO gives the Obama administration high marks for its efforts at transparency and in making so much information public in such a short period of time.

“Given the national scale of the recipient reporting exercise and the limited time frames in which it was implemented,” the report says, “[recovery.gov] represents a solid first step in moving toward more transparency and accountability for federal funds.”

Read More:

Culture of corruption: Holder, terrorists, Covington & Burling

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

Culture of corruption: Holder, terrorists, Covington & Burling

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 18, 2009 02:00 PM

Update: 11/19 9am…Holder hedges on GOP request for disclosure/recusal information


Attorney General Eric Holder, Team Obama’s Dirty Dozen (get your trading cards here)

If you’ve been paying attention, you already know all about AG Eric Holder and his DOJ staff’s national security conflict of interest as senior partner with Covington & Burling — the prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm, which represents 17 Yemenis currently held at Gitmo.

I first mentioned it here in January and spotlighted the problem in chapter 4 of Culture of Corruption.

In fact, Holder and Covington & Burling have a lucrative niche in terrorist representation.

I’m reprinting the relevant section from Culture of Corruption so you have it at your fingertips. All of this was known before Holder was confirmed as AG, which, as I’ve pointed out before, makes it all the more inexplicable that 19 Republican senators — Alexander (R-TN); Bennett (R-UT); Bond (R-MO); Chambliss (R-Ga); Collins (R-ME); Corker (R-TN); Graham (R-SC); Grassley (R-IA); Gregg (R-NH); Hatch (R-UT); Isakson (R-GA;) Kyl (R-AZ); Lugar (R-IN) McCain (R-AZ); Murkowski (R-AK); Sessions (R-AL); Snowe (R-ME); Specter (R-PA); and Voinovich (R-OH) — cast their votes for him. Now, they are reaping what they helped sow.

Excerpted from Chapter 4: Meet the Mess – Inside the Crooked Cabinet, Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin (see book for footnotes)

“Don’t go into corporate America,” First Lady Michelle Obama admonished supporters on the campaign trail. Remember? She extolled the rewards of public service over the material perks of life at a high-powered law firm. She certainly didn’t take her own advice—and neither did her husband’s own attorney general. If he hadn’t pulled out all the stops campaigning for the president, raising money at lavish celebrity events, and offering his strategic and legal advice—and if Eric Holder had an “R” by his name instead of a “D”—he might have served as the perfect poster boy for Mrs. O’s caustic campaign against white-shoe corporate law.

After a quarter-century as a government lawyer, Holder joined the prestigious Covington & Burling business and corporate law firm. He represented a gallery of the Left’s fattest targets in Big Pharma and Big Business, defending them in fraud and discrimination cases that drove progressives mad. Holder has served both his corporate and government masters well—and he has the bank account and stock portfolio to prove it. His salary jumped from under $200,000 as deputy U.S. Attorney General for the Clinton administration to more than $2 million a year as a Covington & Burling senior partner. During 2008, Holder spent countless hours away from his corporate office working for the Obama campaign—raising money, fielding calls, making speeches. “I hope the management committee is going to be real understanding when they see my billable hours this year,” Holder joked to The American Lawyer. It’s an investment, of course, and the law firm will get its political dividends later.

Holder returns to a more modest $186,000 salary as Obama’s attorney general. But parting has its perks, too. The Washington revolving door pays.

Covington & Burling will make a separation payment valued at between $1 million and $5 million, plus a repayment of up to $1 million from the firm’s capital account, plus a retirement plan of up to $500,000. His net worth: $5.7 million. Reflecting on his past eight years raking in the dough and watching him schmooze friends and clients from his “elegant new Manhattan offices,” an American Lawyer profile observed: “Life is good for private citizen Eric Holder, Jr.” President Obama and the missus, such outspoken detractors of climbing the corporate ladder and influence-peddling, were unavailable for comment.

One wonders what the Obamas would say about Holder’s lucrative work for Chiquita Brands International if it had been performed by, say, John McCain’s top lawyer? As chief counsel for the global company, Holder won a “slap-on-the-wrist plea deal to charges that it had paid off” {citation for this quote…or why is it in quotes?} Colombian paramilitary death squads. Liberal critics of Holder point out that he used his influence as a former Clinton Justice Department official to negotiate a sweetheart deal for Chiquita. The company pleaded guilty to illegally doing business with the “Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia” or AUC (designated as an international terrorist organization by the State Department in 2001). Chiquita admitted negotiating with and forking over $1.7 million in protection racket money to the guerillas beginning in 1997. AUC terrorists slaughtered thousands of civilians to gain control of Colombia’s banana fields. The company ignored the advice of outside counsel (not Holder or anyone else at Covington & Burling) to stop the illegal payments in 2003:

• “Must stop payments.”
• “Bottom Line: CANNOT MAKE THE PAYMENT”
• “Advised NOT TO MAKE ALTERNATIVE PAYMENT through CONVIVIR”
• “General Rule: Cannot do indirectly what you cannot do directly”
• Concluded with: “CANNOT MAKE THE PAYMENT”
• “You voluntarily put yourself in this position. Duress defense can wear out through repetition. Buz [business] decision to stay in harm’s way. Chiquita should leave Colombia.”
• “[T]he company should not continue to make the Santa Marta payments, given the AUC’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization[.]”
• “[T]he company should not make the payment.”

Even after disclosing the payments to the Justice Department in the spring of 2003, Chiquita continued funneling money to the terrorists. According to the Justice Department: “From April 24, 2003 (the date of Chiquita’s initial disclosure to the Justice Department) through February 4, 2004, Chiquita made 20 payments to the AUC totaling over $300,000.” And yet, despite knowingly and repeatedly breaking the law, not a single Chiquita official was prosecuted or jailed. The $25 million criminal fine was written off as the cost of doing business. And, stunningly, the plea agreement forged by Holder and the DOJ succeeded in protecting the identities of the executives involved in the bloody terrorist payoffs.
Putting on the best terrorist defense is a Covington & Burling specialty. Among the firm’s other celebrity terrorist clients: 17 Yemenis held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The law firm employed dozens of radical attorneys such as David Remes and Marc Falkoff to provide the enemy combatants with more than 3,000 hours of pro bono representation. Covington & Burling co-authored one of three petitioners’ briefs filed in the Boumediene v. Bush detainee case, and secured victories for several other Gitmo enemy combatants in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Falkoff went on to publish a book of poetry, Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak, which he dedicated to the suspected terrorists: “For my friends inside the wire, Mahmoad, Majid, Yasein, Saeed, Abdulsalam, Mohammed, Adnan, Jamal, Othman, Adil, Mohamed, Abdulmalik, Areef, Adeq, Farouk, Salman, and Makhtar. Inshallah, we will next meet over coffee in your homes in Yemen.”

How sweet. One of the class of Yemeni Gitmo detainees that Falkoff described as “gentle, thoughtful young men” was released in 2005—only to blow himself up (gently and thoughtfully, of course) in a truck bombing in Mosul, Iraq, in 2008, killing 13 soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army division and seriously wounding 42 others.

The Senate shrugged at the glaring conflict of interest Attorney General Holder presents in handling Gitmo legal issues. Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Cucullu, author of Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay, makes the ethical problem plain:

As a senior partner, he undoubtedly had significant input on what kind of charity cases his firm picked up. He surely knew that dozens of lawyers from his firm were among the 500-plus civilian lawyers representing the 244 or so remaining detainees (on top of military-court-appointed defenders). Even now, his Covington colleagues continue to allege rampant torture at Gitmo. They’re fighting hard to have detainees tried through the US court system—essentially given the same rights as US citizens. And their arguments and plans hinge largely on having Holder issue a bad report card.

Recent polls indicate that at least half of Americans disagree with affording the detainees legal rights on US soil. Will they have the same access to Holder’s ears as his former colleagues do?

The White House says that Holder will formally recuse himself from charging decisions and prosecutions affecting any of Covington & Burling’s clients, but he will have unfettered oversight over Obama’s order to close the facility within a year. Moreover, there’s a gaping loophole in the Obama administration ethics rules that will allow Holder to participate in decision-making despite his conflicts of interests if he can show that his participation in a matter outweighs an appearance or actual conflict of interest. If you think Holder’s professional connections won’t have any influence on the outcome of these decisions, I have a Colombian banana farm to sell you.

Among the other eyebrow-raising cases Holder took on at Covington & Burling:

*Signing up to assist then Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in a casino license battle in 2004. The state’s gaming board had approved the construction of a disputed casino, overruling the recommendation of the board’s staff. Rank-and-file investigators had qualms over the casino developer’s alleged mob ties and over Blago’s appointment of a crony fund-raiser to oversee the state’s deal-making with the casino. The fund-raiser, Christopher Kelly, turned out to be a business partner of convicted Obama/Blago confidante and real estate mogul Tony Rezko. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Rezko “held an option to lease a hotel site next to the proposed casino site.” Holder held a public press conference with Blago to announce his role as a special “independent” investigator into the matter. The dog-and-pony show produced no report, but Holder and his law firm had contracted to conduct the probe for a tidy $300,000. Somehow, the foul-smelling case slipped Holder’s mind; he failed to mention it in his Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.

*Forging a massive settlement for Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, with the state of West Virginia in 2004. The state accused the drugmaker of deceptively marking OxyContin as safe and effective for minor pain. The firm’s marketing practices, the state maintained, led to West Virginia users becoming addicted to the drug. State attorney general Darrell McGraw Jr., a Democrat, filed suit. In an article entitled, “Why Eric Holder Represents What’s Wrong with Washington,” liberal columnist David Corn described Holder’s pivotal role in negotiating a settlement that spared executives a criminal trial:

This suit was a serious threat to the drugmaker, and it eventually called in Holder. And in November 2004, the morning that the case was about to go to trial, Holder helped negotiate a settlement. Working in the judge’s chambers in West Virginia, he forged an agreement under which the firm would have to pay $10 million over four years into drug abuse and education programs in West Virginia. Purdue would not have to admit any wrongdoing. (Days earlier, the firm had offered the state about $2 million to settle; McGraw had turned down Purdue and had not bothered to produce a counter-offer.)

The settlement was a big win for the company. Ten million dollars was a piddling amount compared to what Purdue was reaping from OxyContin sales. More important, this settlement helped keep the lid on the firm’s criminal activities. There would be no trial—and no public release of documents or testimony about the company’s actions, which were already being investigated by federal prosecutors. In late 2002, the feds had begun an investigation of Purdue, with the first of what would be nearly 600 subpoenas for corporate records related to the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of OxyContin.

In May 2007, the company and its three top executives pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraudulently marketing OxyContin by claiming it was less addictive, less subject to abuse, and less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms. Purdue and the three execs agreed to pay fines of $634.5 million.

*Brokering a settlement for pharmaceutical kingpin Merck, which had been besieged by multiple state lawsuits over Medicaid overbilling and doctor kickbacks involving four popular drugs. Merck admitted no wrongdoing, paying $671 million to make whistleblowers, state probes over their pricing, and bribery charges go away.

In his tony Manhattan offices, Holder did what any corporate lawyer worth his multi-million-dollar salary and benefits package would do: Represent his clients to the best of his ability. But in his first tours of duty as a government lawyer, Holder repeatedly put politics above the national interest. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Holder’s infamous roles in issuing pardons to Clinton crony Marc Rich and clemency to convicted bank robbers and bombers of the Puerto Rican terrorist group, FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional), received the most heat. In both cases, the government servant played a far more active role in intervening than he ever cared to admit.

The Los Angeles Times added new information to the terrorist clemency case by disclosing before the hearing that Holder had “repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to” the FALN commutations. Holder, the paper determined from whistleblower interviews and documents, “played an active role in changing the position of the Justice Department” to facilitate President Clinton’s commutations for 16 violent terrorists from the group. The FALN had waged a bloody bombing campaign that maimed dozens of New York City police officers and resulted in the deaths or injuries of scores of other victims. Holder forged ahead with his meddling on behalf of the president against the protests of the FBI, NYPD, federal prosecutors, and victims.

The nation’s top law enforcer did not pay the bombing victims or their families the courtesy of notifying them of the decision to release the unrepentant terrorists until after the clemencies were publicized in the media.

As for the Marc Rich case, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy accurately described it as “one of the most disgraceful chapters in the history of the Justice Department.” Congressional investigators called it “unconscionable.” Fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich, on the run for evading nearly $50 million in taxes, found the best lawyer he could buy: former Democratic White House counsel and intimate friend of Eric Holder, Jack Quinn. Despite his denials, memos showed Holder knew of the pardon in advance, failed to notify prosecutors and the FBI that it was coming, “and even gave Quinn public-relations advice on getting out the ‘legal merits of the case.’” The evidence clearly shows Holder and Quinn violated department protocols and colluded to keep the Justice Department out of the pardon deal.

Appearing contrite at his Senate confirmation hearing, Holder confessed:

I’ve accepted the responsibility of making those mistakes. I’ve never tried to hide. I’ve never tried to blame anybody else.

What I’ve always said was that, given my—given the opportunity to do it differently, I certainly would have.

I should have made sure that everybody, all the prosecutors in that case, were informed of what was going on. I made assumptions that turned out not to be true. I should have not spoken to the White House and expressed an opinion without knowing all of the facts with regard to that matter.

That was and remains the most intense, most searing experience I’ve ever had as a lawyer. There were questions raised about me that I was not used to hearing.

I’ve learned from that experience. I think that, as perverse as this might sound, I will be a better attorney general, should I be confirmed, having had the Mark Rich experience.

…It was something that I think is not typical of the way in which I’ve conducted myself as a careful, thoughtful lawyer. As I said, it is something where I made mistakes, and I learned from those mistakes.

Washington, alas, was determined to repeat the mistakes of the past. The Senate, including 19 Republicans, confirmed Holder on February 2, 2009.

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