The 34 Scandals of George W. Bush

A couple of weeks ago Salon put out a piece entitled The 34 Scandals of George W. Bush. Since Salon is a subscriber only service and I am not yet willing to pay for it (read I am cheap) I had to wait for TruthOut to republish it. Now that I have read it I can say with confidence that any one of these scandals during the independent counsel era would have sunk Dubbya. Here is a taste of just a few:

Memogate: The Senate Computer Theft

The scandal: From 2001 to 2003, Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee illicitly accessed nearly 5,000 computer files containing confidential Democratic strategy memos about President Bush’s judicial nominees. The GOP used the memos to shape their own plans and leaked some to the media.

The problem: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act states it is illegal to obtain confidential information from a government computer.

The outcome: Unresolved. The Justice Department has assigned a prosecutor to the case. The staff member at the heart of the matter, Manuel Miranda, has attempted to brazen it out, filing suit in September 2004 against the DOJ to end the investigation. “A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich,” Miranda complained. Some jokes just write themselves.

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Dark Matter: The Energy Task Force

The scandal: A lawsuit has claimed it is illegal for Dick Cheney to keep the composition of his 2001 energy-policy task force secret. What’s the big deal? The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer has suggested an explosive aspect of the story, citing a National Security Council memo from February 2001, which “directed the N.S.C. staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the ‘melding’ of … ‘operational policies towards rogue states,’ such as Iraq, and ‘actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.'” In short, the task force’s activities could shed light on the administration’s pre-9/11 Iraq aims.

The problem: The Federal Advisory Committee Act says the government must disclose the work of groups that include non-federal employees; the suit claims energy industry executives were effectively task force members. Oh, and the Bush administration has portrayed the Iraq war as a response to 9/11, not something it was already considering.

The outcome: Unresolved. In June 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to an appellate court.

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The Pentagon-Israel Spy Case

The scandal: A Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, may have passed classified United States documents about Iran to Israel, possibly via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Washington lobbying group.

The problem: To do so could be espionage or could constitute the mishandling of classified documents.

The outcome: A grand jury is investigating. In December 2004, the FBI searched AIPAC’s offices. A Senate committee has also been investigating the apparently unauthorized activities of the Near East and South Asia Affairs group in the Pentagon, where Franklin works.

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