"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Larry Franklin Incrimnates AIPAC

Pentagon Analyst Admits Passing Info To Israel

A top Pentagon analyst pleaded guilty Wednesday to giving classified information to an Israeli diplomat and members of a pro-Israel lobbying group, saying he did it because he was frustrated with U.S. government policy.

Lawrence A. Franklin, 58, faces up to 25 years of prison, though he would likely serve less time.

Franklin said during the plea hearing that he was frustrated with a government policy that he did not specify, so he leaked classified information to two members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He said he hoped the two would provide the information to contacts of theirs on the National Security Council and possibly get the policy changed.


Senate Approves Detainee Treatment Rules

The Senate faces a confrontation with the House over a $440 billion military spending bill that, despite White House opposition, would impose restrictions on the treatment of terrorism suspects.

Delivering a rare wartime slap at Pentagon authority and President Bush, the GOP-controlled Senate voted 90-9 on Wednesday to back an amendment that would prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

Sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the proposal also would require all service members to follow procedures in the Army Field Manual when they detain and interrogate terrorism suspects.

"This amendment strives to establish uniform standards for the interrogation of prisoners and detainees as a means for helping ensure our service men and women are well trained, well briefed, knowledgeable of their legal, professional and moral duties and obligations," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

The Senate was expected to vote on the overall spending bill by week's end. The House-approved version of it does not include the detainee provision. It is unclear how much support the measure has in the GOP-run House.

However, Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, who supports the measure, could prove a powerful ally when House and Senate negotiators meet to reconcile differences in their bills.

And the House could face immense pressure after such a mandate by the Senate. All but nine Republicans voted in favor of the legislation.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said he was concerned that McCain's legislation could inadvertently endanger the lives of people who work in classified roles, and he hoped to fix the potential problems in the final bill.

"There are some changes that have to be made if we are going to be faithful to those people who live in the classified world," Stevens said.

The rebuke by members of the president's own party shows how reluctant some lawmakers are to give him unchecked wartime power as the conflict in Iraq drags on and U.S. casualties mount. It also comes as Bush seeks to show strength after weeks in which his approval rating plummeted as Americans questioned the direction of the war, the sluggish federal response to Hurricane Katrina and the surge in gas prices.

Bush administration officials say the legislation would limit the president's authority and flexibility in war, and advisers say they would recommend a veto of the spending bill if the prisoner provision is included in the version that goes to his desk.

However, Bush has never vetoed a bill, despite threats, and scrapping a measure that provides money for pay raises, benefits, equipment and weapons for troops while the country is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would open the president to a flood of criticism.

Still pending is an amendment by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that would distinguish between a "lawful enemy combatant" and an "unlawful enemy combatant," and put into law the procedures for prosecuting them at the Navy's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Lawmakers increasingly started calling for Congress to provide U.S. troops with clear standards for detaining, interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects after allegations surfaced of mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay and the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"We demanded intelligence without ever clearly telling our troops what was permitted and what was forbidden. And when things went wrong, we blamed them and we punished them," said McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Republican supporters say U.S. troops interrogating terrorism suspects do not know which techniques are allowed. "We have let the troops down when it comes to trying to give them guidance in very stressful situations," said Graham, an Air Force judge for 20 years.

But Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., called the legislation unnecessary. "We do not have ... systematic abuse of prisoners going on by our United States military," he said.

Thursday, October 6, 2005 6:01 AM EDT
The Associated Press

Former Marine Accused of Spying at the White House

He Worked for Vice Presidents Cheney and Gore

ABC NewsOfficials say Leandro Aragoncillo stole damaging dossiers on the president of the Philippines.

The FBI is investigating whether a former Marine took classified information from the White House when he worked in the vice president's office and passed it to Filipino officials, U.S. government officials say.

Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, a 21-year Marine veteran who became an FBI intelligence analyst last year, already has been charged in New Jersey with passing classified information about Filipino leaders to current and former officials of that nation.

Aragoncillo worked at the White House from 1999 to 2001 and was assigned to the vice president's office under both Al Gore and Dick Cheney.

White House officials said Wednesday they were aware of the investigation but would provide no details.

"It is an ongoing investigation and as such all questions should be directed to the FBI," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "We are cooperating fully with the investigation."

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the department would not comment on an ongoing investigation, first reported Wednesday by ABC News.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said investigators were examining all of Aragoncillo's postings where he had access to classified information, including the White House.

Aragoncillo was hired to work at the Army's Fort Monmouth, N.J., in July 2004 and began sending classified information and documents in January, according to an FBI complaint made public last month. The documents' contents have not been made public.

From May to Aug. 15 of this year, he printed or downloaded 101 classified documents relating to the Philippines, of which 37 were classified "secret," according to the criminal complaint.

He sent some of the material to Michael Ray Aquino, a former deputy director of the Philippines national police who lives in New York City, the complaint said.

Both men were arrested Sept. 10 at their homes and ordered held without bail following an appearance before a federal magistrate.

After his arrest, Aragoncillo "essentially admitted that he took classified information," Assistant U.S. Attorney Karl H. Buch told the magistrate.

Aragoncillo is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the Philippines. He had top secret clearance.

A Philippine opposition senator has acknowledged that he received information from Aquino. Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former national police chief under whom Aquino served, said he and "many others" received information passed by Aquino, but he played down the value of the reports, describing them as "shallow information."

Last month, Newark U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said there was no evidence that the administration of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was involved, but he would not say if the suspects were in contact with opposition factions. The Asian nation has been beset by persistent coup rumors since Arroyo was accused of rigging last year's elections.

Philippine Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales said his office wrote to the FBI to ask for copies of documents that will emerge in the investigation, but the U.S. government has not responded.

"A crime has been committed in the United States," he told The Associated Press in Manila. "Two Filipinos are involved and we don't know what classified documents they got, so we want to know because it might affect the national security situation in this country."

He said bits of information that can be gleaned from the charge sheet against Aragoncillo show there could be some information used to destabilize the government. He did not elaborate.

Gonzales said he was on the phone Thursday with Philippine Ambassador to Washington Albert del Rosario, who told him that the Philippine Embassy was keeping tabs on the Aragoncillo case.

10-06-05 05:37 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.