President Bush says there is no immediately plan for troop withdrawal and he has clearly stated the White House has a "definite plan" to bring democracy to Iraq prior to withdrawing troops.
The only evidence to date to tip the White House hand is President Bush's idea of some troop withdrawal by year-end 2006, should Iraq stabilize further.
The United Nations had an idea...close the United States' Guantanamo Bay prison. Following its own human rights investigation at Guantanamo Bay (although the panel was not given access to the prison) the United Nations says detainees have not been charged with a crime and have been held since early 2002. In some cases detainees have been tortured the report said. The high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour, said the best alternative for the United States was to close down Guantanamo facility. Several hours after the report was made public, secretary general Kofi Annan said the United States should close the prison as soon as possible.
The White House has no intention of closing Guantanamo Bay, said President Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan, as through executive order signed by President Bush in October 2001, the United States may hold prisoners without cause in the name of the war on terrorism. Due to the war on terrorism the White House and President Bush are immune to following international law during a time of war.
However, the White House clearly states there has been no prisioner abuse since the Pentagon investigated the claims in 2004 and corrected all measures that appeared to be against military policy and standards.
Guantanamo Bay continues to operate and it is estimated that between 400 and 500 detainees reside at the facility.
It sounds like Lewis Scooter Libby had an idea too...His new testimony reveals that he was authorized to disclose "sensitive information;" mainly the disclosure of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press. Libby was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction, and lying to the FBI about how he discovered Plame's identity. Plame's name appeared in the press following the release of her husband's evidence that Iraq held no weapons of mass destruction prior to the United States' invasion of Iraq.
Vice president Richard Cheney, Libby's former boss, now disclosed that he, as vice president, has the authorization to declassify sensitive information on behalf of the White House. It was the first such time Cheney spoke about the measure, but as he may be called as a witness to Libby's trial he could offer no specific information on the case. It was also the first time Cheney discussed his ability to turn White House classified documents into public information.
Lewis' case continues, but the new strategy may be to simply have made Plame's identity declassified, in which there is no case.
Federal Judge Henry Kennedy had an idea...the White House must release documents related to its surveillance program, or at least tell the courts what information it is withholding and why. The White House has said it is conducting a wide-ranging surveillance and wiretapping program intended to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists living inside the United States. President Bush defends his program as part of his sweeping executive orders signed post 9-11 in preparation of the war on terrorism.
President Bush said he does not need Congress' approval for wiretapping, which has been reported in the press as early as 2003 when it was discovered the CIA monitored phone conversations from the United Nations building in New York.
The president's senior advisor, Karl Rove, said, "The purpose of the terrorist-surveillance program is to protect lives. The president's actions were legal and fully consistent with the 4th Amendment and the protection of our civil liberties under the constitution."
Senate intelligence chair, Pat Roberts (R-KS) said the White House agrees to give his committee more information in the future and that he believes "such an investigation at this point would be detrimental to this highly classified program and efforts to reach some accommodation with the administration."
Surveillance is ongoing and the extent to which it is used (or misused) is not clear. Recent polls suggest growing support from the voting public on White House eavesdropping. Those in favor of surveillance is slightly more than half, which is 10 percentage points higher than when President Bush explained the program in his State of the Union.
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