Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman, a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, is a senior reporter for The Washington Independent.

Recent Articles

CATASTROPHE KEEPS THEM TOGETHER.

CATASTROPHE KEEPS THEM TOGETHER. Never let it be said that CIA Director Michael Hayden isn't shrewd. Knowing that media coverage of yesterday's Senate testimony will focus overwhelmingly on General John Abizaid's call for eternal war in Iraq, he discreetly dropped this bombshell about al-Qaeda:

YOO TWO: IN THE NAME OF LOVE.

YOO TWO: IN THE NAME OF LOVE. The ACLU is trying to get its hands on something we lowly national-security reporters have tried for years to obtain. That's something known colloquially as Yoo Two -- Yoo as in John Yoo, the torturer from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in the first Bush administration. And Two as in a second memo in or around August of 2002 about torture.

BARBARIANS AT THE GATES.

BARBARIANS AT THE GATES. If Walter Pincus is correct that Defense Secretary-designee Bob Gates will scale back Donald Rumsfeld's expansion of the Pentagon's role in intelligence, we should let out a resounding cheer. Rumsfeld pushed the Pentagon way, way out into the blue yonder of intelligence work -- both with the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, designed to obstruct CIA analysis on Iraq and al-Qaeda, and in the field of human intelligence collection.

VIEW ON GATES FROM INSIDE THE CIA.

VIEW ON GATES FROM INSIDE THE CIA. I just talked with someone we'll call a former senior intelligence official about the end of Rummy and the era of Bob Gates at the Pentagon. He's not very keen. Asked about Gates's rocky relationship with Dick Cheney, the ex-official comments, "That's for sure, with Cheney. Each time you think Bush realizes that Cheney doesn't give him the best advice, he just takes it. It's hard to see anyone defeating Cheney for Bush's mind."

So what does that mean for changing course? Not going to happen. "The hope what's going to happen with Congress -- gridlock, and that's not such a bad thing. You know, when you're in a hole, stop digging."

Imperial Hubris

And so ends the long, hard slog that was the Donald Rumsfeld Pentagon. Surely unwilling to submit to the endless nightmare posed by two years' worth of Senate and House inquiries into his tenure as defense secretary, Rumsfeld did what he -- and President Bush -- promised he wouldn't, and abandoned his post. Immediately, the cheers rang out. Bush, echoing the departing secretary, talked about "fresh eyes" for the war in Iraq. Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi intoned, "I think it will give a fresh start to finding a solution to Iraq rather than staying the course." Her colleagues, possible Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, architect of the Dems' Senate rout, agreed.

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