Spencer Ackerman

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

Recent Articles


THE KILLING CLOWNS, THE BLOOD MONEY MEN, ARE SHOOTING THOSE WASHINGTON BULLETS AGAIN. The Clash vote has determined at least one race tonight: Daniel Ortega has won in Nicaragua. This is going to be one awesome U.N. Security Council session. --Spencer Ackerman


RUMORS, RUMORS. Just got off the phone with a friend of mine who's running a Democratic campaign in heavily Republican Colorado Springs. He passes along this delicious tale about disgraced Reverend Ted Haggard , he of the methamphetamine-and-gay-hookers infamy. Apparently, the Sunday before the story broke, Haggard held a gigantic candidate forum. The good pastor was running around the church, meeting and greeting, irrepressibly enthusiastic. "This wasn't some I-feel-the-spirit corniness," my friend says. "I mean, he was bouncing off the walls, going, 'Are you pumped up? Are you ready for the election? Wooooo!!!' My first thought was, 'This guy is seriously on coke.'" When my friend read about Haggard's fondness for the methamphetamine, he thought, "Oh, ok, that makes some sense." Has anyone checked Haggard's office for signs of a laboratory? --Spencer Ackerman


NUCLEAR WINTER. Now that's the Republican Party I know and love! Hill GOPers and The Weekly Standard have long been on a crusade to declassify captured Iraqi documents in the hope that somewhere, there's a pony -- some sort of evidence of WMD programs -- amidst the manure. So now the Republicans in Congress, fresh from alleging on the basis of no evidence that the reason the CIA hasn't found WMD is because it's in league with al-Qaeda , lean on the intelligence community to do so, right before the election. What happens? But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq�s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb. Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. The IAEA is worried the documents, which go beyond...


FAILURE OF THE WILL. Via The Corner , conservative mil-pundit Ralph Peters has thrown in the towel on Iraq . What's revealing about the piece is that it's impossible to see why he bought into the Bush line in the first place. In a typical passage, Peters writes that "I believed that Arabs deserved a chance to build a rule-of-law democracy in the Middle East. Based upon firsthand experience, I was convinced that the Middle East was so politically, socially, morally and intellectually stagnant that we had to risk intervention -- or face generations of terrorism and tumult." OK, based on firsthand experience ? What in the world does this mean? And what sort of basis can it be for the most gigantic foreign-policy undertaking in a generation? More importantly, there's this: This chaos wasn't inevitable. While in Iraq late last winter, I remained soberly hopeful. Since then, the strength of will of our opponents -- their readiness to pay any price and go to any length to win -- has eclipsed...


WATERBOARDING: AS NEW ENGLAND AS YACHTING AND LOBSTER ROLLS! Jonah should be ashamed himself for posting this "without comment": I was recently reading Richard Norton Smith's biography of Col. Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune. It seems that when McCormick was a student at Groton he was subjected to the school tradition of "pumping." In this quaint ritual the initiate had his head held under a pump and water was forced over him until he felt as if he were drowning. Waterboarding isn't torture, its just part of the New England patrician experience. Does this idiot think that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was undergoing some Groton admissions process? I'm glad to hear he has absolutely no problem with the idea of, say, Iran or North Korea waterboarding captured American soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors or intelligence operatives. To speak to Ezra 's point, maybe if we had more bluebloods in uniform we could harden our counter-interrogation abilities. -- Spencer Ackerman