Brian Beutler

Brian Beutler is the Washington, DC correspondent for The Media Consortium, a network of progressive media organizations, including The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Did Gonzales Lie to the Senate?

New testimony from FBI Director Robert Mueller suggests that the attorney general did not tell Congress the truth about warrantless wiretapping.

At a House hearing Thursday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller provided information that added to a growing body of evidence that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may have perjured himself before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mueller appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the FBI's role in a number of controversial issues, including its use of National Security Letters. During questioning by committee Democrats, Mueller provided revealing testimony about the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, which is at the center of the renewed scrutiny of Gonzales' recent congressional testimony. The disclosures began about an hour into the hearing, when Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) asked Mueller about his reported discomfort with the NSA's domestic eavesdropping program. "Can you confirm that you had some serious reservations about the warrantless wiretapping program?" he asked. Mueller replied tersely, "Yes." Two days...

Getting Warmer

On Inauguration Day 2007, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a "new America that is strong, secure, and a respected leader among the community of nations." "A new America that declares our energy independence, promotes domestic sources of renewable energy, and combats climate change" was her charge. Pelosi said these words on January 4 on the House floor. It was 65 degrees outside. The temperature that day may not be all that significant -- just another unusually warm afternoon during the latest in a series of unusually warm years and unusually warm winters. (December 2006 was the first in at least 129 years in which Manhattan -- and much of the eastern seaboard -- saw no snow.) But it was probably more than that. This was, after all, another El Niño season -- one replete with sufficiently bizarre weather phenomena that, to an unprecedented extent, the earth's climate became the subject of international concern. On January 17, the same day Nancy Pelosi announced the creation...

Sour Mashed

It took about three years of helping to turn Afghanistan into a failed state before Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Republican from Tennessee, experienced his first moment of clarity. “A political solution is how it's all going to be solved,” Frist told reporters at a U.S. military installation in the country on a visit a few weeks ago. “You need to bring [the Taliban] into a more transparent type of government.” The wisdom of Frist's advice can certainly be debated (can the Taliban be in Afghanistan what, in essence, Hezbollah is in Lebanon?). But it does at least present an extremely rare acknowledgment from a Bush Republican that diplomacy and negotiation are useful policy tools. Unfortunately, that's just about the only time in the last five years that Frist, who is leaving the Senate after this election, has worn even a mild hue of independence -- or displayed original, forward thinking, or the courage to take a heterodox stance on an issue simply...