"It's healthier for Congress to do oversight and not to have these private groups that aren't accountable and can blackmail the White House," says Bill Kristol this morning re 9/11 commission redux. "There's a kind of moral blackmail."
"Mr. [Richard] Ben-Veniste, who is scheduled to lead one of the public hearings next month, specifically on civil liberties issues, said prisoner abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at the American military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, demonstrated the need for the board," reports the NYT re something called the 9/11 Public Discourse Project. Slate calls it "the sequel to the best-selling 9/11 commission" -- blogged here early and often last year -- "whose new, privately funded, subpoena-less hearings begin today."
About those prisoner abuses at Gitmo, Mr. Ben-Veniste. As Marc of USS Neverdock points out [via InstaPundit], it seems Dan Rather's "fake but accurate" standard applies. First there was Newseek's admission it had no evidence of an alleged Koran flushing that some claimed set off murderous riots in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. Now the head of Amnesty "Gitmo=The Gulag" International tells FOXNews Sunday host Chris Wallace he made the whole thing up:
Wallace: Mr. Schulz, do you have any evidence whatsoever that he ever approved beating of prisoners, ever approved starving of prisoners, the kinds of things we normally think of as torture?
AI's Schulz: It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea . . .
"What’s a little irresponsible rhetoric with world-wide implications in the Muslim world when it gets AI some PR and donations?" comments Red of Scared Monkeys [again via InstaPundit], citing the last two sentences of an otherwise anti-Bush WaPo item by Dana Milbank, who snickers "Funny -- these officials [GW, Dick Cheney, Rummy] had a different view of Amnesty when it was criticizing other countries":
But Schulz isn't protesting too much. In the past week, traffic on Amnesty's Web site has gone up sixfold, donations have quintupled and new memberships have doubled.
Jamie "Conflict-of-Interest" Gorelick -- criticized for multiple conflicts of interest in her role as a 9/11 commissioner during election-year hysteria last year -- moderates the first hearing of the commission's reincarnation as the privately-funded 9/11 Public Discourse Project this morning.
We checked in with the 9/11 Public Discourse Project's first hearing this morning on C-Span 2. The old magic of election-year overreach and grandstanding is gone -- remember when Commission Chairman Thomas Kean told an inquisitive reporter to "stay out of our business"? But we note moderator Jamie Gorelick is still a bit defensive about her role, as Clinton's deputy attorney general, in erecting the pre-Patriot-Act "wall" that prevented communication between intelligence agents and criminal investigators, leading to authorities' failure to "connect the dots" that would have alerted them to 9/11:
Reporter: Has the wall itself actually been dismantled.
Dick Thornburgh, Former GHWB AG: The simple answer is yes, by the provisions of the Patriot Act and by steps that have been taken by both communities, but that doesn't mean there's a 100 per cent interface between intelligence and law enforcement.
Gorelick: The legal structure was only one part of the wall. You can bring down the legal structure, and the cultures remain, and that's where the work needs to be done.
Yup. Still a little touchy about those unfortunate mistakes that were made on Clinton's watch.