Covering up: A tale of two autopsies

Reading Time: 4 minutes Here’s a fine piece of work that ran on the front page of The New York Times recently. The article, written by Ellen Barry, concerns a suspicious death, a cover-up and a commission’s inquiry into the death. See if you can guess where this incident took place (“spoiler” details have been removed from the excerpts Read More

WikiLeaks—Where’s the Oil?

Reading Time: 5 minutes By Charlotte Dennett Ever since the first WikiLeaks “dump” of classified documents began during the summer of this year, I’ve been looking for official documents that confirm what many serious — but often censored — journalists have known for a long time: that the war on terror is really just the latest stage in the Read More

One President's Secrets—And The Media That Keeps Them

Reading Time: 5 minutes There’s still a striking double standard between the way the big American media treat American officials and foreigners. Let’s compare Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former President George H.W. Bush. Have a look at a recent New York Times article about Putin’s response to leaked diplomatic cables that cast him in a negative light. Read More

Peculiar Posner

Reading Time: 3 minutes At first glance, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Here’s a complaint letter to the editor published in The New York Times, from a man representing the highly controversial brother of Afghanistan’s president Karzai—and the letter-writer’s name is Gerald Posner. Gerald Posner? Isn’t that the same name as the investigative journalist who resigned from Read More

General McChrystal’s New Job: Dig a Bit, Please

Reading Time: 4 minutes Did you happen to see how fast General Stanley McChrystal landed on his feet after President Obama fired him for insubordination? In a now-famous Rolling Stone article, the then-commander of US troops in Afghanistan expressed contempt for Obama and Vice President Biden, and a generally profane manner regarding just about everyone. But practically no time Read More

No Sunshine On Sunstein's Dark Spots

Reading Time: 3 minutes Recently a New York Times Magazine article profiled Cass Sunstein, the most powerful man in government you never heard of. And it absolutely buried the lead—the main reason to take an interest in this fellow. Under the decidedly benign headline “Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us,” we learn that Sunstein, a close friend of President Read More

Letters to Jackie, But What About Jack? How to Avoid the Heart of the JFK Assassination

Reading Time: 2 minutes When it comes to the biggest and most troubling stories of our time, corporate-owned and conventional public news outlets have a tendency to do an end run around the controversy and go straight to the most emotionally satisfying but least consequential aspects. Take the assassination of the 35th president. Recently, the media were full of Read More

A Chilean Chiller

Reading Time: 2 minutes Here in the United States, we are regularly warned by the media and the pundits not to subscribe to wacky “conspiracy theories.”  (For more on this theme, see my book, Family of Secrets.)  Even a suggestion that figures tied to our intelligence services might have participated in something seriously untoward on our own shores– is Read More

The Foreign-Policy Establishment

Reading Time: 3 minutes Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard University, recently wrote an interesting piece for Foreign Policy magazine about what topics are considered “taboo” among establishment foreign-policy wonks—a group that includes Walt himself as a member. The article is equally compelling for what it says as for what it implies about Walt, as Read More

A Drive for Unrestricted Executive Power

Reading Time: 2 minutes The New York Times comes out with a strong editorial, calling for an investigation into Bush administration security abuses, now that it is clear that the practices were not necessary to protect the national interest. We’ve known for years that the Bush administration ignored and broke the law repeatedly in the name of national security. Read More

Questions about Developing C.I.A. Story

Reading Time: 2 minutes An official story is forming about the secret program that the C.I.A. hid from Congress: the agency planned to organize assassination squads to target Al Qaeda terrorists around the world, according to a lead article in today’s New York Times. Although this account has gained widespread acceptance, there’s reason to be skeptical. As I noted Read More

The Mega-embassy That Wasn’t

Reading Time: 2 minutes Have you heard that Iran built a mega-embassy in Nicaragua? Word of this development has passed the lips of many a conservative anxious about Tehran’s intentions. As the Washington Post reports: It is not clear where the report of the embassy in Managua began. But in the past two years, it has made its way Read More

CIA Lies to Congress

Reading Time: 2 minutes [Update below—Ed.] During last spring’s controversy over whether congressional leaders were briefed by the CIA over its use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Russ called for an investigation into the congressional briefing process. It is now all the more clear that such an investigation is a must. Yesterday, CQPolitics reported that CIA Director Leon Panetta admitted Read More

UBS or Just Plain BS?

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Obama Justice Department has just floated a trial balloon to see if it can drop a legal effort to force the Swiss Bank UBS to disclose the names of 52,000 rich Americans suspected of using the bank to evade US taxes. Back in February, the Justice Department sued the bank in an effort to Read More

Hedge Funds Flex Lobbying Muscle

Reading Time: 1 minute The Wall Street Journal has a solid piece of reporting on the continued power of hedge funds to shape their own—and the nation’s—destiny. The lede says it all (subscription required): Many hedge funds were relieved last week when the Obama administration’s financial-overhaul plan included no big surprises or threats to the lucrative, secretive industry. It Read More