Watchdog Blog

Archive for the 'War on Terror' Category

Gilbert Cranberg: No Clues from Cheney on Operation Enduring Mystery

Iraq looks more and more like the proverbial tar baby the U.S. can’t get off its hands. The Obama administration had visualized getting rid of the sticky mess by year end but now several thousand American troops may well be slated for duty there beyond the planned departure date. Speaking of the embarrassment that is [...]

Herb Strentz: At Henrik Ibsens Gate, Thinking of 9/11

If you want still another vignette or perspective on 9/11, I’d suggest a stroll down Henrik Ibsens gate in Oslo, Norway. If the palace grounds are on your right, then the U.S. embassy will be on your left, literally just across the street. The palace and its grounds are tranquil, idyllic and wide open, watched [...]

Barry Sussman: Reporting Is Getting Better and Worse at the Same Time

I got a few questions from a Norwegian journalist asking my reflections on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The questions tend to be a little lofty; as the writer, Tore Saevik, noted, “It is possible to write books about several of them.” But they all are good questions, so I took a shot at them. [...]

Herb Strentz: FOIA for Bin Laden Photos? Get Over It.

Segments of the freedom-of-information community are critical of President Obama for not releasing what are acknowledged to be gruesome photos of the corpse of Osama bin Laden. The public, the argument goes, under the federal FOI Act has a “right to know” about the man’s shattered skull, and the rest of the remains, too. The [...]

Barry Sussman: Justice Department Shows Its Mettle, Indicts Clemens

I got this note from a friend and colleague a little while after Roger Clemens was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 19th: “And meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, CIA officials and others who lied to Congress in sworn testimony about Iraq go free. If we can ‘look forward, not backward’ on torture, [...]

George Lardner Jr.: The Supreme Court, Protecting Itself from…From What, Exactly? From Protesters?

The Supreme Court has now decided to close its front doors to the public, citing security reasons. The decision reflects the unfortunate stranglehold that the national security bureaucracy has on the country, a stranglehold that protects no one and nothing beyond the billions of dollars it costs the taxpayers to endure its demands. Remember, for [...]

Dan Froomkin: Fool Me Over and Over and Over Again

Our elite media has been repeatedly suckered into trumpeting glaringly unsupported assertions about the number of Guantanamo detainees that have “returned” to the battlefield. This was quite a week for it. The most blatant and distressing previous object lesson came early last summer, when New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt appropriately spanked reporter Elisabeth [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: An X-Rated Security Threat

Richard Reid, the Briton who attempted in 2001 to blow up an American airliner with explosives packed in his shoes was quickly dubbed the “shoe bomber” by the press. No one to my knowledge has referred to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as the “crotch bomber” for his attempt to destroy a plane with explosives concealed in [...]

George Lardner Jr.: Wasteful Security

Hooray for the New York Times for emphasizing the central lesson of the near disaster on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit when alert passengers and crew members halted a terrorist who was trying to blow up the plane. The billions of dollars spent by the people who profess to be protecting our security had [...]

Dan Froomkin: A One-Man Destroyer of Groupthink

Chas Freeman’s selection to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council (first reported by Laura Rozen of is notable not just for his surprising (and, to some, disturbing) even-handedness about the Middle East. The man is one of a rare breed: He is a Washington insider, and yet he is also a ferociously independent [...]