May 21st, 2009
11:35 AM ET
5 years ago

Specter calls for transcripts of CIA congressional briefings

Specter called for CIA briefing transcripts Thursday.
Specter called for CIA briefing transcripts Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter is backing up his new party in the dispute between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the CIA, following up tough comments about the agency's "bad record" on honesty with a call for official transcripts of their congressional briefings to head off future controversies.

The Pennsylvania senator sent letters Thursday to CIA Director Leon Panetta and White House Counsel Greg Craig, as well as the Intelligence Committee’s Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Silvestre Reyes, and GOP Sen. Judd Gregg and Pete Hoekstra, with remarks panning the agency's record on congressional briefing accounts.

"From my experience on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which I chaired in the 104th Congress, I found there were frequent disputes as to whether the CIA did the requisite briefings; and, if they did, whether the briefing was adequate. While those disputes did not reach the level of controversy involving Speaker Pelosi and the CIA today, they were significant," the Republican-turned-Democrat said in excerpts of the letters released by his office Thursday.

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Filed under: Arlen Specter • CIA • Nancy Pelosi
May 21st, 2009
11:24 AM ET
5 years ago

Cheney audience watches Obama on CNN.com/live

An audience awaiting Dick Cheney speak watched President Obama's speech on CNN.com/live.
An audience awaiting Dick Cheney speak watched President Obama's speech on CNN.com/live.

(CNN) – Moments before Dick Cheney took the stage, his audience seemed to belong to President Obama.

The conservative crowd waiting to hear from the vice president Thursday morning at the American Enterprise Institute gave its attention in the meantime to the CNN.com/Live broadcast of Obama's National Archives address.


Filed under: Dick Cheney
May 21st, 2009
10:39 AM ET
5 years ago

Cheney defends Bush record, rips Obama


WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the Bush administration's national security record Thursday, and argued that President Barack Obama is responsible for weakening the country's ability to combat al Qaeda and other extremists.

Cheney argued that the Bush administration "didn't invent" the authority exercised in the war against al Qaeda and others. He said it was clearly granted by the Constitution and legislation passed by Congress after the September 11 attacks.

He also said the use of controversial "enhanced interrogation techniques" was a success that saved thousands of lives.

At the same time, Cheney argued that Obama's decision to release Bush-era interrogation memos was a reckless and unfair distraction in the fight against extremists.

Full text of Cheney speech after the jump

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Filed under: Dick Cheney
May 21st, 2009
10:33 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama talks security, hits Bush administration


(CNN) - President Obama said Thursday that the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has made America less safe.

"The record is clear: rather than keep us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security," he said during an address on national security at the National Archives in Washington.

"It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it."

He said that the facility resulted in the creation of more terrorists than it detained, and he said that over the last seven years, the system of military commissions at Guantanamo succeeded in convicting "a grand total of three suspected terrorists."

Full story

Full remarks after the jump

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Filed under: President Obama
May 21st, 2009
10:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Durbin says U.S. can safely house detainees

(CNN) - Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told CNN's John Roberts Thursday he believes the U.S. can safely house terror detainees.


Filed under: Dick Durbin
May 21st, 2009
10:00 AM ET
5 years ago

House Republicans try to turn up the heat on Pelosi

Republicans say they will introduce a resolution calling for an investigation into Pelosi.
Republicans say they will introduce a resolution calling for an investigation into Pelosi.

(CNN) - A member of the House Republican Conference will offer a resolution on the House floor Thursday calling for a bipartisan investigation into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA misled her on the use of waterboarding, two Republican sources tell CNN.

"The speaker has had a full week now to either produce the evidence or retract and apologize, and she's done neither," a senior Republican aide told CNN. "There is no choice now. A bipartisan investigation is needed to get to the facts."

Earlier: Gingrich says time for Pelosi to resign

Since House Republicans don't have the votes, this resolution will likely be voted down by House Democrats. Once the resolution is offered, the House has two legislative days to take it up, and a vote could be pushed until after the Memorial Day break.


Filed under: Nancy Pelosi
May 21st, 2009
09:12 AM ET
5 years ago

Where should detainees go?

(CNN) - Members of Congress are saying no to Guantanamo detainees in their backyards, CNN's Jim Acosta reports.


Filed under: Uncategorized
May 21st, 2009
08:26 AM ET
5 years ago

Cheney to take on Obama security stance in speech

 Cheney is set to take swipes at Obama over GITMO Thursday.
Cheney is set to take swipes at Obama over GITMO Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney Thursday will critique President Barack Obama's national security decisions and philosophy and defend the moves of the Bush administration, two of his advisers told CNN.

He will be delivering the address at the American Enterprise Institute at nearly the same time that Obama makes what his administration says is a major address on national security. In his speech, the president will rally support for his plan to shut down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"When President Obama makes wise decisions ... he deserves our support," Cheney will say, according to an excerpt of his speech. "And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer."

One adviser said the former vice president will "challenge the Obama administration's rationale for closing Guantanamo Bay" and argue that "our values are not abrogated by prioritizing security for innocents over rights for terrorists."

Related: Obama to lay framework for closing Gitmo

The adviser - who worked on the speech - said Cheney "will dispute the assertion" that targeting militants backfired and "was a recruitment tool" for terror groups.

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Filed under: Dick Cheney
May 21st, 2009
05:09 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama chats with Shuttle crew

ALT TEXT

The president spoke Wednesday with the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis after the astronauts repaired the Hubble Telescope during several spacewalks. (Photo Credit: NASA)

(CNN) - President Barack Obama beamed up a special message to the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on Wednesday, two days before the astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth.

"I wanted to tell you personally how proud I am," Obama said in a brief phone chat. "I think you're just providing a wonderful example of the kind of commitment to exploration that represents America."

Atlantis launched May 11 for NASA's fifth and final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope. It was released back into orbit Tuesday morning.

In space for 19 years, the Hubble can capture clear images that telescopes on Earth cannot, partly because it does not have to gaze through murky atmosphere.

Obama said it was amazing to watch the astronauts do their work and called the Hubble "an iconic symbol of the quest for knowledge."

"By allowing Hubble to continue on its journey, you've really allowed all of us to continue on our journey for growth and exploration."
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Filed under: President Obama
May 21st, 2009
04:56 AM ET
3 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: May 21, 2009

ALT TEXT

The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL

For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.

CNN: Obama to discuss plan for closing Guantanamo Bay prison
President Obama will address the future of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Thursday morning in a speech at Georgetown University.

CNN: Henry: Obama tries to get back on offense
When the legendary journalist Helen Thomas was poking White House spokesman Robert Gibbs in the briefing room earlier this week, the topic was gun control, as she demanded in her over-the-top style to know why President Obama backs away from everything these days.

CNN: GOP congressman asks for probe of Pelosi-CIA charge
A Republican congressman Wednesday asked the head of the FBI to investigate allegations that the CIA lied to Congress about the Bush administration's use of "alternative" interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists.

CNN: Gitmo detainee to face trial in New York
A terror suspect detained at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be transported to the United States for trial in a civilian court, two Obama administration officials said.

CNN: Update: A Kennedy expected to seek Obama's Senate seat
Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, is taking steps to run for Senate and could announce his candidacy as early as next week, a source close to the Kennedy family told CNN Wednesday.

CNN: New Hampshire House opposes governor on same-sex marriage
New Hampshire's move to become the most recent state to legalize same-sex marriage hit a bump Wednesday, after the state House of Representatives failed to agree to changes made by the governor.

Bloomberg: Fed Officials Unconvinced Economy’s ‘Stabilization’ to Persist
Federal Reserve officials, who see possible signs of “stabilization” in the U.S. economy, signaled they’re not convinced those improvements will persist.

NYT: Obama Is Said to Consider Preventive Detention Plan
President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a “preventive detention” system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said.

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Filed under: Political Hot Topics
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