Monday morning update

September 29, 2003

Pressed for time this morning. Here are some quick headlines.

This could turn out to be the scandal that finally brings down the house of Bush: administration officials leaking the identity of a CIA agent, breaking the law that Poppy Bush pushed to be eneacted!Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry

At CIA Director George J. Tenet’s request, the Justice Department is looking into an allegation that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer to a journalist, government sources said yesterday.

The operative’s identity was published in July after her husband, former U.S. ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, publicly challenged President Bush’s claim that Iraq had tried to buy “yellowcake” uranium ore from Africa for possible use in nuclear weapons. Bush later backed away from the claim.

The intentional disclosure of a covert operative’s identity is a violation of federal law.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is stealing for a rainy day, even as schools and healthcare are cut to the bone as politicians whine about a general lack of funds!Tampabay: Military stashes covert millions

The U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base inflated budget proposals at the Pentagon’s request last year to hide $20-million from Congress, according to documents obtained by the St. Petersburg Times.

Special Operations officials divided the money among six projects so the money would not attract attention. They also instructed their own budget analysts not to mention it during briefings with congressional aides, the documents show.

Not to be outdone, State Legislators have started their own secret funds:
State: Lawmakers secretly raise big bucks

If state Sen. Ken Pruitt was running for re-election, he could raise no more than $500 per check.

But in late June, a check for $50,000 was deposited into a fund Pruitt uses to hire consultants and curry favor with political allies as he maneuvers to become Senate president.

The Port St. Lucie Republican, one of the Senate’s most powerful leaders, kept the identity of the donor secret. The money was listed merely as membership “dues” to his fund, Floridians for a Brighter Future.

Finally, in a little noticed move, the Florida has bought out a slimy for-profit education outfit:Business: State fund buys school operator

Florida’s state pension fund is investing $174-million in a controversial for-profit school management company.

Through one of its money managers, Liberty Partners, the pension fund has agreed to buy out the shareholders of Edison Schools Inc., taking the New York company private.

In effect, the fund that provides for the retirement pensions of Florida teachers and other public employees will own a company that has played a leading role in privatizing school management.

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