Michael Isikoff

Stories by Michael Isikoff

  • The Dirty War Moves South

    Mudslinging. Hit jobs. Dark arts. Whatever you want to call the practice, it's back for Campaign 2008, and it's only going to get worse.
  • Archivist Challenges Cheney

    A National Archives official reveals what the veep wanted to keep classified--and how he tried to challenge the rules
  • Son’s Past Could Come Back to Bite Huckabee

    As Mike Huckabee gains in the polls, the former Arkansas governor is finding that his record in office is getting more scrutiny. One issue likely to get attention is his handling of a sensitive family matter: allegations that one of his sons was involved in the hanging of a stray dog at a Boy Scout camp in 1998. The incident led to the dismissal of David Huckabee, then 17, from his job as a counselor at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, Ark. It also prompted the local prosecuting attorney— bombarded with complaints generated by a national animal-rights group—to write a letter to the Arkansas state police seeking help investigating whether David and another teenager had violated state animal-cruelty laws. The state police never granted the request, and no charges were ever filed. But John Bailey, then the director of Arkansas's state police, tells NEWSWEEK that Governor Huckabee's chief of staff and personal lawyer both leaned on him to write a letter officially denying the local prosecutor...
  • CIA Tape: What Will AG Do?

    How will the new attorney general respond to the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes?
  • The Qatari Connection

    Giuliani won't release a full list of his business interests. One now-public deal is of particular note.
  • Selective Memories

    Master spinners Bill Clinton and Karl Rove try to rewrite the roles they played in the run-up to war.
  • Wolfowitz Back in Govt.?

    The Bush administration has offered the former World Bank president a new public service position.
  • Dangerous Liaisons

    Nada Prouty worked for the FBI and CIA. Now there's worry she's not who they thought she was.
  • Interpol Raises The Stakes

    With little fanfare, tension between Iran and the Bush administration escalated earlier this month when Interpol, the world police organization, voted to issue "red notices" for the arrest of three Iranian government officials, including Deputy Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. The three men have been charged in Argentina with conspiring alongside notorious Hizbullah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh to blow up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in July 1994— an attack that killed 85 people. Iranian delegates challenged the vote by Interpol's General Assembly, labeling it a "Zionist plot." Nevertheless, it was a key victory for the United States and Argentina. As a result, customs and border officials around the world will be notified that the Iranians are wanted on terrorism charges. "These people know that if they leave Iran, they run the risk of being arrested," said Interpol secretary-general Ronald Noble, who called the action "probably the most contested red-notice dispute in...
  • An Ex-A.G. Avoids Caller ID

    The nation's telecommunications companies want immunity from lawsuits related to their participation in President Bush's warrantless-surveillance program, and to get it, they've been mounting an aggressive Capitol Hill lobbying campaign. Last week they played what they hoped would be their trump card: a letter backing their position from ex-attorney-general John Ashcroft and three other former top Justice officials. The quartet seemed to have special credibility on the issue: they had all once threatened to resign because of concerns about the top-secret spying program's legality. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch called the letter "very interesting," adding that the telecoms deserved protection from costly lawsuits for their service to the intelligence community.But the correspondence left out some pertinent details. Ashcroft's consulting firm, the Ashcroft Group, registered last year to lobby for AT&T—one of the three big telecoms, along with Verizon and Sprint, spear-heading the...
  • Campaign '08: Hillary's Paper Trail

    During last week's Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton faced tough questions about why so many of her papers at her husband's presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., are still secret—and her answers have only invited more questions. Clinton said during the debate that one chunk of records, from her days heading up her husband's health-care task force, had been released. "Now, all of the records, as far as I know, about what we did with health care, those are already available," she said. But National Archives documents obtained by NEWSWEEK and interviews with Archives officials indicate that the vast majority of the Clintons' health-care task-force records are still under lock and key in Little Rock—and might stay that way for some time.In a letter last year responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative group Judicial Watch, Melissa Walker, supervisory archivist of the Clinton Presidential Library, wrote that archivists had identified 3,022...
  • A Terrorist Walks Free

    Cole bomber Jamal al-Badawi already escaped from jail once. This time the government opened the door.
  • 'How Do You Fund a War, But Not the Casualties?’

    The secretary of Veterans Affairs presides over the U.S. government's second largest Cabinet department, after Defense. It is a politically sensitive job, especially of late, with new studies showing that the Bush administration has vastly underestimated the cost of providing health care to the more than 750,000 soldiers who have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But three months ago, former secretary James Nicholson resigned abruptly after a difficult tenure to "get back into the business world"—and tension among vets is rising because the White House still hasn't nominated a replacement. "I wish I could tell you what's going on," says David Gorman, executive director of Disabled American Veterans. "I think the administration thinks this is the least of their priorities."Some veterans advocates say the VA is in such disarray that the White House has been unable to find a top-notch candidate willing to take the job, much less go through a confirmation hearing. ...
  • D.C. Angers Turkey Over Armenia

    The House Committee vote to label Turkey's mass killing of Armenians during World War I as a "genocide" followed one of the most intense, and unusual, battles on Capitol Hill in recent memory. The measure passed despite a lobbying blitz from the Turkish government, which hired an army of K Street lobbyists to fight it. The team included former House majority leader Dick Gephardt, who as a congressman had cosponsored genocide resolutions but switched sides in March when his firm signed a $1.2 million-a-year contract to represent the Turks. The flip-flop resulted in some awkward phone calls for Gephardt. "Dick, if memory serves me, didn't you used to support this?" New York Rep. Eliot Engel says he told Gephardt during a call urging him to oppose the measure. (Gephardt did not return calls seeking comment.) President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also made late appeals, fearing that the move would endanger diplomatic relations as well as Turkish defense...
  • Terror Watch: Gonzales Lawyers Up

    Still under investigation by Congress and Justice Department lawyers who once worked for him, the former attorney general has turned to a leading Washington attorney to help him beat the rap.
  • Terror, Torture and a Veil of Secrecy

    Eager to show how aggressively it was revising U.S. counterterrorism policies, the White House released a statement two years ago touting its adoption of 37 of the 39 reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission. But one of the two it rejected—to little fanfare—was the commission's recommendation that the U.S. comply with Geneva Conventions standards requiring "humane treatment" of captured terrorists. That decision, based in part on advice from Justice Department lawyers, led to a quiet but intense battle within the Bush administration. "This was doing more damage to our foreign policy than any other issue," says Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission who later served as senior counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "This was not just a matter of public opinion. It was having an effect on the cooperation we were getting on counterterrorism operations worldwide." Key European allies, he says, were balking at working with the United States on terrorist...