Michael Isikoff

A WICKED CURVEBALL

When a Senate panel released a report last year on the disastrously bad intelligence on Iraq, it included an intriguing e-mail that showed how intensely the administration was looking for damning evidence against Saddam.

INTELLIGENCE: A WARNING TO CHENEY ABOUT TERROR--IN 1976

A White House aide warns of growing terror threats and urges the president to act. "It is impossible," the aide writes in a memo, "to rule out the possibility of a major terrorist attack in the United States." It could have been written during the early Bush administration when counterterror adviser Richard Clarke was warning that Al Qaeda was poised to strike.

MONEY: SO WHERE DID IT GO?

The FBI is trying to trace what happened to $2.5 million in payments to a conservative Washington think tank that were routed to accounts controlled by two lobbyists with close ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, NEWSWEEK has learned.

A TANGLED WEB

The confession came quickly, and it sounded damning. After a few days of allegedly rough interrogation, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali--a soft-spoken high-school valedictorian from the Washington, D.C., suburbs--either cracked or simply told his questioners what they wanted to hear.

Terror Watch: Business As Usual?

Only weeks before Halliburton made headlines by announcing it was pulling out of Iran--a nation George W. Bush has labeled part of the "axis of evil"--the Texas-based oil services firm quietly signed a major new business deal to help develop Tehran's natural gas fields.

LOG OFF, RESTART

FBI Director Robert Mueller will have to tell frustrated senators next week what's gone wrong with the bureau's computer overhaul. The project--known as Virtual Case File--has been central to Mueller's plans to modernize the bureau's computer capabilities (at the time of 9/11, agents couldn't even do Google searches).

Terror Watch: Homeland Security Nominee to 'Come Out Swinging'

While U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael Chertoff skillfully sailed through his confirmation hearings today to be the new secretary of Homeland Security, he is almost certain to face much choppier waters very soon--when he takes over an unwieldy department starved for funds and riddled by bureaucratic turf battles that only seem to be escalating by the day.Homeland Security's internal battles have gotten so great, sources tell NEWSWEEK, that the department had to hire an outside accounting...

Terror Watch: Unanswered Questions

The White House would like to chalk it up to partisan politics. But the unexpectedly narrow, 10-8 party-line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm Alberto Gonzales as attorney general was really the product of deep-seated frustration among moderate Democrats over the White House counsel's refusal to answer key questions about his role in shaping legal policies for combating terrorism.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Ibraham Al Qosi's stories seemed fairly outlandish when they first surfaced last fall. In a lawsuit, Al Qosi, a Sudanese accountant apprehended after 9/11 on suspicions of ties to Al Qaeda, charged that he and other detainees at Guantanamo Bay had been subjected to bizarre forms of humiliation and abuse by U.S. military inquisitors.

2001 Memo Reveals Push for Broader Presidential Powers

Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales' office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force "preemptively" against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them--regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon.The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively "no limits" on the president's authority to wage...

ACCOUNTABILITY: THE CIA'S SECRET

The CIA is keeping the lid on a hard-hitting report about agency officials who might be held accountable for 9/11 intel failures. The report identifies a host of current and former officials who could be candidates for possible disciplinary procedures imposed by a special CIA Accountability Board, sources familiar with the document tell NEWSWEEK.

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