Michael Isikoff

New Justice Case - Terror Leader Returns from the Dead

The U.S. may be intensifying its Predator missile campaign against Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, as Declassified reported this morning.But a new Justice Department criminal case announced today raises a more fundamental question: are the missile strikes as effective as U.S. government officials would like to believe?

DEA Agents Die in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash

Three U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents were killed on a U.S. military helicopter that crashed in western Afghanistan yesterday during a counternarcotics mission, according to two law-enforcement sources who asked not to be identified.

Feds' Plan to Prosecute 25 Guantanamo Detainees in US Courts Offers Catharsis – and Security Challenges.

The Obama administration is developing plans to ship more than two dozen accused terrorists from Guantanamo to the United States so they can be placed on trial in four federal courts, according to two knowledgeable government officials, who asked not be be identified talking about the sensitive matter.    A Justice Department spokesman official emphasized there have been no final decisions about the fate of the detainees.

Keep America Safe: A Family Affair

It's no coincidence that just as Dick Cheney began his speech Wednesday night slamming President Obama for "dithering" on Afghanistan, a link to his talk shot up on the Web site of a new political advocacy group—the one being run by his daughter, Liz Cheney.  The tie-in illustrates how the two Cheneys are working together to tear down Obama's standing on national-security issues—a goal they view as critical to vindicating the policies of the Bush-Cheney years.

Feds Crack Down on 'Robin Hood' Drug Cartel

Attorney General Eric Holder announced this morning a massive nationwide crackdown against members of a bizarre Mexican drug cartel that officials say operates like a "quasi-religious" cult.

Will the 'Merchant of Death' Walk?

U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly nervous that notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout may soon be released from a Thai jail due in part to a pressure campaign by the Russian government aimed at blocking his extradition to the U.S. to stand trial on weapons-trafficking charges.

Firm With Obama Ties Cashes in Overseas

After helping to elect Barack Obama, a group of the president's top campaign strategists moved quickly last spring to capitalize on their success as the new masters of the political universe: they flew off to Kiev, capital of the Ukraine, to sign a lucrative contract to advise Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on her race for that country's presidency.The arrangement between AKPD Media, the powerhouse political consulting firm founded by senior White House aide David Axelrod (who no longer works...

State Department Backs Off Grants to Kaddafi's Kids

UPDATE, 8:30 PM: After getting complaints from Congress─and an inquiry from NEWSWEEK─the State Department backed away Thursday from awarding foreign-aid funds to two foundations headed by the children of Libyan dictator Muammar Kaddafi.

Critics Unimpressed With Holder's New State-Secrets Policy

Attorney General Eric Holder got plenty of attention Wednesday for announcing a new policy that is supposed to "strengthen public confidence" when the Justice Department invokes "state secrets" to shut down lawsuits alleging wrongdoing by the CIA or other U.S. government agencies.

Obama Avoiding Kaddafi

The U.S. government's policy of "normalizing" relations with Muammar Kaddafi─once touted as one of President Bush's major foreign-policy achievements and continued by President Obama─looked more embarrassing than ever on Wednesday when the erratic Libyan leader delivered a bizarre talk to the United Nations defending the Taliban and suggesting Israel was behind the assassination of President John F.

Rahm Needs a New Fact Checker

What happened to White House fact checkers? In today's Washington Post,President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, sought to portray the administration's current crop of conservative critics as the latest in a long line of reactionaries who have assailed Democratic presidents in the past. "Father Coughlin called Roosevelt a socialist, the John Birch Society was created in reaction to Kennedy, Clinton had [Richard Mellon] Scaife and others who went after him," Rahmbo is quoted as saying in...

Relations With Libya Continue to Thaw

The move to normalize relations between the U.S. and Libya accelerates next month when Muammar Kaddafi makes his first-ever trip to America to address the U.N.

Gitmo Woes

White House officials last week tried to downplay their decision to postpone by six months a key report on what to do with Guantánamo detainees when the facility is shut down.

Holder's Probe Has Its Critics

NEWSWEEK's disclosure that attorney General Eric Holder Jr. may appoint a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuse has revived tensions in the Obama administration about how to deal with Bush-era controversies.

Michael Isikoff's Questions for A.G. Eric Holder

Eric Holder's apparent movement toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate Bush-era interrogation techniques has raised quite a stir. NEWSWEEK's Michael Isikoff has some questions for the A.G.

White House Rankled by Recovery.gov

As the political battle over the Obama administration's stimulus plan escalates, Earl Devaney, the veteran inspector general charged with monitoring spending, is moving to establish his independence.

Obama: Not Keeping Promise of Transparency

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding "secret energy meetings" with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's "clean coal" policies.

A New Fight Over Nixon and Watergate

The war over Watergate never ends. The latest battle is over a decision by the Nixon Presidential Library to commemorate this week's 37th anniversary of the Watergate break-in by inviting an especially provocative speaker: John Dean, the former White House lawyer who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice after testifying about his boss's role in the cover-up.

US Attorney Fitzgerald Fights a Book Publication

Patrick Fitzgerald may be the most feared prosecutor in the country, but even as he's racked up headlines for big-name convictions (Scooter Libby) and indictments (Rod Blagojevich), the hard-charging U.S. attorney from Chicago has been waging a private crusade: trying to kill a book he believes maligns his reputation.

Chinese Uighurs and Obama's Gitmo Problem

As part of their efforts to shut down the Guantánamo Bay detention center, Obama Administration officials were poised in late April to make a bold, stealthy move: they instructed the U.S. Marshals Service to prepare an aircraft and a Special Ops group to fly two Chinese Uighurs, and up to five more on subsequent flights, from Gitmo to northern Virginia for resettlement.

Fallout From a Libyan Terrorist's Death

The Obama Administration is pressing the Libyan government to explain the reported prison death of a former CIA detainee—an incident that U.S. officials fear could reopen questions about the agency's "extraordinary rendition" program and further complicate the president's plans to shut down the Guantánamo Bay detention center.