Federal Bureau of Investigation

Secrecy and Safety
August 13, 2008

Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice By Eric Lichtblau (Pantheon, 384 pp., $26.95) I. In May 1940, defying a congressional ban, President Franklin D. Roosevelt secretly authorized warrantless wiretapping inside the United States. His attorney general, Robert Jackson, had ordered a halt to the wiretapping a few months earlier, after the Supreme Court made clear that the Communications Act of 1934 prohibited it. But when J.

Pimp My Ride
December 31, 2007

On the road with Ron Paul's merry band of misfits and his hooker fan club.

A Confused Kingdom
September 28, 2007

Last week, I wrote about The Hunting Party, a film that tried (and failed) to integrate geopolitics into a black comedy. This week, The Kingdom attempts the only slightly less daunting task of integrating geopolitics into an action film. (Rather see a movie that leaves out the geopolitics altogether? I'm afraid you have a fewfrustratingmonths ahead of you.) That The Kingdom manages, to at least some degree, to accomplish the feat is a tribute to its director, Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Rundown), who guides the film with poise and intelligence.

Barbourism
September 24, 2007

If, several decades from now, anthropologists set out to locate the spiritual hub of early twenty-first-century Washington, they could do worse than the Caucus Room, that bunker of a steakhouse across from the FBI building downtown. Founded seven years ago by a bipartisan klatch of moneymen and influence-peddlers--among them, famed lobbyist Tommy Boggs, Bush-family henchman C. Boyden Gray, and Clinton fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe--the restaurant caters to the bland appetites and bulging egos of Washington's expense-account elite.

Earnest Goes to Washington
September 10, 2007

Chuck Grassley's suspicion of institutional power.

The End of the Journey
July 02, 2007

I. In late 1988, when I set out to write a life of Whittaker Chambers,the cold war had reached its ceremonial endgame: Mikhail Gorbachevacknowledging the autonomy of peoples long after they had liberatedthemselves, valiant students halting tank columns in TiananmenSquare. It was an impressive, if occasionally hollow, spectacle,and it inspired a chorus of sweeping pronouncements in the UnitedStates.

Progmation
August 14, 2006

I DEAD IN ATTIC By Chris Rose (Chris Rose Books, 158 pp., $13) BREACH OF FAITH: HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE NEAR DEATH OF A GREAT AMERICAN CITY By Jed Horne (Random House, 412 pp., $25.95) THE STORM By Ivor van Heerden and Mike Bryan (Viking, 308 pp., 25.95) THE GREAT DELUGE: HURRICANE KATRINA, NEW ORLEANS, AND THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST By Douglas Brinkley (William Morrow, 716 pp., $29.95) PATH OF DESTRUCTION: THE DEVASTATION OF NEW ORLEANS AND THE COMING AGE OF SUPERSTORMS By John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein (Little, Brown, 386 pp., $26) DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: A MEMOIR OF WAR, DISASTERS,

The politics of "24."
May 15, 2006

It's 11:20 p.m., and agent Jack Bauer has had a very long day. In the morning, he worked to rescue the secretary of defense and his daughter (who also happens to be Bauer's girlfriend) from a terrorist kidnapping and Web- telecast execution. The afternoon was mostly spent unraveling a plot to melt down all of the nation's 104 nuclear reactors simultaneously.

Is Al Jazeera the next PBS?
May 01, 2006

It took Dave Marash about four years as a Washington anchor to become disgusted with the pandering, the triviality, and the sensationalism of TV news. Marash was a paragon of seriousness, as his bearded chin and intense eyes announced to even casual viewers of WRC-TV, Washington's local NBC affiliate, and, by 1989, he was fed up.

Wire Trap
February 06, 2006

 THE REVELATION BY The New York Times that the National Security Agency (NSA) is conducting a secret program of electronic surveillance outside the framework of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has sparked a hot debate in the press and in the blogosphere. But there is something odd about the debate: It is aridly legal. Civil libertarians contend that the program is illegal, even unconstitutional; some want President Bush impeached for breaking the law. The administration and its defenders have responded that the program is perfectly legal; if it does violate FISA (the administr

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