You've come to an old part of SW Online. We're still moving this and other older stories into our new format. In the meanwhile, click here to go to the current home page.

Inside the System

October 22, 2004 | Page 4

Bugging the French

A BOOK published in France says that the U.S. government regularly monitored the phone calls of French President Jacques Chirac. The book says several sources reported the surveillance.

"The relationship between your president and ours is irreparable on the personal level," a U.S. official is reported to have told a senior French military official. "You have to understand that President Bush knows exactly what President Chirac thinks of him."

Surveillance was possible because Chirac rarely uses secure phone lines, except in scheduled calls to world leaders. The book lends further credibility to reports that the United Nations is routinely bugged by larger powers to monitor diplomatic conversations. In the run-up to the Security Council sessions on Iraq in early 2003, French officials and members of other European delegations had to meet in an anti-bugging glass cage owned by the Germans in order to avoid their conversations being monitored.
--BBC News, October 5, 2004

The not-so-friendly skies

IS THE Bush administration trying to bump off the White House press corps? That's the conclusion some journalists are drawing after the White House travel office signed a deal with airline company Primaris to fly the journalists to Bush events.

It turns out that the two-month-old company has only one airplane--which is 15 years old and was damaged a decade ago in a hailstorm. There's also the fact that the company's president twice had his pilot's license revoked for flying an "unairworthy" aircraft.

On a recent flight, a television news producer was disconcerted to feel something fall in his lap on takeoff: a sheared-off screw of unknown origin. On another flight, a jetway rammed the plane, cracking the plastic inside of a forward door, which was patched...with duct tape.

On yet another flight scheduled to leave from Akron, Ohio, the pilot announced some "bad news": The starter in the starboard engine would not start. While a mechanic removed engine parts and put them on the tarmac, and some White House aides were quickly put on a cargo plane back to Washington, the press corps was taken to a nearby bar until a backup plane, flown by ATA, got them on their way, six hours later.
--Washington Post, October 12, 2004

Heard it through the grapevine

"GOSH, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."
--George W. Bush, in October

"SO I don't know where he is. Nor--you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I...I truly am not that concerned about him."
--Bush, in March

"THE SENATOR has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11."
--Dick Cheney at the October vice presidential debate

"I THINK there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government."
--Cheney, in January

"THE TRUTH of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, and the world would be a lot better off."

"[E-BAY IS] a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago. Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on e-Bay."
--Cheney, explaining that the economy is doing better than official statistics suggest.

"I EVEN take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."
--Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

"YOU'LL HAVE drinking parties where every time Edwards says he is the son of a millworker, everyone takes a shot. So you're paying attention, but just to play the game."
--Alan Schroder, Northwestern University media and presidency scholar, on the presidential debates

"HEINZ KETCHUP is America's favorite ketchup and is enjoyed by Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike."
--Debora Foster, vice president of communications for Heinz, after Republicans suggested that using Heinz ketchup indicated support for John Kerry

Home page | Back to the top