The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey
Few can claim as much knowledge and experience in the intersection of national security and the law as Michael Mukasey. He served as Attorney General from November 2007 to January 2009 after spending 18 years on the bench as a federal judge in New York. Cases over which he presided included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the trial of Jose Padilla. He is now a partner at the Manhattan law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and joined Bellum for an interview last March.
National security issues once consumed “easily thirty percent” of his job. Mukasey received a security briefing every day and once a week followed up that briefing with a meeting with President Bush on related matters. In addition, there were applications to the FISA Court, dealing with surveillance and wiretapping of suspected terrorists.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at an Air Force base in North Carolina yesterday:
Our military health care budget has gone from $19 billion in 2000 to $53 billion this year. We’re being eaten alive by the thing. It’s 10 percent of our budget at this point.
This is an interesting comment because the military’s health care system is often offered as an example of government-run health care. It is undoubtedly first-class, but is it a good model for a deficit-conscious country?
Days after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the hunt is on to determine who will replace him and where that replacement might be. One of the leading contenders is Ayman al-Zawahiri. Experts seem as sure of his location as they seemed as of bin Laden’s before this past weekend, which is to say not at all.
General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, told John King on CNN yesterday that Zawahiri is probably “somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.” Google News will reveal a number of hits on similar phrasing in recent days.
“Death is a debt we all must pay.”
– (Euripides, 480-406 BC)