The Daily Muck

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U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts has ordered the Bush administration to explain whether any evidence contained on videos of the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri – which the CIA destroyed in 2005 – was relevant to a case involving a Guantanamo detainee. Roberts argues that “the government has done nothing to prove that it didn’t destroy evidence in the case.” (AP)

The question of immunity for military contractors in Iraq is expected to make up a significant part of the upcoming negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq over a new “status-of-forces” agreement. In response to incidents like last September’s shootings in which Blackwater security guards shot 17 Iraqis, members of the Iraqi government have been highly critical of immunity, while discussions at both the Pentagon and the State Department over whether to “ask the Iraqis to maintain status quo” are currently ongoing. (Time)

The Bush administration has asked the Supreme Court to review the recent appeals court ruling in Gates v. Bismullah requiring the administration to provide “evidence supporting the classification of more than 180 Guantanamo detainees as enemy combatants.” The administration argues that the requirement is a “serious threat to national security.” (New York Times)The Democratic Party has requested a judge to order the White House to turn over 68 pages of e-mails written by White House staffers using Republican National Committee e-mail accounts. The request comes as part of a lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee against the Justice Department concerning the firing of U.S. Attorneys. (AP)

As expected, SpeechNow.org, a conservative group with plans to spend money in support of or opposition to candidates in the upcoming elections, has filed a lawsuit against the FEC arguing that “because individuals are allowed to spend as much money as they want on independent efforts to influence elections, it should be unconstitutional to impose restrictions when two or more individuals get together to form a group to spend money on elections.” Current regulations would require the group to register as a “political committee” and to abide by individual contribution limits. (Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire)

In yesterday’s press briefing White House spokeswoman Dana Perino explained the President’s decision to veto a bill limiting CIA interrogators to methods outlined in the Army Field Manual by claiming that the manual – which applies to all members of the Army – “is a perfectly appropriate document that is important for young GIs, some so young that they’re not even able to legally get a drink in the states where they’re from.” According to Perino, CIA interrogators, on the other hand, have “an average age of 40” and are “professionals who are given hundreds of hours of training.” (Think Progress)