Armitage to be Added to CIA Leak Civil Suit
"Lawyers for former Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, tell NBC they plan to file court papers Wednesday in their civil suit to include former State Department top official Richard Armitage as an additional defendant." (MSNBC)
Tortured Negotiations: White House Pushes Hard on Detainee Issue
"The November mid-term elections may hinge on national security, and McCain and company are depriving their party of its best weapon â a vote that makes Democrats look weak. More important, the White House claims, is that McCain and company could outlaw methods of gaining intelligence that have been effective in preventing attacks against the U.S.
"But some Senators and legal experts see another reason for the heightened concern at the White House. On paper, at least, White House officials and CIA officers could be vulnerable to prosecution for past or future use of illegal methods of interrogation â unless Congress changes the law.
"The threat of prosecution comes not from some left-wing activists or even the House Democrats, but from the highest court in the country. In his concurring opinion in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case last summer, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the administration had to live within the Geneva Conventions. 'Violations [of the Geneva Conventions] are considered 'war crimes,' punishable as federal offenses, when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel,' he wrote. And for emphasis, Kennedy pointed to paragraph 2441 of the U.S. code, which lays out the penalties for those violations, including life imprisonment and the death penalty." (Time)
Dems Criticize NSA over Talking Points
"The spy agency recently sent the Senate Intelligence Committee a list of approved talking points about its warrantless eavesdropping program. But the panel's seven Democrats bridled, saying in a letter to the agency's director that the document was riddled with 'subjective statements that appear intended to advance a particular policy view and present certain facts in the best possible light.'...
"Responding to a growing public debate about government surveillance of international communications, members of Congress asked the NSA what they could say publicly without running afoul of secrecy laws. In July, the agency suggested comments, including:
--'I have personally met the dedicated men and women of the NSA. The country owes them an enormous debt of gratitude for their superb efforts to keep us all secure.'
--'I can say that the program must continue. It has detected plots that could have resulted in death or injury to Americans both at home and abroad.'
--'It is being run in a highly disciplined way that takes great pains to protect U.S. privacy rights. There is strict oversight in place, both at the NSA and outside, now including the full congressional intelligence committees.'...
The seven senators said they haven't been given documents and other basic information, despite an administration promise in May to give the committee complete access." (AP, WaPo)
House May Identify Members Who Earmark Money for Pork Projects
"...A proposed change to House rules would identify the lawmakers behind special-interest projects known as 'earmarks.'
"Details of the House earmark proposal were still changing Tuesday, but there appeared to be some loopholes, especially in identifying lawmakers behind projects in tax and authorization bills, as opposed to appropriations measures.
"That drew fire from members of the House Appropriations Committee, who don't want the burden of disclosure to fall disproportionately on them. 'We have strong support among our members as long as it applies across the board,' said committee spokesman John Scofield." (McClatchy, AP, Roll Call)
The Path to 'The Path to 9/11'
"The New York Times reveals today that Cyrus Nowrasteh, the writer of the embattled ABC 'docudrama' 'The Path to 9/11,' was hired after the executive producer and director of the project read his script for the 2001 Showtime movie 'The Day Reagan Was Shot.'
"If that's true, they might have wanted to do a little more research. 'The Day Reagan Was Shot' -- which was, ironically, produced by Oliver Stone -- was plagued with the same kind of substantive factual errors that riddled 'The Path to 9/11.'
'In December 2001, when 'The Day Reagan Was Shot' premiered, Richard Allen, formerly the national security advisor under Reagan, took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to castigate the film's creators, calling the movie's portrayal of the events inside the White House that day 'fictional.'" (Salon.com)
Judge in AIPAC Case Has Pattern on Free Speech
"In 19 years on the federal bench, Judge Thomas Ellis III has ruled on a series of difficult cases involving free expression. In many instances, he has agonized publicly over his decision â and then proceeded to dismiss the First Amendment concern.
"In the coming weeks, Judge Ellis, 66, is expected to preside over the trial of a case that has fit that pattern so far, the prosecution of two pro-Israel lobbyists for obtaining and conveying classified information to journalists and Israeli diplomats.
"Last month, Judge Ellis declared that the advocacy work of the two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, was 'at the core of the First Amendment's guarantees.' However, in a 68-page opinion, the judge went on to uphold the prosecution, which is breaking new ground by seeking to punish private citizens for disclosing classified information willingly furnished by a government official." (NYSun)
Lobbyists From Scandal-Linked Firm Sign Up Old Clients Under New Flag
"CJ Strategies, the Democratic lobbying firm that spun off from the scandal-embroiled Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, has filed lobbying registrations for 17 clients previously represented by the old firm, according to Senate public records.
"Lobbyists James Copeland and Lynette Jacquez, who were name partners in the Copeland Lowery firm, split with their one-time Republican partners earlier this year after Bill Lowery and Letitia White were linked in news stories to a probe into earmarks involving House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and lobbyists he was close to.
"CJ Strategies has signed up former Copeland Lowery clients such as the San JosÃ© State University Foundation; Alameda County in California; the California state Senate; the city of Riverside, Calif.; and the Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation, among others." (Roll Call) (sub. req'd)
Rival Admits Leaking Schwarzenegger Tape
"The campaign of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Democratic rival acknowledged Tuesday that it downloaded â and leaked to the media â a recording of a private meeting in which the governor described a Hispanic legislator as having a "very hot" personality.
"But Cathy Calfo, campaign manager for Democrat Phil Angelides, said the campaign had done nothing wrong because the file was available publicly on the governor's Web site....
"Schwarzenegger's legal affairs secretary, Andrea Lynn Hoch, said the sound file was stored in a password-protected area. She said she forwarded the Internet Protocol address used to download the file to the California Highway Patrol, which is investigating." (AP)
Touting New Poll Numbers, Rep. Doolittle Challenger Seeks DCCC Assistance
"In the past 10 years, Democrats have just been names on the ballot in Californiaâs 4th District. Incumbent Rep. John Doolittle has always won reelection with more that 60 percent of the vote. This year Charlie Brown, a retired Air Force colonel, is trying to change that. He has raised about $450,000, more than any other Democratic Doolittle challenger has raised and has been trying to impress upon voters that their incumbent is unethical and rarely in the district." (The Hill)
Pension for Illinois' Ryan in Danger
"Former Gov. George Ryan should forfeit his nearly $200,000-a-year state pension because of his conviction and prison sentence on corruption charges, the state attorney general recommended Tuesday." (AP)
Fired Writer: Radio MartÃ Ties No Secret
"A journalist whose freelance contract with El Nuevo Herald was severed last week says the newspaper's managers have known for years that she got paid by the U.S. government for Cuban cultural shows she hosted for Radio MartÃ. She said managers never made an issue of it before. . . .
"A March 31, 2002, article published in The Miami Herald -- and a separate article in El Nuevo Herald on that same date written by another reporter -- identified Connor as a paid contributor to TV and Radio MartÃ." (Miami Herald)