AT&T Says Cooperation in NSA Spying Was Legal
"An AT&T executive on Tuesday offered a glimpse into how the company appears to have opened its networks to the National Security Agency.
"James Cicconi, AT&T's senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, said there is a 'very specific federal statute' that the company followed when cooperating with the NSA that provides 'black and white authorization.'
"'We have simply complied with those laws,' he said." (CNET)
Marine Reservists Facing Combat Duty
"The Marine Corps is planning to call up as many as 2,500 Marine reservists for combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, dipping into a rarely used pool of troops to fill growing personnel gaps in units scheduled to deploy in coming months, officials said yesterday. It is the first time the Marines have resorted to involuntary call-ups since the initial invasion of Iraq in March 2003, when about 2,000 Marines were ordered into service for a short duration. It means thousands of Marines across the country who have left active service could soon be forced to return." (WaPo, Reuters)
Is the Next Step a Draft?
"An Iraq War veterans group says the call-up of thousands of Marines from the Individual Ready Reserve, announced by the Pentagon today, is 'one of the last steps before resorting to a draft.'" (ABC)
Reports Document Failures Post-Katrina
"No less than a half-dozen reports on the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort are being released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the storm -- and nearly all criticize the sluggish pace of the response." (AP)
Conflict of Interest Raised in N.S.A. Ruling
"The federal judge who ruled last week that President Bushâs eavesdropping program was unconstitutional is a trustee and an officer of a group that has given at least $125,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, a watchdog group said Tuesday. . . .
"Three legal ethicists interviewed said although Judge Taylorâs role as a trustee for a supporter of the civil liberties group would not necessarily disqualify her from hearing the case, she should have probably disclosed the connection in court to avoid any appearance of a conflict." (NYTimes, USAToday)
Senator Jokes about House Painter
"Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, whose re-election campaign is pressing for tighter immigration controls, referred to his house painter as 'a nice little Guatemalan man' and suggested that worker as well as employees of a roofing company he hired might be in the country illegally." (AP, WaPo)
Cold Cash Congressman to Lead Katrina Tours
"The Louisiana Democratic Congressman caught on FBI surveillance tapes taking $90,000 in cash has been selected by the Democratic Congressional caucus to lead a delegation from Capitol Hill on a tour of New Orleans next week to 'join in prayer with the people of the region, to reflect and remember.'" (ABC)
Gap in Terror Watch
"An estimated 75 percent of applicants for immigrant benefits - green cards, work visas and a host of other documents - at a major federal processing center were not screened through the U.S. terrorism watch list over the past four years." (San Bernardino (Calif.) Sun)
Wrenn Novel Depicts Flawed Jesse Helms
"Where does Jubal Kane end and Jesse Helms begin? That is a question readers will likely be asking about the yet-to-be-published novel by Carter Wrenn, a longtime political strategist for Helms and other Republicans.... Wrenn gives the Helms-like figure his due. But he also portrays him as a flesh-and-blood politician who has few scruples about using racial divisions to advance his cause, and who became the leading light of the Christian Right not because he had a road-to-Damascus experience, but for more pragmatic political reasons." (News & Observer)