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In the late nineties, Douglas Farah, at the time a reporter for the Washington Post, was looking into a then-obscure Antigua-based businessman who had played a key role in helping the island nation rewrite its banking laws, frustrating U.S. efforts to crack down on money laundering.

Farah's reporting suggested that Allen Stanford wielded surprising influence in the Antiguan government. And Farah was hearing that the Texas-born billionaire and his company, the Stanford Financial Group (SFG), had ties to Latin American drug money.

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Brennan: 'Clearly The System Didn't Work On That Day' Appearing on Meet The Press, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan bluntly admitted that there were intelligence failures in the Flight 253 attempted bombing. "Clearly the system didn't work on that day, because Abdulmutallab should never have gotten onto that plane with those explosives," said Brennan, who also said that President Obama "needs to hold everybody accountable, including me."

Brennan: Either Cheney Is 'Willfully Mischaracterizing' Obama's Position, 'Or He's Ignorant Of The Facts' Also during his Meet The Press appearance, Brennan rebutted former Vice President Dick Cheney's latest attacks on the Obama administration, over the handling of the Flight 253 case: "Either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president's position ... Or he's ignorant of the facts. And in either case, it doesn't speak well of what the vice president's doing."

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Obama: Remember Our Adversaries Are The Terrorists, Not Each Other In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama said his administration is taking steps to address the Flight 253 attempted bombing, and directly blamed al-Qaida for plotting the attack. And he spoke against politicizing the event, in a seeming rebuttal to Republican political attacks:



"So as our reviews continue, let us ask the questions that need to be asked. Let us make the changes that need to be made. Let us debate the best way to protect the country we all love. That is the right and responsibility of every American and every elected official," said Obama. "But as we go forward, let us remember this-our adversaries are those who would attack our country, not our fellow Americans, not each other. Let's never forget what has always carried us through times of trial, including those attacks eight Septembers ago."

McConnell Cites The American Revolution In this weekend's Republican address, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hearkened back to the American revolution, and the bravery shown on New Year's Day 1777 at the Battle of Trenton, as an example of Americans overcoming great difficulties. This might be a dog-whistle for the Tea Party movement, which ties its opposition against President Obama to the spirit of the American Revolution:



"Political disagreements will continue in the year ahead. This is an essential part of any vibrant democracy. But Americans expect and deserve their elected leaders to put country first, and work together to solve our common problems," said McConnell. "Powerful forces may be aligned against us, just as they did against the Continental Army on that cold January night in 1777. But when the challenges are greatest, Americans always join ranks. It was true in Trenton. It's no less true today."

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Expect Congressional hearings exploring what happened in the weeks before the attempted terror attack on Flight 253 in the new year.

President Obama returns to Washington next week and plans a private huddle with intelligence officials and his national security team to evaluate the findings of a probe into the communication breakdown that allowed a Nigerian man to board a plane with explosives in his underwear.

Already the administration has put in place new measures and homeland security officials are coordinating with international airports.

Congress will be back mid-January and if the political chatter this week is any indication, Flight 253 will dominate their return.

In the week since the incident, there have been statements from Obama and other top White House officials, a preliminary review and a host of political fundraising attempts and accusations coming from GOP members of Congress and former President Dick Cheney.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kit Bond announced Jan. 21 hearings of their Senate Select Committee on Intelligence but will start the investigation sooner by collecting "all intelligence related to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab held by various intelligence agencies in order to determine who had what, and how the information was handled."

The panel also will review national security policies on sharing information and terrorist watchlisting, they said. The House intelligence panel also is looking into the incident.

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CNN's Rick Sanchez just grilled Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) about Ensign's affair with the wife of an aide and his ham-fisted efforts to cover things up.

Ensign came on prepared to keep politicizing the failed terror attacks by using them to attack President Obama. But Sanchez quickly turned the tables by bringing up Ensign's personal woes, leaving the senator visibly surprised.

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One of the two bloggers who was subpoenaed by the federal government after posting a leaked safety directive from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has asked for a delay so that he can challenge the subpoena in court.

Chris Elliott will fight the subpoena in court next week, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press told the AP. She is serving as a spokesperson for Elliott, a leading travel journalist who writes for the Washington Post, MSNBC, and other allies.

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Top Homeland Security officials next week will do international outreach at major international airports in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America as the U.S. government continues to probe how a Nigerian man with explosives in his underwear was able to board a trans-Atlantic flight.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced in a statement this afternoon that Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman and other senior DHS officials to the airports. They will review security procedures and technology being used to screen passengers on flights bound for the United States, she said. "As part of the ongoing review to determine exactly what went wrong leading up to Friday's attempted terrorist attack, we are looking not only at our own processes, but also beyond our borders to ensure effective aviation security measures are in place for U.S-bound flights that originate at international airports," Napolitano said.

She said the officials will find ways to "collectively bolster our tactics for defeating terrorists wherever they may seek to launch an attack" and said she will follow-up with them in meetings in January.

President Obama received a preliminary review today that sources say will reveal communication and process breakdown within the intelligence community before the incident.

Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) notoriety is clearly spreading outside her district -- not just as a star among conservatives, but as a menace to liberals. And now, a Democratic candidate in a different House district is invoking her name against the Republican incumbent there.

Maureen Hackett, a Democratic candidate against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), has sent out a new fundraising letter addressed to her fellow Democrats, blasting Paulsen for frequently voting the same way as Bachmann.

"While Bachmann's extremism has won her great reviews from her right-wing base, it's not acceptable here in the 3rd District," Hackett writes. "We have a long record of electing reasonable people from both sides of the aisle. By standing with Bachmann on the economy, health care and women's rights, Paulsen has proven time-and-time again that he's hopelessly and completely out-of-step with the people he was elected to represent."

The retirement in 2002 of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) deprived Democrats of a long-time bogeyman in fundraising letters. It now looks like the new pantheon of right-wing menaces in Dem fundraising will include the likes of former White House adviser Karl Rove, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin...and a second-term Congresswoman named Michele Bachmann.

House Intelligence panel Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes bemoaned the politics that have taken over the investigation into Flight 253 and said Congress must take a "hard look" into what happened leading up to the failed Christmas Day terror attempt.

Reyes (D-TX) said he is closely following the developments and is being briefed by White House and committee staffers. President Obama received the preliminary review today in Hawaii.

"This incident is an incredibly serious and disturbing reminder that intelligence sharing and U.S. security systems are better than they once were, but they're not where they need to be," Reyes said in a statement. "As soon as Congress returns, the Committee will be taking a hard look at what could have been done better in this case and what changes to our intelligence processes may be necessary."

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