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As expected, the CIA announced the results of its probe of the CIA's inspector general John Helgerson, who has raised hackles in the agency for his investigations into counterterrorism policy and detainee interrogations. Among the fixes:

[CIA Director Michael] Hayden said Helgerson has appointed an ombudsman to represent the interests of CIA officers under IG investigation. He agreed to make a "greater effort" to include the views of those officers in his final reports, and to allow officers to review draft reports. He also agreed to help officers find attorneys with security clearances to represent them if they choose. Officers will be told when interviews are being recorded, and investigations will be conducted more swiftly.

Finally, Helgerson agreed to an internal watchdog of his own, a "quality-control manager" who will ensure that all exculpatory and mitigating information about the subjects of IG investigations is included in final reports.

Notes the AP, "The CIA has declined to specify why the IG review was undertaken. The results suggest CIA officers were concerned there was a presumption of guilt and they were not treated fairly by Helgerson's team of investigators."

We'll keep you updated as to whether the watchdog's watchdog will get a watchdog.

Continued fallout from the U.S. attorneys scandal. From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

The state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved the payment of legal fees for Georgia Thompson, a state employee whose conviction for mishandling a contract was overturned by a federal appeals court....

Senators voted 32-0 to pay $228,793 for Thompson's legal fees; the bill now goes to the Assembly, where it is expected to pass. There was no debate on the bill, but Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit) said it was the "least we can do" for Thompson, who served time in a federal prison before the appeals judges ordered her released.

Of course, the appeals court's decision to immediately overturn the case was remarkable in itself. But here you have a state legislature working to redress the wrongs of a federal prosecutor. Has this ever happened before? It strikes me as a rather unique situation.

And remember that efforts by Congress to investigate the Justice Department's handling of the case -- in addition to other possible cases of selective prosecution -- have been firmly rebuffed (with the exception of the disclosure of one telling email).

From CQ:

A House Republican under Justice Department investigation because of ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff has garnered help with his legal bills from a handful of colleagues, including Minority Leader John A. Boehner .

Rep. John T. Doolittle , R-Calif., reported in a filing made available Thursday that his legal expense fund had received $5,000 from Boehner’s leadership PAC. The money was part of $36,500 kicked in by GOP colleagues to Doolittle’s legal defense between June 27, when he opened the fund, and year’s end.

Here's a statement just out from Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) on the deal:

“I am pleased that Republicans have finally backed down from their efforts to ram a deeply flawed FISA bill through the Senate without votes on amendments. We all agree that FISA needs to be updated so our government can go after the foreign communications of suspected terrorists. But we must not provide overly broad and unnecessary powers that infringe on the rights and privacy of law-abiding Americans, especially to an administration that has proven it cannot be trusted. Next week, we have an opportunity to fix this bill, but only if senators stand up to the administration’s attempted power grab and support my and other amendments to put in place checks and balances. If the final bill produced by the Senate doesn’t protect the privacy of law abiding Americans or if it includes immunity for telecom companies, I will strongly oppose it and will vote against cutting off debate on it.”

Some explanation about what he's referring to at the end there. After the Senate votes on all of the amendments, there will be a vote on whether to invoke cloture. That's part of the deal. 60 senators will have to support that for the bill to move to its final vote. What Feingold is saying is that he will vote against that final motion to invoke cloture if certain key amendments don't pass.

We know that Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is under federal investigation for his ties to the corrupt oil company Veco. But that's about all we know.

It's clear, however, that Young has a variety of heavy-hitting lawyers working overtime. Just in the last quarter of 2007, according to his disclosures, he dropped approximately $331,000 for lawyers at Akin Gump and $75,000 for lawyers at the Anchorage-based firm Tobin O'Connor. And then there's $20,000 for a Seattle based attorney named John Wolfe (The Anchorage Daily News points out that Wolfe has also represented Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) son Ben in an ongoing probe into corruption in state politics.) That brings Young's campaign spending on the lawyers to approximately $872,000 in the last year. He's started up a legal defense fund, apparently to accommodate a number of donors who'd like to help out even more.

Is this all related to the same investigation? Certainly with Young, there are plenty of scandals to choose from.

Young, in classic Don Young style, isn't saying anything.

Andrew Berger contributed research to this post.

Yet another one:

A federal grand jury has issued a subpoena to a reporter of The New York Times, apparently to try to force him to reveal his confidential sources for a 2006 book on the Central Intelligence Agency, one of the reporter’s lawyers said Thursday....

Mr. Risen’s lawyer, David N. Kelley, who was the United States attorney in Manhattan early in the Bush administration, said in an interview that the subpoena sought the source of information for a specific chapter of the book “State of War.”

The chapter asserted that the C.I.A. had unsuccessfully tried, beginning in the Clinton administration, to infiltrate Iran’s nuclear program. None of the material in that chapter appeared in The New York Times....

Mr. Risen, who is based in Washington and specializes in intelligence issues, is the latest of several reporters to face subpoenas in leak investigations overseen by the Justice Department.

Reports from the Senate Ethics panel released yesterday (new laws require that the panel’s work is documented) reveals that members have been busy probing Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) for his involvement in the US Attorney firings and Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) for his behavior in a public restroom. Three other Senators or Senate aides are under investigation but no details have been made public. (Washington Post’s “Capitol Briefing”)

While President Bush and other proponents of the U.S. "surge" in Iraq declare that the strategy is working, evidence suggests that security in Iraq has begun to decline in recent weeks. TPM alum Spencer Ackerman reports that suicide attacks have returned to Baghdad, Anbar, and Diyala provinces while in Baghdad there has been an increase in IED attacks. (Washington Independent)

In a Senate hearing yesterday, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher kept to President Bush’s talking points and challenged lawmakers that “nobody can tell me” that Afghanistan is “not going in a positive direction.” Boucher must have missed the three major reports (Jones-Pickering, Atlantic Council, and National Defense University) that pointed to the instability (27% percent increase in violence) and precipitous deterioration in that nation. (Think Progress)

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So, after all that, after all the back room offers and counteroffers and fear-mongering and delaying, the Senate has finally struck a deal on the surveillance bill, and everyone has agreed to it, including Sens. Dodd and Feingold, so there should be no filibustering this time around. They'll get to voting on it all on Monday.

Most crucially, the Dodd/Feingold amendment, which would strip retroactive immunity for the telecoms from the bill, will only need 51 votes to pass. The same goes for the related Specter/Whitehouse amendment, which instead of offering immunity to the telecoms, would replace the federal government as the defendant in all the lawsuits.

There are, of course, other important amendments we'll be keeping an eye on. Sen. Feingold has a number, including one that would require a warrant when the target of the surveillance is a U.S. citizen or resident. This prevents the government from sneakily avoiding the trouble of a warrant by claiming that the focus is a foreign person; so-called "reverse targeting." Feingold's amendment would theoretically prevent that by requiring a FISA court warrant for surveillance of a foreign person where the "significant purpose" of the collection is to target a U.S. person located in the United States.

And the Republicans will have their own amendments which would loosen the bill's scope. Like one from Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) that "would change definitions in the law to allow surveillance without a warrant in cases that involve the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," as CQ's Tim Starks describes it. There's more detail on the vote thresholds required on the various amendments here.

So tune back in Monday to see what happens. It will be a much different kind of debate than last time around. The President, as expected, signed the bill extending the Protect America Act for 15 days, so Monday's vote will not have the same time pressures. It will be a vote on retroactive immunity without the administration's squeeze play. We'll see what happens.

Next week, Michael Mukasey will appear before the House Judiciary Committee for take two of his grim performance yesterday.

Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), naturally, has a whole host of questions. So in a letter to Mukasey today, he queried the attorney general on weighty topics ranging from torture to voter suppression to selective prosecution to the most weighty of all:

The website TPMMuckraker, which played an important role in providing information to the public concerning the U.S. Attorney scandal, revealed that it has recently been removed from DOJ’s press release email distribution list. Who made this decision and why, and was there a change in policy in press release distribution after you became Attorney General?

Perhaps Rep. Conyers will have better luck getting a response than we have. But just in case, we've asked the Department's Office of Public Affairs again for an explanation.

The full letter is below.

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Those who've already checked in at TPM today know what's going on.

The big change here at TPMm is that readers will now need to create a TPM account to comment. And the switch-over also unfortunately means that comments made to posts this morning were lost. Sorry about that.

As you'll eventually see in the right sidebar by the end of the day, the new setup allows us to promote muckraker-related posts by users at TPMCafe. Andrew explains that a bit more here.

Take 'er for a spin and let us know how it goes. Keep in mind, however, that things are sure to be rather bumpy for the next few hours.