The Daily Muck

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April 8, 2008 9:42 a.m.

Since 1994 the FBI has maintained a surveillance link (the Digital Collection System) between 40 of its offices, Quantico, and networks belonging to major telecommunications companies. Three Democratic lawmakers are concerned about the scope of this surveillance and have demanded more information about “transactional data” captured in these networks without court warrants. (Washington Post)

Lawmakers also have concerns about the Department of Homeland Security’s domestic surveillance program. Known as the National Applications Office, the DHS’ satellite program provides government officials with spy satellite imagery (sub. req.) and has no legal safeguards in place to prevent domestic spying. (Wall Street Journal)

Key legal opinions and documents related to the Department of Justice’s torture memos of 2002 and 2003 and warrantless surveillance program remain under lock and key at the DOJ. Though lawmakers have requested the documents for years – and Attorney General Mukasey promised that “there isn’t going to be any stonewalling” over Congressional requests for documents – the DOJ seems to be too busy to fill the requests. DOJ spokesman Peter Carr noted that congresisonal inquiries take “an enormous amount of department time and resources.” (Washington Post)Human Rights Watch reports in “Double Jeopardy: CIA Renditions to Jordan” that since September 11, 2001 the CIA has transported at least 14 suspected terrorists to Jordan so that they could be interrogated and tortured. (AP)

Senate Republicans have blocked Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) call for a one month extension of President Bush’s wiretapping bill. Republicans believe that the temporary solution is inadequate. (The Hill)

Roll Call identifies approximately 12 members of Congress who admit to incorrect filings (sub. req.) about stock sales valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. In almost every case, the preferred excuse was, “we didn’t know it was an error because the ethics committee approved it.” (Roll Call)

Though most vice presidents are not assigned or entitled to Secret Service protection after they leave office, Dick Cheney (code name “Angler”) will almost certainly be protected for at least 6 months beyond his term. One former Secret Service special agent believes that the “critical factor” is that “we have an enemy who has sworn to destroy this country, and they have sworn to kill both the president and the vice president.” (Washington Post)

When representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) recounted how he tried to use a military gym in the Green Zone and was turned away because he lacked the proper credentials, McHenry remarked that he was “not very happy with this two-bit security guard.” McHenry’s Democratic opponent, wants McHenry to apologize to the soldier he insulted. (McClatchy)

Robert “Gold Bars” Luskin, attorney for Karl Rove, told MSNBC’s Dan Abrams that Rove would be willing to testify “if Congress issues a subpoena to him as part of an investigation into the Siegelman case.” Siegelman was quick to respond, “let’s don’t waste any time.” (Think Progress)

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has sent a letter to the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Timothy F. Geithner, requesting background information on BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. With little to no competition, BlackRock was tabbed by the Federal Reserve to manage $30 billion is taxpayer-backed assets acquired in connection with the Bear Stearns buyout. (House Oversight Committee)

The ever-diligent Chairman Waxman has also fired off a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, to inquire about the EPA’s mounting losses, financial and otherwise, in federal court following the numerous times the agency has had to defend dubious environmental rules, actions and standards. Waxman writes, “I am concerned that these cases indicate that your agency is disregarding unambiguous statutory directives when the law requires action that differs from the Administration’s policy preferences.” (House Oversight Committee)

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