The Daily Muck

November 10, 2008 9:18 a.m.

Since 2004, the U.S. military has carried out previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda in Pakistan, Syria, and other countries with which we are not at war. The attacks were authorized by a secret order signed by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the spring of that year, which allowed the military to attack Al Qaeda anywhere in the world. (The New York Times)

Rumors continue to swirl about the low turnout in Alaska last Tuesday, where 8,311 fewer votes were cast than in 2004, despite tight races in the Senate and the House, and Sarah Palin’s presence on the Republican presidential ticket. The votes haven’t all been counted yet, and Stevens’ race is still up in the air. But Ivan Moore, the state’s most prominent pollster, tells the paper that “something smells fishy.” Still he adds — along with representaives from both parties — that it’s premature to suggest that the vote was manipulated. (Anchorage Daily News)

The U.S. killed nearly 40 Afghan civilians in an airstrike last week, a joint U.S.-Afghan inquiry confirmed. The U.S. had originally put the total number of deaths far lower. Civilian casualties have strained U.S. relations with the Afghan government. (Reuters)Rep Steve Cohen (D-TN) is pressing the White House to launch an investigation into whether a top Bush aide disclosed a potential conflict of interest over internet gambling. The aide, William Wichterman, has pushed for more stringent regulation of the practice, despite having previously lobbied for the National Football League, for whom cracking down on online gaming is a top priority. (Politico)

The final briefing in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident being detained as an enemy combatant, is due today. The Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case soon. The case, says the Washington Post, raises a crucial question for the war on terror: “Can the military indefinitely detain, without charge, a U.S. citizen or legal resident seized on U.S. soil?” (Washington Post)

In late September, Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson issued a notice that revoked a little-known 22-year-old law meant to limit tax havens in corporate mergers. Some lawyers now say the Treasury Department did not have the authority to make the change, which will give banks billions of extra dollars. (Washington Post)

Barack Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, may appeal a deportation order, in an effort to stay in the United States. Shortly before the election, law enforcement sources leaked to the press the news that Onyango had failed to comply with a 2004 deportation order. An internal investigation into the source of the leak, which violates government regulations, is underway at Immigration and Custom Enforcement. (AP)

The fund Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) set up to pay his legal bills still falls far short of the $200,000 he has spent to clear his name in a case that began in 2007 after he was arrested in the bathroom of the Minneapolis airport for allegedly propositioning a male undercover agent. Craig launched the fund after the Senate Ethics Committee found that he had improperly used campaign money to pay for his court expenses. Craig initially pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, before changing his mind and deciding to fight the charge. He will step down from the Senate at the end of this term. (McClatchy)

Jorge Leija, who worked for the U.S. customs agency for 11 years, helped smuggle 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the U.S. between 2001 and 2006, prosecutors say. Leija, one of a number of border officials recently accused of corruption, was arrested Oct. 30. (New York Times)

The Bush administration has opened up land close to three national parks for oil and gas drilling, a move that some Park Service officials say was made without allowing the normal period for comment. (New York Times)

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