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The Big Question is Whether Congress Should Go After Misdeeds of Bush Administration

The big question will be whether Congress wants to explore some misdeeds of the past or move forward. With all the confusion in Washington and the economy in the dumps, it may be a little harder to get the American people behind them to go after the those misdeeds.

Rep. John Conyers

Rep. John Conyers

By Zachary Roth
TalkingPointsMemo

Over the weekend, President-Elect Obama said we should “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” on the question of prosecuting Bush administration officials for torture, illegal wiretapping, and other possible crimes committed in the name of national security.
But yesterday, the House Judiciary committee got behind a very different approach, releasing a nearly 500-page report that recommends establishing a blue-ribbon commission — along the lines of the 9/11 commission, but with subpoena power — to investigate whether crimes were committed. (Last week, as we reported over at Election Central, Judiciary chair John Conyers and nine other lawmakers introduced a bill to set up such a commission.)
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The full report

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Sen. Believes Ex-FBI Agent in Secret Iran Prison

The sad tale of ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson goes on. Here’s the latest twist.

Robert Levinson/photo helpboblevinson.com

Robert Levinson/photo helpboblevinson.com

By Fox News
A U.S. senator revealed Tuesday that he believes a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran nearly two years ago is being held in a secret prison there – much to the surprise of the ex-agent’s wife.
Sen. Bill Nelson’s comments on the disappearance of Robert Levinson came during Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s secretary of state confirmation hearing in Washington.
“I haven’t received any information about my husband,” Levinson’s wife, Christine, told The Associated Press.
For Full Story

FBI Launches System to Share Terrorism Tips with Local Police

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III

Historically, local law enforcement has complained about the FBI not sharing enough information. There may still be complaints after this, but it may help deflect some complaints.

By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — The FBI has launched a system to share tips about possible terror threats with local police agencies just in time for the presidential inauguration.
The program aims to get law enforcement at all levels sharing data quickly about suspicious activity and people, particularly in and around the nation’s capital in the week leading up to the historic ceremony.
Officials say they are getting as many as 1,000 tips a day from the public.
Called e-Guardian, the program had been delayed and underwent a smaller pilot project before launching New Year’s Eve as a system available to law enforcement agencies around the country.
Federal authorities hope the new system overcomes a drawback of another version, which lets police report their suspicions to the FBI but doesn’t allow officers to search the system for similar patterns in other jurisdictions.

For Full Story

Inspector Gen. Says Ideological Considerations Tainted Hiring Process At Justice Civil Rights Division

Bradley Schlozman

Bradley Schlozman

Here’s just another disturbing footnote in the Justice Department in the Bush years.
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Ideological considerations permeated the hiring process at the Justice Department’s civil rights division, where a politically appointed official sought to hire “real Americans” and Republicans for career posts and prominent case assignments, according to a long awaited report released this morning by the department’s inspector general.
The extensive study of hiring practices between 2001 and 2007 concluded that a former department official improperly weeded out candidates based on their perceived ties to liberal organizations. Two other senior managers failed to oversee the process, authorities said.
The key official, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bradley Schlozman, favored employees who shared his political views and derided others as “libs” and “pinkos,” the report said.
For Full Story
To Read Report

Read Additional Information (Washington Post)

What Constitutes a Suspicious Incident in Aviation Today?

Chad Wolf

Chad Wolf

 

By Chad Wolf
Security DeBrief
What constitutes a suspicious incident in aviation today? This is the fundamental question that led to nine Muslim passengers being kicked off an Air Tran Airways flight on New Year’s Day.
By now, we’ve all heard the series of events that transpired – several Muslim passengers were discussing airline safety and security while boarding the flight; other passengers reported this “suspicious” behavior to the flight attendant who in turn reported it to the pilot in command; the pilot, with the assistance of Federal Air Marshals, asked that all the passengers be re-screened and then refused to transport the nine passengers in question.
Put aside the pilot’s decision to refuse transport (a decision he/she is permitted to make without much outside review) as well as Air Tran’s apparent lack of customer service skills, and what remains is a regulatory requirement from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to all domestic and in-bound international airlines to report any suspicious incidents immediately to TSA. TSA’s purpose for this requirement is simple: to identify any individual incidents / issues that are occurring and determine if there’s any system-wide pattern or similar events taking place across the aviation system (in other words – to connect the dots). 

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Louisiana Man Charged With Threatening Pres. Bush

With just a few days in his presidency some still want to harm President Bush.
By Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS — Federal authorities have charged a Louisiana man with threatening to kill President George W. Bush.
A social worker told Secret Service agents that 44-year-old Gregory Broussard was being treated at a Hammond hospital when he threatened to blow up the White House and kill the president.
Broussard is scheduled in federal court Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney says she doesn’t know if Broussard has an attorney.
For Full Story

A Dozen Things to Watch for at Eric Holder’s Confirmation

Of all the Obama nominees, Eric Holder is likely to have the most contentious confirmation hearing. Here’s a look forward at what to expect starting Thursday in a town that sees this type of activity as sport and entertainment.

By Joe Palazzolo and David Ingram
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — Two months of silent preparation will reach a climax Thursday when Eric Holder Jr. enters the Russell Senate Office Building for his confirmation hearing to be attorney general. He will face the most difficult hearing of his life. His opponents will look for opportunities to question his judgment-and perhaps score political points.
Helping Holder prepare has been a team of Washington lawyers led by Ron Weich, chief counsel to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and including Covington & Burling’s James Garland and Steptoe & Johnson’s Reid Weingarten, and they’re expressing confidence in their man. “There’s no magic here. The record is as open as it could possibly be,” Weingarten says.
Civil rights leaders and several law enforcement associations lined up behind Holder last week, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has even “guaranteed” that the Senate will confirm Holder.
But Republicans, led by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), are promising a prickly hearing.
Here are 11 things you’re likely to see this week, and maybe one to hope for.


For Full Story

Humor: HBO’s Ali G Interviews Former Atty. Generals Richard Thornburgh and Ed Meese

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYKa0G9QkmQ