28 Jun 2011

William Welch’s Gimmick and the Harassment of James Risen

As Josh Gerstein reports, Leonie Brinkema has unsealed her November 2010 ruling quashing the government’s subpoena of James Risen to testify before the grand jury. Gerstain describes several interesting details revealed in the ruling–including that the government withheld information, including details surrounding the 2005 testimony of, apparently, a Senate staffer.

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28 Jun 2011

Max Baucus Finally Gets His Grand Bargain!

Usually, when Max Baucus tries to craft a grand bargain, oversized legislation starts by getting progressively worse, at which point the legislation finally dies. But he has finally succeeded in getting a grand bargain, with a deal to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance in exchange for votes on the Korea, Colombia,

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28 Jun 2011

Waxman Gives Obama Lessons in Negotiation, Again

Update: As Dday corrects me, both these lessons in negotiation describe the same confrontation that took place on June 2. DDay linked to this story describing Henry Waxman confronting President Obama because he had given the Republicans the impression he would cave on debt negotiations. One Democrat who was there

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28 Jun 2011

The Charlie-Savage-Used-to-Be-Richard-Lugar’s-Intern SFRC Libya Hearing

Boy has Charlie Savage caused a headache for Barack Obama and Harold Koh. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had a hearing to grill Koh today, in part, because of Savage’s report that Obama overrode OLC, DOJ, and DOD lawyers in deciding that we are not engaged in “hostilities” with Libya

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28 Jun 2011

Jim Webb: We Are Endorsing Assassination of Leaders of Countries We Recognize

I’m watching the Senate Foreign Relation Committee’s grilling of Harold Koh–either bmaz or I will post on that later. But Jim Webb just made a really important point. He noted that we have suspended, but not severed, our relations with Libya. After cornering Koh on that issue (and finally getting

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28 Jun 2011

National Archives Spends 3 Days Declassifying 11 Words Declassified 40 Years Ago

The Pentagon Papers were declassified earlier this month. In advance of its formal declassification, the National Archives had announced that 11 words would remain classified. But ultimately, the entire document was released. Kudos to Steven Aftergood for FOIAing the documents that explained what happened. Staffers at the Lyndon B. Johnson

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28 Jun 2011

Obama Capitulates to GOP and Withdraws Labor Protection from Colombia Trade Deal

The website for the US Trade Representative still has a link to the inadequate–but nevertheless improved–labor protections that the US had demanded from Colombia to support a trade deal with the country. But according to Sander Levin–who just announced his opposition to the deal–Obama has agreed to a Republican demand

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27 Jun 2011

“SWIFT” Boating the Russian Mafia

Remember that GCHQ/MI6 agent, Gareth Williams, who was found dead in a duffel bag last year? At first, the narrative around his death centered on rumors he had been killed in a weird gay sex game. Amid such sensational reporting, other articles revealed Williams worked closely with the NSA on

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27 Jun 2011

NSA Managers Modified or Supressed Studies on ThinThread and Trailblazer

As bmaz reported while I was looking at flowers in Northern MI, POGO liberated via FOIA the Inspector General report central to the Thomas Drake case. While much of the report is redacted (except for, perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of comments about limitations to ThinThread that have been decontextualized by

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27 Jun 2011

James Risen’s Community of Interest

I’ll probably have several things to say about the James Risen filings of the past week. But for the moment, I wanted to focus on his assertions about the government’s access of his phone records. Remember, these assertions are not new: Josh Gerstein reported them in February. Risen said the

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