Sen. Leahy: Real NSA Reform or Kill the Bill

By: Thursday July 3, 2014 7:55 am

The prospects for serious NSA reform looked grim only weeks ago when the House of Representatives passed a watered-down version of the USA Freedom Act that failed to end bulk data collection and actually strengthened some NSA spying powers.

But as more lawmakers took the novel approach of actually reading what they voted for, they did not like what they saw. This became obvious when the House voted last month — in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion — on an amendment to actually rein in the NSA.

 

Why Didn’t FBI Investigate AF Institute of Pathology’s Role in Starting Iraq-Anthrax Rumors?

By: Monday May 23, 2011 4:35 pm

So let’s see. At some point during the anthrax attacks in 2001, USAMRID and AFIP decided to do anthrax tests on material from Flight 93. They purportedly found the hijackers tested positive for anthrax! But on second thought, FBI tells us, that positive result came from “lab contamination.” And then, presumably just after those tests, USAMRID and AFIP, perhaps working outside the chain of the official FBI investigation of anthrax, discover evidence implicating Iraq in the anthrax attacks. Results that, once again, further testing suggested was inaccurate.

McClatchy Points Out Key FBI Failure in Amerithrax Investigation

By: Thursday April 21, 2011 7:50 am

In an article published Wednesday evening on their website, McClatchy points out yet another failing in the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. The article focuses on the fact that the FBI was able to get a clear genetic fingerprint of a bacterial contaminant that was found in the attack material mailed to the New York Post and to Tom Brokaw (but not to either Senator Daschle or Senator Leahy). This contaminant, Bacillus subtilis, is used in some cases by weapons laboratories as an anthrax simulant, because its behavior in culture and in drying the spores is very similar to Bacillus anthracis but it is easier to handle because it is not pathogenic. I covered the FBI’s failure to link this B. subtilis contaminant to Ivins in this diary in February of 2010.

FBI Contractor Psychiatrist: Stalkers Are Likely Anthrax-Toting Bioterrorists

By: Wednesday March 23, 2011 3:30 pm

The FBI has linked to a redacted executive summary of the report some shrink contractors did on Bruce Ivins. While it is just the executive summary and even that is partly redacted, the report basically paints Bruce Ivins was a stalker which therefore makes him a possible bioterrorist.

Unfortunately for the shrinks who did the report, they start by endorsing the FBI’s now questionable anthrax theory.

IN Sen: Republicans Pick Up a Seat; KY, SC Go to GOP, VT Stays Dem

By: Tuesday November 2, 2010 4:12 pm

Republicans have their first Senate pickup of the night. Dan Coats was called the winner of the Indiana Senate race as soon as the polls closed across the state. Coats, a former Senator, will replace Evan Bayh. He defeated Rep. Brad Ellsworth in a race that was basically never in doubt.

As Vaughn Walker Moves On, There Are No Replacements

By: Thursday September 30, 2010 3:40 pm

I started to write this post last night with a million thoughts swirling in my head on the plethora of important cases Walker has handled over the years and erudite opinions rendered thereon. There is far more to the man’s record than al-Haramain and Perry v. Schwarzenegger; he also sat on such blockbuster cases as the Hearst/ SF Chronicle Antitrust litigation, the Apple/Microsoft intellectual property battle, and the knock down drag out Oracle/Peoplesoft takeover war. And hundreds of others over the years that, from every opinion of his I have read over the last couple of decades, he treated with pretty much the same dedication and attention to detail as you see in the landmark cases you know him from now. Vaughn Walker was both driven and meticulous, they simply do not make many like that; even in the cream of the crop hallowed halls of the Federal judiciary, Vaughn Walker stands out and above.

Glenn Fine to Investigate Government Use of PATRIOT Powers Again

By: Friday June 18, 2010 12:16 pm

Main Justice reports that Pat Leahy and DOJ’s Inspector General Glenn Fine have been chatting about further IG review of the FBI’s use of the several PATRIOT provisions that were contentious issues in last years attempt to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. This means that Fine is going to do what the legislation would have mandated — conduct further reviews of these authorities — on his own. But I’m also interested in the scope Fine lays out for his review in his response to Leahy.

DiFi and Pat Leahy, Silencing the Librarians

By: Saturday October 3, 2009 11:45 am

There’s a cynical inclusion in the new PATRIOT language that DiFi put forward the other night. It basically creates an exception in the worsened Section 215 language just for libraries

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