I hate to admit it, but sometimes I miss Nixon

A friend of mine gave the the above bumper sticker. I thought the following two stories would fit under that category. You may click on the link for the full stories.



And for three years the FBI underreported to Congress how often it forced businesses to turn over the customer data, the audit found.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said he was to blame for not putting more safeguards into place.

"I am to be held accountable," Mueller said. He told reporters he would correct the problems and did not plan to resign.

"The inspector general went and did the audit that I should have put in place many years ago," Mueller said.

The audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine found that FBI agents sometimes demanded personal data on individuals without proper authorization. The 126-page audit also found the FBI improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances.

The audit blames agent error and shoddy record-keeping for the bulk of the problems and did not find any indication of criminal misconduct.

Still, "we believe the improper or illegal uses we found involve serious misuses of national security letter authorities," the audit concludes.

At issue are the security letters, a power outlined in the Patriot Act that the Bush administration pushed through Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The letters, or administrative subpoenas, are used in suspected terrorism and espionage cases. They allow the FBI to require telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit bureaus and other businesses to produce highly personal records about their customers or subscribers - without a judge's approval.


Pentagon set to begin hearings for 14 detainees

By Warren P. Strobel
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The Defense Department said Tuesday that hearings for 14 "high-value detainees," including the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, will start Friday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but that reporters would be barred from the procedures.

The 14 were held in secret CIA prisons for up to four years, and none is known to have appeared before a hearing of any sort before the group was transferred to Guantanamo in September. Questions have repeatedly been raised about whether the 14 were tortured while in CIA detention.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said at a news briefing that the hearings will be closed "based on national security concerns." He promised to release censored transcripts "as expeditiously as we can," but said officials had decided not to provide the names of the suspects, even after the transcripts have been released.

Reporters have been allowed to observe previous hearings of so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals for Guantanamo detainees, the aim of which is to determine whether a detainee is an "enemy combatant."

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, a detainee advocate group which represents one of the 14, Majid Khan, denounced the hearings.

"Any suggestion that Khan's CSRT proceedings would comport with our values and traditional notions of justice is demeaning to all Americans. ... We might expect this in Libya or China, but not America, " it said. The hearings "routinely" rely on information derived by torture or other coercion, the group said.



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