ThinkFast: January 31, 2007


Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified testified yesterday against the administration official she previously spent 85 days in jail trying to shield. Miller told the jury that “Scooter” Libby was “very irritated and angry” during a June 2003 conversation when he revealed to her that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA.

After months of ethics scandals, Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) was chosen this month “as the ranking member of a panel charged with investigating financial institutions — even as the FBI was looking into his land deals.” The Hill reports that FBI officials have contacted local officials about Miller’s land deals in the last two months.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) goes ad hominem on Al Gore. “Al Gore thinks he can use climate change and global warming — he thinks that’s his ticket to the White House,” Inhofe said yesterday at a Senate hearing on climate change.

A new audit of U.S. reconstruction spending in Iraq shows the State Department “paid $43.8 million to contractor DynCorp International for the residential camp for police training personnel…that has stood empty for months. About $4.2 million of the money was improperly spent on 20 VIP trailers and an Olympic-size pool.” U.S. officials spent another $36.4 million on weapons and body armor that “can’t be accounted for.”

Michael McConnell — Bush’s nominee to be the nation’s new spy chief — works as a $2 million-a-year private consultant with some of the same senior military and intelligence officials he would supervise as director of national intelligence. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he would raise concerns about McConnell’s ethical entanglements. “I made it clear that I was going to be asking questions about issues relating to his work with contractors.”

Congressional leaders agreed yesterday to a $463 billion spending plan for the remainder of the current fiscal year. The spending bill was stripped “of all earmarks, or narrow, special-interest provisions.” “They really delivered on their promise to wipe out earmarks,” said Richard Kogan, a federal budget expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Air Force is “preparing for an expanded role in Iraq that could include aggressive new tactics designed to deter Iranian assistance to Iraqi militants,” including “more forceful patrols by Air Force and Navy fighter planes along the Iran-Iraq border to counter the smuggling of bomb supplies from Iran.”

Today, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who “has been held in government custody for more than five years” as an enemy combatant, will plead his case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. “Analysts say the dispute may ultimately wind up in the US Supreme Court with a potential landmark ruling on a key question: What rights does a noncitizen legal resident have when the government names him an enemy combatant?”

And finally: The head of the World Bank can’t afford new socks? The Associated Press caught a glimpse of Paul Wolfowitz “with holes on his socks” at a mosque in Turkey. Check out the photo montage here.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.