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ThinkFast: November 14, 2007

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"ThinkFast: November 14, 2007"

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Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said a long-delayed National Intelligence Estimate on Iran will soon be completed, though he said he will not release an unclassified version of the estimate’s key judgments. Asked how he would respond if White House officials misused the NIE, McConnell said, “If it were cherry-picked in an inappropriate way, then for me there’s a professional obligation to object, and I would submit my resignation.”

The Bush administration has “had more turnover than any administration in recent history, going back to the Kennedy administration,” with at least 150 former administration officials now working as lobbyists. “In its early years, the administration was estimated to have hired about 100 lobbyists.”

Black Americans “are more dissatisfied with their progress than at any time in the past 20 years, and less than half say life will get better for them in the future.” The new Pew Research Center poll also finds that “43% say the black-white economic gap has widened; 19% of whites say so.”

The CIA has three video and audio recordings of interrogations of senior al Qaida captives. “The disclosure that the government taped some interrogations of high-value detainees could invite fresh scrutiny of the CIA’s treatment of so-called ‘enemy combatants’ who were held at secret prisons or U.S. bases overseas.”

The deaths of at least 14 of the 17 Iraqis killed by Blackwater guards in a September 16 shootout were “were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq,” according to portions of the FBI investigation now under review by the Justice Department.

A lawsuit by former book publisher Judith Regan claims that an unnamed News Corp. exec “encouraged her to lie to federal investigators about her past affair with Bernard B. Kerik” in order to “to protect the presidential aspirations of Rudolph W. Giuliani,” Kerik’s former friend and mentor.

“Senate Democrats might force Republicans to wage a filibuster if the GOP wants to block the latest Iraq withdrawal bill, aides and senators said Tuesday.” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told The Hill that “a forced filibuster is ‘possible’ and would ‘generate attention.’”

A measure of consumer confidence — the “economic optimism index” — “dropped to a two-year low in November, weighed down by housing market turmoil and surging oil prices, according to a survey released on Tuesday.”

Refugees International reports that the U.S. government has been “unforgivably slow” in resettling Iraqi refugees and has failed to coordinate with its Arab allies to address the suffering of an estimated 4.5 million displaced Iraqis. A UN official underscored the growing problem of “survival sex” among Iraqi women refugees.

And finally: “Stephen Colbert may have abandoned his brief bid for the White House, but he ended up in a three-way tie for a seat on the Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District Board.” Colbert and two College of William and Mary students each received three write-in votes. Colbert’s “electoral success will be fleeting, however,” as he is not a registered voter in Williamsburg, VA, and is therefore ineligible to serve.

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