ThinkFast: February 15, 2008

In the Washington Post today, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell badgers the House to accept without reservation the Senate extension of the Protect America Act that includes retroactive immunity for telecoms, claiming there will be “gaps or lapses in gathering intelligence” if there is “a failure to shield private parties from liability.”

“There have been at least three accidental drug overdoses and four suicides” between June 2007 and Feb. 5 among soldiers “in so-called ‘warrior transition units’” the Army set up to help soldiers make the move “toward either a return to uniform or back into civilian life.” Three other deaths are still under investigation, Army officials said yesterday.

Yesterday, Office of Legal Counsel head Steve Bradbury said the Justice Department hasn’t determined whether waterboarding would be unlawful. “The department, as I’ve tried to indicate, has not had occasion to address the question since the enactment of these new laws.” “It is the first time the administration has gone that far,” the AP noted.

“The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to review an appeals court decision that it said had created a ‘serious threat to national security’ by requiring the government to supply extensive evidence supporting the classification of more than 180 Guant¡namo detainees as enemy combatants.”


The federal government said it would “intensify its efforts to move Gulf Coast hurricane victims out of trailers and into apartments or hotels” after the CDC “confirmed that many trailers were contaminated with high levels of formaldehyde.” “About 38,000 families are still living in the trailers and mobile homes.”

“A federal judge ordered the Bush administration yesterday to tell him whether two CIA interrogation videos destroyed in 2005 were relevant to a case before him.” The Justice Department “has urged judges not to seek information about the tapes.”

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates “privately rebuked a four-star general for suggesting the Air Force intended to buy twice as many sophisticated F-22 Raptor aircraft as the Bush administration had approved.” One senior official called Gen. Bruce Carlson’s remarks “borderline insubordination,” because they contradicted a decision by the president.

Iran has postponed a fourth round of talks between the U.S. and Iran “on security issues facing Iraq that had been expected to take place in Baghdad this week,” the U.S. embassy said on Thursday. “No reason was given for the delay.”

Two suicide attackers “targeted worshippers leaving a Shiite mosque Friday” in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, “killing at least three people and wounding 17.”


And finally: At yesterday’s memorial service for Tom Lantos, U2’s Bono sang the late congressman’s wife a Valentine’s Day song: The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.” Watch it here.

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