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Bob Egelko writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "The Obama administration is again invoking government secrecy in defending the Bush administration's wiretapping program, this time against a lawsuit by AT&T customers who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls and gained access to their records. Disclosure of information sought by the customers, 'which concerns how the United States seeks to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security,' Justice Department lawyers said in papers filed Friday in San Francisco." Electronic Frontier Foundation senior attorney Kevin Bankston says in a statement: "President Obama promised the American people a new era of transparency, accountability, and respect for civil liberties. But with the Obama Justice Department continuing the Bush administration's cover-up of the National Security Agency's dragnet surveillance of millions of Americans, and insisting that the much-publicized warrantless wiretapping program is still a 'secret' that cannot be reviewed by the courts, it feels like deja vu all over again."

Lisa Myers reports on the NBC Nightly News: "Documents made public by the White House revealed that [chief White House economic adviser Larry] Summers received about $5.2 million last year from a hedge fund, DE Shaw, for what was described as a part-time job, offering advice and interacting with traders, clients and investors. Summers also pulled down $2.7 million in speaking fees from big Wall Street firms, many which have since received bailout money, including more than $200,000 from Goldman Sachs and $99,000 from Citigroup. Some analysts see a problem in Summers' close financial ties to Wall Street." Financial analyst Barry Ritholz is shown saying: "The problem is that you become captured by the Wall Street perspective, by the banks' interest and you lose the ability to give objective advice to the president."

Mike Allen writes for Politico: "President Barack Obama, after a lightning-quick start for his agenda on Capitol Hill, is bracing for a much slower pace and big changes in his proposals as early urgency and excitement give way to the more languid rhythms that are the norm for Congress."

Amit R. Paley writes in The Washington Post: "A congressional oversight committee opened an investigation yesterday into whether the Obama administration is circumventing a law that limits lavish pay for executives at firms benefiting from the $700 billion federal bailout."

Holly Bailey blogs for Newsweek on a pool report about Obama's cold. Asked how he was feeling yesterday, "Obama said he was better. 'I've had it all week...You can hear it,' the president said. 'In London, I sounded like I had acorns up my nose.'"

The Associated Press reports that North Carolina's big NCAA championship win last night -- as predicted by Obama -- helped the president finish "in the top 20 percent of the 5 million-plus people who entered ESPN.com's pool."

Vicki Hyman writes in the Newark Star-Ledger: "'House' didn't lose a doctor when Lawrence Kutner, aka Kal Penn, committed suicide on last night's episode. The White House gained an associate director in the White House office of public liaison. Lawrence Kutner's death on Fox's 'House,' in the first 10 minutes no less, shocked viewers, but it was no surprise to Penn, who wanted to leave the highly-rated show to pursue a career in politics and public service. Active in the Barack Obama campaign, the 'Harold and Kumar' star tells Entertainment Weekly that he's been thinking about the move for a long time."

Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein write in the Boston Globe: "Following in the footsteps of Bill and Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama may vacation this summer on Martha's Vineyard, we're told. The White House wouldn't confirm the first family's vacation plans yesterday, but word is the Obamas have rented a house for two weeks at the end of August in the East Chop neighborhood of Oak Bluffs."

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 7, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
 
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Comments

Thanks for the link to Bob Egelko's piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about NSA wiretaps.

More shadow government mumbo jumbo - denying the obvious without actually protecting Americans.

Do we have any assurances that warrants are now being issued for ALL wiretaps through the FISA court?

C'mon Holder and Obama, man up and tell the NSA we don't do that anymore.

$60+ billion a YEAR spent on spying and black ops budgets, and are we any safer than when we spent $10 billion a year?

Posted by: boscobobb | April 7, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

My belief, based on the books about the NSA which I have read, is that most (maybe all) telephone calls, both land lines and cell phones, and most (maybe all) emails which originate in or pass thru the US are being intercepted by the NSA and being examined by computer algorithms. Some (maybe a lot) are saved for future reference. There is no warrant for this. There is a terminal in Florida which gives the NSA access to anything going to or from South America, and perhaps within. The terminals on the west coast, mostly in Califoria, give the NSA access to anything going to or from Asia, and probably a lot within. The terminals on the east coast of the US give the NSA access to Europe and Africa. I suspect that we have a deal with the Indians to access the cables that service the Middle East. The Obama administration will never allow any US court to look at any of this, ever. (BTW, this same technology is what the Chinese use to maintain the Great Firewall of China. The only difference is that the Chinese insert a filter to keep stuff out.)

Posted by: dickdata | April 7, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, well, well, candidate Obummer pledged to vote against the FISA law that gave immunity to the big, fat, money-machine telcos that illegally spied on Americans then through the Constitution under the bus and voted for protecting the big, fat, money-machine telcos and screwing Americans.

Now President Obummer has backed the bus over the Constitution and the American people and is preparing to run us over again.

Obummer's brief in the Jewel v US case is even WORSE than Bush's, seeking it virtutally impossible to sue the NSA or any part of the government for violating your right to privacy.

Obummer makes Bush look like the greatest defender of the Constitution this country has ever known, and Bush never went around claiming as one of his accomplishments, one of his qualifications to be president, that he was a "Constitutional" lawyer.

You could get better "Constitutional" law advice from the drunkest barroom lawyer than you could get from Obummer.

So much for "Change." Obummer has gone past "more of the same" to "worse than before" on this issue and he depends on his Koolaid drinking Obummernuts to give him a free pass on this as they have everything else. It's SUCKERS like that that have ruined this country.

Obummer out does Bush on trashing the Constitution and the Main Street Media hardly picks up on it. Keith Oberman made his #5 story in Countdown but will he now start a scandal coverage segment for Obummer like he has for Bush, will he replace "Still Bushed" with "Obummer" because this is not the last betrayal of the American people Obummer will perform.


Posted by: jmcauli1 | April 7, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

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