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Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
11:29 AM ET, 03/17/2009

The Washington Post editorial board writes: "Full disclosure is one way of undoing the damage done by the secret prisons and Guantanamo. It should not be left to the International Red Cross to document alleged instances of torture and other abuses; the United States should show itself capable of investigating and fully disclosing its own human rights violations."

Philip Shenon writes for Newsweek that the 9/11 Commission "appears to have ignored obvious clues throughout 2003 and 2004 that its account of the 9/11 plot and Al Qaeda's history relied heavily on information obtained from detainees who had been subjected to torture, or something not far from it. The panel raised no public protest over the CIA's interrogation methods, even though news reports at the time suggested how brutal those methods were. In fact, the commission demanded that the CIA carry out new rounds of interrogations in 2004 to get answers to its questions."

Carol J. Williams writes in the Los Angeles Times: "Former Defense Department General Counsel William J. Haynes II is the first of several former policymakers the National Lawyers Guild wants reprimanded, suspended or disbarred for their roles in detainee abuse....A similar complaint is being prepared in Pennsylvania against former Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor who is currently a visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, for his role in drafting the legal guidelines that approved enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding."

Charlie Savage writes in the New York Times: "A leading Republican senator maintains that President Obama is violating a campaign promise with his claim that he can bypass whistle-blower protections for executive branch officials who give certain information to Congress. The lawmaker, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, sent a letter to Mr. Obama on Friday that condemned a signing statement the president attached to the $410 billion catchall spending bill he signed into law last week."


Kimberly Hefling writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama on Tuesday selected Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney to be U.S. ambassador to Ireland, turning to a lifelong Republican who provided the Democrat critical campaign support during the White House race."

Larry Margasak writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama will nominate a moderate Indiana judge for a federal appeals court, as he begins to remake the federal judiciary, the White House announced Tuesday."

Philip Rucker writes in The Washington Post: "Two months into office, Obama has visited seven federal agencies' headquarters, each time appearing with his Cabinet secretaries and addressing workers. As he makes the rounds, Obama is inspiring longtime career employees with his speeches and asking them to be a partner in his agenda to change the culture of Washington."

Michael J. Sniffen writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama is promising to reinvigorate the Freedom of Information Act by opening more of the government's filing cabinets without a fight. It can't happen soon enough for the people awaiting replies to more than 150,000 requests for information." Sniffen then describes some of the AP's own outstanding requests.

Helene Cooper writes in the New York Times: "President Obama will be making a guest appearance on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' on Thursday, a White House official said, in a rare personal visit by a commander in chief to late night television. Mr. Obama will swing by the Leno show as part of his trip to southern California. The White House official said that Mr. Obama plans to talk about the economy with Mr. Leno and said he will try to focus on substance, possibly a tall task given the show's format."

Howard Kurtz writes for The Washington Post: "Going on a late-night comedy show has become a standard technique for presidential candidates, who hope to humanize themselves -- and reach a broader audience -- by displaying an actual sense of humor. But is it a wise move for a sitting president? At a time when he's struggling with a tanking economy and a banking bailout mess?"

Joe Curl writes for the Washington Times: "The White House on Monday held a super-secret 'background briefing call with senior administration officials,' shielding the high-level presidential aides so they could speak frankly about President Obama's new plan to assist small businesses."

The Associated Press reports: "Joe Biden said that while he did not seek out the vice presidency, a moment at the Democratic National Convention in Denver between his granddaughters and President Barack Obama's daughters erased any doubt he had about taking the job."

Michael Saul writes in the New York Daily News: "A German frozen food company seeking to capitalize on President Obama's popularity recently began marketing a new fried chicken product called 'Obama Fingers,' sparking outrage from African-Americans on this side of the Atlantic."

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