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Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
10:50 AM ET, 04/ 2/2009

Mark Mazzetti writes in the New York Times: "A withering internal report made public on Wednesday criticized the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for bureaucratic bloat, financial mismanagement and a failure to end the turf battles among America’s spy agencies that led to disastrous intelligence failures in recent years. The report, by the inspector general, was the most detailed account to date of problems that bedevil America’s intelligence agencies more than four years after Congress and President George W. Bush created the director’s office to overcome weaknesses exposed by the Sept. 11 attacks."

Nick Schwellenbach reports for the Center for Public Integrity: "The number of defense contracting fraud and corruption cases sent by government investigators to prosecutors dropped precipitously under the Bush administration, even as contracting by the Defense Department almost doubled...'No one is minding the store,' said William G. Dupree, a former director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), which investigates contracting fraud. 'Someone needs to address that.'"

Jeff Barnard writes for the Associated Press: "The Department of the Interior has told a federal court that it will not defend the Bush administration's decision to cut back protections for the northern spotted owl....Interior Department lawyers said in the motion that the decision was based on an inspector general's report finding there was political interference in owl protections by a former deputy assistant Interior secretary."

Karen DeYoung writes in The Washington Post: "With momentum building in Congress for a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, Sen. Richard G. Lugar called on President Obama to appoint a special envoy to initiate direct talks with the island's communist government and to end U.S. opposition to Cuba's membership in the Organization of American States."

Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times that Richard L. Scott's "emergence this spring as the most visible conservative opponent to Mr. Obama’s not-fully-defined health care effort has former friends and foes alike doing double takes, given Mr. Scott’s history. Once lauded for building Columbia/HCA into the largest health care company in the world, Mr. Scott was ousted by his own board of directors in 1997 amid the nation’s biggest health care fraud scandal."

Mark Silva blogs for Tribune on the White House's response to the latest budget proposal advanced by House Republicans: "'If you expected a GOP alternative to the failed policies of the past that got our country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, then I have two words for you: April Fools,' said Kenneth Baer, communications director for the Obama administration's Office of Management and Budget."

USA Today reports that "a Car and Driver April Fools'
hoax on the Web reporting President Obama had ordered Chevrolet and Dodge out of NASCAR after the 2009 season turned into a sizzling Internet topic Wednesday....The magazine later pulled the fake story (which estimated savings of $250 million) and apologized for 'going too far.'"

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