Political Web, page A1 … for 5:50 PM ET, December 16, 2005
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Top Items:

Dan Eggen / Washington Post:
Bush Authorized Domestic Spying  —  President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.
Hilary Bok / The Washington Monthly:
Above The Law, Take 2  —  I just wanted to echo what Shakespearer's Sister said about the report that Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to spy on US citizens without a warrant.  —  This is against the law.  I have put references to the relevant statute below the fold; the brief version is …
Drudge Report:
NYT 'SPYING' SPLASH TIED TO BOOK RELEASE  —  Newspaper fails to inform readers "news break" is tied to book publication  —  On the front page of today's NEW YORK TIMES, national security reporter James Risen claims that "months after the September 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized …
Hindrocket / Power Line:
LET'S SEND THESE GUYS TO JAIL  —  The Valerie Plame case has established that any leak of classified information from an intelligence agency is a serious matter, regardless of how trivial the information may be, and must result in criminal investigation and prosecution.  Fine.
Will / Attytood:
The Big Stall: How Bush gamed the media to get re-elected in 2004  —  "Nothing gave us more trouble during my years on [the paper] than the conflict with the government over what should and should not be published during periods of war or threats of war."  — James Reston, New York Times columnist, in his autobiography, "Deadline."
Bush declines comment on NSA spying report  —  Specter vows to hold hearings on alleged eavesdropping without warrants … MSNBC TV  —  MSNBC staff and news service reports  —  NEW YORK - President Bush refused to say whether the National Security Agency eavesdropped without warrants …
Jesse J. Holland / Associated Press:
Senate Rejects Extension of Patriot Act  —  WASHINGTON - The Senate on Friday refused to reauthorize major portions of the USA Patriot Act after critics complained they infringed too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.
Jeff Bliss / Bloomberg:
U.S. Senate Rejects Bush Plea to Advance Patriot Act (Update1)  —  Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Senate, rejecting pleas from its Republican leaders and President George W. Bush, refused to end debate on legislation to renew the anti-terror USA Patriot Act.
Associated Press:
Patriot provisions set to expire
Discussion: JunkYardBlog and protein wisdom
Charles Babington / Washington Post:
Senate Deals Setback to Bush on Patriot Act
Nico / Think Progress:   Video: Feingold Convinces Senators to Block Indefinite Extension of the Patriot Act
Byron York / The Corner on National Review Online:   FRUSTRATED, ANGRY REPUBLICANS
Eamon Javers / Business Week:
Op-Eds for Sale  —  A columnist from a libertarian think tank admits accepting payments to promote an indicted lobbyist's clients.  Will more examples follow?  —  A senior fellow at the Cato Institute resigned from the libertarian think tank on Dec. 15 after admitting that he had accepted payments …
Dan Balz / Washington Post:
Pelosi Hails Democrats' Diverse War Stances  —  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday that Democrats should not seek a unified position on an exit strategy in Iraq, calling the war a matter of individual conscience and saying differing positions within the caucus are a source of strength for the party.
Brian /
FLASH: Bob Novak Becoming Fox News Channel "Contributor"  —  This story suddenly becomes more interesting: As soon as Bob Novak's contract with CNN runs out on Dec. 31, he will become a contributor to the Fox News Channel, the AP scoops.  FNC spokesman Brian Lewis confirmed his signing with the network to David Bauder.
Media Matters for America:   Media Matters for America Delivers Nearly 5,000 …
Jim Romenesko /   View Forum Post
Murray Waas /
Why Novak Called Rove  —  On July 9, 2003, senior presidential adviser Karl Rove was well prepared as he returned a telephone call from columnist Robert Novak.  On his desk were talking points and other briefing materials that then-White House Political Director Matt Schlapp and other staffers …
ReddHedd / firedoglake:
Guess Who's in DC This Morning?
Discussion: Daily Kos
Crooks and Liars:   The other Valerie Plame
Eric Schmitt / New York Times:
President Backs McCain Measure on Inmate Abuse  —  WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Under intense bipartisan Congressional pressure, President Bush reversed course on Thursday and reluctantly backed Senator John McCain's call for a law banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in American custody.
Discussion: Washington Post, TAPPED and TalkLeft
John F. Burns / New York Times:
Freedom From Fear Lifts Sunnis  —  BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 15 - Ali is only 9 years old.  But when he and his buddies broke away from a street soccer game to drop into a polling station in Baghdad's Adhamiya district at noon on Thursday, Ali, a chirpy, tousle-haired youngster …

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More Items:

Nicholas Paphitis / Associated Press:
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Sam Dillon / New York Times:
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White House:
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan and Senior Officials on Levee Reconstruction
Ylan Q. Mui / Washington Post:
Wal-Mart Throws an Undercut at Target
National Review:
Lancing the Boil  —  For some time, a large number of Americans …

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