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4:40 AM ET, May 23, 2007


 Top Items: 
The Blotter:
Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran  —  Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:  —  The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
Well, This Takes All The Fun Out Of It  —  ABC News has revealed a top-secret order from George Bush that orders the CIA and other intelligence agencies to take action to undermine the Iranian mullahcracy.  Needless to say, the revelation makes the mission almost impossible (via Hot Air):
Discussion: The Newshoggers
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
ABC exposes Bush's secret order to CIA to destabilize Iranian regime  —  It's not a secret anymore.  Some righty media outlet must have already linked it, too, because Brian Ross and company are getting reamed in the comments over there for revealing it.  —  I assumed we've been doing covert ops …
The Age:
Iran planning strike on Europe: analyst  —  Iran is attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has reconnoitered European nuclear power stations, a security analyst told a meeting at Britain's parliament.  —  Claude Moniquet, president of the European Strategic Intelligence …
Discussion: New York Times
Faiz / Think Progress:
ABC News: Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran  —  This evening, ABC's World News Tonight reported that the "United States has opened a new front in its showdown with Iran."  According to the report, President Bush has directed the CIA to carry out covert operations both inside and outside Iran …
Shailagh Murray / Washington Post:
Democrats Relent On Pullout Timetable  —  Democrats gave up their demand for troop-withdrawal deadlines in an Iraq war spending package yesterday, abandoning their top goal of bringing U.S. troops home and handing President Bush a victory in a debate that has roiled Congress for months.
Carl Hulse / New York Times:
Democrats Drop Troop Pullout Dates From Iraq Bill  —  Congressional Democrats relented today on their insistence that a war spending measure sought by President Bush also set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq.  The decision to back down, described by senior lawmakers and aides …
Deadline pulled from war funding bill … WASHINGTON (CNN) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi will present a plan to House Democrats for a war funding bill that won't include a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq but will feature benchmarks with consequences, according to Democratic leadership aides.
Cave-in, or smart politics?
Discussion: TalkLeft and The Mahablog
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
Pre-Emptive Stupidity At Falwell Funeral
Discussion: Obsidian Wings and Shakesville
The Independent:
Robert Fisk: The road to Jerusalem (via Lebanon)  —  Inspired by al-Qa'ida, a hitherto little-known militant group is behind the outbreak of bloody violence which has left scores dead  —  They came into Lebanon last summer when the world was watching Israel smash this small nation in a vain attempt to destroy the Hizbollah.
Discussion: The Agonist and The Belmont Club
Nicholas Blanford / Time:
Catching Their Breath in Lebanon
Discussion: Gateway Pundit
Rush Transcript / The Raw Story:
Faiz / Think Progress:
Snow Slams Gore's Book, Says It Should Be 'Reprinted' Because It Calls Out Bush's 'Deception'  —  In his new book The Assault on Reason, Al Gore wrote that Bush's efforts to connect Iraq to 9/11 were an example of the administration's willful "deception" of the public:
James Boyce / The Huffington Post:
Just Off The Phone With Al Gore — With Special Note To Tony Snow
Discussion: New York Times and Liberal Values
Paul Kiel / TPMmuckraker:
Why The Tears?  —  Tomorrow morning at 10:15 AM, Monica Goodling will testify before the House Judiciary Committee.  —  Goodling, remember, was the Justice Department's liaison to the White House and the last of the Department officials involved in the U.S. attorney firings to talk to Congress.
Former Gonzales Aide / Washington Post:
Officials Describe Interference by Former Gonzales Aide
Discussion: Think Progress
Russia angered by Litvinenko extradition call  —  A major diplomatic row loomed last night after Tony Blair demanded the extradition from Russia of the man accused of murdering the former security service agent Alexander Litvinenko.  —  Andrei Lugovoi was formally accused by British authorities yesterday …
Anne Penketh / The Independent:
Another front in Putin's war with the West
Discussion: Firedoglake and Guardian
Hindrocket / Power Line:
WHO CAUGHT SCOTT?  —  Scott was on the O'Reilly Factor tonight, with guest host Michelle Malkin.  I got home two minutes too late and missed it.  Did some of our readers catch Scott's appearance?  Let us know what you thought.  —  The topic was a bust in Minneapolis a couple of days ago …
Discussion: KARE-TV
Jean Hopfensperger / Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Attack on 'sex slavery' targets 8 brothels
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
Chris Bowers / MyDD:
On Checks And Balances In The Progressive Movement  —  On more than one occasion at MyDD, I have been burned by accepting, at face-value, news articles that put words in the mouths of prominent Democrats.  For example, one time I unfortunately accepted a reporter's claim that Al Gore had made a …
Discussion: TalkLeft
Susan Crabtree / The Hill:
Murtha sent earmark letter five weeks after deadline  —  Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) submitted an earmark certification letter for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) May 1, more than five weeks after the Intelligence Committee's deadline and the day before the panel marked up its authorization bill …
Agence France Presse:
Gay flamingos pick up chick  —  LONDON (AFP) - A pair of gay flamingos have adopted an abandoned chick, becoming parents after being together for six years, a British conservation organisation said Monday.  —  Carlos and Fernando had been desperate to start a family, even chasing other flamingos …
Deb Riechmann / Associated Press:
Bush: bin Laden ordered non-Iraq attacks  —  WASHINGTON - Rallying support for the war, President Bush is pointing to U.S. intelligence asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist unit to hit targets outside Iraq, and that the United States should be first in his sights.
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 More Items: 
Michael Arrington / TechCrunch:
Silicon Valley Could Use A Downturn Right About Now
Ann Scott Tyson / Washington Post:
New Strategy for War Stresses Iraqi Politics
Simon Tisdall / Guardian:
Bush may turn to UN in search for Iraq solution
Video: George Allen Weighs in on 2008 Race
Discussion: MSNBC and Salon
Deacon / Power Line:
SO CORRUPT IT HURTS  —  Although Jack Murtha currently occupies …
Digby / Hullabaloo:
Liberation … You can view more of the video at this Chicago Tribune link.
Discussion: The Sideshow
Kevin G. Hall / Real Cities:
Swiss authorities question U.S. counterfeiting charges against North Korea
Discussion: Washington Monthly
 Earlier Items: 
Chris Frates / The Politico:
Local officials take on voting rights groups
John Amato / Crooks and Liars:
Obey Presser on Iraq
Discussion: Think Progress
Dean Barnett /
A Decree from Markos  —  Under the headline, "Record Everything …
Daniel Friedman / Federal Times:
GSA chief violated Hatch Act, OSC report finds
Discussion: Tech Insider, MyDD and Firedoglake
Allahpundit / Hot Air:
Pew poll of American Muslims chock full o' nuance
Stewart M. Powell / Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
U.S. quietly, dramatically increasing Iraq troop levels
Discussion: Firedoglake