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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 19, 2013/ 11 Tamuz, 5773

Congress has become a rubber stamp for the NSA

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Founders created a system of checks and balances. Those overseeing the nation’s spying have switched to a system of cheers and bouquets.

This was the impression given by members of the House intelligence committee as they held an open-to-the-public hearing Tuesday on the National Security Agency’s snooping into Americans’ phone and Internet records.

“That’s a patriot!” Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said of Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director.

“Your leadership in NSA has been outstanding,” added Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the committee’s ranking Democrat.

Only his spymaster’s cool kept Alexander from blushing. “Thank you for the kind words,” he replied. “As you noted, we have extraordinary people doing great work.”

The hearing was really a pep rally, as lawmakers praised the officials involved in the surveillance programs and then yielded the floor for an hour so the officials could make statements about how responsible and restrained they’ve been. The congressional overseers of the intelligence agencies quite clearly are captivated by — if not captives of — the people they are supposed to be supervising.

Rogers, in fact, seemed irritated by the notion of letting the public in on their little secret, a disclosure made necessary by Edward Snowden’s leaks. Rogers spoke disapprovingly of being “forced into the position of having so publicly discussed intelligence programs due to irresponsible criminal behavior.”

Deputy FBI director Sean Joyce, one of the witnesses, joined in the complaint that the “egregious leaks” have hurt national security because “now here we are talking about this in front of the world.”

Those responsible for the programs shared few new details but offered many “trust us” reassurances. “These programs are limited, focused and subject to rigorous oversight,” Alexander testified.

“Rich and rigorous oversight,” added Chris Inglis, Alexander’s deputy.

“Extensive oversight,” agreed James Cole, the deputy attorney general. “Robust and fairly intimate.”

“Extensive and serious . . . multilayered,” amended Robert Litt, general counsel to the national intelligence director, James Clapper.

As evidence of this robustness, Cole cited a “report” issued last month finding that U.S. law “imposes at least as much, if not more, due process and oversight on foreign intelligence than other countries.” He didn’t mention that the “report” was published by a big lobbying firm.

Alexander said he would provide the committee with classified documents describing 50 cases in which the surveillance programs were helpful, but he only made two public Tuesday. The officials didn’t explain why those cases, involving a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange and a terrorist financier in California, couldn’t have been done with less-sweeping data collection.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who said the officials would have been better off providing information about the program “up front,” asked whether their newfound transparency would include the public release, with redactions, of secret court opinions related to the surveillance programs.

“It’s been a very difficult task,” was Litt’s noncommittal response.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked how soon Litt would have an answer on declassifying the opinions.

“I’m hesitant to answer any question that begins ‘how soon,’ ” Litt said.

Schiff, in the minority of lawmakers challenging the witnesses, suggested that the NSA might want to get the phone “metadata” from the telecommunications providers on a case-by-case basis rather than amass all the data for all Americans.

“The concern is speed in crisis,” Alexander told him.

Schiff wasn’t persuaded. “I think that the American people may be much more comfortable with the telecommunications companies retaining those business records,” he said. As for the intelligence officials’ boasts about self-supervision, Schiff added, “all those internal checks are valuable, but they’re still internal checks.”

While there’s bipartisan consensus that the programs are valuable, it’s a mystery why more lawmakers don’t question the intelligence officials’ just-trust-us assurances. After all, only three months ago, Clapper publicly assured Congress that such programs didn’t exist.

Congressional overseers have become apologists, assuring the public that the programs are “legal, court-approved and subject to an extensive oversight regime,” as Rogers put it.

“This is very important that we get the message out to the American public that what we do is legal,” Ruppersberger concurred. To that end, he asked Alexander about “unfortunate” criticism of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court as weak because it rarely turns down a government request.

“Do you feel in any way that the FISA court is a rubber stamp?” Ruppersberger asked.

“I do not,” Alexander replied. “The federal judges on that court are superb.”

When the executive branch thinks those checking its power are “superb,” it’s time for rebalancing.

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Previously:



06/17/13 The left turns compliant on violating civil liberties
06/12/13 Climate activists are resigned to the inevitable
06/11/13 The secrecy backlash leaks were inevitable.
06/06/13 All in the White House family
06/03/13 Holder stewing in his own juices
06/03/13 Cleaning up D.C.'s house
05/27/13 Where money talks
05/23/13The IRS passes the buck
05/22/13 In AP, Rosen investigations, government makes criminals of reporters
05/14/13 Obama's second-term blues set in
05/08/13 Child's play with the budget as Dems and Republicans battle
05/06/13 When governing is seen as a game, we all lose
05/02/13 Mark Sanford's comedy of errors
05/01/13 Presidential bystander: Obama has already lost control of his agenda
04/29/13 A Washington weekend of honor and dishonor
04/26/13 Conservatives rebel against GOP leaders
04/24/13 Military tribunals don't work
04/23/13 A lack of appetite for Sen. Mike Lee
04/17/13 Washington moves on
04/16/13 At Supreme Court, cookies and baseball bats
04/15/13 A Senate stirred by a message from the heart
04/12/13 Rand Paul goes to Howard University in peace, receives quiet
04/11/13 Libs get angry at prez's triangulation
04/13/13 The new protest recipe: Less disruption from demonstrators on the Left
04/08/13 Obama's feeble salary 'sacrifice'
04/04/13 Hagel pulls rank -- with caution -- on thinning the ranks
04/03/13 The NRA has effectively disarmed its critics
04/01/13 Obama on guns ---- he's missed his chance
03/22/13 Obama in Israel: The presidential tourist
03/21/13 On Syria, Iraq's shadow is long
03/20/13 Standing with Rand, nervously
03/19/13 The Grand Old Punt
03/18/13 Conservative Confab Turns Into A Three-Day Therapy Session
03/14/13 Republicans go after Obamacare. Again.
03/13/13 Paul Ryan's magical budget
03/12/13 The limits of charm
03/04/13 The same old song: In Washington, everyone fights rather than solves
02/26/13 Sequester? No problem. To the moon!
02/25/13 GOP governors make peace with Obamacare
02/21/13 For Jesse Jackson Jr., the rules do apply
02/20/13 A grand bargain on life support
02/18/13 Lindsey Graham's no deal
02/14/13 A Lew-dicrous loophole
02/13/13 Let the bleak times roll
02/12/13 Senator of the evening: Bob Menendez has been selling his influence
02/11/13 'Trust me' is not enough on drone warfare
02/07/13 Chip off the Paul block: How will Rand separate from his father?
02/06/13 Empty talk, happy talk
02/05/13 John Kerry, finally where he belongs
02/04/13 With a friend like Jim Inhofe ...
01/29/13 Rubio's immigration 'reality' show
01/27/13 Ryan And Pence Represent Polar Opposites Of GOP
01/24/13 Congress's daffy duck saga
01/22/13 So much for unity: Obama's speech failed to rise to the moment
01/21/13 Less an inauguration than a tepid rerun
01/03/13 The GOP's savior
01/03/13 Boehner defined by a Sandy sidestep
12/21/12 Obama in focus, yet all over the map
12/20/12 A deal or a mutiny
12/13/12 Joe Lieberman's sad send-off
12/10/12 Post-thought think tank: Why DeMint and Heritage are a perfect pair
12/06/12 Republicans wave the white flag
12/05/12 Romney's last duty
12/04/12 Obama's poor efforts at transparency
12/03/12 The urge to purge: Rational Republicans defy purists at their own peril
11/30/12 The naked 'fiscal' truth: Lawmakers can't hide the lack of progress
11/28/12 Santorum's new cause: opposing the disabled
11/20/12 Norquist in defeat
11/19/12 Susan Rice's tarnished resume
11/15/12 Let those poor states secede
11/12/12 Whole lot of blaming going on
11/08/12 At Romney headquarters, the defeat of the 1 percent
11/07/12 Why I voted Republican
11/06/12 Romney's new tune
11/01/12 The Supreme Court's dog-day afternoon
10/31/12 A perfect political storm
10/29/12 Behind the Clinton 'bromance,' a stealth campaign
10/25/12 A Trumped-up bomb
10/24/12 Groupthink Live: How conventional wisdom congeals in 2012
10/23/12 The sound of worldviews not colliding
10/22/12 The tea party is helping Dems
10/18/12 Moderate Mitt wins conservatives' blessings
10/16/12 Reid's latest salvos are beneath the dignity of his office
10/08/12 Obama pays price for ducking the questions
10/05/12 Mitt Romney holds his own -- and then some -- in first debate
10/03//12 The Zinger candidacy --- all sugary platitudes, no protein
09/25/12 Obama makes room for 'The View'
08/17/12 Hateful speech on 'hate' groups: The Family Research Council is no KKK
08/16/12 Now Dems are employing harsh tactics
08/14/12 Paul Ryan on soapbox at Iowa State Fair
08/13/12 Romney's welfare gambit
08/07/12 Harry Reid's latest broadside
07/26/12 Romney can't have it both ways on defense spending, tax cuts
07/19/12 Ron Paul, fed up
07/17/12 The rotten results of one-party rule
07/11/12 The missing giants of the Senate
07/09/12 Representative Gaffe
07/02/12 The umpire strikes back
06/25/12 Norquist delivers the GOP's marching orders
06/19/12 The left, feeling left out
06/18/12 Skip the falsehoods, Mr. President, and give us a plan
06/15/12 The Wall Street Senate
06/13/12 Jeb Bush's heresy
06/12/12 Pileup at the White House
06/11/12 Obama's fate could be in Europe's hands
06/04/12 Welcome to Camp Competitive
05/31/12 Digging a racial grave
05/30/12 A new conspiracy theory: Is Romney a unicorn?
05/29/12 Do Republicans really want to clone one for the Gipper?
05/24/12 Obama's protectors are under the microscope
05/22/12 Obama's Old World mess: Allies are coming up short at a key moment
05/16/12 Where have all the candidates gone?
05/15/12 Barack Obama, the first female president
05/14/12 Irrationality wins: Voter cure for Congress's failures will likely backfire
05/08/12 Obama's marriage mess: His advisers scramble to clean up his 'evolution'
05/07/12 Taking out Dick Lugar
05/03/12 Gingrich may have ended campaign, but he will remain out of this world
05/02/12 Our do-almost-nothing Congress
05/01/12 President Obama, campaigner in chief
04/25/12 Romney's immigration Etch a Sketch
04/23/12 A congressional deal on immigration? Dream on
04/19/12 Dems battle back against Republican 'war on women'
04/18/12 Debauchery: An American govermental specialty
04/17/12 Silent witness
04/12/12 Rebuffing Obama's gimmicky 'Buffett Rule'
04/11/12 Santorum's Gettysburg surrender
04/09/12 The facts vs. Mitt Romney
04/06/12 Mitt Romney, talking to the press, keeps the press at a distance
04/05/12 From tracking al-Qaeda to tracking the wayward spouse
04/04/12 Budget cuts as back-door deregulation
03/26/12 My pet Mitt
03/22/12 Mitt Romney's latest gaffe may be etched in history
03/20/12 Supreme Court conceives of life after death
03/15/12 Conservative for Obama: The British PM as campaign prop
03/14/12 In Section 60, a silent search for meaning
03/13/12 Super Friends, unite
03/12/12 It's time to believe: Romney's a winner
03/07/12 Settling in to Washington's ways
03/06/12 AIPAC beats the drums of war
03/05/12 Did Republicans forget the women's vote?
02/29/12 Mitt Romney's acceptance speech, in (mostly) his own words
02/28/12 Common ground becomes a great divide
02/27/12 An expert witness for the GOP gender gap
02/21/12 Where Romney shines
02/15/12 A Republican death wish?
02/14/12Obama's budget games
02/13/12 Are GOPers playing right into Obama's hands?
02/08/12 Obama pumps the compressor of Joe Hudy's Extreme Marshmallow Cannon
02/07/12 Abramoff's atonement
02/01/12 Why we in the media just love Newt
01/31/12 The end of the road for Newt Gingrich?
01/25/12 Gingrich is Obama's best surrogate
01/24/12 Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney's attack dog
01/16/12 Mitt Romney's Al Gore problem
01/12/12 Kamikaze Gingrich, on the loose in South Carolina
01/11/12 Journalists' campaign trail secrets revealed
01/10/12 Mitt Romney's money problem
01/09/12 Newtonian exceptionalism
01/05/12 Mitt Romney out of control
01/04/12 Indecision 2012: In Iowa and the GOP
01/03/12 Rick Santorum's curious closing argument
12/28/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
12/23/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
12/20/11 Strange brews and views?
12/19/11 Cellphone ban would be a distraction
12/15/11 Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and the Malfunction Minuet
12/14/11 The presidential auction of 2012
12/12/11 Newt's tactics comes back to haunt him
12/06/11 Can an anthem save Occupy non-movement?
12/05/11 The winner of the GOP campaign: Washington
11/30/11 Barney the bully: Congressman Frank's other legacy
11/23/11 Jon Kyl's search-and-destroy mission
11/21/11 Pay to play, brought to you by Washington
11/17/11 Big enough to save the supercommittee?
11/16/11 Why Newt Gingrich won't last
11/08/11 The 2012 campaign gets seedier
11/06/11 A Machiavellian model for Obama
11/03/11 The Herman Cain crack-up
11/01/11 Cain can --- he will survive
10/27/11 Stuntmen of the supercommittee
10/26/11 Democrats on the sidelines
10/24/11 Rick Perry's birther Parade
10/24/11 The birthers eat their own
10/19/11 The GOP's middle man
10/17/11 The waiting for nothing Congress
10/12/11 Sparsely occupied D.C.: Why the movement hasn't caught on
10/10/11 Can Obama strike an alliance with Occupy Wall Street?
10/06/11 Chris Christie, such a presidential tease
10/05/11 Obama and his foot soldiers go toe to toe
09/28/11 Cain could deliver
09/26/11 Republicans? Mr. Nice Guys?
09/22/11 Why Ron Paul is winning the GOP primary
09/21/11 I am a job creator who creates no jobs
09/20/11 Obama launches a revolution
09/19/11 Dems for Romney?
09/14/11 ‘Supercommittee’? More than stupor committee
09/07/11 Mitt Romney finds his (corporate) voice
09/01/11 The infallible Dick Cheney
08/31/11 This liberal says Perry is the ultimate conservative candidate
08/29/11 Wanted: More bite from Obama the Great Nibbler
08/10/11 How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots
08/09/11 The most powerful man on Earth?
08/08/11 The FAA shutdown and the new rules of Washington
08/04/11 Lt. Col. Allen West fires a round at the Tea Party
08/03/11 Government on autopilot
08/02/11 Dems mourn debt deal like death
07/27/11 Life imitates sport
07/26/11 Obama and Boehner take on Washington
07/21/11 Why Americans are angry at Congress
07/20/11 The new party of Reagan
07/18/11 Rob Portman, the boring Midwesterner who could bring sanity to the debt debate
07/13/11 John Boehner's bind
07/04/11 Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance
07/01/11 President Puts Up His Dukes, As He Ought To
06/28/11 Rod Blagojevich verdict: All shook up
06/27/11 Progressives voice their anger at Obama
06/24/11 ‘Mission accomplished,’ Obama style
06/22/11 Jon Huntsman's first step toward oblivion
06/21/11 Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than creating jobs
06/20/11 A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney
06/06/11 Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour
06/02/11 The Weiner roast
06/01/11 Congress clocks in to clock out
05/30/11 Hermanator II: No More Mr. Gadfly
05/24/11 How Obama has empowered Netanyahu
05/24/11 Pawlenty bends his truth-telling
05/20/11 Default deniers say it's all a hoax
05/18/11: Gingrich gives voice to moderation
05/17/11: Donald Trump and the House of Horrors
05/16/11: The medical mystery of Mitt Romney
05/12/11: The body impolitic: Schock photos should tempt lawmakers to cover up
05/10/11: Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
05/09/11: The GOP debate: America -- and the party -- needs the grown-ups
05/05/11: Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary
05/03/11: Obama's victory lap
05/02/11: How the journalist prom got out of control
04/28/11: Obama's birther day: Why did he lower himself by appearing in the briefing room?
04/27/11: Obama, lost in thought
04/24/11: Andrew Breitbart and the rifts on the right
04/22/11: Ten Commandments for 2012
04/21/11: Obama likes Facebook. Facebook likes Obama.
04/18/11: Without Nancy Pelosi, Obama is adrift
04/15/11: If progressives ran the world
04/14/11: Faith in political apostasy
04/13/11: One man's revolution is another's political expediency
04/11/11: Shutdown theatrics
04/06/11: Paul Ryan's irresponsible budget
04/05/11: Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!
04/04/11: Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
04/01/11: Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate
03/31/11: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
03/30/11: Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis
03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation


© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group

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