Federal Bureau of Investigation

Click here to read Margo Howard’s first, second, third, and fourth dispatches from the Blagojevich trial. And click here for her assessment of the opening statements. After two months of testimony, closing arguments in the Blago trial finally began in a packed courtroom (carried by speaker to a larger, overflow room). The line for seats available to the public started forming at 4 a.m. It felt like a Twilight premier for adult dorks.  Before Assistant U.S.

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Operation Sabotage

Eli Lake on our secret war against Iran.

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The financial crisis in America isn't over. It's ongoing, it remains unresolved, and it stands in the way of full economic recovery. The cause, at the deepest level, was a breakdown in the rule of law. And it follows that the first step toward prosperity is to restore the rule of law in the financial sector. First, there was a stand-down of the financial police. The legal framework for this was laid with the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

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The time was March, 1973, the place a Senate committee hearing where Robert Byrd was interrogating L. Patrick Gray, the head of the FBI. A series of probing questions from Byrd elicited an admission by Gray that he was taking orders from the Nixon White House in his conduct of the investigation into the attempted burglary of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate. When John Dean, Nixon’s White House counsel, heard about Gray’s testimony, he realized the jig was up and that he had to confess his involvement to the United States attorney.

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Easy Target

In the past year, terrorists have planned to blow up the New York City subway system, an airplane over Detroit, and Times Square. These high-profile plots have reminded us that terrorists are as determined as ever to strike within the United States. They have also left an impression, pushed heavily in the media, that the next attack will be a massive explosion.

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Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Click here to read her second. And here for her assessment of the opening statements. Even though I think I’m an opening statements kind of girl, I did want to stick around to see the first witnesses. Number one was Daniel Cain, the the FBI agent who oversaw all Blago-related wiretaps. Formerly an accountant, he answered questions like a federal agent from central casting: precise and almost without inflection. His area of specialty is white collar crime, public corruption, drugs, and fraud.

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 Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Chicago—Well, the games have begun. That is, the trial that has the potential, per political consultant Kevin Madden, “to be the ultimate clown-car spectacle”: United States v. Blagojevich, et al. (The part of “et al”will be played by the former governor’s brother, Rob.) There’s a very large press contingent here, this being about as jazzy as corruption cases get. I guess the prototype would be Louisiana’s Edwin Edwards, another “colorful” governor convicted of extortion and racketeering in 2001.

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Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K.

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The spittle-flacked National Review contributor claims to have a list of all the times President Obama has used the word terror. Conor Friedersdorf, beginning the dark and lonely work of fact-checking McCarthy's crackpot claims, shows that the number is wholly false: Excerpt number one is titled, “Obama Afraid to Call It a War on Terror.” It begins as follows: President Obama’s administration has been roundly ridiculed, and deservedly so, for its aversion to the language of war — indeed, for the word war itself.

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Homegrown

Most of us have in our minds a general sense of what a jihadist is. And Faisal Shahzad, who, earlier this month, was charged with attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, probably fits the bill. Since September 11, Americans have come to think of terrorism as a fundamentally foreign phenomenon that has somehow ensnared us. We have frequently been assured that the United States—unlike Europe—does not have a homegrown terrorism problem. Other than the fact that Shahzad is an American citizen, his profile conforms to this general pattern: He originally hailed from Pakistan.

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