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Attorney General May Ease Spy Rules

Major Federal intelligence gathering changes planned allowing local and state police to spy on Americans suspected of terrorism

The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years, details.

The newspaper said the proposal, prepared by the US Justice Department, allows law enforcement agencies to launch a criminal intelligence investigation based on the suspicion that a person or a group is engaged in terrorism or providing material support to terrorists.

The proposed changes would revise the federal government's rules for police intelligence-gathering for the first time since 1993 and would apply to any of the nation's 18,000 state and local police agencies that receive roughly $1.6 billion each year in federal grants.

Quietly unveiled late last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of domestic intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush administration in its waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders.

Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush's successor and to enshrine controversial post-Sept. 11 approaches that some say have fed the greatest expansion of executive authority since the Watergate era.

Attorney General says new rules for are necessary, details.

ACLU believes this is something Congress should vote on, details.

More >>

Russia Declares: Poland risks attack
because of accepting US missile deal

A top Russian general said that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes his country to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, thus Poland is a target.

Sculpture "Mother Russia," in Volgograd (ex-Stalingrad)

General Nogovitsyn had reiterated Russia's frequently stated warning that placing missile-defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic would bring an unspecified military response, details.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Washington's deal with Poland to deploy a missile defense system in Europe -- on the Russian border -- shows the rocket shield is really directed against his country while the U.S. says it is not., details.

The Bush White House says the missile system is aimed at protecting the United States and its allies from long-range missiles that could in the future be fired by Iran or groups like al-Qaeda, details.

A Pro-Russian Perspective from Cyprus
With Russian officers sitting on American stockpiles of military hardware in Gori, Putin demonstrates the limits of US power and challenges the rank hypocrisy of both Western Europe and Bush's White House, details

Analysis: Russia is a foe to be reckoned with, here

Peace Plan Signed in Georgian Conflict, Tensions Continue

Russian soldiers sit atop armored vehicles as they head through town outside Gori, August 15, 2008.

Bush warns Russia about Georgia, saying there is
"No room for debate.

The agreement bans the use of force and any military action, and envisages free access to humanitarian aid

Other terms are that Georgian troops should return to their bases, and the Russian military should pull back to its previous positions, but Russian troops still roam Georgia, details.

Also, dispute White House interpretations, Russia states emphatically it will not allow Georgian troops back into South Ossetia and Abkhazia, details.

Russia also claims that security measures in the agreement gave it the right to destroy Georgian military supplies, bases and infrastructure, like the BTC pipeline, details.

Critical Overview  of  dispute > here

This Week's Top Election Stories & Events


McCain, Obama appear together before church audience, details.

For interactive state-by-state information, check out USAToday's Electoral-Vote-Tracker

Pakistan parliament to address Musharraf impeachment

Is there a deal for immunity? details.

Charges claim systematic misrule and usurpation of parliament's powers.

A regional parliament has already passed a resolution calling on the president to seek a vote of confidence, or resign, details.

Bush considers Musharraf a key ally in the War on Terror, details. His impeachment may lead to an unraveling of U.S. ties with Pakistan, details.

If Musharraf is gone, Pakistan with have internal and external power struggles.

Critics say the country is sliding into economic chaos and there is no sign that the government has a credible strategy to cope with the impending disaster. details

Embattled Musharraf calls for reconciliation

The general who seized power in a coup d'état says,
" To fight against terrorism and to solve economic problems, political stability is necessary," details

Last year martial law was declared, judges, lawyers and other government critics arrested, and elections were cancelled. This time the army insists that it will stay on the sidelines, details

More >>

Congressional Legislation in the News
Senators Call For Arrests in Iraq Contract Fraud

Pelosi Might Consider Offshore Drilling
The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, heard testimony from Pentagon officials about their efforts to counter waste and fraud in federal contracts. Byrd expressed outrage at the "appalling" mismanagement of funds. "They're bilking the U.S. and Iraqi governments... taking bribes, substituting inferior workmanship, or plain, old-fashioned stealing!"

Pelosi said opening portions of the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling will be part of energy legislation that House Democrats intend to put forward in the coming weeks to address oil dependence and high gasoline prices.

Just weeks ago, Pelosi seemed resolved to block any votes to allow new offshore drilling.

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