- - Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tampa, Fla., has hosted four Super Bowls, but the protesters expected to cram into the city for the Republican National Convention will be a different sort of crowd.

Police are trying to be ready. Tampa police have spent about $13.6 million so far on big-ticket security items, including 200 bicycles, 13 electric all-terrain vehicles and one armored truck for the Aug. 27-31 gathering.

In 2008, thousands of protesters arrived in St. Paul, Minn., for the RNC. Some smashed cars, punctured tires and threw bottles in a confrontation with pepper-spray-wielding police. Hundreds were arrested over a few days.

Congress has given Tampa, as well as Charlotte, N.C., the location of the Democratic National Convention - $50 million each in taxpayer money to try to ensure everyone is safe for the political gatherings.

SENATE

Wyden letter outlines excessive surveillance

In an unusual acknowledgment, the Obama administration says the government’s surveillance efforts in the war on terrorism have exceeded legal limits on at least one occasion.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence made the observation in a letter to Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden.

Mr. Wyden is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Oregon Democrat has suggested that the government may be reviewing the emails and phone calls of law-abiding Americans in the U.S. who are at the other end of communications being monitored abroad by the U.S. government.

Without specifying what the issue is, the ODNI told Mr. Wyden that the administration has addressed any concerns and that the government’s efforts in the intelligence realm undergo close scrutiny from Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

WHITE HOUSE

Port expansion on fast track before election

The Obama administration is speeding up expansion projects at five major U.S. ports, including two in politically important Florida, as part of a broader plan to accelerate public works projects across the country during a weak economic recovery.

The White House announced the expedited work Thursday as President Obama flew to campaign in Florida, including Jacksonville, one of the port cities that would benefit from the plan.

White House spokesman Jay Carney noted that accelerating such projects was a recommendation from the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Presidential challenger Mitt Romney has criticized Mr. Obama for not meeting with the jobs council for six months.

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