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By Tammy Bruce
Topic - John D. Bates
President Barack Obama's blueprint for overhauling the government's sweeping surveillance program is just the starting point. The reality is few changes could happen quickly without unlikely agreements from a divided Congress and federal judges.
The U.S. judiciary told Congress on Tuesday it opposes the idea of having an independent privacy advocate on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, while members of Congress lauded the idea at a Capitol Hill hearing.
The federal government used the Patriot Act more than 500 times from 2005 through 2011 to secretly obtain records from businesses, including bulk telephone and Internet data, and never once did the secret court charged with oversight turn them down, according to the latest document dump from U.S. spy agencies.
House lawyers on Monday balked at a request by Rep. Charles B. Rangel to settle his federal lawsuit against House Speaker John A. Boehner and six other lawmakers over the chamber's censure of him — and a federal quickly judge agreed.
Even as courts warn of job cuts and furloughs to their employees due to the sequester, federal judges continue to attend taxpayer-funded conferences at lavish resorts, according to a top senator who is calling on the courts to change their priorities.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department said Thursday it will not try again to sue a watchdog group that shared money from a whistleblower settlement with a government economist more than 14 years ago, following a mistrial in the case last month.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry this week lashed out at U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke,accusing him of meddling in China's domestic affairs after he questioned its policies toward Tibet, where Buddhist monks have been burning themselves to death to protest Chinese rule.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday signaled the investigation into former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s scheme to bilk $350,000 in city funds is alive and well, even if the ousted lawmaker is already serving time at a prison in Alabama.
In an exclusive interview just hours before Harry Thomas Jr. was scheduled to board a flight to Alabama to begin serving a 38-month sentence for stealing government funds meant for D.C. youths, the former lawmaker said he spent the last few days of freedom "getting things in order for his family."
A federal court judge sided with lawyers of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. on Thursday by ordering the prison-bound Ward 5 resident to pay $353,000 in restitution to the District instead of a higher figure demanded by prosecutors.
Harry Thomas Jr., the former D.C. Council member who was sentenced earlier this month to 38 months in prison, will report June 20 to a federal prison camp in Montgomery, Ala., a member of the Thomas defense team said Friday.
A 46-year-old woman linked to former council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s scheme to steal public funds pleaded guilty on Friday to failing to report income on her tax return in 2010, including a "fee" she obtained for surreptitiously redirecting more than $100,000 in grant funds to cover the costs of an inaugural ball in January 2009.
Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. was sentenced Thursday to 38 months in prison for stealing more than $350,000 in public funds.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged a second person accused of serving as a pass-through for public funds that former council member Harry Thomas Jr. stole for his personal use.
The director of a golf-oriented nonprofit in Northeast D.C. admitted in federal court on Friday that he failed to disclose his role as a pass-through for public funds stolen by former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. from 2007 to 2009.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, the administrative judge of the U.S. court system and previously chief judge of the FISA court, said any outside advocate group could not effectively provide the court with independent factual investigations necessary for highly classified national security cases or create a truly adversarial process.
Bates told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a letter that such an advocate could not effectively provide independent factual investigations necessary for classified national security cases.