- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Arizona won’t ask for funds clarification

PHOENIX | A state commission says it will not ask a federal judge to clarify her ruling invalidating a key portion of Arizona’s public campaign finance system - a setback for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who is being outspent by a wealthy opponent.

The decision Monday follows a U.S. Supreme Court order last week preventing the state from distributing so-called matching funds until the court decides whether the payments are constitutional.

Matching funds go to publicly funded candidates who are outspent by their privately funded opponents or targeted by independent expenditures.

Mrs. Brewer had hoped for $1.4 million in matching funds to offset spending by Republican rival Buz Mills, a businessman who already has spent more than three times the $707,000 Mrs. Brewer gets as a publicly funded candidate. Arizona’s GOP primary is Aug. 24.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission had considered asking a federal judge in Arizona to clarify her January ruling that matching funds are unconstitutional. It remains unclear whether U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver’s ruling allows the use of an emergency provision that would permit publicly funded candidates to raise private money if they are outspent.


Black councilman to challenge Cuomo

NEW YORK | A black New York City councilman complains there’s not enough diversity on the state’s Democratic ticket and he’ll run for governor to protest.

Charles Barron said he is angry over Democrat Andrew Cuomo’s selection of a white, male running mate, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy. All the Democrats running statewide this year are white.

Mr. Barron said Monday he is tired of Democrats taking black voters for granted. He is going to try to create a new line on the ballot, called the New York Freedom Democratic Party, and run on that line to challenge Mr. Cuomo.

Mr. Barron would have to get 50,000 signatures to create the new line.

Mr. Cuomo’s campaign declined to comment on Mr. Barron’s plans.

A Siena College Poll released Monday found Mr. Cuomo running far ahead of his Republican rival, Rick Lazio.


Obama to campaign for Reid in Nevada

President Obama will travel to Nevada next month to provide some campaign help to embattled Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

The Nevada lawmaker’s office announced Tuesday that the president will make the trip.

The four-term Mr. Reid is in a tight race for re-election. He is facing Republican Sharron Angle, a “tea party”-backed candidate who won the party nomination last week.

Mrs. Angle was in Washington on Tuesday meeting with Republican leaders.


Whitman gives funds to her campaign

SACRAMENTO | Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman has given her campaign for California governor another $20 million, bringing her personal contributions so far to more than $90 million.

Mrs. Whitman’s campaign confirmed the contribution to the Associated Press on Monday, although it had not yet appeared in financial statements filed with the secretary of state’s office.

The billionaire last week won the Republican primary for governor, allowing her to challenge Democrat Jerry Brown in the November general election. Her campaign has spent more than $81 million so far, a record for a California primary.

Mr. Brown has spent just $400,000 and has more than $20 million in the bank.


Congress eyes greater power in cyber-attacks

A senior Department of Homeland Security official thinks the government may have to take “extraordinary measures” in responding to a cyber-attack that affects critical public or privately run computer networks.

National Cyber Security Center Director Phil Reitinger said Congress should work with the administration to determine whether new presidential emergency powers are needed. A key Senate committee is proposing the president have more specific authority over how key private companies react in a cybercrisis.

Mr. Reitinger’s remarks came in prepared testimony for a hearing before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The testimony was obtained by the Associated Press.


Film depicts failed spy mission

Far from the glare of Hollywood lights, the CIA on Tuesday premiered a nonfiction film produced by the agency that recounts the mystique and the misery of a botched James Bond-like spy mission in China.

The film, which combines documentary footage and actors re-enacting events, is the first such movie in the spy agency’s history, but relatively few people are likely to see it.

The CIA says it is for internal use only, although it granted an Associated Press request to attend the screening.

The film documents one of the CIA’s more painful episodes: a failed attempt in November 1952 to recover an ethnic Chinese spy who was part of an agent team the CIA had smuggled into the Manchuria region of northeastern China several months earlier. It was part of a much larger, long-classified covert action program aimed at destabilizing the revolutionary communist government of Mao Zedong.

Unbeknown to the Americans, the agent team had been compromised, helping the Chinese set a trap.

When an unmarked C-47 cargo plane with two CIA paramilitary officers aboard swooped low over the arranged pickup point, Chinese troops in hiding opened fire. The Chinese had known it was coming and planned an elaborate ambush. The plane burst into flames and belly-flopped in a forested area.

The pilots, Robert Snoddy and Norman Schwartz, died. But the two CIA men, John T. Downey and Richard G. Fecteau, survived and were captured, destined to serve two decades in Chinese prisons.

The hourlong film, titled “Extraordinary Fidelity” and directed by Paul Wimmer, includes interviews with Mr. Fecteau and Mr. Downey, who have remained largely mum about the details of their experience, which ended with Mr. Fecteau’s release by the Chinese in December 1971 and Mr. Downey’s release in March 1973.


Nominee backs record to Senate panel

The nominee for the No. 2 post at the Justice Department has told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the government must use all available means in fighting terrorism.

At his nomination hearing Tuesday to be deputy attorney general, Washington lawyer James Cole defended his past criticism of military commissions amid questions by Republicans on the Senate panel.

Mr. Cole said that military commissions and civilian courts both are useful tools in the fight against terrorism.

The nominee said the government must do everything in its power to protect Americans, consistent with the rule of law.

The previous No. 2 official at the Justice Department, David Ogden, left the post amid differences in management styles with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

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