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Pentagon, FBI misusing secret info requests: ACLU
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Pentagon has misled Congress and the US public by conniving with the FBI to obtain hundreds of financial, telephone and Internet records without court approval, civil-rights campaigners said Sunday.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has successfully challenged key planks of US anti-terrorism legislation, said it had uncovered 455 “National Security Letters” (NSLs) issued at the behest of the Department of Defense.
Before the ACLU’s challenge, the USA Patriot Act had allowed the FBI to issue gag orders to prevent those receiving NSLs — usually Internet service providers, banks and libraries — from disclosing anything about the request.
Al-Qaeda In Iraq Reported Crippled
Many Officials, However, Warn Of Its Resilience
By Thomas E. Ricks and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 15, 2007; Page A01
The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.
But as the White House and its military commanders plan the next phase of the war, other officials have cautioned against taking what they see as a premature step that could create strategic and political difficulties for the United States. Such a declaration could fuel criticism that the Iraq conflict has become a civil war in which U.S. combat forces should not be involved. At the same time, the intelligence community, and some in the military itself, worry about underestimating an enemy that has shown great resilience in the past.
America’s own unlawful combatants?
By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 15, 2007
WASHINGTON — As the Bush administration deals with the fallout from the recent killings of civilians by private security firms in Iraq, some officials are asking whether the contractors could be considered unlawful combatants under international agreements.
The question is an outgrowth of federal reviews of the shootings, in part because the U.S. officials want to determine whether the administration could be accused of treaty violations that could fuel an international outcry.
But the issue also holds practical and political implications for the administration’s war effort and the image of the U.S. abroad.
If U.S. officials conclude that the use of guards is a potential violation, they may have to limit guards’ tasks in war zones, which could leave more work for the already overstretched military.
Unresolved questions are likely to touch off new criticism of Bush’s conduct of the unpopular Iraq war, especially given the broad definition of unlawful combatants the president has used in justifying his detention policies at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.