SAN FRANCISCO “" In a closely watched case involving rendition and torture, a lawyer for the Obama administration seemed to surprise a panel of federal appeals judges on Monday by pressing ahead with an argument for preserving state secrets originally developed by the Bush administration.
In the case, Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian native, and four other detainees filed suit against a subsidiary of Boeing for arranging flights for the Bush administration’s “extraordinary rendition” program, in which terrorism suspects were secretly taken to other countries, where they say they were tortured. The Bush administration argued that the case should be dismissed because even discussing it in court could threaten national security and relations with other nations.
- The Senate passed the stimulus bill 61-37 this afternoon. Now it’s on to conference where the two chambers can iron out their differences before voting again next week.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan has passed the Senate and is on its way to difficult House-Senate negotiations.Just three Republicans helped pass the plan on a 61-37 vote and they’re already signaling they’ll play hardball to preserve more than $108 billion in spending cuts made last week in Senate dealmaking. Obama wants to restore cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states.
Those cuts are among the major differences between the $819 billion House version of Obama’s plan and a Senate bill costing $838 billion. Obama has warned of a deepening economic crisis if Congress fails to act. He wants a bill completed by the weekend.
- National Security Council Overhaul.
The NSC will take on all national security matters that are strategic in nature and “of such importance that the president of the United States would care” about them, he said. Action groups from various departments and agencies will be formed around specific issues for as long as it takes to resolve them. “Some of these things will be very short-term. When the problem goes away, the group goes away.” Others will be ongoing. “An Afghan strategic review, that’s going to take a while,” Jones said. “The policy that is generated from that review, and the implementation, is going to take a while.”
- Iran is ready to talk.
Many Iranians are tired of isolation but some say Iran needs a hard-liner to win U.S. concessions not a moderate like Khatami, whose reforming efforts were mostly blocked by conservatives.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Madrid on Sunday, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said: “They (Iranians) think the American attitude is positive, and they are just waiting for that attitude to manifest itself in some gesture.”
Some principals will be regulars at the NSC “just by force of issues,” he said, and “you can’t just designate the whole government as being there.” But everyone should be kept aware of “what’s going on” and given an opportunity to say, ‘Wait a minute, I’ve got something to say here.’ “