Senate finally considers ATF nominee; Americans waffling on surveillance; how TSA lost knife fight

A few items that caught our attention on Tuesday:

Jacquelyn Martin/AP - B. Todd Jones, the president's pick to head the ATF.
B. Todd Jones, the president’s pick to head the ATF. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Five months later, Senate considers president’s ATF pick. The Senate Judiciary finally plans to take up the nomination of B. Todd Jones for director of the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency has been without a director for six years, and Jones is likely to face a tough climb to confirmation despite support from law enforcement and the White House, according to an article from Federal News Radio 

How did TSA lose the knife fight? The Transportation Security Administration recently backed down from its proposal to allow small knives on board airplanes. An In the Loop column by Al Kamen explains how lobbying and political missteps caused the agency to abandon that plan.

Americans inconsistent with feelings toward surveillance. Who supports surveillance depends on who is in the White House. Democrats and Republicans have changed their tune on this subject since President George W. Bush left office. See the polling results in a recent article from The Fix.

Two times the government used anti-terrorism powers to target non-terrorists. Those cases involved NSA staffers listening to the conversations of regular American citizens living abroad and the use of a Patriot Act provision to tag the bank transactions of Eliot Spitzer, the former Democratic New York governor who resigned amid news that he had used an escort service — that information was a byproduct of the Justice Department tracking him. An article from the Daily Caller provides details.

History helps illuminate surveillance controversy. A lesson on the history and laws surrounding U.S. surveillance puts the government’s phone- and Internet-monitoring program in perspective. Walter Pincus breaks it down in his latest Fine Print column.

NSA leaks create risks for Booz Allen. The Federal Times explores how the behemoth government contracting firm could be affected by one of its former employees disclosing sensitive information. Read the article.

IRS targeting case solved? GOP says not so fast. Republican lawmakers couldn’t disagree more with the notion that the IRS controversy is over, an idea Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight committee, put forward Sunday on the talk-show circuit. A roundup of the GOP responses comes by way of an article from The Hill newspaper.

Different investigative approaches for Issa and Camp. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House oversight committee, makes waves on television shows while Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, turns up vast amounts of documents without a political firestorm, according to an analysis by Politico.

 

 

 

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · June 11, 2013