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A Bang or a Whimper

For more background, read renowned constitutional scholar Louis Fisher's essay on state secrets.

Leak Watch

Joby Warrick writes in The Washington Post: "U.S. intelligence officials will investigate allegations that the government improperly leaked a secretly obtained Osama bin Laden video, alerting al-Qaeda to a security gap in the terrorist group's internal communications network that it was able to shut, an intelligence spokesman said yesterday."

As Warrick wrote yesterday, just five hours after a private intelligence company sent confidential links to the video to White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding and the No. 2 official at the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, the video showed up on the Fox News Web site.

Now both the White House and the National Counterterrorism Center are denying responsibility.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino yesterday told reporters that Fielding was not the leaker. But at the same time, Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence, told Warrick: "At this point, we don't think there was a leak from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence or the National Counterterrorism Center."

Homeland Security Watch

Spencer S. Hsu and William Branigin write in The Washington Post: "The White House yesterday updated the nation's homeland security strategy for the first time since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, acknowledging the need to prepare for catastrophic natural disasters as well as the 'persistent and evolving' threat of terrorism.

"The 53-page National Strategy for Homeland Security comes as the Bush administration, with little more than 15 months left in office, seeks to take account of lessons it painfully learned when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. . . .

"Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said however that the document 'provides little guidance for the deficiencies already taxing our homeland security capacity, while at the same time, it attempts to define successes . . . which have not yet been realized.'

"Several security analysts praised the document for attempting to put such policies on more solid footing. But they also questioned its timing and long passages defending the pet initiatives of a dwindling administration, instead of reconciling security directives and plans issued over the past six years."

Tabassum Zakaria writes for Reuters that the report "incorporated findings of a national intelligence estimate released earlier this year that warned of a persistent threat from al Qaeda. . . .

"The report also expressed concern about the use of improvised explosive devices in an attack on U.S. soil because they can be built with relative ease, and said the White House was developing a national strategy against such a threat."

Turkey Watch

Glenn Kessler writes in The Washington Post: "A proposed House resolution that would label as 'genocide' the deaths of Armenians more than 90 years ago during the Ottoman Empire has won the support of a majority of House members, unleashing a lobbying blitz by the Bush administration and other opponents who say it would greatly harm relations with Turkey, a key ally in the Iraq war."


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