News/Oversight

Dems say Panetta admitted misleading Congress

In a recent meeting with lawmakers, CIA Director Leon Panetta acknowledged that the agency had misled Congress about "significant actions" the agency took between 2001 and this week, House Democrats charge.

It's not clear what the CIA misled lawmakers about, however.

A number of House Democrats are now asking Panetta to correct his earlier assertion that the CIA does not lie to Congress, a charge he made to rebut Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) claim that she was misled by the agency.

"Recently you testified that you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all Members of Congress, and misled Members for a number of years from 2001 to this week," the House Democrats wrote in a letter to Panetta. "This is similar to other deceptions of which we are aware from other recent periods."

In May, responding to Pelosi's charges, Panetta denied that the CIA lies to lawmakers.

"Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress," he said. "This is against our laws and values."

Meanwhile, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is charging that the CIA "affirmatively lied" to Congress.

"This committee has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and [in at least one case] was affirmatively lied to," Reyes wrote in a letter to House leaders on Tuesday.

Reyes did not explain what the CIA had lied about, however.
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Chinese audience laughs at Geithner

I'm not exactly sure how to interpret this, but check out this paragraph from a BBC report on Tim Geithner's speech at Beijing University today:
In a speech at Beijing University at the start of his two-day visit, Mr Geithner reassured his Chinese hosts that they need not worry about the estimated $770bn (
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Issa: Census Controversy Just Beginning

After Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) cited the census as a reason for withdrawing as Commerce secretary nominee, House Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrel Issa's (R-Calif.) office today said the controversy over the census is "just beginning."

"Senator Judd Gregg
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O'Reilly Offers Rove a Place to Hide

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, in an interview last night on "The O'Reilly Factor," offered former White House adviser Karl Rove a place to hide from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers's (D-Mich.) subpoena.

"Now Mr. Rove, if you need a place to hide out, we have it here at 'The Factor.' We have all kinds of tunnels and places we can put you," O'Reilly said.

"I don't need to hide," Rove replied.

"Okay," O'Reilly agreed.

Rove then repeated himself: "I don't need to hide."

Conyers this week reissued his subpoena for Rove to appear before the committee, seeking the former adviser's testimony on the firing of several U.S. attorneys during President Bush's administration. The firings led to allegations of a politicized Department of Justice and, ultimately, the end of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's tenure as head of the department.

Rove has denied the subpoena, citing executive privilege supported by President Bush. He also faces an ongoing lawsuit, brought by the committee, which seeks to compel him to appear.

Lawyers from the Bush White House again counseled Rove not to appear earlier this month.

Rove also said he does not consider himself a "witch," after O'Reilly suggested Conyers's investigation amounts to a "witch hunt."

"I don't know if I'd call it a witch hunt," Rove said. "I don't think of myself a witch."

"He's sort of like Captain Ahab, and I'm the whale," Rove suggested instead.

See a video of the interview below. Skip ahead to the 3:25 mark to see the discussion of Conyers's subpoena.

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Schwarzenegger: We Have a 'Strong Ally' in Obama

President Obama won glowing praise this morning from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its 2007 decision not to let California set higher vehicle emissions standards for its state.

The California Republican said the decision shows that California and environmental law "now have a strong ally in the White House."

"With this announcement from President Obama less than a week into his administration, it is clear that California and the environment now have a strong ally in the White House. Allowing California and other states to aggressively reduce their own harmful vehicle tailpipe emissions would be a historic win for clean air and for millions of Americans who want more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly cars," Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued by his office.

"My administration has been fighting for this waiver since 2005 and we will not give up until it is granted because we owe it to our children and to our grandchildren to do more than just protect our natural resources, we must also work to improve them so that we leave behind an environment for future generations that is better than it is today," the governor continued.
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Dodd Announces Madoff Hearing for Tuesday

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday investigating the case of billionaire Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) announced today.

At the hearing, which is to be held at 10 a.m., the committee will "examine what went wrong in the case of Madoff Investment Securities, with a focus on the performance of federal regulators who are expected to police such firms and what can be done to prevent such frauds from occurring in the future," according to Dodd's announcement.

Dodd and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) requested documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission on the Madoff case earlier this month, announcing they would investigate.

Witnesses for the hearing have not yet been announced.
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Grassley Asks SEC IG for Madoff Review Updates

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) today asked the inspector general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for regular updates on his review of the SEC's handling of complaints against alleged financier/Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.

SEC Chairman Chris Cox today vowed to investigate how the commission handled complaints against Madoff, saying credible information on Madoff had been brought to the SEC on multiple occasions but no formal investigation had been opened.

Grassley sent the following letter today to SEC Inspector General David Kotz, who has been tasked with looking into the SEC's handling of allegations against Madoff:
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Obama Cites Thousands of Questionable Payments

President-elect Barack Obama, as he outlined his budget philosophy and announced his new Office of Management and Budged chief, cited thousands of potentially improper farm payments doled out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2003.

"This isn
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Leahy Presses Mukasey on Unanswered Questions

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told Attorney General Michael Mukasey today that he wants answers--roughly 300 of them.

Leahy today sent a letter to Mukasey protesting that Department of Justice (DoJ) employees--including Mukasey himself--have failed to answer over 300 of the committee's written questions submitted to DoJ employees after they testified at committee hearings examining the department.

Leahy said he wants responses to all outstanding, unanswered questions sent to the committee before the 110th Congress adjourns. That includes answers from Mukasey to questions posed after a July 9 oversight hearing.
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