Archive for July 26th, 2007

Maybe that’s why we can’t get him to change his mind…….

By Al Kamen

Wednesday, July 25, 2007; Page A13

The Bush administration may be taking some hits lately in the polls, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to let down its sartorial standards.

So signs have popped up at various White House entrances — including the press entrance and the staff and visitors’ entrance at the southwest gate — along with e-mails to staff members, to remind everyone, particularly tour groups, that, even in these times of sinking poll numbers, proper attire is to be maintained.

The e-mail reminder was all in capital letters. It advised that there would be no jeans, sneakers, shorts, miniskirts, T-shirts, tank tops and — with boldface added — “NO FLIP FLOPS.” (Which, of course, is good advice, if rarely followed in this town.)

These prohibitions would be in force “regardless of weather conditions.”

Some visitors from the Reagan and Bush I days were taken aback by the rule postings. “We were plenty button-down,” recalled a Reagan aide who saw one of the signs, but added: “Do they have nothing else to do” than fret about this?

It’s unclear if there was some particular event that sparked the crackdown. And though it appears directed at tour groups, visitors, staff members and press regulars assume they’re included.

“When the Clintons came in, all hell broke loose” in terms of dress code — and perhaps other things? — one current aide said. “We’re just trying to get things back on track.”

And flip-flops have always been verboten. “As you know, this administration has a strong record against flip-flops,” said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore. But Crocs, with or without socks, presumably are okay if you’re biking with Bush.

There’s also a sign posted in front of the new podium about “Press briefing room tour guidelines.”

It says:

Please do not stand on the

riser or behind the podium

From The Washington Post

You think the latest Executive Order scared the cr@p out of you – read this!

The FBI is taking cues from the CIA to recruit thousands of covert informants in the United States as part of a sprawling effort to boost its intelligence capabilities.According to a recent unclassified report to Congress, the FBI expects its informants to provide secrets about possible terrorists and foreign spies, although some may also be expected to aid with criminal investigations, in the tradition of law enforcement confidential informants. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

The FBI said the push was driven by a 2004 directive from President Bush ordering the bureau to improve its counterterrorism efforts by boosting its human intelligence capabilities.

The aggressive push for more secret informants appears to be part of a new effort to grow its intelligence and counterterrorism efforts. Other recent proposals include expanding its collection and analysis of data on U.S. persons, retaining years’ worth of Americans’ phone records and even increasing so-called “black bag” secret entry operations.

To handle the increase in so-called human sources, the FBI also plans to overhaul its database system, so it can manage records and verify the accuracy of information from “more than 15,000” informants, according to the document. While many of the recruited informants will apparently be U.S. residents, some informants may be overseas, recruited by FBI agents in foreign offices, the report indicates.

The total cost of the effort tops $22 million, according to the document.

The bureau has arranged to use elements of CIA training to teach FBI agents about “Source Targeting and Development,” the report states. The courses will train FBI special agents on the “comprehensive tradecraft” needed to identify, recruit and manage these “confidential human sources.” According to January testimony by FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole, the CIA has been working with the bureau on the course.

The bureau apparently mulled whether to adopt entire training courses from the CIA or from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which like the CIA recruits spies overseas. But the FBI ultimately determined “the courses offered by those agencies would not meet the needs of the FBI’s unique law enforcement.” The FBI report said it would also give agents “legal and policy” training, noting that its domestic intelligence efforts are “constitutionally sensitive.”

“It’s probably a good sign they are not adopting CIA recruitment techniques wholesale,” said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, an expert on classified programs.  U.S. intelligence officers abroad can use bribery, extortion, and other patently illegal acts to corral sources into working for them, Aftergood noted. “You’re not supposed to do that in the United States,” he said.

This is from ABCNews – The Blotter.  Click the link and read the comments if you want to get an idea of what  your fellow citizens think of this plan.  I’ll warn you – it’s scarier than the proposal!