Thursday, July 17, 2008

TSA Spying on E-mails of Suspected Whistle Blowers: CNN Transcript

This disturbing story is from CNN. Read the entire transcript:

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SR. INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The story stunned the Air Marshal program and the Transportation Security Administration. Federal air marshals telling CNN, the Air Marshal Service is so thin, only 1 percent of domestic flights have agents on board.

Kip Hallie, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, quickly went to Congress and said CNN was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That number is absolutely wrong.

GRIFFIN: And behind the scenes, the TSA launched an investigation to find out where our information was coming from. The TSA went so far as to track down a soldier in Iraq, peer into his personal e-mail, then call him just days after he returned from duty.

(on camera): Who was it that was calling and asking this?

JEFF DENNING, FORMER AIR MARSHAL: It was a special agent Greg Needer (ph) his name. With the TSA Office of Investigations or something.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Jeff Denning is hardly a terrorist. He's a father of four, soon to be five children. He's a former decorated Dallas cop, a member of the Dallas S.W.A.T. team. And from 2004 through 2007, a Federal Air Marshal.

DENNING: And I joined the Air Marshals because I wanted to help in the global war on terror.

GRIFFIN: He spent three years in the service, leaving the agency on good terms but disgusted with how it was run. And last year, just as he was getting his own security business started, his country called him again.

DENNING: I got involuntarily mobilized with the Army Reserves.

GRIFFIN: While serving in Iraq, clearing bombs from road sides, he got an e-mail from an old friend in the Air Marshal service. This e-mail, asking anyone with information about troubles in the Federal Air Marshal program to contact CNN. Jeff Denning never talked to CNN for that first report, but he did forward the e-mail. Little did he know that TSA was watching.

DENNING: In Iraq there were a lot of uncomfortable circumstances, and dangerous things. And never, Drew, have I ever been so scared of when the federal government called me on my home phone and said, I want to know about your personal e-mail accounts and what you have been sending.

GRIFFIN: Don't think it could happen? The Transportation Security Administration just confirmed to CNN that it is true. According to this statement, the TSA is investigating possible unauthorized release of sensitive and classified information to the news media.

DENNING: They're contacting me on my personal -- about my personal e-mail that I apparently forwarded an e-mail to other people's personal e-mail accounts? It's outlandish.

House Speaker Pelosi calls Bush 'a Total Failure'


President Bush has been a "total failure" in everything from the economy to the war to energy policy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. In an interview on CNN, the California Democrat was asked to respond to video of the president criticizing the Democratic-led Congress for heading into the final 26 days of the legislative session without having passed a single government spending bill.

Pelosi shot back in unusually personal terms.

"You know, God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi replied. She then tsk-tsked Bush for "challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again."

Suspect in McCann Disappearance Wins Libel Case

Here is another example of the press rushing to judgement and besmirching the character of an innocent man. Unfortunately, this case won't stop the press from negligent reporting when it involves a high profile case. The profits are too great. The media/press could care less about whether they are right or wrong as long as they get the scoop. They are entitled to their opinion ( I personally think the McCann's accidentally killed their child and then tried to cover it up) but not their own unsubstantiated facts. In a free society we should debate the role of the press and their ethical responsibilities. The problem is that there is no debate. The press don't and wouldn't cover such a debate. There are very few stories about how the press gets it wrong. They always get the last word, after all.

A British suspect in the disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann in Portugal last year won 600,000 pounds ($1.2 million) in libel damages on Thursday for "the utter destruction" of his life.

The 10 British newspapers involved in the case had accused Robert Murat, who lived in the resort where McCann vanished last May, of being involved in the girl's disappearance.

Portuguese police questioned Murat soon after the British girl went missing from her parents' holiday apartment in the southern resort of Praia da Luz and later declared him a formal suspect, but he was never charged and denied any involvement.

"The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family's life and caused immense distress," Murat said outside London's High Court.

"I am pleased that the publications concerned admitted the falsity of their allegations and I can now start to rebuild my life."

John McCain: I Graduated fifth from the Bottom of my Class

This video is hysterical and scary. What are chances? McCain is just as much a knucklehead as the guy he wants to replace.

Another Big Bank in Trouble: JPMorgan Income Falls 53%

JPMorgan is the latest big bank that could be in trouble. This is very serious and dangerous.

JPMorgan Chase said Thursday that its second-quarter income dropped 53 percent, pulled down by markdowns in its investment bank and spiraling credit card and home loan losses.

So far, JPMorgan has weathered the tight credit market better than most of its peers, though its shares have been battered along with the rest of the financial sector. But as confidence rebounded on Wednesday, JP Morgan shares jumped 15.86 percent as nearly all bank stocks rallied. Its shares were also higher in premarket trading.

Still, the rising number of defaults in mortgages, home equity loans and credit cards suggested that the worst is not over. Chase, the bank’s big consumer arm, set aside $3.8 billion in reserves, about twice the amount from the previous year, to cushion its expected losses. Yet it caters to some of the industry’s most creditworthy borrowers.