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ACLU sues to find out if Bush admin. tried to ‘discredit’ blogger

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A liberal blogger wants to know if there is any truth to reports that the Bush administration tried to have the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “discredit” him.

The American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) planned to file a lawsuit Wednesday to find out if the U.S. government kept a file on University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole, according to Wired‘s Spencer Ackerman.

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Cole, an expert on the Middle East, writes the popular blog Informed Comment where he has often used Arabic news sources to counter the official U.S. Iraq war narrative.

In June, former CIA officer Glenn Carle told The New York Times‘ James Risen that while he was working as a counterterrorism expert for the agency in 2005, the Bush White House asked intelligence officials to uncover sensitive information about Cole on at least two occasions.

Carle said that his supervisor at the National Intelligence Council, David Low, returned from the White House one afternoon in 2005 with instructions to gather information on Cole.

“What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?” Carle recalled Low asking.

CIA spokesman Preston Golson denied the allegations.

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“We’ve thoroughly researched our records, and any allegation that the CIA provided private or derogatory information on Professor Cole to anyone is simply wrong,” he said.

“We value the insights of outside experts, including respected academics, who follow many of the same national security topics we do. Diversity of thought is essential to the business of intelligence analysis.”

The ACLU suit seeks disclosure of “federal government discussions of, correspondence regarding, inquiries about, and investigations of Professor Cole.”

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“My guess is that there were people in the White House upset by my writing at my blog and elsewhere on the course of the Iraq War, which they consistently attempted to depict in a positive light,” Cole told Ackerman. “They also seem to have been angry that I was taken seriously by intelligence analysts in some of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, and presumably one of their goals was to find ways of discouraging analysts from taking me seriously.”

“The whole point of this [lawsuit] is [to tell the government], ‘If you did do this, come clean and let us know what happened,'” ACLU attorney Katznelson explained. “We want to make sure it never, ever happens again.”

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Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’

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Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.

The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.

United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.

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2020 Election

Lots of red hats — but not many COVID masks — at Bedminster ‘Cops for Trump’ event with the president

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Enhanced unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, but the president of the United States left Washington, DC on Friday for yet another weekend at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

"This weekend’s trip to Trump National Bedminster is the president’s 23rd since taking office, and will increase his golf-related taxpayer tab to $142 million in travel and security expenses," HuffPost White House corresponded S.V. Dáte reported Friday. "Trump has already spent 268 days on golf courses that he owns in his 1,303 days in office, of which 85 have been at Bedminster."

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2020 Election

Trump declares that Fox News is ‘no longer the big deal’ in the 2020 presidential campaign

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Donald Trump on Friday reflected on what he sees as the key differences between his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

"The biggest difference between the Presidential Race in 2020 and that of 2016 is the 2016 candidate, Crooked Hillary Clinton, was much smarter and sharper than Slow Joe, we have even more ENTHUSIASM now, and [Fox News] has become politically correct and no longer the big deal!" Trump tweeted after arriving at his Bedminster Golf Club for the weekend.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated by the network and its polls, which gave him more bad news on Thursday.

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