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CIA using secret Somalia prison facility: report

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WASHINGTON — The US Central Intelligence Agency is using a secret facility in Somalia for counterterrorism purposes as well as a secret prison in the Somali capital, the magazine The Nation reported Tuesday.

The report said the CIA has “a sprawling walled compound” on the coast of the Indian Ocean which looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen buildings behind large protective walls.

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According to the magazine, the site has its own airport and is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access.

The Nation said the effort is part of a focus on the Shebab, the Al Qaeda-linked group in the region blamed for a number of plots against the United States. It said the CIA seeks to build “an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted ‘combat’ operations” against the Shebab.

The report said the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shebab members or of having links to the group are held.

Some prisoners have been captured in Kenya or other locations, according to the magazine, which said the prison is officially run by the Somali NSA, but that US intelligence personnel pay the salaries and interrogate detainees.

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Mitch McConnell may let Republicans write Senate impeachment rules without Democratic votes

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is plotting to shut out Democrats on impeachment if a bipartisan compromise on rules for the trial can't be reached.

The Kentucky Republican said this week that he hopes to reach an agreement on rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but he's also readying a "backup plan" in case he can't reach an agreement with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, reported Vanity Fair.

“The first thing Sen. Schumer and I will do is see if there’s a possibility of agreement on a procedure,” McConnell said. “That failing, I would probably come back to my own members and say, ‘Okay, can 51 of us agree how we’re going to handle this?’”

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Fresno Bee burns Nunes to the ground in scathing editorial

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The editorial board of the Fresno Bee has written a scathing takedown of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for his extraordinary fealty to President Donald Trump, which the editors say is harming the country.

Specifically, the editorial accuses Nunes of forsaking his oath of office as a congressman to serve as Trump's most loyal toady on the House Intelligence Committee.

"As has been true for nearly all of Trump’s first term, Nunes has relinquished his proper role as an independent representative of Congress and has instead acted like a member of the Trump 2020 re-election team," the editorial states.

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Republicans blundered badly as their own impeachment expert witness wrecked their defenses of Trump: columnist

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Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pinned their hopes on George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, their sole expert witness on the panel at the hearing on Wednesday, to discredit the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump.

But as anti-Trump conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote for the Washington Post, even Turley's testimony ended up damaging the GOP more than Democrats, because he undercut one of the GOP's most solid narratives in defense of the president: that trying to extort Ukraine with military aid would not be impeachable even if it was proven.

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