The Central Intelligence Agency is reviewing security procedures that have led the agency to turn away large numbers of Arabic-language linguists and other potential recruits with skills avidly sought by the agency since the attacks of 2001, Congressional and intelligence officials say.
Many of those rejected, the officials say, have been first-generation Americans who bring the linguistic facility and cultural knowledge that the C.I.A. has been trying to develop in seeking to improve its performance in penetrating terrorist organizations and otherwise gathering intelligence in the Middle East and South Asia.
Many of these applicants still have relatives abroad, often in countries that raise alarm among security officers. Former intelligence officials say that besides the problems of conducting thorough background checks in those countries, the agency also worries that recruits could be blackmailed if their families were vulnerable.
The C.I.A. prides itself on security guidelines that are the strictest in government, allowing the hiring only of American citizens with a top-secret clearance. In recruiting for its clandestine service, the agency invites applications only from those under 35 years old.
That's from Douglas Jehl's "C.I.A. Is Reviewing Its Security Policy for Recruiting Translators" in this morning's New York Times. It's a strong article and I'd fault it only for not dealing with Sibel Edmonds statements.
Tammy e-mails to note Eric Schmitt's "After Lowering Goal, Army Falls Short on May Recruits:"
Even after reducing its recruiting target for May, the Army missed it by about 25 percent, Army officials said on Tuesday. The shortfall would have been even bigger had the Army stuck to its original goal for the month.
On Friday, the Army is expected to announce that it met only 75 percent of its recruiting goal for May, the fourth consecutive monthly shortfall in the number of new recruits sent to basic training. Just over 5,000 new recruits entered boot camp in May.
But the news could have appeared worse. Early last month, the Army, with no public notice, lowered its long-stated May goal to 6,700 recruits from 8,050. Compared with the original target, the Army achieved only 62.6 percent of its goal for the month.
Rob notes Eric Lichtblau's "Defense Lawyers Present Statements at Terror Trial:"
Defense lawyers for three Muslim men accused of helping a former professor, Sami al-Arian, finance Palestinian terror attacks told a jury here on Tuesday that prosecutors had built their high-profile case on vague innuendo, shaky assumptions and faulty evidence.
Prosecutors are "so intent on proving that they are tough on terrorism" after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that they have overlooked critical holes in their efforts to link the defendants to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said Steven Bernstein, who is representing Sameeh T. Hammoudeh, a Muslim activist in Tampa facing terrorism charges in the case.
Maria e-mails to note Eric Lipton's "Senate Panel Votes to Widen Antiterror Law:"
The Federal Bureau of Investigation would gain the right to demand a variety of records in terror cases without a judge's approval, under an expanded version of the law known as the USA Patriot Act that the Senate intelligence committee approved late Tuesday after a closed-door debate.
The measure still needs to be considered by at least one more committee before moving to a full Senate vote, and it must be acted on in the House as well.
Civil liberties groups are already protesting the proposal to expand provisions in the antiterrorism law, adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Lisa Graves, a senior counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "It is the wrong step in the wrong direction to give the F.B.I. unfettered power to obtain records about people's health, their wealth and the transactions of their daily life without evidence of criminal wrongdoing."
Jimmy e-mails (and provides the excerpt) to highlight the Associated Press article "Carter Says U.S. Should Close Detention Center at Guantanamo:"
Former President Jimmy Carter called on the United States on Tuesday to shut down its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to demonstrate the country's commitment to protecting human rights.
[. . .]
In addition to closing Guantanamo Bay and two dozen other secret detention facilities, Mr. Carter said, the United States needs to make sure no detainees are held incommunicado and that they all be told the charges against them.
His other recommendations included that the United States stop transferring detainees to foreign countries where torture has been reported and that an independent commission be created to investigate where terrorism suspects are held in American custody.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org and yes, I'm phoning it in this morning because I'm under the weather. But note the editorial this morning.