POGO Stake

Posted June 23, 2004 at 6:51pm

A liberal government watchdog group filed suit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday to thwart Justice Department efforts to “reclassify” information provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by an FBI whistleblower. [IMGCAP(1)]

Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI linguist, told Judiciary she was fired after raising concerns about the activities of another translator in her section. Attorney General John Ashcroft has requested that Judiciary essentially remove Edmonds’ testimony from public scrutiny, even though she provided the information in two unclassified briefings. The committee has complied with the request.

“It is absurd to reclassify information that has been in the public domain for so long,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which brought the suit. “This is an entirely inappropriate use of the classification system.”

Gotta Have Faith. At a ceremony Wednesday in the Cannon House Office Building, Reps. Mark Green (R-Wis.) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) announced the creation of their new faith-based community solutions caucus.

Formally known as the Community Solutions and Initiatives Coalition, the caucus is dedicated to improving the working relationship between government and community faith-based organizations.

“The vast majority of Americas, Democrats and Republicans alike, agree that government could be doing a far better job of working with faith-based and community organizations,” Green said in a statement. “These groups have been fighting many of the social ills that plague our communities, and they’ve been doing it with virtually no help from the government. It’s time that all changed.”

Party Planners. With just over 200 days to go before Inauguration Day 2005, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has opened its doors in the Russell House Office Building and launched its official Web site.

The site, https://inaugural.senate.gov, provides a link for performers to apply to participate in the ceremony along with information on ticket distribution.

Comprised of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and chaired by Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the committee plans and executes all inaugural activities at the Capitol, including the swearing-in ceremony of the president and vice president and the traditional inaugural luncheon that follows.

— Ethan Wallison and John McArdle