Security issue kills domestic spying probe DEVLIN BARRETT Associated Press WASHINGTON - The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.
"We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because OPR has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program," OPR counsel H. Marshall Jarrett wrote to Hinchey. Hinchey's office shared the letter with The Associated Press.
Jarrett wrote that beginning in January, his office has made a series of requests for the necessary clearances. Those requests were denied Tuesday.
This is just off the wire a few hours ago, so we'll see if the Democrats grow a spine and decry this. The whole story has a wonderful catch-22 going for it: no one can investigate the matter without security clearance, but once they have security clearance they cannot discuss the matter with anyone.
The coverage of last week's White House Correspondent Dinner has been surprisingly favorable and mostly focused on the double who appeared with George Bush. This is an event in which the press and the President traditionally poke fun at each other although most remarks are cushioned with some delicacy.
Curiously, the supposedly liberal media has all but ignored Stephen Colbert's speech at the end of the evening. Colbert took full advantage of the captive A-list audience and delivered a speech that crossed lines that none of Colbert's "serious" colleagues would dare. His speech contained some of the following gems:
"To sit here at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush...I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what, I'm a pretty sound sleeper, that may not be enough...Somebody shoot me in the face."
The greatest thing about [President Bush] is that he's steady, you know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday--no matter what happened Tuesday."
"I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers, and rubble, and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."