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from Tales from the Trail:

Information-sharing guru becomes chief leak plugger

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The U.S. government's man in charge of efforts to plug future WikiLeaks-style mega-dumps of government secrets is a veteran intelligence officer who previously spent years trying to figure out how government agencies could more widely share sensitive information.

Earlier this week, Russell Travers moved to the White House, where he will head an interagency committee assigned to assess the damage caused by recent WikiLeaks exposures and come up with ways to prevent future large-scale leaks. AUSTRALIA-WATER/

Travers' previous assignment was as a senior official of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a branch of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) which was set up after 9/11 to ensure that government agencies did more to share sensitive intelligence on terror suspects amongst themselves - an assignment which makes him one of the government's foremost experts on sharing classified information.

While there are still mysteries surrounding WikiLeaks' activities and its sources, the available evidence suggests that one of the reasons that the whistleblowing website was able to get hold of so many U.S. government secrets was that since 9/11, such secrets had been much more widely shared between government agencies.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Pirate justice

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The U.S. government would surely love to get its revenge on Julian Assange, and the Justice Department says a criminal investigation has already begun. But specialists in espionage law tell us that peculiarities of American law make it virtually impossible to bring a successful case against Assange, even if he were to set foot on U.S. soil. Evidence would be needed that defendants were in contact with representatives of a foreign power and intended to provide them with secrets, evidence that has not yet surfaced. SWITZERLAND/

So although the leaked documents may make intelligence sharing harder in the future, and may make foreign governments reluctant to trust the U.S. with sensitive information, retribution could be tough.

from Tales from the Trail:

Can Obama launch “peace talks” with Republicans at Camp David?

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Camp David may be getting ready for another round of peace talks -- of the domestic variety.

President Barack Obama is emphasizing bipartisanship after the midterm election shellacking dealt by Republicans and today decided to wave a olive branch -- the possibility of a summit wiith congressional leaders early next year at the presidential retreat. OBAMA/
    
He offered the invite at a White House meeting with leaders of both parties where they discussed tax cuts, the START treaty, and other issues Obama wants to see resolved during the remainder of the "lame duck" session of Congress.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Stood up

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Welcome to the new bipartisan Washington, where Obama and the Republicans are not only at odds over tax cuts, they can’t even agree when to have dinner. OBAMA/

Republicans apparently pulled out of the November 18 meeting called by President Barack Obama because of “scheduling conflicts.” Which is about as convincing a reason for not going to dinner as “I have to stay in and wash my hair.”  Apparently some Republican aides had been grumbling that Obama had called the meeting without consulting with their bosses.

from Tales from the Trail:

Jindal’s not running for president, but…

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LOUISIANA GOVERNORS ELECTIONFirst, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says he isn't running for president. Then out comes his prescription for righting the national economy. 

"What I'm saying is, if we actually focus on the real challenges facing our country, not get diverted into taking over car companies and healthcare (but) cut taxes, create jobs, our country can get back on the right path, right direction," the rising Republican conservative star of the South tells NBC in an interview.

from Tales from the Trail:

Cheney was upset that Bush didn’t pardon Libby — president’s memoir

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USA-SECURITY/CHENEYGeorge W. Bush's memoir, "Decision Points," is full of newsy tidbits, and there's a lot of material about his relationship with his vice president, Dick Cheney, whom Bush considered dumping from the 2004 ticket.

In the book, which hits bookstore shelves on Tuesday, Bush describes how upset Cheney was at him for his refusal to give a full pardon to Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the senior Cheney aide who got caught up in the Valerie Plame scandal and who in 2007 was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

from Tales from the Trail:

Christine O’Donnell is not going away

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Christine O'Donnell may have lost her Senate race. But she's not exiting the spotlight. In fact, she's sounding a bit like Sarah Palin.RTXU581_Comp-150x150

The Tea Party darling of Delaware cheerfully tells NBC's Today show that she's pursuing a book deal. She likes being involved in documentaries. And she's going to fight tooth and nail against whatever Democrats try to pull during the upcoming lameduck session in Congress (how isn't quite clear).

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama 2.0 still a work in progress

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USA-ELECTIONS/OBAMAA reboot of President Barack Obama's White House, dubbed "Obama 2.0" in a New York Times magazine article, is still showing the hourglass.

Many decisions about staff changes and other key issues are still far from resolved, but behind-the-scenes conversations continue.

from Tales from the Trail:

What wilderness? Republicans emerge from elections ready to charge

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Republicans have emerged from the political wilderness and they're wasting no time laying down markers.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell particularly sounds like he's looking for bear, not mincing words in his speech at the Heritage Foundation today.  SAFRICA/

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Chastened, humbled… and shellacked

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It was a subdued and chastened president who took the podium for his post-election news conference today. His tone flat, his eyes often downcast, his smile largely absent, Obama admitted the election results were “humbling.” At first, he tried to pin the blame on the tepid economic recovery, but as the questions ground on, he took more and more responsibility for the defeat on himself. For setting a bad tone with business, for not making enough progress on the economy, for failing to change the way Washington works.

Yet there was no contrition about the policies he pursued.  Perhaps this was not the right venue for that, perhaps history will prove him right, but one had the feeling the president believed just as firmly as ever in the policies he had so painstakingly worked out in his long Oval Office deliberations. The Democrats who lost on Tuesday, he said, had already contacted him to say they had no regrets, because they felt “we were doing the right thing.”

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