THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Learning more about yesterday’s suicide attack in Afghanistan: “The C.I.A. operatives stationed where a suicide bombing occurred Wednesday — killing at least eight Americans — were responsible for collecting information about militant networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and plotting missions to kill the networks’ top leaders. Seven of the victims at Forward Operating Base Chapman were C.I.A. officers, and one of the victims was the base chief, officials said. The attack at the remote base in southeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday was carried out by someone who wore an Afghan National Army uniform, according to NATO officials.”
* The suicide bomber in the attack was not searched because he’d been invited onto the base — the attacker had been courted as a possible informant.
* Charges pending against Blackwater for the September 2007 shooting in Nisoor Square have been thrown out: “U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina said Justice Department prosecutors improperly built their case on sworn statements that had been given under a promise of immunity. Urbina said the government’s explanations were ‘contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility.'”
* More encouraging economic news: “The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly last week, another indication that the job market may be healing as the economy slowly recovers.”
* ABC News reported this week that two of the plotters of the failed Christmas terrorist plot had been released by the Bush/Cheney administration. The network has partially retracted its report, saying that one of the two was not involved.
* Radical Yemen cleric Anwar Awlaki is apparently not dead. Good to know.
* Sessions’ controversy deepens: “Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) in 2004 collected more than $24,000 from a financial firm since revealed to be part of a massive, billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, federal election data shows. The contributions came from Stanford Financial — run by indicted financier Allen Stanford — and together comprised the second-largest contribution from any firm to Sessions’ campaign that year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, citing official Federal Election Commission reports.”
* Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) wants to debate Dick Cheney.
* Interesting item from Noam Scheiber: “[T]he government’s stress tests — an eight-week effort to vet the balance sheets of the country’s biggest banks — was the single most consequential economic policy of 2009.”
* Another lapse in judgment at the Washington Post.
* TheConservatives.com, a big project of the Washington Times, has apparently been scrapped.
* Rush Limbaugh was hospitalized overnight in Hawaii after experiencing chest pains. By all accounts, the right-wing radio host is expected to fully recover.
* And Rachel Maddow noticed that several media outlets simply passed along Dick Cheney’s vile attack against the White House yesterday without noting how spectacularly dishonest it was. She offered news outlets and media professionals some worthwhile advice: “Again, my friends and colleagues in the media have two choices in covering this. You can just copy down what the Republicans and Vice President Cheney are saying, and click ‘send,’ call it journalism, or you can actually fact-check those comments and put them into context. Your choice. It’s your country.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.