Breaking news from the multi-partisan activist group.
By arrangement with LegitGov.org.
Photograph via Flickr by the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
—Sand baskets considered “temporary fix”
January 26, 2012—Sand baskets that the Tennessee Valley Authority installed at dams to protect its nuclear plants from a worst-case flood could fail, according to a federal nuclear oversight group. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the baskets are not capable of standing up to the impact of debris barreling down the Tennessee River in a massive flood. “There is potential for this debris to damage the baskets or push the individual baskets apart, causing a breach,” an NRC letter dated Wednesday to TVA says. “There would be no time to repair the baskets because the flood would already be in progress.”
—Judge allows government to provide name under protective order barring defense from disclosing it to public
January 25, 2012—A judge gave federal prosecutors until a week from Wednesday to give up the name of a witness they say was recruited for a chilling, al Qaeda-sanctioned plot for suicide bombers to attack the New York City subways with explosives made from beauty supplies. Lawyers for alleged plotter Adis Madunjanin had demanded to know the identity of the man, referred to only as John Doe in court papers, before Madunjanin goes to trial later this year. District Judge Raymond Dearie said Madunjanin’s lawyers had a right to know the name.
January 25, 2012—A former BP employee has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company, claiming he was fired for airing concerns about the cleanup of Mississippi’s shoreline after the Gulf oil spill. In a federal suit filed last Friday in New Orleans, August Walter claims one of his BP bosses manipulated data on shoreline cleanup and didn’t give the Coast Guard “the true status” of what substances needed to be cleaned. Walter, a Covington, La., resident who helped develop BP’s cleanup plans in Mississippi after the 2010 spill began, claims in the suit that he was fired last month in retaliation for complaining that BP wasn’t following environmental regulations and was “picking and choosing what oil to pick up.”
—“Radiation levels inside the exhibition room averaged 0.05 microsieverts per hour.”
January 26, 2012—A Fukushima museum official on Thursday played down concerns in France about the possible contamination of artworks soon to be loaned to the nuclear hit region by the Louvre. The Paris museum plans to send 24 pieces to Japan, including to Fukushima prefecture, home to the stricken nuclear plant, in a show of solidarity with the disaster-hit country. Museum officials are now removing a contaminated lawn as part of their efforts to reduce levels of radioactivity ahead of the exhibition, said Tetsuo Sakai, head of the Fukushima museum.
—The LAPD said the purpose of the training was in part to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments.
January 25, 2012—The Los Angeles Police Department teamed with military special operation forces Wednesday evening to conduct multi-agency tactical exercises in the skies above downtown LA. Many questioned what was going on Wednesday night as a Black Hawk helicopter and four OH-6 choppers—or “Little Birds”—flew over the city, at one point hovering just above the U.S. Bank building downtown and later flying low over the Staples Center as the Lakers played inside.
January 26, 2012—A CIA operative’s unusual [and illegal] assignment inside the New York Police Department is being cut short after an internal investigation that criticized how the agency established its unprecedented collaboration with city police, The Associated Press has learned. In its investigation, the CIA’s inspector general faulted the agency for sending an officer to New York with little oversight after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and then leaving him there too long, according to officials who have read or been briefed on the inquiry. The inspector general opened its investigation after a series of AP articles that revealed how the NYPD, working in close collaboration with the CIA, set up spying operations that put Muslim communities under scrutiny.
January 26, 2012—The producer of the controversial anti-Islam documentary featuring Ray Kelly and shown to NYPD recruits was once arrested for impersonating a federal officer, court records show. Erik Werth, a co-producer of “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America”—which has Muslim groups calling for Kelly’s resignation—was nabbed in May 1995 after an incident at the Columbia, SC, airport. He claimed to be a Secret Service agent and threatened to have an airline employee arrested, prosecutors said. Kelly became embroiled in a scandal this week after it was revealed that “The Third Jihad”—which features a narrator saying Muslims want to “infiltrate and dominate America”—was shown to about 1,500 NYPD recruits. The flick was shown on a continuous loop during training, until an officer complained about it.
This link roundup originally appeared at LegitGov.org.