Bush Admin Asserts Powers to Open US Mail
Back in the United States, privacy advocates are warning over a new presidential decree that asserts White House authority to open US mail without court-approved warrants. In a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill last month, President Bush said the administration will interpret a section of the law to grant itself the authority to open sealed mail in the case of emergencies or foreign intelligence matters. The White House says it is not expanding its powers but clarifying existing laws. But privacy advocates say current laws already allow the opening of mail believed to contain an imminent threat. Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, said: "The administration is playing games about warrants. If they are not claiming new powers, then why did they need to issue a signing statement?"
Nuclear Head Resigns over Security Breaches
In other news, the head of the nation’s nuclear weapons program has resigned over at least two security breakdowns at key facilities. Linton Brooks, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, was reprimanded last year after files containing the personal information of more than fifteen hundred workers were stolen from a facility in New Mexico. A replacement for Brooks has not been announced.
Spc. Swift Released from Military Confinement
And finally, Army Specialist Suzanne Swift has been released from military confinement. Swift was arrested and confined to base at Fort Lewis in Washington last month. She was charged with going Absent Without Leave after her charges of sexual harassment and assault went un-addressed by the military. Swift refused to return to Iraq where she says she was sexually harassed by a commanding officer.