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Thursday, Sep 18th

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CIA improperly accessed Senate computers, agency finds

diane feinsteinCIA employees improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to compile a report on the agency’s now defunct detention and interrogation program, an internal CIA investigation has determined.

Findings of the investigation by the CIA Inspector General’s Office “include a judgment that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between SSCI (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) and the CIA in 2009,” CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement.

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Bogus cellphone charges ‘a billion dollar industry,’ claims Senate report

cell phone companiesA staff report from the Senate Commerce Committee is sounding the alarm about bogus charges on cellphone bills that it says are costing consumers “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The report takes aim at wireless or mobile “cramming,” where consumers are hit with unauthorized charges for things like ringtones or daily horoscopes.

“For as long as they have been giving outside parties access to their customers’ bills, the major phone companies have assured Congress and the public that they are protecting their customers from billing fraud. ... But this report makes it clear that is not the case,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said in a statement announcing the report.

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CIA interrogation report could be released publicly next week

Interrogation and detentio report A Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention program following the 9/11 terror attacks could be released to the public as soon as next week, congressional sources in each party said Wednesday.

The document that will be released is a nearly 700 page summary of the full 6,800 page report that was approved a year and a half ago by a committee sharply divided along party lines.

Senators on the committee have indicated the report is critical of the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects saying it amounted to torture, something CIA officials have denied. It also finds that those harsh interrogation techniques did not help disrupt future terrorist attacks as many in intelligence community have claimed.

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U.S. House passes $17 billion veterans healthcare bill, 420-5

Veteran's administrationThe U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $17 billion plan to ease long healthcare delays at the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs Department, adding much of the cost to the federal deficit.

The compromise measure was reached on Monday between House and Senate negotiators to provide funds for veterans' temporary access to private medical care, to allow the VA to hire more doctors and nurses and to open more outpatient clinics.

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Senate Democrats set with military contraception bill

shaheenSenate Democrats plan to introduce a bill Wednesday that would require military health care to cover all forms of contraception without co-pays — similar to the coverage required under Obamacare.

The bill, authored by New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and backed by a dozen other Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, comes just weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that businesses with a religious objection to the health care law’s contraceptive coverage don’t have to provide it.

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House, Senate appear to have deal on VA care

Vet bill passes CongressTop lawmakers appear to have reached a deal on a bipartisan bill that would allow veterans to seek private care if they face long wait lines at Veterans Affairs' facilities.

An aide close to the negotiations said the compromise addresses both the short- and long-term needs of VA. The aide sought anonymity so as not to pre-empt a formal announcement panned for Monday afternoon.

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Former CIA officials can't see 'torture' report

CIA torture reportAbout a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban Washington after signing a secrecy agreement.

Then, on Friday, many were told they would not be able to see it, after all.

Some of them were furious, while Democratic Senate aides were angry that they were given the chance in the first place.

It's the latest chapter in the drama and recriminations that have been playing out behind the scenes in connection with what some call the Senate torture report, a summary of which is being declassified and is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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