President Obama signs two bills today designed to bring greater transparency and accountability to the U.S. government's massive and shadowy intelligence gathering system. The first is the Intelligence Authorization Bill, which subjects America's 16 intelligence agencies - that's right, 16 - to many of the same oversight measures that other executive agencies have. For the first time they will also have an inspector general, overseen by the General Accounting Office.
Obama will also sign the Over-Classification Act. This will require the Department of Homeland Security to figure out how to stop classifying so much information and to share more information with Congress and the American people.
ON THE TRAIL
In the afternoon the President hits the campaign trail. He'll appear with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley in suburban Washington, then fly to Chicago, where he'll appear at two fundraisers for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias. Polls show Gov. O'Malley ahead in his race, and Giannoulias slightly ahead - at best - in his. Obama returns to Washington late tonight - and no, he won't be campaigning with Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says that election isn't until February.
It was nine years ago today that President Bush announced Operation Enduring Freedom - the U.S. and NATO operation to topple the Taliban and drive Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan. That mission, launched 26 days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, is now the longest active military campaign in American history. There are some 100,000 U.S. forces there, and since 2001, 1,321 Americans have died - 374 of them this year alone. President Obama says the U.S. is still on schedule to begin withdrawing forces next summer - though at what rate remains unknown. The Pentagon, while publicly supportive of the commander-in-chief's policy, is privately concerned about setting what some officers consider to be arbitrary timelines disconnected to conditions on the ground.
THE SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern)
12:05-signs the Intel Authorization Bill
12:20-signs the Reducing Over Classification Bill
1:30-Treasury Sec. Geithner
3:15-campaigns w/Md. Gov. O'Malley
7:00-Chicago fundraiser for Senate candidate Giannoulias
7:40-Chicago fundraiser for Senate candidate Giannoulias
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