Politico: “The Health and Human Services Department told House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa that it won’t turn over documents related to the security of the Healthcare.gov website because it can’t trust him to keep secret information that could give hackers a roadmap to wreak havoc on the system.” Here’s the letter sent.
Sam Baker at National Journal: “The healthy are subsidizing the sick. Insurance companies are tightening access to doctors. Plans with low premiums have high deductibles. Sometimes it rains, Nickelback is still a band, and people continue to die literally every day. But just because something is happening and Obamacare exists doesn't mean it's happening because Obamacare exists—even in health care. Don't tell that to the law's critics.”
“The presence of a fake sign-language interpreter with mental health issues at the Nelson Mandela memorial service President Barack Obama attended in South Africa Tuesday may have been the least of the security dangers at the event,” Politico reports. “Thousands of members of the general public appear to have entered the 95,000 seat, open-air Johannesburg arena with no security screening whatsoever, local press accounts and foreign journalists who attended the ceremony said. … Some analysts said Thursday that the security arrangements — ultimately the responsibility of the South African authorities, sounded so chaotic and haphazard that Obama should not have attended.”
NBC’s Ali Weinberg: Speaking at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition's annual dinner, Sen. John McCain and Vice President Joe Biden exchanged warm words rarely heard between members of opposing parties these days. “We manage to remain close friends partly because neither of us has ever viewed friendship as an impediment to a good fight,” McCain said before he presented an award to Biden, who returned the favor, saying he and McCain have remained “close and deep personal friends.”
McCain also decried the isolationist wing of his party: “We’ve also,” he said of Biden and him, shared an “identity as internationalists. Regrettably, that’s an identity fewer politicians are eager to embrace these days.” Biden also commented on the unrest in Ukraine, where President Viktor Yanukovych has antagonized his political opposition by refusing to deepen trade ties with the European Union. Saying he’s spoken to Yanukovich for “several hours worth” over the past few months, Biden said, “I’ve made it clear that he has a choice: he can choose a path that leads to isolation or he can take immediate, tangible steps to diffuse this country’s crisis and start a genuine dialogue with the opposition to create a path that returns Ukraine to economic and political health.”
Spain’s Prime Minister’s headed to the White House Jan. 13.
Washington Post: "An American man who disappeared in Iran more than six years ago had been working for the CIA in what U.S. intelligence officials describe as a rogue operation that led to a major shake-up in the spy agency. Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent, traveled to the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007 to investigate corruption at a time when he was discussing the renewal of a CIA contract he had held for several years. He also inquired about getting reimbursed for the Iran trip by the agency before he departed, according to former and current U.S. intelligence officials."
First published December 13 2013, 6:13 AM