“The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote on President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA after weeks of wrangling with the White House over access to top-secret information about the use of lethal drone strikes against terror suspects and the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya,” the AP writes, adding though that “Republicans said they were frustrated with the Obama administration's reluctant disclosure of all the records.”
More: “Brennan's nomination has been held up as Democrats and Republicans on the intelligence panel have been pressing the Obama administration to provide them with a series of classified Justice Department legal opinions that justify the use of unmanned spy planes to kill terror suspects overseas, including American citizens. The senators have argued they can't perform adequate oversight without reviewing the contents of the documents.”
Ryan Lizza on the limits of the presidency: “The tendency of many Washington pundits, especially those who cover the White House, is to invest the Presidency with far more power that the Constitution gives it. The idea that the Presidency and Congress are co-equal branches of government is the most basic fact of our system, and yet it is often absent from political coverage of standoffs between the two branches. If only Obama would lead, this fiscal mess would be solved! If only he would socialize more with legislators the way L.B.J. did, his agenda would pass! The pundits are not alone in assuming that the President is all-powerful. Indeed, the fact that Barack Obama now so appreciates the limits of his office and his lack of Jedi powers is rich with irony.”
More: “That Obama, who started his Presidency as a true believer, has now given up on the idea that he has any special powers to change the minds of his fiercest critics is probably a good thing. His devotion to post-partisan governance has long fed two mistaken ideas: that the differences between the parties are minor, and that divided government is inherently good for the country. A fundamental fact of modern political life is that the only way to advance a coherent agenda in Washington is through partisan dominance.”
“Cell-phone users, rejoice: The White House has agreed that you should be able to unlock your phone and bring it with you to another carrier ‘without risking criminal or other penalties,’” National Journal writes. “The statement is a big deal, if only because it seems to align the White House with consumers against the Library of Congress. It was the LOC that allowed a legal shield to expire at the end of January for people who unlocked their phones themselves, exposing them to lawsuits from wireless carriers for circumventing copyright laws.”
AP: “An Obama administration adviser says the White House believes smartphone and tablet users should be allowed to unlock their phones and use the devices on the network of their choosing. In a blog post entitled ‘It’s time to legalize cell phone unlocking,’ R. David Edelman, White House adviser on Internet, innovation and privacy, responded to a petition about the issue by saying the administration feels consumers should be allowed to unlock their phones without civil or criminal penalties, especially if the phones were purchased secondhand or as gifts.”
GW's School of Media and Public Affairs holds a discussion at 7:00 pm ET on “Scandal and Silence: When the Watchdog Doesn't Bark,” which includes NBC’s Michael Isikoff.