Spook Out: The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions, reports The Los Angeles Times. Under the "global justice" initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said.
Propped Up: Gay-rights lawyers on Wednesday welcomed longtime conservative lawyer Theodore Olson into the fight for same-sex marriage, but warned him and liberal colleague David Boies that they could hurt the cause more than help it by launching an attack on California's Proposition 8 in the federal courts, reports The Recorder. Olson, who represented George W. Bush in the landmark Bush v. Gore case that decided the 2000 presidential election, and Boies, who was Al Gore's lawyer, stole the post-Prop 8 spotlight Wednesday by holding a press conference to announce the filing of a suit challenging the measure on the ground it violates equal protection under the United States Constitution. A motion for a preliminary injunction was filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court.
Fighting Words: On the day after Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, both sides in the fight over her confirmation moved quickly to try to define the woman who may become the court's first Hispanic justice, reports The Washington Post. The White House enlisted lawyers and constitutional experts to say that in Sotomayor's 17 years on the federal bench, she has been a cautious jurist who respects precedent. But conservative legal groups countered that her remarks in speeches and symposiums bolster their claims that she is a liberal activist waiting to flower on the high court. One prominent conservative accused her of "reverse" racism, and another called her a "wild-eyed judicial activist."
Pay to Play: Beleaguered U.S. Sen. Roland Burris added another layer Wednesday to the evolving story of his appointment, saying he was only trying to "placate" then- Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother to keep his Senate prospects alive knowing no campaign money would ever change hands, The Chicago Tribune reports. The latest detail came as Burris spent the opening of a two-day Downstate tour offering his explanation of what was on covert recordings made by federal agents investigating Blagojevich in November. Burris said the transcript shows that he was not involved in "pay to play" because he told Robert Blagojevich, the former governor's brother, that if he donated and got the Senate appointment, "that means I bought it."
Pay to Play, Again: In the Hollywood version of the British foreign intelligence agency known as MI6, elegant black-tie affairs are all part of a night's work for super spy James Bond. When his real-life counterparts don their tuxedos later this year for an elegant celebration of the MI6's 100th anniversary, they are being told to pay their own way, The Wall Street Journal reports. The true life version of MI6 has always been less opulent than its fictional counterpart. But in the midst of a deep recession, when British bankers and members of Parliament are being publicly pilloried for extravagance, the spy agency's chiefs have decided that British taxpayers shouldn't be asked to pick up the tab.