Spencer Ackerman Joins Danger Room

Spencer AckermanImage via Wikipedia

We are happy to learn that one of our favorite national security reporters has joined Danger Room. Spencer Ackerman was a senior reporter at The Washington Independent until last week. He has also written for The New Republic, Talking Points Memo, Slate, Salon, and The Atlantic. He has a personal blog at FireDogLake, Attackerman.

Check out his new digs at Wired/Danger Room.


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Whatever happened to that challenged AFSA election results?

The Frances Perkins Building of the U.S. Depar...Image via Wikipedia

I, frankly, do not know. The last time I heard, a statement of sort was forthcoming but that was eons ago. Today, AFSA released a statement asking for FS volunteers for the 2011 elections. Looks like the AFSA statement has also put a spin on the next election saying that the “2011 Election cycle is unique in that it will be overseen by the Department of Labor.”

The question we probably should ask is this — why is the next election so unique that it is overseen by the Department of Labor? 

Below is the AFSA help ad:

Help Wanted!

The pay is non-existent, but job satisfaction is highly rated.  Please consider volunteering to serve your colleagues as a member of the AFSA Committee on Elections for the 2011 election cycle.   AFSA is seeking current members from each constituency, Retired, State, USAID, IBB, FAS and FCS to serve a two year term.  The appointment is confirmed by the current AFSA Governing Board in accordance with the AFSA bylaws.

Members of the Committee on Elections must be based in Washington and available to meet on a regular basis during the election cycle.   The election cycle runs from July to July.  Based on past elections, the Committee meets 6 to 8 times over the course of the year.  Committee meetings generally last 1.5 to 2 hours.   The time commitment varies depending on the complexity of issues raised during the election cycle.

Committee members may be called on to:

1.Regularly attend Committee on Election Meetings

2. Conduct candidate meetings or Town Hall proceedings

3. Make decisions regarding election procedures

4. Review documents and campaign materials of a time sensitive nature

5. Review Committee meeting minutes

6. Review candidate forums and online submissions

7. Be present on the day of ballot counting

The 2011 Election cycle is unique in that it will be overseen by the Department of Labor as agreed to by the current Committee on Elections and Governing Board.  A representative from the DOL will be the Election Supervisor for this election.  The new Committee on Elections may be responsible, with guidance from the DOL, for enacting some election reforms including, but not limited to, methods of communications between candidates and AFSA members.

If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to election@afsa.org briefly outlining the reasons for your interest and mentioning any election oversight or other relevant experience that you might have.

Perhaps you want to volunteer? Might be a good time to chat about getting rid of slates, and your chance to change all that was crappy in the 2009 elections. Think about it …. please?


Stranger things have happened in the mediterranean island of Cyprus …

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 film)Image via Wikipedia

AP is reporting that Cyprus Police is hunting Christopher Metsos, the alleged paymaster of the Russian spy ring in the US who disappeared in that divided island nation after posting $33,000 (euro27,000) bail. It’s not like the alleged sponsoring country of these spies could not afford that measly bail amount.

Anyway, the Cypriot government is now apparently under pressure to explain the “bewildering fumble involving a man wanted in the United States for allegedly operating a Russian spy ring there.”

Read more here.

Stranger things have happened in that island in the Med, of course.

In December last year, thieves have dug up the coffin of the former President of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos and made off with his corpse — leaving no indication of the motive behind the macabre crime.

News report at that time reported that police described the act as “a highly organized crime,” as the body snatchers apparently shifted a heavy marble slab encasing the tomb (weighing 250kg ) and dug through several feet of earth to reach the corpse before covering their tracks with lime.

Who would want to do something like that?

It was three months before the kidnapped corpse was recovered after a tip off from an unknown caller. BBC later reported that two Greek Cypriots and a foreign national were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the theft. One of the Greek Cypriots was already serving a prison sentence for other offenses. Which makes the act even more outrageous, if planned and executed by somebody who was already in jail! Think of the logistics of stealing and hiding a corpse?! 

It remains to be seen if police will get a tip off this time as to the whereabouts of the disappeared Russian spy. Maybe an unknown caller will give them a heads up. Or maybe the alleged spy has already vanished into thin air in the north side of the island run by the Turks?  Cross by boat into Greece? Swam over to Lebanon? Perhaps the body snatchers got Mr. Metsos, um… except they got a live one this time…


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