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So tomorrow's the day. After stonewalling for months, the Secret Service has been ordered to turn over their records of Jack Abramoff's visits to the White House by May 10.

So what's the final tally going to be? Come on, take a guess - you can play at home. The TPMmuckraker reader who nails it first will be rewarded with the envy of the blogosphere and his/her choice of TPMm memorabilia (which ranges from mug to T-shirt). Just to be clear on the rules: we'll go by Abramoff's total recorded entrances to the White House - and if no one guesses the exact number, we'll go with the closest. Write us at comments@tpmmuckraker.com with the subject line "Abramoff Visits the White House." The entry deadline will be when the Secret Service releases the records, which could be at any time tomorrow.

To aid you in your guesswork, you can consult the newest addition to our reference section.

Really, it's anyone's guess at this point. Last week Scott McClellan hinted that the records will not have records of all of Abramoff's White House visits, but no one has been able to decode precisely what he means. When I spoke to Christopher Farrell of Judicial Watch, the organization that filed the suit to release the records, he expressed surprise at McClellan's hedging. "We're operating under the idea that we're getting a complete accounting," he told me. "I would expect that the Secret Service has complete and accurate records that show entries and exits to White House."

I've been trying for a week to get the Secret Service to explain McClellan's comments - since McClellan invited the press to "talk to the Secret Service" for an explanation - but none of my calls have been returned. So it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

So now he did it for the children.

As we noted before, when Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) jaunted off to Scotland with Jack Abramoff, David Safavian, Ralph Reed, and others, he didn't exactly come clean on the purpose of the trip: golf! golf! golf! He wrote on House disclosure forms that it was to give a "speech to Scottish Parliamentarians" and visit the British Parliament.

The problem with that story was that the Scottish Parliament wasn't in session while Ney was there. And unfortunately for Ney, it's obvious from an itinerary that Abramoff sent out prior to the trip what it was all about.



But now we have a new version, courtesy of Ney's lawyers. As part of their all-out offensive after Ney's ex-aide's guilty plea, they're denying everything up and down. This was no junket. Ney was fooled! And he doesn't even like golf!

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I wrote yesterday about how former NSA Director Michael Hayden's aide, a top MZM executive, participated in an illegal campaign donation scam run by the head of his company, Mitchell Wade. (Wade, of course, has confessed to bribing Duke Cunningham, and is cooperating with prosecutors.)

I was wrong, as my colleague Paul gently noted to me. The executive -- James C. King, on contract to the NSA from MZM -- appears to have participated in two illegal campaign donation scams.

In addition to faking $8,000 in personal contributions to Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) on his company's behalf, government records indicate King faked several thousand dollars in donations to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), also.

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Salon's Tim Grieve delivers a side order of irony this morning. Observing the return of Stephen Kappes to the CIA, Grieve notes that his untimely departure from the agency was a direct result of "Dusty" Foggo's appointment to be CIA Executive Director a year and a half ago:

Stephen Kappes, the CIA's deputy director for operations, resigned from the agency in November 2004 after Patrick Murray -- a former Hill staffer who was serving as Goss' chief of staff at the CIA -- ordered him to fire his deputy, Michael Sulick. As the Washington Post reported at the time, Murray's order to Kappes came after Sulick had confronted Murray about a threat Murray had made to another agency official.

The threat? That the agency official would be held responsible if anything from the personnel file of the "newly appointed executive director" made it into the media. And the "newly appointed executive director"? He wasn't identified in the Post's account back in 2004, but we all know his name now: Dusty Foggo, who resigned from the CIA yesterday amid a corruption probe.

Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman recently did some outstanding reporting on the technology problems and truly massive cost overruns at NSA when Michael Hayden was director. Newsweek's Mark Hosenball mentioned it in his recent piece on Hayden's nomination to be CIA director, which led me to re-read her pieces.

Oh, my goodness.

In short, Gorman found that between 1999 and 2005, the NSA bungled two key technology programs and an important oversight effort. As a result, "The agency has been gradually 'going deaf,' as unimportant communications drown out key pieces of information," an official told Gorman. Meanwhile, the secretive agency has been burning through billions -- billions -- of dollars.

"Nearly 4 1/2 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the NSA lacks a system to comprehensively evaluate all of the communications collected by its vast networks of high-tech ears," Gorman concluded.

"Agency computers have trouble talking to each other and frequently crash, key bits of data are sometimes lost, and vital intelligence can be overlooked."

Here's the kicker: Because of the failures under Hayden, the NSA actually lost authority. Congress was so upset by these techno-screwups and cost overruns that it stripped the agency of the power to sign its own big-ticket contracts -- and gave it to the Department of Defense. This is the guy who's going to strengthen the CIA's hand against the Pentagon?

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The Washington Post, unsurprisingly, has the best follow-up to Neil Volz's guilty plea yesterday.

Volz was the fourth and probably final plea to implicate Ney, but is Volz joining the chorus of his fellow dealers dishing on other lawmakers? Yes, says the Post:

Volz, who has been talking to prosecutors for three months, is providing information on other lawmakers and staff, according to a source close to the ongoing investigation.


And in case some of you didn't get the message from Ney's statement following the plea yesterday, Ney's lawyer has a message for you: everyone who has implicated Ney - Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Tony Rudy, and now Neil Volz - is just looking for a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.

"The enormity of the crimes they committed has created a situation where they are singing for their supper," he said. "They are making it up. They are flat making it up."


But Ney himself balked at another chance for tough talk when he shrank back from a prior pledge that he'd continue his run for re-election even if he's indicted:

In an interview on Fox News Channel yesterday, Ney was asked whether he would resign if indicted. "I'm not going to comment on hypotheticals," he replied. "I don't believe I'm going to be indicted."


But for how long a hypothetical?

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According to new court documents, prosecutors are building a case against Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) based on a raft of bribery and fraud charges. The documents also show that a cooperating witness wore a wire during conversations with Jefferson, and that prosecutors are in the final stages of preparing their case against him.

The details come from a court order issued today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland that a search warrant affidavit filed by federal investigators be unsealed. The warrant was requested in August, 2005 to search the Maryland home of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar - to support the application, an FBI agent detailed the FBI's case against Jefferson in an accompanying affadavit. The affidavit was sealed to the public, but in February of this year, The Washington Post sued to have the affidavit unsealed. In today's order, the Judge agreed to release the affidavit with the exception of five paragraphs this Thursday, unless Jefferson contests the ruling.

The judge's order discloses a number of details about the government's case against Jefferson.

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Over the weekend, the media had a field day speculating about Friday's sudden, unannounced, unexplained resignation of former CIA Director Porter Goss. Was it because of a turf battle? Was his ouster somehow connected to Hookergate? Was Goss wrapped up in the FBI's investigation of the Wilkes-Foggo-Cunningham poker/prostitute/bribe saga?

By this morning, the conventional wisdom had become: Yes, on the turf battle. Maybe, on Hookergate. And, No, Goss was not wrapped up in the probe. Hardly makes for a clear picture.

We can cut through some of the confusion by being clearer about the terms of discussion. Was Goss canned because of Hookergate? Probably so. At least in part. Is he personally guilty of wrongdoing? Not necessarily. Is the FBI interested in him? To be honest, we really don't know.

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Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) hit a defiant note today, but it seems worth mentioning that the time is ripe for Ney's exit stage right. Tom DeLay stepped aside soon after a former aide of his, Tony Rudy, pled guilty. He could afford to do so, he said, because he'd won his party's primary, clearing the way for the GOP to hand-pick a strong successor.

Well, Ney has won his party's primary, and now his former chief of staff Neil Volz has implicated him in a far more serious way than Rudy did DeLay. And he's turned what has been a reliably Republican district into the most vulnerable - according to recent polling, he's trailing his Democratic challenger. This was precisely the point when DeLay bailed.

Let's see if Ney sticks with it; Volz's long-awaited guilty plea finally clears the way for prosecutors to bring their indictment. But, ironman that he is, Ney has said that even that won't knock him out. Can anything stop him?

Update: Another document released by prosecutors, Volz's "Factual Proffer" has a fuller accounting of Representative #1's work for Abramoff, most of it repeated from prior guilty pleas.

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