Intrigue, wishful-thinking and silly speculation are flourishing in the nation’s capital, as elsewhere in policy circles, now that the U.S. election results are (mostly) confirmed.

The leadership line-up for key congressional committees is a solid starting point to understand what’s next for our Justice Integrity Project’s core mission. The big change will be at the House Judiciary Committee, where the top-ranking Republican minority member Lamar Smith of Texas, left, will switch places with Chairman John Conyers of Michigan.

Smith is a 1969 Yale College classmate of former President George W. Bush who represents a gerrymandered district that is mostly rural but contains small parts of his state capital of Austin and of San Antonio.

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Client 9Two movies scheduled released last week dramatize the nefarious motives within official circles that destroyed the careers of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and CIA covert agent Valerie Plame ─  thereby curtailing also their ability to help the country.

Such developments prompt our Justice Integrity Project to launch a news round-up, whose first installments began this month. These roundups complement our in-depth case studies, investigative reports and archives. Quite simply, far too much news of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct is occurring. We need to report more of it more promptly, and bring you more news of nationwide reform efforts.

JIP is a non-partisan advocate for justice, not simply a research group. Therefore, your participation is not simply welcome, but vital.

Help us with news leads, ideas for presentations here on our site, and in effective follow-up in the nation’s capital and around the country. We’re improving our two-way communications capabilities but in the meantime welcome ideas through conventional email that reaches me via admin (at) justice-integrity.org.

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UPDATE: This column's headline was originally, "What Will DOJ Do Monday on Torture Probe?" But the Justice Department announced on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 that the CIA's former top clandestine officer and others won't be charged in the destruction of CIA videotapes of interrogations of suspected terrorists. Details are at bottom, below.

The federal deadline for torture-related obstruction of justice charges against certain CIA personnel expired Monday. That probe is controversial because of claims that the DOJ is covering up wrongdoing by a whitewash investigation of misconduct by CIA and DOJ personnel. Suspicions arise especially because the investigation has been led since 2008 by John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor based in Connecticut. Our Justice Integrity Project (JIP) has revealed that courts have found that Durham was implicated in suppressing evidence in at least two cases.

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The Bill Barnes for U.S. Senate campaign in Alabama was bolstered pre-election weekend by unprecedented help by Democratic officials following recent news reports about his hard-hitting questions of officials in both parties on sensitive issues.

Democrats unveiled robo-calls over the weekend in the state announcing Saturday’s endorsement by President Obama of the Barnes candidacy. The precise reasons remain unclear for the late show of party support for Barnes, the Democratic primary winner. But the support came after Barnes vigorously questioned the health of four-term Republican incumbent Sen. Dick Shelby in recent weeks, as well as the oversight efforts of White House, Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials in specific areas of popular concern in Alabama.

Our non-partisan Justice Integrity Project (JIP) played a role in this by hosting Barnes Oct. 22 at a National Press Club news briefing in Washington, DC in cooperation with the Club’s McClendon Group, which present speakers with strong views often overlooked by the traditional news media.

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Eddie Curran, a former Alabama newspaperman who’s spent years denouncing the state’s former Gov. Don Siegelman, hosted a strange news conference on Oct. 29 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Curran rented the room to promote his self-published book, The Governor of Goat Hill. He spent most of his time venting against the New York Times, CBS, Time and Harper’s for their long-ago coverage of the nearly decade-long investigation of Siegelman. Siegelman, now 64, was Alabama’s governor from 1999 to 2003. A Democrat, he was convicted of corruption charges in 2006, primarily for urging a businessman to contribute to a non-profit group advocating a state lottery to fund more education spending and then reappointing the donor to a state board.

Curran’s biased, disorganized and self-indulgent presentation flopped, however, for reasons worth exploring again even though Alabama journalist Roger Shuler skewered Curran for precisely the same shortcomings nearly three years ago in, “Deconstructing Eddie Curran.”

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As the first guest Oct. 28 on my radio show Washington Update, New Jersey journalist Melissa Hayes described the acquittal of a local mayor in a nationally important corruption case that’s part of the reform credentials of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Then Ron Winter, an award-winning journalist and military commentator, provided lessons from his dramatic new consumer book, Granny Snatching, about his fight against relatives to help his 92-year-old widowed mother live at home in dignity. Winter seeks national legislation to prevent similar abuses.

Hear the show nationwide with my co-host Scott Draughon on the My Technology Lawyer Radio Network by archive here. I recently published, “Politicians, Press Cheat Taxpayers by Ignoring DOJ’s Wasteful Witch-Hunts” about the 46-defendant “Bid Rig III” corruption investigation in New Jersey. The indictments last year helped propel the Republican Christie, New Jersey's former U.S. attorney, to the state’s governorship.

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