Inside the Beltway

Article excerpt

Byline: Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES


Uh-oh, the Dogs Against Romney thing has legs. Outraged that Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with his dog Seamus in a crate atop the family station wagon, the independent group protested against the Republican presidential hopeful outside the Westminster Dog Show in New York 48 hours ago, with coverage from CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times and many other news organizations. But it ain't over until the fat dog sings, apparently. The American Kennel Club has joined the chase.

The AKC promotes responsible dog ownership. Putting a dog in a crate for car travel is the first step toward responsible dog ownership. The second step would be to put that crate in a car, says communications director Lisa Peterson .

New money for travel and kibbles appears to be materializing, meanwhile. Dogs Against Romney will protest outside a Romney fundraiser on Friday - this time at the Grove Hotel in Boise, Idaho. And yes, there's a poll.

The Hollywood Reporter took up the cause as well, asking readers, Will Mitt Romney's treatment of his dog influence your vote? The disconcerting results: 63 percent said, Absolutely, never elect a man who mistreats his dog, while 24 percent agreed, There are many other reasons not to vote for him. Only 7 percent said the matter would not sway their opinion.


The news is sure to rattle the bloggers, the tweeters, the buzz-hungry. The House Homeland Security subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence conducts a hearing Thursday titled DHS Monitoring of Social Networking and Media: Enhancing Intelligence Gathering and Ensuring Privacy, meant to parse out the fine line between protecting the public and preserving First Amendment rights.

With nearly 1 billion Facebook users and hundreds of millions of Twitter postings every day, social media can provide crucial real-time information for identifying threats, trends and breaking events, says subcommittee chairman Rep. Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania Republican.

There are also privacy and civil liberties concerns implicit in this activity, which this hearing will address, he adds.

In December, Mr. Meehan and subcommittee ranking member Rep. Jackie Speier , California Democrat, sent a letter to Caryn Wagner , the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, inquiring about potential guidelines or protocols for the practice and posing eight questions about the oft-nonsensical world of social media.

Social media lends itself to a great deal of misinformation and disinformation, both of which significantly impact the end product if not correctly identified. How will DHS ensure its analysts are fully equipped to handle this task? the pair asked.


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