Panetta hearings reveal another exemption needed for Obama

Buried at the end of

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) raised a question that could pose a new problem for the new Obama administration already reeling in the wake of Tom Daschle’s withdrawal as the nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services.

According to Coburn, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, Obama’s director of national intelligence, has asked John Deutch, a CIA director during the Clinton administration, to serve on an advisory panel overseeing sensitive satellite programs.

The problem, Coburn said, is that Deutch had his security clearance revoked for mishandling classified information on his unsecured computers at home.

Caught off guard, Panetta said he’d have to check into the matter.

“This is the first time I’ve heard that,” he said. “I don’t want to jump to any quick conclusions. Clearly, this is something I need to talk to [Blair] about.”

The security clearance is one exception. It’s not clear whether Deutch’s days as a Raytheon lobbyist/consultant would require Obama to ask for another exception or not.

A View From The State of Jefferson

There’s been a lot of activity around here as of late. And on the occasion of Nuke’s 200,000 milestone it looks like we’re all going to visit. So here’s an overview of the fires burning in my neck of the woods.

Video Courtesy of Shasta Lake Bulletin

Firefighters at last got some help from the air Monday, thanks to a respite from nearly a week of smoky skies.

Throughout the afternoon, the giant Martin Mars bomber dumped its 7,200-gallon tank on fires being fought on Lime Complex, while smaller air tankers and helicopters pounded fires elsewhere. Mary Loan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service, said that the Martin Mars made five drops in five and a half hours, with more drops scheduled for today.

Martin Mars Video

Their efforts seemed to pay off.

On Monday, the last of the evacuations were lifted in many fire-threatened communities in Shasta and Trinity counties, including Junction City, Helena and the Big Foot Campground and Trailer Park.

Below are updates on fires burning in the north state. All information comes from the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection:

The Deerlick Complex:

The Deerlick Complex of fires west of Ono was 16,000 acres and 5 percent contained.

The Democrat and Motion fires:

The Democrat and Motion fires, which have grown together near Keswick and Shasta dams, are at 16,000 acres and 20 percent contained.

Firefighters lit backfires Saturday to divert the flames from the areas around power lines and the powerhouse at the dam. Power lines continue to be a concern. Crews are especially looking out for the community of Keswick.

Zogg Mine Fire:

This fire in the Igo-Ono area was still listed as 80 percent contained at 74 acres. No structures have been lost. On Sunday, Shasta County sheriff’s deputies initiated a “soft closure” on Zogg Mine Road and South Fork Road, leaving open the roads for residents only.

Moon Fire Complex:

The Moon Fire, northwest of Ono, burned 17,000 acres and was 5 percent contained Monday evening. Fire behavior is considered extreme.

Hard closures are still in effect in the Buell and Platina road areas, but no structures have been lost.

The Pine and Donkey fires:

The Pine and Donkey blazes, which also have merged, are at 1,230 acres and 95 percent contained.

Barley Fire:

This fire in southwest Shasta County held at 1,000 acres in the Graves Ranch area. It continued at 5 percent containment Monday.

Lower Grass Valley Fire:

The Upper Grass Valley Fire near Buckhorn Summit has merged with the Lower Grass Valley Fire, taking on its name. Firefighters gained the upper hand on the blaze Sunday, knocking it down to 375 acres with 95 percent containment.

The Stein Fire:

The Stein Fire near the Pit River arm of Lake Shasta is 90 percent contained and has burned 667 acres.

The Iron Complex:

Some 18,117 acres had burned here by Monday, and the complex was 55 percent contained. Evacuation orders were lifted Sunday for the Helena and Canyon Creek areas.

Ziegler Fire:

Fire line work also continues on the Ziegler Fire, which could threaten the community of Hawkins Bar. Periodic closures for fire debris clean-up are expected on Highway 299.

Trails are closed at the Canyon Creek Trailhead, which is in the Granite Fire area. Fire managers said they expect the Eagle Fire will continue to grow to the south, and the Ironsides and Don Juan fires will grow east and north.

The Ziegler Fire is moving slowly southward and could also spread west.

Backfires are being lit on the north side of the fire to block a spread in that direction. The Cedar Fire will continue to spread east and north.

Alps Complex:

Most of the fires in this complex continued to grow. The Alps Complex changed Monday from 15 fires to 13, with 2,650 acres burning and containment at 2 percent.

The Buckhorn fires:

The Buckhorn fires are moving north and east toward the Clem Fire and have reached a dozer line protecting the Brooks Ranch.

Trail cleaning and clearing will take place on the Granite Creek Fire in an effort to hold that blaze in Bear and Canyon creeks. That fire also is growing north and east.

Lime Complex:

Fires across 35,445 acres in eastern Trinity County were 36 percent contained. Firefighters planned to set backfires in the next several days to strengthen containment lines around the Miners and Lime fires. Twenty-two fires remain unstaffed within the Lime complex. Crews will focus on the Telephone, Noble, Lime, Iron (within the Yolla-Bolly Wilderness), other wilderness fires, Miners, Deadshot and Rainbow fires.

SHF June Lightning Complex:

Crews had contained 31 of the 34 fires in the group, with about 250 acres burning. The Murphy and Rey fires were still going.

Whiskeytown Complex:

Four wildfires on Shasta Bally have charred nearly 4,000 acres and were 20 percent contained on Monday.

All ranger-guided programs were cancelled through Sunday. Oak Bottom public launch ramp, the marina, the marina boat rentals and stores will remain open to the public. Brandy Creek beach, marina, and the Whiskey Creek launch ramps are open despite smoky conditions. The Oak Bottom Tent and RV Campground, and Oak Bottom Beach areas will be closed to support a base camp for firefighters. Visit for updated information on the Whiskeytown fires.

Siskiyou Complex:

These fires continue to burn near Highway 96 but away from homes and property.

The fires Monday morning were at 7,725 acres and 20 percent containment.

Highway 96 along the Klamath River was opened Monday to traffic, but cars needed to follow a pilot vehicle through the smoke.

Tehama County:

The Antelope Creek Fire was contained at 3,410 acres. The Mill Fire had charred 13,580 acres and was also fully contained.

The Noble Fire burned 12,500 acres on Tehama County land. Firefighters in that county had it 80 percent contained.

Peterson Complex:

The Popcorn and Peterson fires southwest of McArthur in eastern Shasta County merged into a single 7,824-acre blaze, which was fully contained on Saturday.

A map of California Fires

There are many more fires burning that are not mapped or reported on regularly.


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