Leonie Brinkema

This is the latest legal setback for the Trump administration.
Customs officials aren't letting green card holders talk to lawyers.
A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency.
The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling -- after his conviction Monday afternoon as a CIA whistleblower. At age 47, he is facing a very long prison sentence. As a whistleblower, he has done a lot for us.
A heavy shroud over this trial -- almost hidden by news media in plain sight -- has been context: the CIA's collusion with the Bush White House a dozen years ago, using WMD fear and fabrication to stampede the United States into making war on Iraq.
The subject of competence is a sore spot for career CIA employees proud of their hard-boiled affects. From their vantage points, it can't be expunged by dismissing critics as impractical idealists and bleeding hearts merely concerned with the morality of drones, torture or renditions.
With the Sterling trial, the CIA is airing soiled threads of its dirty laundry as never before in open court. The agency seems virtually obsessed with trying to refute the negative portrayal of Operation Merlin in James Risen's 2006 book, State of War.
When the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling got underway Tuesday in Northern Virginia, prospective jurors made routine references to "three-letter agencies" and alphabet-soup categories of security clearances.