WASHINGTON—National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said. The practice isn’t frequent — one official estimated a handful of cases in the last decade — but it’s common enough to garner its own spycraft label: LOVEINT. Spy agencies often refer to their various types of intelligence collection with the suffix of “INT,” such as “SIGINT” for collecting signals intelligence, or communications; and “HUMINT” for human intelligence, or spying. The “LOVEINT” examples constitute most episodes of willful misconduct by NSA employees, officials said. In the wake of revelations last week that
President Obama frequently claims that he’s leading “the most transparent administration in history,” as he asserted last February during a Google Plus “Fireside” Hangout. But that self-administered pat on the back is belied by The Washington Post’s recent account of how the president’s spin doctors allegedly tried to rewrite quotes from reporter Barton Gellman’s interview with the National Security Agency’s chief compliance officer. The interview was conducted for Gellman’s blockbuster story on the NSA’s persistent unauthorized surveillance since 2008 of thousands of Americans’ phone calls and emails, and the super-secret agency’s apparent policy of covering up its improper domestic spying. At
A "combative meeting" and stiff pressure from the NFL led to ESPN´s decision to suddenly back out of a joint investigative project with PBS´ prestigious Frontline program examining the NFL´s handling of head trauma injuries, according to the New York Times´ James Andrew Miller. The NFL´s top brass, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, reportedly pressured the sports network to quit the collaboration after seeing a trailer for a forthcoming Frontline documentary. Citing two people close to the decision, Miller reports that Goodell, ESPN President John Skipper, and two others held a lunch meeting near the NFL´s headquarters earlier this month in which league
An online fundraising drive set up by a former teammate of murdered Australia native Chris Lane designed to help his parents bring their son back home and pay for funeral expenses has amassed more than $150,000 in donations from people around the world. The random killing of Lane, a 22-year-old student at East Central University who was shot in the back and killed last week as he was jogging in an affluent neighborhood in Duncan, in south-central Oklahoma, has touched hearts in the U.S. and beyond. Marshall Veal, a friend of "Laney´s" who started the GoFundMe.com drive for his family, said he´s
Despite the intense efforts of John Kerry, I doubt very much that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is focused, like a laser or otherwise, on the umpity-ump peace talks with the Palestinians. If past performance is any indication, the Palestinians aren’t much interested in a two-state solution anyway. And, miraculously, if they are this time, let’s hear the details. But given Netanyahu’s responsibilities and the realities of the world, his concentration must be on Syria — and, most especially, through that, Iran. Toward that end, he has a serious problem — and that is the president of the United States. Mr. Obama has
First we find out that a gender-confused and disgruntled Army private got access to this nation’s most sensitive diplomatic and military communications. Then a contractor doing work for the NSA managed to steal highly compartmentalized classified material from the National Security Agency while changing jobs, even though his job was supposedly limited to technological support. Now, we find out that that the Department of Homeland Security — which produced an execrable report on the dangers of extreme right-wing terrorism four years ago — employs a manager running a website urging African-Americans to prepare for a race war against whites. Does anyone
As was quite clear at the time, the biggest mistake that Mitt Romney’s campaign made in 2012 was not aggressively attacking Obamacare. What may well have been its second-biggest mistake, however, was less noticed: the striking silence in the face of President Obama’s announcement that he would no longer deport illegal immigrants under 30 years of age. This was pure lawlessness, even by the president’s own earlier admission. When asked at a spring 2011 Univision town hall why he didn’t simply stop the deportation of young illegals via executive order, Obama replied, With respect to the notion that I can just suspend
The National Security Agency acknowledged Friday that some of its analysts knowingly violated the agency’s rules, after the incidents were included in an inspector general report. "Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found, but none under FISA or the Patriot Act,” the NSA said in a statement. “NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations – responding as appropriate. “NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities,” the statement said. Bloomberg News reported earlier that a new report by the agency’s inspector general found several cases over
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government´s efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden´s sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded. The government´s forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden´s apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren´t authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.
President Obama urged law schools on Friday to consider cutting a year of classroom instruction, wading into a hotly debated issue inside the beleaguered legal academy. “This is probably controversial to say, but what the heck. I am in my second term, so I can say it,” Mr. Obama said at a town hall-style meeting at Binghamton University in New York. “I believe that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years.” The president’s surprising remarks, made while discussing how to make education more affordable, come at a time of crisis for
Havana - The leftist Colombian rebel group FARC on Friday suspended peace talks with the Colombian government to evaluate a proposal calling for a referendum on a peace agreement. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said they needed to evaluate the proposal submitted to Congress Thursday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos calling for a potential peace agreement to be the subject of a referendum in March or May 2014. They stressed, however, that they were not withdrawing from the negotiating table. "The peace delegation has decided to take a break in talks
Philadelphia - Hundreds of teachers in Philadelphia voiced their outrage on Thursday at proposed pay and benefit cuts as public school officials demanded $133 million in concessions from employees because of a financial crisis. With the teachers´ labor contract due to expire on Aug. 31 and school set to start about a week after that, the district and union leaders are still far apart on terms, according to George Jackson, spokesman for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Teachers are being asked to take salary cuts of between 5 and 13 percent next year and to pay more for health coverage.
Sanaa - A vow made in a phone call by the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to carry out an attack that would "change the face of history" lay behind this month´s closures of many Western embassies, Yemen´s president said. In the first public disclosure by a government leader of details of the intercepted call that prompted the U.S. alert, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said AQAP head Nasser al-Wuhayshi made the pledge to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri on July 29. (Snip) Wuhayshi spoke by phone with Zawahri, who is believed to be based in Pakistan,
Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba - Defense lawyers asked the judge in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal on Friday to halt pretrial hearings in the 9/11 case until technicians fix a slew of computer and email problems that they said had made it nearly impossible to do their work. "We´re basically put back in the 19th century," said Army Major Jason Wright, who represents the alleged mastermind of the hijack plane attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. "It takes about five to 10 times what it would normally take to do defense functions." Pentagon technical advisers have said it would take up to
President Obama’s decision to create a new expert group to weigh national security surveillance, government secret-keeping, and the public trust has prompted internal headaches, leaks, and plenty of second-guessing from critics. “This investigation, run out of the executive [branch], certainly can’t come to any unbiased conclusions” about government access to Americans’ phone and email communications, Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy Analyst Mark Jaycox told RCP. “It’s time for Congress to exert its own powers as a coequal branch of government and leave no stone unturned.”
Spectacular songbird Linda Ronstadt disclosed Friday that she has Parkinson’s disease and the illness has already robbed her of her ability to sing. The 67-year-old “Hurt So Bad” songstress, whose vocal range spanned the octaves from contralto to soprano, discussed her disease with AARP magazine in an interview. The 11-time Grammy Award winner’s memoir, “Simple Dreams,” is slated to be published next month. “No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt said. “No matter how hard you try.” Ronstadt, who churned out hits during the 1970s and ‘80s,
The Guardian has struck a partnership with the New York Times which will give the US paper access to some of the sensitive cache of documents leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The arrangement was made when the Guardian was faced with demands from the UK government to hand over the GCHQ files it had in its possession. (Snip) Journalists in America are protected by the first amendment which guarantees free speech and in practice prevents the state seeking pre-publication injunctions or "prior restraint". It is intended that the collaboration with the
New York - The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency´s activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian. (Snip) The October 2011 judgment, which was declassified on Wednesday by the Obama administration, found that the NSA´s inability to separate purely domestic communications from foreign traffic violated the fourth amendment. While the ruling did not concern the Prism program directly,
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department says an employee who runs a racist website predicting and advocating a race war has been put on paid administrative leave. An acquisitions officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement who deals with small businesses, Ayo Kimathi, operates the website War on the Horizon. It includes descriptions of an "unavoidable, inevitable clash with the white race." Kimathi is black. Kimathi has been with the department since 2009. He was told Friday that he is being put on paid administrative leave. His website criticizes whites, gays, those of mixed race,
Is an employee at the Homeland Security Department also a racist preparing blacks for a campaign of violence against whites? Ayo Kimathi, a small business specialist at the agency, is also a “gay-bashing, revenge-seeking black nationalist,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group that tracks groups and individuals it says are bigoted and hateful. Mr. Kimathi in his private time runs the website “War on the Horizon” under the user name “Irritated Genie,” SPLC said. The site advocates “properly educating Black people to prepare for Racial Warfare.”
The National Zoo’s female giant panda gave birth to a cub Friday as hordes of people in this panda-obsessed realm halted work to watch the royal arrival in intimate high-definition on the zoo’s new public panda cams. Across the area, thousands heeded the zoo’s summons to its cameras and sat at their computers, glued to the live black-and-white images as Mei Xiang gave birth to the scrawny cub at 5:32 p.m., the zoo said. The birth sparked cautious jubilation at the zoo, salved the memory of the cub that died in September, and restored dreams of pandamania in a city
The Internal Revenue Service is targeting the veterans’ organization the American Legion, and a U.S. senator believes that Lois Lerner — a key figure in the IRS scandal – is to blame. “The IRS now requires American Legion posts to maintain dates of service and character of service records for all members… The penalty for not having the required proof of eligibility is, apparently, $1,000 per day,” the American Legion stated. The American Legion was referring to a 13-part section of Part 4, Chapter 76 of the Internal Revenue Manual pertaining to “veterans’ organizations.” The section falls under
Marsha Jones Shoushtari went back to work on Tuesday, two weeks after her youngest child, her only son, died after being shot on Crenshaw Boulevard. But she can´t escape the unfinished business that homicides entail. On Tuesday, police visited her office to return her son´s cellphone, the "effects" of an 18-year-old. On Wednesday, she and husband Manochehr visited the cemetery to arrange for their son´s burial; the coroner had just released the body. Through it all, some part of her is trying to believe this might not be real.
WASHINGTON - The estate of pop music legend Michael Jackson owes $702 million in federal taxes and penalties, the Internal Revenue Service charged in U.S. Tax Court, accusing the estate of undervaluing some of the star´s assets by hundreds of millions of dollars. The dollar amounts in dispute had not been previously disclosed in the court challenge that the Jackson estate filed in July to a bill from the IRS, the U.S. tax-collecting agency. At issue is the wide difference between what the estate said Jackson´s legacy was worth versus what the IRS determined was its taxable value. An IRS
The star witness in the case against accused baby killer De’Marquise Elkins admitted lying to police, the court and his family more than a dozen times Thursday, giving Elkins’ defense attorneys a chance to take shots at his credibility. The co-defendant and star witness for the prosecution, 15-year-old Dominique Lang of Brunswick, traded in his jail jumpsuit for slacks and a button-down shirt as he testified for more than five hours Thursday against Elkins in front of the Cobb jury for the first time. Lang is accused of being present when police say Elkins shot 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in the face and
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday played down the prospect of speedy U.S. intervention in Syria, stressing the difficulty of ordering military action against the Assad government without a strong international coalition and a legal mandate from the United Nations. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Obama has asked the Pentagon to provide military options in light of reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians. While Hagel declined to discuss any specific force movements, U.S. defense officials said the Navy moved a fourth warship into the region. Each can launch ballistic missiles.