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May 15, 2013

FBI opens criminal probe of U.S. tax agency, audit cites disarray

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he had ordered the FBI to open a criminal probe in a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups for extra tax scrutiny.

Holder’s announcement came about four hours before an inspector general’s report on the IRS portrayed the tax agency as plagued by disarray and “insufficient oversight” during its struggles to review the cases of hundreds of advocacy groups that claimed they should be tax exempt.

May 15, 2013

U.S. attorney general says he didn’t make AP phone records decision

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he did not make the controversial decision to secretly seize telephone records of the Associated Press but defended his department’s actions in the investigation of what he called a “very, very serious leak.”

The decision to seek phone records of one of the world’s largest news-gathering organizations was made by Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole, Holder said.

May 14, 2013

FBI to probe U.S. tax agency’s actions on conservative groups

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he had ordered the FBI to open a criminal probe in a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups for extra tax scrutiny.

Holder announced the Justice Department investigation as the tax agency’s embattled acting commissioner, Steven Miller, traveled to Capitol Hill for meetings on the scandal amid Republican lawmakers’ calls for his resignation.

May 14, 2013

U.S. Attorney General Holder recused himself from media subpoena

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric
Holder said on Tuesday that he had recused himself from the
Justice Department’s controversial decision to secretly seize
telephone records of the Associated Press.

Instead, the decision to seek phone records of one of the
world’s largest news-gathering organizations was made by the
deputy attorney general, Holder said. Jim Cole currently holds
that position.

May 13, 2013

Associated Press says U.S. government seized journalists’ phone records

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Associated Press on Monday said the U.S. government secretly seized telephone records of AP offices and reporters for a two-month period in 2012, describing the acts as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news-gathering operations.

AP Chief Executive Gary Pruitt, in a letter posted on the agency’s website, said the AP was informed last Friday that the Justice Department gathered records for more than 20 phone lines assigned to the agency and its reporters.

May 3, 2013

New Zealand’s internet bad boy wants to see top lawman

WASHINGTON/WELLINGTON (Reuters) – A trip to New Zealand will put America’s chief prosecutor on the same soil as a flashy internet mogul who is fighting extradition to the United States on charges he assisted massive piracy of copyrighted movies and music.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visits New Zealand next week for an annual meeting of a “quintet” of attorneys general from mostly English-speaking countries – and not to meet up with the entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

Apr 26, 2013

Analysis: In force-feeding detainees, Obama has courts on his side

WASHINGTON/MIAMI (Reuters) – As detainees at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, press ahead with a widening hunger strike nearly three months old, President Barack Obama has come under increasing criticism for his policy of force-feeding them.

But U.S. law is on his side, an analysis of court rulings shows.

Most U.S. judges who have examined forced feeding in prisons have concluded that the measure may violate the rights of inmates to control their own bodies and to privacy – rights rooted in the U.S. Constitution and in common law. But they have found that the needs of operating a prison are more important.

Apr 24, 2013

Obama resists Republican bid to see gun smuggling operation documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Justice Department lawyer said on Wednesday that if a judge agreed to consider a Republican bid to get administration documents related to a botched operation against gun-trafficking it would prompt a flood of requests for courts to referee Washington political disputes.

President Barack Obama is resisting a congressional subpoena for documents related to how the administration responded to the revelation of the failed operation known as “Fast and Furious” on the U.S.- Mexican border. It has already turned over thousands of pages of documents about the operation itself.

Apr 19, 2013

Elvis impersonator charged over poison letter sent to Obama

By David Ingram and Deborah Charles

(Reuters) – Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges on Thursday against a Mississippi man, who worked as an Elvis impersonator, for threatening to harm President Barack Obama by sending him a letter that initially tested positive for the deadly poison ricin.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was believed to have sent three letters, all with identical wording and type-written on yellow paper, to Obama, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland of Lee County, Mississippi.

Apr 18, 2013

FBI arrests Mississippi man in ricin letter case

By David Ingram and Deborah Charles

(Reuters) – Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges on Thursday against a Mississippi man, who worked as an Elvis impersonator, for threatening to harm President Barack Obama by sending him a letter that initially tested positive for the deadly poison ricin.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was believed to have sent three letters, all with identical wording and type-written on yellow paper, to Obama, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland of Lee County, Mississippi.