WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After playing a critical role in the prisoner swap that freed the last American soldier held captive in Afghanistan, Qatar faces new scrutiny by the United States over whether it will enforce restrictions on five released Taliban fighters.
Concerns have been expressed by U.S. intelligence officials and Congressional advisers over the role of the Gulf emirate as a bridge between Washington and the world of radical Islam. But the White House says it received “very specific” assurances from Qatar on the terms under which it agreed to accept and keep tabs on the five Afghans.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. government agencies were examining social media postings purporting to show how an American who was fighting with an Al Qaeda affiliate blew himself up recently in a suicide attack in northern Syria, U.S. officials said.
The officials, who declined to be identified, said U.S. agencies assessed that the postings were likely authentic. One said some investigators believed they knew the “U.S. person’s” true identity, but declined to give further details.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Justice Department has tapped a veteran prosecutor to probe the flow of foreign fighters including Americans who are joining Syria’s rebels, U.S. officials said, in a sign of heightened alarm over the threat of radicalized militants returning home.
U.S. law enforcement and security agencies for months have expressed growing anxiety about a steady stream of Western militants, including Americans, heading to Syria. Most of the foreigners join up with the most extreme factions trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Foreign governments, individuals and groups targeted by the U.S. National Security Agency for intelligence collection have changed their “behavior” following disclosures by former agency contractor Edward Snowden, the NSA’s new chief said on Monday.
“They’re changing the way they communicate,” said Admiral Mike Rogers, who became NSA’s new director last month following the retirement of U.S. Army General Keith Alexander. Rogers was speaking to the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington.
WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) – A Swiss asset management firm,
Swisspartners Group, agreed to pay $4.4 million to the United
States to settle a probe into whether it helped U.S. taxpayers
evade their federal income taxes, the U.S. Department of Justice
announced on Friday.
From about 2001 to about 2011, according to a Justice
Department statement, Swisspartners helped its U.S. clients open
and maintain undeclared foreign bank accounts, which allowed
them to avoid paying taxes in full.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bill to end the government’s bulk collection of telephone records got a unanimous go-ahead on Thursday from a second U.S. congressional committee, but the measure, according to some sources, could actually enhance U.S. surveillance capabilities.
Advancing the first legislative effort at surveillance reform since former contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the program a year ago, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee unanimously approved by voice vote the “USA Freedom Act.”
BOSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service are investigating widespread reports that identity thieves are stealing the tax refunds of physicians, a senator said on Friday, as doctors fear a database containing their personal information has been breached.
Senator Jean Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, contacted the agencies this week after more than 100 physicians and other healthcare workers in her state became victims of tax fraud. The American Medical Association has received reports of tax fraud from state medical groups in Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is quietly expanding the number of intelligence officers in Iraq and holding urgent meetings in Washington and Baghdad to find ways to counter growing violence by Islamic militants, U.S. government sources said.
A high-level Pentagon team is now in Iraq to assess possible assistance for Iraqi forces in their fight against radical jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a group reconstituted from an earlier incarnation of al Qaeda, said two current government officials and one former U.S. official familiar with the matter.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hedge fund manager William Ackman, who placed a $1 billion bet against Herbalife, said that he had promised a former Herbalife executive who became a whistleblower against the company up to $3.6 million, ABC News reported on Tuesday.
ABC said on its website that Ackman’s payments would come if Giovanni Bohorquez, the former executive, lost the job he took after leaving Herbalife.
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A British shoe bomb-plotter-turned-government informant, who once conspired with Osama bin Laden, has become a key witness for U.S. prosecutors seeking to give American juries a taste of life inside al Qaeda, court documents, U.S. and British officials and lawyers say.
Saajid Badat, 33, has already testified via video link at the trials in New York of two alleged al Qaeda militants, and he is scheduled to give testimony at the trial of Abu Hamza al Masri, a fiery, one-eyed Egyptian preacher with hooks for hands whose terrorism case began this week.