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Dec 17, 2013

Now, it’s Snowden: the book and, maybe, the film

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tale that could rival any spy novel is about to be told by three writers who are working on potentially rival books on the revelations and travails of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Glenn Greenwald, a former columnist for Britain’s The Guardian, has a book likely to come out in March. Greenwald received classified spy documents from Snowden in clandestine meetings in Hong Kong after he fled the United States last spring.

Dec 16, 2013

U.S. judge rules phone surveillance program is likely unlawful

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government’s gathering of Americans’ phone records is likely unlawful, a judge ruled on Monday, raising “serious doubts” about the value of the National Security Agency’s so-called metadata counterterrorism program.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen,” Leon, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002, wrote in a 68-page ruling.

Dec 14, 2013

American missing in Iran was probing possible money laundering: lawyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An American with links to the Central Intelligence Agency was investigating suspicions that Iranian government officials were diverting petroleum funds and laundering them through Canada when he went missing in Iran in 2007, a lawyer for his family said on Friday.

Robert Levinson, a private detective and former FBI agent, was investigating allegations of corruption by well-connected people in Iran, lawyer David McGee told Reuters.

Dec 12, 2013

U.S. Congress, CIA still feuding over interrogations and secret prisons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Intelligence Committee and Central Intelligence Agency still have major disagreements over a huge report the committee is trying to complete that is highly critical of harsh counter-terrorism practices such as “waterboarding,” which the agency used under President George W. Bush.

Both congressional and intelligence officials confirmed that the CIA continues to dispute significant aspects of a draft of the report which the Senate committee approved a year ago. It runs to thousands of pages and remains highly classified.

Dec 6, 2013

Feds issue urgent safety order to Metro-North after rail crash

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Federal regulators issued an
emergency order on Friday requiring the company that operates
the New York commuter train involved in the deadly crash last
Sunday to implement urgent temporary safety measures.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said it ordered
Metro-North Railroad, operator of the train that derailed as it
entered a sharp curve in New York’s Bronx borough, to take
specific, immediate steps to make sure its crews did not exceed
speed limits.

Dec 4, 2013

Derailed NY train had alert mechanism, but not in driver’s car: source

By Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – The New York commuter train that derailed killing four people on Sunday had a safety system designed to keep its engineer alert but it was not installed in the car from which he was controlling the train, a source familiar with the railroad’s operations said.

The engineer, William Rockefeller, 46, told authorities he became dazed and lost focus shortly before the crash as the train took a curve at three times the speed limit, investigators said.

Dec 3, 2013

Driver in fatal New York train crash ‘lost focus’: source

By Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – The driver of a New York commuter rail train that derailed on Sunday, killing four people, told investigators he “lost focus” shortly before the crash, according to a law enforcement source.

The seven-car Metro-North train was traveling at 82 miles per hour, nearly three times the 30-mph (48-kph) speed limit for the curved section of track where it crashed, investigators have said. The brakes were applied just seconds before it derailed.

Nov 27, 2013

U.S. nears decision to split leadership of NSA, Cyber Command: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is nearing a decision on splitting up the eavesdropping National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, which conducts cyber warfare, a proposed reform prompted in part by revelations of NSA’s widespread snooping, individuals briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

As part of the emerging plan, the NSA likely would get a civilian director for the first time in its 61-year history, the individuals said.

Nov 25, 2013

Spies worry over “doomsday” cache stashed by ex-NSA contractor Snowden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried about a “doomsday” cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud.

The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said.

Nov 14, 2013

NSA chief says Snowden leaked up to 200,000 secret documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked as many as 200,000 classified U.S. documents to the media, according to little-noticed public remarks by the eavesdropping agency’s chief late last month.

In a question-and-answer session following a speech to a foreign affairs group in Baltimore on October 31, NSA Director General Keith Alexander was asked by a member of the audience what steps U.S. authorities were taking to stop Snowden from leaking additional information to journalists.