Mark's Feed
May 5, 2015

Islamic State claims responsibility for Texas cartoon exhibit attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Islamic State militant group took responsibility on Tuesday for a failed attack on a Texas exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in which two gunmen were killed, with U.S. investigators probing the veracity of the claim.

The Syria- and Iraq-based Islamic State (IS) said on its official online radio station that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack on Sunday in Garland, a suburb of Dallas.

Apr 30, 2015

FBI has exemption to arrange payments to hostage-takers: U.S. sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While U.S. policy bans federal officials from doing business with kidnappers, the FBI for years has used a secret exemption to government rules to communicate with hostage-takers and sometimes send money to them, U.S. government sources said.

Under a directive issued by President George W. Bush in 2002, the FBI can engage with suspected kidnappers, including on financial transactions, when the bureau has reason to believe it would be useful for an investigation or intelligence gathering.

Apr 30, 2015

American charged with Islamic State ties contacted Jamaica cleric: U.S. official

WASHINGTON/KINGSTON (Reuters) – An American woman arrested last month for trying to travel to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State was in touch with an Islamist preacher in Jamaica, a federal law enforcement official said.

The woman, Keonna Thomas from Philadelphia, was charged in early April with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group after she bought a ticket to Europe to travel to Syria.

Apr 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails contain few revelations: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cache of Hillary Clinton emails expected to be made public soon contains no support for Republican accusations that Clinton was involved in efforts to downplay the role of Islamic militants in the deadly 2012 attacks on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya, people familiar with the emails said.

Two people familiar with the material said this week that the 300 emails do not demonstrate that Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the attacks, was personally involved in decisions that resulted in weak security at the Benghazi outposts.

Apr 24, 2015

Several U.S. probes likely of drone strikes that killed hostages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Central Intelligence Agency’s Inspector General will conduct what could be the first of several investigations into the CIA drone strikes that killed American and Italian hostages and two U.S.-born al Qaeda militants, U.S. government sources said on Friday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee also is reviewing the attacks, a Congressional source said.

Apr 24, 2015

Hostage locations difficult to track – and may be getting harder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. drone strike that accidentally killed two hostages in Pakistan exposes intelligence shortfalls that former and current U.S. officials say appear to be growing more frequent as militants expand their safe havens and as Washington gathers less on-the-ground human intelligence.

Obtaining timely intelligence on hostages has always been difficult, especially in volatile regions where the United States has limited access and where militants have well-established operations.

Apr 23, 2015

Former U.S. General David Petraeus to be sentenced in leak case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. military commander and CIA director David Petraeus will appear in federal court in North Carolina on Thursday to face sentencing for allegedly leaking secrets to a mistress who was writing his biography.

Petraeus, a now-retired U.S. Army General, has already agreed to plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.

Apr 22, 2015

Democrats blast U.S. House Benghazi probe as out to get Clinton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats on Wednesday criticized a Republican-led probe of the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, as a political assault on Hillary Clinton, citing a possible delay in its final report until 2016, while a related State Department letter seen by Reuters stoked further controversy.

The letter described the investigating committee’s “top priority” as collecting Clinton’s emails about Benghazi, a disclosure likely to fuel Democratic complaints that the focus reflects a desire to undermine her campaign for president.

Apr 22, 2015

U.S. Republicans move to extend spies’ power to collect phone data

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a move likely to re-ignite public debate in America over electronic spying, Republicans have introduced a bill in the Senate to extend a controversial law empowering the government’s bulk collection of U.S. telephone records.

President Barack Obama and many in Congress want to retain the mass data-collection program as a national security tool but want substantial changes in the program, which was secret until disclosed two years ago by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Apr 21, 2015

Congress to probe sex parties for possible leaks of U.S. drug agents’ secrets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Armed with once-confidential documents, a U.S. congressional committee will investigate whether agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration divulged secrets at sex parties that drug lords in Colombia may have staged to elicit sensitive information.

A spokeswoman for the Republican majority at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said the leaks inquiry would also examine the bureaucratic culture and leadership at the DEA and other Justice Department investigative agencies.