Susan's Feed
Apr 30, 2013

Man who studied in U.S., four others freed in Uzbekistan: State Department

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Uzbekistan has released five high-profile prisoners jailed for political or religious reasons, including an accused member of an Islamist group who studied in the United States, the U.S. State Department said in its annual human rights report.

The five – also including two human rights activists and two members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, were freed last year, the State Department said in its 2012 survey of human rights around the world.

Apr 27, 2013

FBI’s longtime director faces criticism of bureau again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As he nears the end of a dozen years as director of the FBI, Robert Mueller finds himself defending the agency over its handling of two high-profile cases. It is a familiar spot for the low-key ex-Marine.

At the request of President Barack Obama, Mueller stayed on for two years beyond the job’s 10-year term to help stabilize law enforcement’s fight against domestic and international threats to U.S. security. Recent events – the bombing at the Boston Marathon and ricin-laced letters sent to Obama and a U.S. senator – have left Mueller dealing with suggestions that agency missteps may have added to the damage.

Apr 25, 2013

FBI says more tests may be needed to probe ricin potency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI said on Thursday that more tests may be necessary to determine the potency of a granular material identified as ricin that was packed into letters sent to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge.

Last week, the FBI said laboratory testing had confirmed the presence of the toxin in the letters. But FBI spokesman Chris Allen said Thursday he was reluctant to say all tests were complete because “they may be doing more tests on it as the investigation is ongoing.”

Apr 25, 2013

U.S., Russian spies’ “trust deficit” may have clouded Boston case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities have long cast a wary eye on counterterrorism intelligence from Russia, Obama administration officials say, raising questions about whether a “trust deficit” clouded efforts to determine if Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev posed a danger.

Any intelligence disconnect between the United States and Russia could have broader repercussions, complicating plans to cooperate on security for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, not far from Russia’s restive north Caucasus region.

Apr 24, 2013

U.S. lawmakers grill FBI on Boston bombing investigation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers grilled top security officials on Tuesday about the handling of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and why one of the suspects flagged as a possible Islamist radical was not tracked more closely.

FBI officials briefed members of Congress behind closed doors in Washington about the investigation into the April 15 blasts that killed three people and injured 264 others.

Apr 24, 2013

Lawmakers grill FBI on Boston bombing investigation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers grilled top security officials on Tuesday about the handling of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and why one of the suspects flagged as a possible Islamist radical was not tracked more closely.

FBI officials briefed members of Congress behind closed doors in Washington about the investigation into the April 15 blasts that killed three people and injured 264 others.

Apr 21, 2013

U.S. lawmakers ask if FBI mishandled case of one Boston suspect

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican lawmakers questioned Sunday whether the FBI had fumbled the case of one of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, saying it was one of a series in which someone the agency had investigated had gone on to participate in terrorist attacks.

House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said he wrote to the FBI and other officials asking why more wasn’t done after the FBI’s 2011 interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder of two brothers suspected in the Boston bombing, who was killed in a shootout with U.S. police. He was 26.

Apr 19, 2013

U.S. cites human rights problems in Russia, China, Egypt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Friday expressed concern about increasing crackdowns on civil liberties around the world, from Russia to Egypt and China, saying these and other countries were shrinking the space in which independent political and other activists can operate.

In its annual survey of human rights around the world, the State Department singled out Myanmar for praise for the second year in a row, in recognition of political and economic reforms put in place since that country’s military stepped aside and a quasi-civilian government was installed in 2011.

Apr 18, 2013

Suspect in U.S. ricin letter threat obsessed by Elvis, body parts

WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) – Paul Kevin Curtis, charged
this week with sending toxic letters to President Barack Obama
and other politicians, grew disenchanted with government over a
scandal he claimed to uncover in a Mississippi hospital morgue,
where he said he found human organs destined for black market
sale.

Curtis, 45, best known in Mississippi as an Elvis
impersonator who once went to jail dressed in costume, wrote
angry letters to government officials and tried to talk to U.S.
Senator Roger Wicker at a performance, according to an account
posted on the internet by a Paul Kevin Curtis.

Apr 17, 2013

Preliminary tests show letter to Obama contains poison ricin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A letter addressed to President Barack Obama contained a substance that preliminarily tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, authorities said on Wednesday.

News that the letter to Obama was being investigated came as a flurry of other reports of suspicious letters and a package caused the evacuation of parts of two Senate buildings and set nerves in Washington on edge.