Susan's Feed
May 19, 2013

Danger and separation from families changing job of diplomats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When the Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda placed a bounty on her husband’s head, Mary Feierstein learned of it from a friend who called and said, “You must be a mess!”

U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein was thousands of miles (km) away at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, without his wife and family on what is called an “unaccompanied” posting.

May 14, 2013

In uproar over U.S. seizure of AP records, focus turns to Holder

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric
Holder was likely to face a storm of questions on Tuesday over
the Justice Department’s controversial decision to seize
telephone records of the Associated Press, a move denounced by
critics as a gross intrusion into freedom of the press.

The episode has created an uproar in Washington and led to
questions over how the Obama administration is balancing the
need for national security with privacy rights.

May 14, 2013

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

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Associated Press said on Monday 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 news agency and its reporters.

May 8, 2013

U.S. Air Force sexual assault case to be handled by civilian court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The case of a U.S. Air Force official who headed a sexual-assault prevention unit and was arrested for allegedly groping a woman will be handled in civilian court despite the military’s request for jurisdiction, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, was arrested on Sunday and charged with sexual battery for allegedly grabbing a woman by the breasts and buttocks in a parking lot not far from the Pentagon. The police report said the victim fought off a drunken male as he tried to touch her again.

May 2, 2013

What options does Obama have to close Guantanamo?

By Susan Cornwell and Jane Sutton

(Reuters) – With his renewed vow to close the detention camp for foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama has effectively assigned himself a list of possible ways to take the prison’s population down from 166 to zero.

Some would be more easily achieved than others.

In pledging to look again at an unfulfilled promise dating back to his first election campaign and early days in office in 2009, Obama made plain on Tuesday that it was untenable to keep the 11-year-old camp open.

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.