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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Breaking: U.S. Charges Snowden with Espionage

Source: Washington Post

U.S. charges Snowden with espionage

By Peter Finn and Sari Horwitz, Published: FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 6:04 PM ET

Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.

Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property, the officials said.

The complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, a jurisdiction where Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered, and a district with a long track record in prosecuting cases with national security implications.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Read more: http:/www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-charges-snowden-with-espionage/2013/06/21/507497d8-dab1-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_story.html

Friday afternoon dump.

@BreakingNews: More: US asks Hong Kong to detain NSA leaker Edward Snowden on provisional arrest warrant - @washingtonpost http://t.co/dEvGFJcmKK

Oregon Agency Blames Pesticide for Bumble Bee Kill (25,000 Dead in Shopping Center Parking Lot)

Source: Associated Press

Jun 21, 2:47 PM EDT


WILSONVILLE, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon officials say a pesticide is to blame for the deaths of an estimated 25,000 bumble bees in a shopping center parking lot.

The state Department of Agriculture said Friday that tests on bees and foliage showed the deaths are "directly related to a pesticide application on linden trees" that was meant to control aphids.

It said an investigation is underway to see if the application of the pesticide Safari, done last Saturday, violated the law.

To prevent more deaths, bee-proof netting is planned for 55 European linden trees whose blooms attracted the pollinators to the Target parking lot in Wilsonville, southwest of Portland.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEAD_BEES

Food Network Says It Won't Renew Paula Deen Contract After Admission She Used Racial Slurs

Source: New York Times

@AP: BREAKING: Food Network says it won't renew Paula Deen's contract after admission she used racial slurs. -MM

CNN: Statement from Food Network: "Food Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month"

Food Network Drops Paula Deen

Published: June 21, 2013

The Food Network said Friday that it would not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of June.

The announcement followed a bewildering day in which Ms. Deen, the self-proclaimed queen of Southern cooking and a sugary mainstay of the network, failed to show up for an interview on the “Today” show and then begged her family and audience for forgiveness in two online videos for using racial epithets in the past.

She has faced a volley of criticism this week over her remarks in a deposition for a discrimination lawsuit by a former employee. In the document, she admitted she had used racial slurs, tolerated racist jokes and condoned pornography in the workplace. The Food Network statement did not elaborate on its reasons for dropping her, but a person close to the network said its shows featuring her sons, Jamie and Bobby, would not be affected.

In her first video on Friday, posted on YouTube and later removed, Ms. Deen, near tears, said: “I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done. I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/22/dining/paula-deen-is-a-no-show-on-today.html

ACLU: NSA Retains Purely Domestic Communications Without Warrants, Documents Show


NSA Claims Broad Authority to Monitor Americans' International Calls and Emails

Agency Retains Purely Domestic Communications Without Warrants, Documents Show

June 20, 2013

CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The government is engaged in warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans' international communications, according to secret FISA Court documents released today by The Guardian. Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, made the following comments about the latest revelations:

"After Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act in 2008, we worried that the NSA would use the new authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans' telephone calls and emails. These documents confirm many of our worst fears. The 'targeting' procedures indicate that the NSA is engaged in broad surveillance of Americans' international communications.

"The 'minimization' procedures that supposedly protect Americans' constitutional rights turn out to be far weaker than we imagined they could be. For example, the NSA claims the authority to collect and disseminate attorney-client communications – and even, in some circumstances, to turn them over to Justice Department prosecutors. The government also claims the authority to retain Americans' purely domestic communications in certain situations."

ACLU Staff Attorney Alex Abdo said:

"Collectively, these documents show indisputably that the legal framework under which the NSA operates is far too feeble, that existing oversight mechanisms are ineffective, and that the government's surveillance policies now present a serious and ongoing threat to our constitutional rights. The release of these documents will help inform a crucial public debate that should have taken place years ago."

WikiLeaks Says It Is Working to Negotiate Asylum in Iceland for Snowden

Source: New York Times

WikiLeaks Says It Is Working to Negotiate Asylum in Iceland for Snowden

Published: June 19, 2013

WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks activists in Iceland are discussing with government officials there the possibility of asylum for Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed hundreds of classified documents on N.S.A. surveillance, Julian Assange, the founder of the antisecrecy group, said Wednesday.

“We are in touch with Mr. Snowden’s legal team and are in the process of brokering his asylum in Iceland,” Mr. Assange said in a conference call with reporters. He said both the legal and practical obstacles were under review by Mr. Snowden’s lawyers and supporters.

A spokeswoman for Iceland’s embassy in Washington confirmed that the government had been approached by advocates for Mr. Snowden but would not comment further.

Mr. Snowden, 29, whose leak of National Security Agency documents has shaken American officials and fueled a public debate about government surveillance, is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong. He has acknowledged that he is likely to be prosecuted for the unauthorized disclosures and has expressed both interest in asylum in Iceland and concern about whether he would be safe there.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/world/europe/wikileaks-says-it-is-working-to-negotiate-asylum-in-iceland-for-snowden.html

CDC: HPV Vaccine Reduced Disease Rates in Teen Girls by 56 Percent

Source: CBS News

CDC: HPV vaccine reduced disease rates in teen girls by 56 percent

June 19, 2013

Rates of HPV strains related to genital warts and some cancers have decreased 56 percent among American teen girls since a vaccine was introduced in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

The government health agency's new study, which was published in the June issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, shows that rates of vaccine-type HPV prevalence dropped from 11.5 percent before the vaccine was introduced to 5 percent by 2010 for 14 to 19 year-old-girls.

"These are striking results," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said on a conference call Wednesday. "I think they should be a wake-up call that we need to increase vaccination rates because we can protect the next generation of adolescents and girls against the cancer that is caused by HPV."

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an ubiquitous group of more than 100 viruses, 40 of which can be transmitted sexually. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, according to the CDC. Nearly all sexually active men or women will contract at least one type of sexually transmitted HPV in their lifetime.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57590102/cdc-hpv-vaccine-reduced-disease-rates-in-teen-girls-by-56-percent

Obama to Call for Deep Cuts in U.S., Russian Nukes

Source: CBS News

CBS/AP/ June 19, 2013, 2:21 AM

Obama to call for deep cuts in U.S., Russian nukes

BERLIN President Obama will renew his call Wednesday to reduce the world's nuclear stockpiles, including a proposed one-third reduction in U.S. and Russian warhead arsenals, a senior administration official says.

That would bring the total number of warheads in each country to about 1,000.

Mr. Obama will make his case during a speech at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate. His address comes nearly 50 years after John F. Kennedy's famous Cold War speech in this once-divided city.

The president has previously called for reductions in the stockpiles and isn't expected to outline a timeline for the renewed push. But by addressing the issue in a major foreign policy speech, Mr. Obama is signaling a desire to rekindle an issue that was a centerpiece of his early first-term national security agenda.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57589978/obama-to-call-for-deep-cuts-in-u.s-russian-nukes

AP Sources: 4 US Troops Killed in Afghanistan

Source: Associated Press



— Jun. 18 6:58 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense officials say four U.S. troops were killed Tuesday at or near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Officials say the four were killed by indirect fire, likely a mortar or rocket, but they had no other details.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide details on the deaths.

The attack comes as U.S. and allied forces formally handed over control of the country's security to the Afghan army and police in a ceremony in Kabul. The transition to Afghan-led security means U.S. and other foreign combat troops will not be directly carrying the fight to the insurgency, but will advise and back up the Afghan forces as needed with air support and medical evacuations.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-sources-4-us-troops-killed-afghanistan

Iceland Received Informal Approach Over Snowden Seeking Asylum

Source: Reuters

Iceland received informal approach over Snowden seeking asylum

REYKJAVIK | Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:44am EDT

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Iceland has received an informal approach from an intermediary who says Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs, wants to seek asylum there.

Snowden, the former employee of contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who worked in an NSA facility in Hawaii, made world headlines after providing details of the program to the Guardian and Washington Post and then fleeing to Hong Kong.

In a column in Icelandic daily Frettabladid, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson wrote that a middleman had approached him on behalf of Snowden.

"On 12 June, I received a message from Edward Snowden where he asked me to notify the Icelandic government that he wanted to seek asylum in Iceland," Hrafnsson, who is also an investigative journalist in Iceland, told Reuters.

The Icelandic government, which has refused to say whether they would grant asylum to Snowden, confirmed it had received the message from Hrafnsson.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE95H0OQ20130618

CNN's Peter Bergen Probes Claim NSA Halted "Dozens" of Attacks - Finds It Mainly Hype


About Those 'Dozens' of Terror Attacks

Terrorism expert Peter Bergen of CNN with lengthy new piece up on their site with evidence that the official claims of NSA snooping halting "dozens" of terror attacks on the U.S. is wildly overblown. He actually--refreshing!--demands evidence and produces what he can find, that suggests that the few known serious plots were stopped by other methods. Perhaps, he allows, we will learn about attacks disrupted abroad. But he remains skeptical that the claims overall are not just defensive hype. Key line: "This suggests that the NSA surveillance programs are wide-ranging fishing expeditions with little to show for them."

- snip -


updated 1:28 PM EDT 06.17.13

Bergen: Did NSA stop dozens of attacks?

By Peter Bergen and David Sterman

Editor's Note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation. David Sterman is a graduate student at Georgetown University's National Security Studies Program.

(CNN) - Testifying before Congress on Wednesday, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, asserted that his agency's massive acquisition of U.S. phone data and the contents of overseas Internet traffic that is provided by American tech companies has helped prevent "dozens of terrorist events."

On Thursday, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, Democrats who both serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and have access to the nation's most sensitive secrets, released a statement contradicting this assertion. "Gen. Alexander's testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA's bulk phone records collection program helped thwart 'dozens' of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods," the two senators said.

Indeed, a survey of court documents and media accounts of all the jihadist terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11 by the New America Foundation shows that traditional law enforcement methods have overwhelmingly played the most significant role in foiling terrorist attacks.

This suggests that the NSA surveillance programs are wide-ranging fishing expeditions with little to show for them.

- snip -

Homegrown jihadist extremists have mounted 42 plots to conduct attacks within the United States since 2001. Of those plots, nine involved an actual terrorist act that was not prevented by any type of government action, such as the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to blow up a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010. Of the remaining 33 plots, the public record shows that at least 29 were uncovered by traditional law enforcement methods, such as the use of informants, reliance on community tips about suspicious activity and other standard policing practices.

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