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Fighter Jets Scambled Over London
RAF fighter jets have escorted a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft from Manchester Airport to Stansted Airport, a Ministry of Defence spokesman has said.
The airline has confirmed it was for security reasons but - according to a security source - early indications are that it was not the target of a terror attack.
The plane was heading west towards Manchester when it was suddenly re-routed near York and headed back out to the North Sea, before travelling south to Stansted.
Obama Gives State Dept. Talking Points Editor a Promotion?
The State Department spokeswoman who played a pivotal role in deleting portions of the Benghazi talking points has been tapped by President Obama for a plum new post, bagging a nomination to become assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
NulandNuland is a career foreign service officer who had held many high-level positions, including under George W. Bush. But her nomination to handle the European portfolio will likely be seen by Republicans as an example of the president flipping the bird their way.
Benghazi Investigation Deepens
As the investigation into the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi intensifies, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are seeking to conduct transcribed interviews with thirteen top State Department officials in the coming weeks in order to learn more. Those named in the letter include a wide range of current and former State Department personnel, from senior advisers to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to mid-level career officials with responsibility for diplomatic security.
US Capitol Building at night Jan 2006
Among those officials: Jacob Sullivan, then deputy chief of staff and director of policy planning (and currently national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden); Victoria Nuland, then State Department spokesman; Raymond Maxwell, deputy assistant secretary of state for near east affairs; Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary of state for management; and Eric Boswell, former assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.
Holder OK'ed Fox reporter search warrant
Attorney General Eric Holder agreed to a review of Justice Department guidelines for investigations involving journalists, President Barack Obama said Thursday.
Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Thursday.
The disclosure of the attorney general’s role came as President Barack Obama, in a major speech on his counterterrorism policy, said Holder had agreed to review Justice Department guidelines governing investigations that involve journalists.
Obama Orders DOJ to investigate DOJ?
President Obama is a little uneasy with the way journalists have been dragged into the Justice Department’s aggressive pursuit of national security leak investigations. In fact, he has ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a 45-day review of the department’s guidelines on the issue.
That bit of news was buried in the middle of the president’s hourlong speech today at National Defense University.
Learner Replaced on Acting Basis Day After Not Testifying
The Internal Revenue Service has replaced Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the controversy over the agency’s scrutiny of small-government groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Lerner was placed on paid administrative leave after she refused to resign, Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a statement. The IRS named an acting replacement to oversee tax-exempt groups.
Enlarge image Former IRS Exempt Organizations Office Director
“The IRS owes it to taxpayers to resolve her situation quickly,” Grassley said. “She shouldn’t be in limbo indefinitely on the taxpayers’ dime.”
Lois Lerner Directly Involved in IRS Targeting
A series of letters suggests that senior IRS official Lois Lerner was directly involved in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups as recently as April 2012, more than nine months after she first learned of the activity.
Lerner, the director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Washington, D.C., signed cover letters to 15 conservative organizations currently represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) between in March and April of 2012. The letters, such as this one sent to the Ohio Liberty Council on March 16, 2012, informed the groups applying for tax-exempt status that the IRS was “unable to make a final determination on your exempt status without additional information,” and included a list of detailed questions of the kind that a Treasury inspector general’s audit found to be inappropriate. Some of the groups to which Lerner sent letters are still awaiting approval.
French backs 75% tax rate
Businesses rather than employees will foot the bill for a new 75 percent tax on salaries over €1 million, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in an interview with Les Echos on Thursday, while a plan to cap directors’ pay has been dropped.
French businesses will face a 75 percent tax on employees’ salaries above €1 million a year under new legislation set to be introduced by the country’s government in 2014.
However, the government will stop short of introducing a cap on executive pay in the private sector, France’s Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici revealed in an interview with French daily Les Echos published on Thursday.
Boy Scout Leaders Vote to Allow Gay Youth
The Boy Scouts of America decided to allow gay youth to openly join its ranks, reversing a long-standing ban.
Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls discusses the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to vote to allow gay youths as members but continue a ban on adult scout leaders.
The decision, which came after a vote Thursday of some 1,400 Scout leaders, had been seen as a litmus test for how much the nation has shifted its views on gay people and their role in society.
More than 61% of the leaders gathered for their annual meeting voted in support of a proposal floated last month by Scouts officials. That proposal, a compromise that angered some on both sides, opened Scouting's membership to gay youth but not gay adults in staff or volunteer leadership roles.
Britain to Debate Security Powers After Brutal Attack on Soldier
A government minister said Friday that the police and the security services would face inquiries into their previous handling of two men accused of hacking a British soldier to death on a busy London street two days ago.
Lee Rigby, 25, was in plainclothes heading to see his mother when he was killed.
British security officials confirmed Thursday that the suspects were known to MI5, the domestic security agency, in the years before the attack, which stunned many people with its sheer brutality.
Shadow War Behind Syria's Rebellion
While the diplomatic grouping known as the Friends of Syria met in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday to discuss a U.S.-Russian plan for peace talks, a low-key yet perhaps equally important gathering was being quietly held in Istanbul between Saudi officials and half of the 30 members of the Free Syrian Army’s Higher Military Command, which claims to represent most of the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The informal talks, which were held at a seaside hotel, marked the first gathering of the rebel group’s Military Command and Saudi officials since, according to senior members of the Military Command, Saudi Arabia stepped up earlier this month to become the main source of arms to the rebels. In so doing they nudged aside the smaller Persian Gulf state of Qatar, which had been the main supplier of weapons to the opposition since early 2012. Saudi officials have simply been meeting with the rebels on their own, without involving the Qataris.
A Battering Ram Becomes a Stonewall
The IRS's leaders refuse to account for the agency's corruption and abuse.
"I don't know." "I don't remember." "I'm not familiar with that detail." "It's not my precise area." "I'm not familiar with that letter."
These are quotes from the Internal Revenue Service officials who testified this week before the House and Senate. That is the authentic sound of stonewalling, and from the kind of people who run Washington in the modern age—smooth, highly credentialed and unaccountable. They're surrounded by legal and employment protections, they know how to parse a careful response, they know how to blur the essential point of a question in a blizzard of unconnected factoids. They came across as people arrogant enough to target Americans for abuse and harassment and think they'd get away with it.
So what did we learn the past week, and what are the essentials to keep in mind?
Conservatives Became Targets in 2008
The Obama campaign played a big role in a liberal onslaught that far pre-dated Citizens United.
The White House insists President Obama is "outraged" by the "inappropriate" targeting and harassment of conservative groups. If true, it's a remarkable turnaround for a man who helped pioneer those tactics.
On Aug. 21, 2008, the conservative American Issues Project ran an ad highlighting ties between candidate Obama and Bill Ayers, formerly of the Weather Underground. The Obama campaign and supporters were furious, and they pressured TV stations to pull the ad—a common-enough tactic in such ad spats.
What came next was not common. Bob Bauer, general counsel for the campaign (and later general counsel for the White House), on the same day wrote to the criminal division of the Justice Department, demanding an investigation into AIP, "its officers and directors," and its "anonymous donors." Mr. Bauer claimed that the nonprofit, as a 501(c)(4), was committing a "knowing and willful violation" of election law, and wanted "action to enforce against criminal violations."
CAPTAIN HUMBERT R ('Rocky'). VERSACE
UNITED STATES ARMY
for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United States Army.