- - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

HOUSE

Officials defend Gitmo transfers

The Obama administration is defending its process for transferring terrorist suspects from the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to foreign countries.

House Republicans on Wednesday criticized the system, questioning whether U.S. officials had been diligent in ensuring that those transferred didn’t end up in unstable countries or weren’t recruited by terrorist organizations.

Daniel Fried, the special envoy for the closure of the Navy-run prison in Cuba, said the administration has been involved in the transfer of 67 detainees to foreign countries. He pointed out that more than 500 were transferred during the Bush administration.

Mr. Fried told a House subcommittee that the U.S. work does not end with detainees’ transfers and that officials follow up with the receiving government.

Rep. Rob Wittman, Virginia Republican, says reports of some detainees re-engaged in terrorist activities are alarming.

JUSTICE

Feds target malware ring

FBI and Justice Department cybercrime investigators are moving to disable a ring of international computer thieves who have stolen an undetermined amount of money by infecting more than 2.3 million computers with malicious software.

The government says this is the biggest such enforcement action ever taken against cybercriminals by U.S. authorities.

The investigators are targeting a software program called Coreflood that exploits a vulnerability in computers running Windows operating systems and allows infected computers to be controlled remotely.

Some 1.8 million of the infected computers are in the United States, with the remainder in countries around the world.

The U.S. attorney for Connecticut, David Fein, says the government will seize servers and Internet domain names containing the Coreflood malware.

SENATE

Opposition exists without reductions

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday there is “bipartisan opposition” in the chamber to increasing the nation’s debt ceiling unless Congress also takes “significant” steps to reduce the federal debt.

And the “definition of significant,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters, means that “what we do is viewed as credible by the (financial) markets, by the American people, and by foreign countries.”

“No blue smoke and mirrors, no gamesmanship,” he added. “A serious and credible path forward, not only short term, but long term, to reduce spending is the only thing, in my judgment, that will get the votes in the Senate to raise the debt ceiling.”

Mr. McConnell and other Capitol Hill leaders met earlier in the day with President Obama at the White House to discuss the nation’s debt woes and other issues.

The debt ceiling - the governments legal limit on how much it can borrow to pay for its operations - was last raised to $14.294 trillion in February 2010.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner predicted last week the federal government will reach its debt ceiling no later than May 16 and urged Congress to quickly raise the limit or risk another national financial crisis.

NEW YORK

PBS: Funding remains intact

NEW YORK | Efforts to strip government funding for public broadcasting appear to have failed.

PBS chief Paula Kerger told the Associated Press that the federal budget deal retains most of the money that President Obama had set aside for public television and radio stations nearly $430 million.

Miss Kerger said a lobbying effort that resulted in a half-million emails and also phone calls to congressional offices appears to have paid off. She said the public response “changed everything.”

The money is distributed to nearly 1,000 public television and radio stations across the country.

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