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Controller in first lady incident had ‘errors’

A report by federal safety investigators says the air traffic controller who allowed a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama to fly too close a military cargo jet last spring had accumulated four previous “coordination errors.”

The National Transportation Safety Board report released Thursday said the controller violated two Federal Aviation Administration procedures during the incident. The Boeing 737 with Mrs. Obama and vice presidential spouse Jill Biden aboard was forced to abort an intended landing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to avoid wake turbulence from the larger military jet and to give it time to clear the runway.

The report said the controller, who wasn’t identified, was relieved of his air traffic control duties and sent for retraining, but is approved to handle air traffic again.

FLORIDA

Mack is expected to shake up race

TALLAHASSEE — As Rep. Connie Mack IV of Florida prepares to jump into a U.S. Senate race instead of seeking re-election, he is likely to become the instant front-runner.

A spokesman said Mr. Mack, whose father held the same Senate seat and whose great-grandfather is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, will enter the primary soon.

That will create a five-way race. In March, Mr. Mack said he considered running for the Senate, but decided to seek re-election. He reconsidered after watching the lackluster primary. None of the current candidates has generated a lot of excitement.

Strategists from both major parties say his name recognition and ability to raise money as a sitting congressman will make him a front-runner, but he’ll have to prove he deserves the status if he wants to keep it.

CONGRESS

GOP seeking waiver of environmental laws

A growing number of lawmakers are working to give Border Patrol agents unfettered access to all federal lands within 100 miles of the border with Mexico and Canada to fight illegal immigration.

Federal agents must follow environmental protections that can keep them from patrolling huge swaths of land unless they are on horseback or foot. They sometimes have to wait months before getting permission to install surveillance equipment. Agents have told lawmakers that the restrictions can hinder their effectiveness.

In recent weeks, three congressional panels have moved to give the Border Patrol the authority to disregard the environmental restrictions.

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