- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CIA stayed in US Embassy in Baghdad, US now grappling with intelligence gaps

WASHINGTON (AP) - CIA officers in Iraq have been largely hunkered down in their heavily fortified Baghdad compound since U.S. troops left the country in 2011, current and former officials say, allowing a once-rich network of intelligence sources to wither.

That’s a big reason, they say, the U.S. was caught flat-footed by the recent offensive by a Sunni-backed al-Qaida-inspired group that has seized a large swath of Iraq.

“This is a glaring example of the erosion of our street craft and our tradecraft and our capability to operate in a hard place,” said John Maguire, who helped run CIA operations in Iraq in 2004. “The U.S. taxpayer is not getting their money’s worth.”

Maguire was a CIA officer in Beirut in the late 1980s during that country’s bloody civil war. He spent weeks living in safe houses far from the U.S. Embassy, dodging militants who wanted to kidnap and kill Americans. In Iraq, where Maguire also served, the CIA’s Baghdad station remains one of the world’s largest. But the agency has been unwilling to risk sending Americans out regularly to recruit and meet informants.

Iraq is emblematic of how a security-conscious CIA is finding it difficult to spy aggressively in dangerous environments without military protection, Maguire and other current and former U.S. officials say. Intelligence blind spots have left the U.S. behind the curve on fast-moving world events, they say, whether it’s disintegration in Iraq, Russia’s move into Crimea or the collapse of several governments during the Arab Spring.

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Major privacy ruling, Supreme Court tells police: ‘Get a warrant’ before searching cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) - In an emphatic defense of privacy in the digital age, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police generally may not search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants.

Cellphones are unlike anything else police may find on someone they arrest, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. They are “not just another technological convenience,” he said, but ubiquitous, increasingly powerful computers that contain vast quantities of personal, sensitive information.

“With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life,” Roberts declared. So the message to police about what they should do before rummaging through a cellphone’s contents following an arrest is simple: “Get a warrant.”

The chief justice acknowledged that barring searches would affect law enforcement, but he said: “Privacy comes at a cost.”

By ruling as it did, the court chose not to extend earlier decisions from the 1970s- when cellphone technology was not yet available - that allow police to empty a suspect’s pockets and examine whatever they find to ensure officers’ safety and prevent the destruction of evidence.

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10 Things to Know for Thursday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:

1. WHY US WAS CAUGHT FLAT-FOOTED BY IRAQ INSURGENCY

Officials tell the AP that the CIA has pulled back its spies since American troops left the country.

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Republican powers celebrate Cochran’s win - and his unusual Mississippi alliance

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - From Mississippi to the U.S. Capitol, mainstream Republicans expressed relief Wednesday at Sen. Thad Cochran’s comeback primary victory over tea party challenger Chris McDaniel, highlighting anew the fissures between traditional GOP powers and challengers determined to pull the party further rightward.

McDaniel, meanwhile, complained that a number of Democrats -most of whom are black in Mississippi- apparently cast ballots in the GOP runoff and boosted Cochran’s numbers. McDaniel refused to concede the race and said he would probe “irregularities” in Tuesday’s voting.

“We must be absolutely certain that our Republican primary was won by Republican voters,” McDaniel said. “In the coming days, our team will look into the irregularities to determine whether a challenge is warranted.”

His insistence that Democrats voting in his party’s primary was a bad thing made some mainstream Republicans cringe- and express relief that Cochran, a six-term senator and former Appropriations Committee chairman, is now the heavy favorite to win re-election over Democrat Travis Childers this fall.

“I’m for more people voting, not less people voting,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told reporters in the Capitol in Washington.

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For first time, federal appeals court rules gay couples have constitutional right to marry

DENVER (AP) - A federal appeals court ruled for the first time Wednesday that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry, extending the movement’s legal winning streak and bringing the issue a big step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they choose a partner of the same sex.

The court dismissed as “wholly illogical” the notion that allowing gays to wed could somehow undermine traditional marriage.

The decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower-court ruling that struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban. It becomes law in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. But the panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.

The Utah attorney general’s office planned to appeal, but it was assessing whether to go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the entire 10th Circuit to review the ruling, spokeswoman Missy Larsen said.

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European court rulings question assisted-suicide and euthanasia; French doctor acquitted

PARIS (AP) - One French court acquitted a doctor of poisoning seven terminally ill patients while another ordered physicians to suspend treatment for a comatose man, while Britain’s top court said the country’s ban on assisted suicide may be incompatible with human rights. The decisions of the past few days are fueling the arguments of Europeans who say the duty of doctors is to end the suffering of those beyond treatment.

But emotions run high on all sides around the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as is shown by the bitter case of the comatose Frenchman, Vincent Lambert. Hours after the French court sided with his wife in ordering an end to treatment, the European Court of Human Rights blocked the move at the request of his parents, in a rare late-night ruling.

The prosecution in France of Dr. Nicolas Bonnemaison was relatively unusual as well. The physician never denied giving seven terminally ill patients lethal injections, and some of their families testified on his behalf.

Bonnemaison’s lawyer said he hoped Wednesday’s acquittal - and Tuesday’s ruling in the case of Lambert - would force the government to update the law quickly.

“There are no heroes here, no martyrs,” said Benoit Ducos-Ader. “This man acted as a doctor. He always acknowledged that, shouted that, despite the blows he received.”

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Republican powers celebrate Cochran’s win - and his unusual Mississippi alliance

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - From Mississippi to the U.S. Capitol, mainstream Republicans expressed relief Wednesday at Sen. Thad Cochran’s comeback primary victory over tea party challenger Chris McDaniel, highlighting anew the fissures between traditional GOP powers and challengers determined to pull the party further rightward.

McDaniel, meanwhile, complained that a number of Democrats -most of whom are black in Mississippi- apparently cast ballots in the GOP runoff and boosted Cochran’s numbers. McDaniel refused to concede the race and said he would probe “irregularities” in Tuesday’s voting.

“We must be absolutely certain that our Republican primary was won by Republican voters,” McDaniel said. “In the coming days, our team will look into the irregularities to determine whether a challenge is warranted.”

His insistence that Democrats voting in his party’s primary was a bad thing made some mainstream Republicans cringe- and express relief that Cochran, a six-term senator and former Appropriations Committee chairman, is now the heavy favorite to win re-election over Democrat Travis Childers this fall.

“I’m for more people voting, not less people voting,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told reporters in the Capitol in Washington.

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Eli Wallach, star of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ dies at 98

NEW YORK (AP) - As a masterful character actor and early product of postwar, Method-style theater, Eli Wallach wore countless faces, disappearing into them all. But he was always propelled - in acting and in life - by a mischievousness and an abiding playfulness that made him a tireless performer, an enduring family man and, of course, one immortal scoundrel.

“I never lost my appetite for acting,” Wallach wrote in his 2005 memoir “The Good, the Bad, and Me,” named after his most famous film. “I feel like a magician.”

Wallach died Tuesday evening from natural causes after 98 years of life, 66 years of marriage and some 100 films, including several he made in his 90s. His son, Peter Wallach, confirmed his death Wednesday.

The versatile, raspy-voiced actor was a mainstay of Tennessee Williams’ plays (he won a Tony Award for “The Rose Tattoo” in 1951) and an original member of the Actors Studio in the early days of Method acting. But the most notable credit in his prolific career was “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” in which he played the rascally Mexican outlaw Tuco.

As the Ugly of the title, he stole Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti Western from the Good, Clint Eastwood, with lines like: “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”

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US and Klinsmann face German friends and foes with World Cup advancement on line

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) - When Jermaine Jones stands for the national anthems of his countries Thursday night, he will soak in the moment.

Jones, like four American teammates and his coach, will be familiar with both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Deutschlandlied” before the United States’ World Cup game against Germany.

After playing three games in 2008 for the nation in which he grew up, Jones switched allegiance to the U.S. two years later.

“When I hear the anthem from the United States, I will close my eyes and let everything go through,” the tenacious midfielder said.

And then comes the big game.

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Giants’ Tim Lincecum pitches 2nd no-hitter vs Padres, leads Giants to 4-0 win

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Tim Lincecum’s days of dominance may be in the past. That doesn’t mean he can’t dial up flashes of the Freak he once was - especially against the San Diego Padres.

Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the Padres in less than a year, allowing only one runner Wednesday and leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 win.

“I’ve always been that guy who will kind of go for the strikeout,” Lincecum said. “I think my first no-hitter I had 13, so I think I was going for those a little bit more often.”

“Today I tried to be a little bit more efficient and take what they were going to give me. They were giving me a lot of groundballs and a lot of pop flies, so I was just going to try to keep attacking the way that I was,” he said.

Lincecum totally shut down the weakest-hitting team in the majors, striking out six and walking one in a 113-pitch outing - 35 fewer than he needed last July 13 against the Padres in his first no-hitter.

Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.

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