Two FBI agents were killed while taking part in a training exercise near Virginia Beach, the bureau said in a statement.
News organizations are convinced that the Obama administration trampled on freedom of the press when the Justice Department seized Associated Press phone records in pursuit of a government source who leaked details of a thwarted terrorist plot last year.
Authorities in hazardous-materials suits searched a downtown Spokane apartment Saturday, investigating the recent discovery of a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin.
Across the table at one of Washington’s classic power restaurants, my source sat smiling. We hadn’t seen each other for more than six years. After the usual opening small talk and pleasantries, I had just posed the question I had come to dinner to ask.“I’m curious. Why did you go cold on me all these years?” I inquired.“You were too hot,” the source shot back wryly, playing off my own words. “Honestly, we were concerned that after your phone records and mail was seized that you were still being monitored.”The source paused.“It’s too bad. There were a lot of great stories I wanted to give you.”That conversation from late 2007 still resonates in my memory, a vivid reminder of what can happen when the government exercises its awesome powers to try to secretly unmask reporters’ confidential sources.More than a decade before the Justice Department secretly collected the phone records of four of my former colleagues at The Associated Press, I was one of the first reporters to have both his home phone records and personal mail gathered by the Justice Department and FBI. It was a futile effort to find the sources of stories I had written.In the summer of 2001, the Bush Justice Department authorized a subpoena for my home phone records in an effort to locate confidential sources who had helped me put together a series of stories about what prosecutors knew about possible wrongdoing between then-Sen. Robert Torricelli and a major political donor before the case was dismissed.At the time, I was the AP’s lead investigative reporter and an assistant chief of bureau in its Washington bureau. The U.S. attorney manual’s rules required the Justice Department to notify AP in advance of taking a reporter’s phone records and to negotiate a possible solution.That did not happen. The Justice Department decided instead to subpoena and review my records and then notify me afterwards. I got the notification in the mail in late August 2001, months after prosecutors already had gone through my home phone records.The news media was outraged by the intrusion and for days after the revelation, there was a campaign by the media to demand answers and an end to such tactics, which fly in the face of the press freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment.But the story quickly faded on Sept. 11, 2001, when the country's attention was riveted to the arrival of large-scale international terrorism on U.S. shores. Gone was the momentum to pressure the government to answer some important questions about its assault on the First Amendment.I went back to reporting immediately, trying to tell the stories of what the government knew about threats of possible terror attacks in the days and weeks before 9/11. I managed to break some big stories, the infamous Phoenix memo warning of Arab pilots training at U.S. flight schools among them.But I noticed a marked difference in the way my long-time sources treated me. Most refused to talk on the phone for any length of time, and they almost never emailed me anymore.Anything sensitive had to be done by meeting in person. One source went as far as to require me to sit on a bench in a city park, where I could retrieve leaked documents hidden inside a folded newspaper. It was painfully obvious that the government’s intrusion had affected my ability to report hidden truths to the American people.
If you're a president under fire, it's convenient to fire someone who's about to leave anyway. The president on Wednesday threw acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller under the hot dog wagon, or whatever convenient cliche was waiting at the curb.
Evidence about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects' ties to Islamism and Chechen radicals deepened Thursday as multiple news outlets reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev claimed the attacks were made on behalf of Islam in retaliation for U.S. foreign policy.
President Obama's election was a hopeful moment for civil rights advocates who thought he would usher in a golden era of government openness and respect for civil liberties, but some of the president's most enthusiastic supporters have expressed the harshest condemnation this week as revelations of multiple controversies involving intrusive government overreach have exploded onto the national stage.
The federal government gave witness protection to known and suspected terrorists and the U.S. Marshals Service even lost track of two of those people, according to a report Thursday from the Justice Department's auditor that exposes the previously hidden side of the witness program.
Seven foreigners were detained early Wednesday by Massachusetts authorities after being caught trespassing on a major reservoir that supplies drinking water to Boston, raising new terror fears in the grieving city, officials said.