- - Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mitt Romney says he’s got the time, the resources and the plan to take him all the way to the Republican presidential nomination.

The front-runner in the Republican presidential race didn’t score a knockout punch on Super Tuesday. But he says he’s got strong enough support to propel him all the way to the presidential ballot against President Obama come November.

In an appearance Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Mr. Romney said he’s feeling “pretty darn good” about his showing on Super Tuesday, when he won a narrow victory in crucial Ohio and picked up five other states as well. Rick Santorum won three states, and Newt Gingrich picked up one.

Mr. Romney predicts that once the Republicans settle on a nominee, a united party will defeat Mr. Obama.


Mueller: Terrorists have eye on cyberattacks in U.S.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said Wednesday that terrorists may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders with an eye toward pursuing cyberattacks on the United States.

“Terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyberattack, but we cannot underestimate their intent,” Mr. Mueller said in prepared testimony to a House Appropriations subcommittee. He said terrorists have shown interest in developing hacking skills and that the evolving nature of the problem makes the FBI’s counterterrorism mission more difficult.

Under questioning by Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, Mr. Mueller said he would support increasing the criminal penalties for computer hacking in the context of economic espionage as the U.S. seeks to protect sensitive information.

“Our companies are targeted for insider information, and our universities and national laboratories are targeted for their research and development,” the FBI director told the congressional panel.

This week, a group of expert hackers who attacked governments and corporations around the globe was busted after its ringleader became an informant for the FBI.

Mr. Mueller said there are FBI cybersquads in each of the bureau’s 56 field offices. The FBI has more than 1,000 specially trained agents, analysts and digital forensic examiners who run complex undercover operations and examine digital evidence.


Campaign documentary touts Obama’s first term in office

President Obama’s re-election campaign plans to release a 17-minute documentary next week about his time in the Oval Office.

Campaign manager Jim Messina says the documentary was directed by Davis Guggenheim, whose credits include the Academy Award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” about Al Gore’s global-warming campaign.

Mr. Messina says the documentary will “put into perspective the enormous challenges that the nation faced when the president took office and the strides we’ve made together.”

Campaigns frequently release documentary films to reach voters and amplify the narrative of a candidate’s message. In 1992, TV producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason helped create “The Man From Hope,” a campaign biography of Bill Clinton.


Lawmakers OK lawsuit bill for Holocaust survivors

A House panel has approved legislation that would allow Holocaust survivors to sue foreign insurance companies for benefits stemming from policies confiscated during the Nazi era.

The Foreign Affairs Committee approved the legislation by voice vote Wednesday. It would allow aging survivors access to U.S. courts and force companies such as Germany’s Allianz SE and Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali to disclose lists of policies held by Jews before World War II.

The bill says that in many cases, insurance company records and government archives are the only proof of the existence of many of the insurance policies.

Survivors contend that they could be owed an estimated $20 billion for the loss of family members.


Mueller describes GPS problem from court ruling

A recent Supreme Court ruling is forcing the FBI to deactivate its GPS tracking devices in some investigations, agency director Robert S. Mueller said Wednesday.

Mr. Mueller told a congressional panel that the bureau has turned off a substantial number of GPS units and is using surveillance by agents instead.

“Putting a physical surveillance team out with six, eight, 12 persons is tremendously time intensive,” Mr. Mueller told a House Appropriations subcommittee. The court ruling “will inhibit our ability to use this in a number of surveillances where it has been tremendously beneficial.”

In January, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed to bar police from installing GPS technology to track suspects without first getting a judge’s approval.

“We have a number of people in the United States [whom] we could not indict, there’s not probable cause to indict them or to arrest them, who present a threat of terrorism, articulated maybe up on the Internet, may have purchased a gun, but taken no particular steps to take a terrorist act,” Mr. Mueller said. “And we are stuck in the position of surveilling that person for a substantial period of time.”

GPS trackers “enabled us to utilize resources elsewhere,” the FBI director added.

Mr. Mueller said the FBI will comply with the court decision and will make certain that whatever test is adopted ultimately, the bureau will adhere to that in terms of using GPS.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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