Published June 18, 2013
June 18, 2013: A general view of Taliban office in Doha before the official opening in Doha, Qatar. In a major breakthrough, the Taliban and the U.S. announced Tuesday that they will hold talks on finding a political solution to ending nearly 12 years of war in Afghanistan as the Islamic militant movement opened an office in Qatar. American officials with the Obama administration said the office in the Qatari capital of Doha was the first step toward the ultimate U.S.-Afghan goal of a full Taliban renouncement of links with Al Qaeda. (AP)
June 18, 2013: Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a ceremony at military academy on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. Karzai announced at the ceremony that his country’s armed forces are taking over the lead for security nationwide from the U.S.-led NATO coalition. (AP)
Representatives from the United States and the Taliban will engage in Afghanistan peace talks Thursday in an office that has opened in Qatar, senior U.S. administration officials say.
The officials say detainee exchanges will likely be among the topics discussed in the Doha office, which opened Tuesday after months of delays. Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s High Peace Council is expected to follow up with its own talks a few days later.
Dr. Anthony Levatino, former abortionist turned pro-life activist
(CNSNews.com) – A former abortionist who said he had performed some 1,200 abortions before his conversion to pro-life activist, said Thursday at a House subcommittee hearing that abortion causes pain to unborn babies.
“If anybody thinks that ripping off arms and legs and crushing these children the way we’re doing during these procedures isn’t painful, they’re just kidding themselves … badly kidding themselves,” Dr. Anthony Levatino said at a hearing on the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Levantino was one of four witnesses at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice hearing to discuss fetal pain and the bill, H.R. 1797, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks across the nation.
Posted: April 26, 2013
By Todd Beamon
The Boston Marathon bombing suspects made an impromptu decision to drive to New York City and detonate their remaining explosives in Times Square, New York City officials said on Thursday.
“Last night, we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at an afternoon news conference.
Bloomberg was referring to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who was captured on Friday in suburban Watertown, Mass., after an intense manhunt by authorities. His brother, Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a fierce overnight shootout with police earlier on Friday.
“He told the FBI apparently that he and his brother intended to drive to New York and detonate additional explosives in Times Square,” Bloomberg added. “They had built these additional explosives — and we know that they had the capacity to carry out the attacks.”
Friday, 19 Apr 2013 04:56 AM
Police officers celebrate after capturing bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev in Watertown, Mass. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The sought-after suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was arrested Friday night — taken from a boat parked on a trailer behind a house in the suburban town of Watertown, police said.
Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was taken into custody without incident about 8:45 p.m., said Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben.
“We have a suspect in custody,” Alben said at a 9:30 p.m. news conference. “We’re exhausted, folks, but we have a victory tonight.”
Tsarnaev, a Chechen native who became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was covered with blood when he was arrested, he said.
He was found on the stern end, or back, of the boat, leaning over, Alben said.
The teen was taken to a local hospital, where he remained in “extremely serious” condition, The Boston Globe reports.
“Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area,” Boston Police said on Twitter at 8:45 p.m.
“We Got Him,” tweeted Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
April 18, 2013
The FBI is now sharing the photos with the public but the New York Post ran several photos that they linked to the investigation Thursday.
In the photos being distributed by law-enforcement officials, one of the men is carrying a blue duffel bag. The other is wearing a black backpack in the first photo, taken at 10:53 a.m., but it is not visible in the second, taken at 12:30 p.m, the Post reported.
“The attached photos are being circulated in an attempt to identify the individuals highlighted therein,” said an e-mail obtained by The Post. “Feel free to pass this around to any of your fellow agents elsewhere.”
Authorities know the names of the two men, but do not have enough evidence to make an arrest for Monday’s attack, which killed three and wounded 176, sources told the Post.
Fox said a reporter for the network had seen the photos and called them “clear.”
Joseph Menn and Deborah Charles
Posted: March 21, 2013
The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country’s private, civilian-run infrastructure.
As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks.
Under last month’s White House executive order on cybersecurity, the scans will be driven by classified information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies — including data from the National Security Agency (NSA) — on new or especially serious espionage threats and other hacking attempts. U.S. spy chiefs said on March 12 that cyber attacks have supplanted terrorism as the top threat to the country.
The Department of Homeland Security will gather the secret data and pass it to a small group of telecommunication companies and cyber security providers that have employees holding security clearances, government and industry officials said. Those companies will then offer to process email and other Internet transmissions for critical infrastructure customers that choose to participate in the program.
DHS as the middleman
By using DHS as the middleman, the Obama administration hopes to bring the formidable overseas intelligence-gathering of the NSA closer to ordinary U.S. residents without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates who have long been leery of the spy agency’s eavesdropping.
The telecom companies will not report back to the government on what they see, except in aggregate statistics, a senior DHS official said in an interview granted on condition he not be identified.
“That allows us to provide more sensitive information,” the official said. “We will provide the information to the security service providers that they need to perform this function.” Procedures are to be established within six months of the order.
The administration is separately seeking legislation that would give incentives to private companies, including communications carriers, to disclose more to the government. NSA Director General Keith Alexander said last week that NSA did not want personal data but Internet service providers could inform the government about malicious software they find and the Internet Protocol addresses they were sent to and from.
“There is a way to do this that ensures civil liberties and privacy and does ensure the protection of the country,” Alexander told a congressional hearing.
Fears grow of destructive attack
In the past, Internet traffic-scanning efforts were mainly limited to government networks and Defense Department contractors, which have long been targets of foreign espionage.
But as fears grow of a destructive cyber attack on core, non-military assets, and more sweeping security legislation remained stalled, the Obama administration opted to widen the program.
Last month’s presidential order calls for commercial providers of “enhanced cybersecurity services” to extend their offerings to critical infrastructure companies. What constitutes critical infrastructure is still being refined, but it would include utilities, banks and transportation such as trains and highways.
Under the program, critical infrastructure companies will pay the providers, which will use the classified information to block attacks before they reach the customers. The classified information involves suspect Web addresses, strings of characters, email sender names and the like.
Not all the cybersecurity providers will be telecom companies, though AT&T is one. Raytheon said this month it had agreed with DHS to become a provider, and a spokesman said that customers could route their traffic to Raytheon after receiving it from their communications company.
As the new set-up takes shape, DHS officials and industry executives said some security equipment makers were working on hardware that could take classified rules about blocking traffic and act on them without the operator being able to reverse-engineer the codes. That way, people wouldn’t need a security clearance to use the equipment.
Civil liberties implications
The issue of scanning everything headed to a utility or a bank still has civil liberties implications, even if each company is a voluntary participant.
Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that the executive order did not weaken existing privacy laws, but any time a machine acting on classified information is processing private communications, it raises questions about the possibility of secret extra functions that are unlikely to be answered definitively.
“You have to wonder what else that box does,” Tien said.
One technique for examining email and other electronic packets en route, called deep packet inspection, has stirred controversy for years, and some cybersecurity providers said they would not be using that. In deep packet inspection, communication companies or others with network access can examine all the elements of a transmission, including the content of emails.
“The signatures provided by DHS do not require deep packet inspection,” said Steve Hawkins, vice president at Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems division, referring further questions to DHS.
The DHS official said the government is still in conversations with the telecom operators on the issue.
The official said the government had no plans to roll out any such form of government-guided close examination of Internet traffic into the communications companies serving the general public.
Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.