Tuesday June 11, 2013

NSA contractor risks prosecution, jail time for surveillance data leak if U.S. extradites him

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The man who gave classified documents to reporters, making public two sweeping U.S. surveillance programs and touching off a national debate on privacy versus security, has revealed his own identity. He risked decades in jail for the disclosures -- if the U.S. can extradite him from Hong Kong where he has taken refuge.

Edward Snowden, 29, who says he worked as a contractor at the National Security Agency and the CIA, allowed The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers to reveal his identity Sunday.

Both papers have published a series of top-secret documents outlining two NSA surveillance programs. One gathers hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records while searching for possible links to known terrorist targets abroad, and the second allows the government to tap into nine U.S. Internet companies to gather all Internet usage to detect suspicious behavior that begins overseas.

The revelations have reopened the post-Sept. 11 debate about individual privacy concerns versus heightened measures to protect the U.S. against terrorist attacks. The NSA has asked the Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation into the leaks. Government lawyers are now "in the initial stages of an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information by an individual with authorized access," said Nanda Chitre, Justice Department spokeswoman.

President Barack Obama said the programs are authorized by Congress and subject to strict supervision of a secret court, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says they do not target U.S. citizens.

What’s the problem with PRISM? Scope of phone snooping raises questions about Internet program

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When the federal government went looking for phone numbers tied to terrorists, it grabbed the records of just about everyone in America.

Why every phone number?

"Well, you have to start someplace," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told NBC News on Monday.

That breadth, that willingness to sweep up enormous information on Americans with no ties to terrorists, is making it hard for the Obama administration to tamp down controversy over a separate program, called PRISM, to monitor Internet traffic.

In short, critics ask, if looking for terrorists means collecting every American’s phone records, how can anyone believe the president when he says Americans aren’t being monitored on the Internet?

Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court-martial under fresh spotlight as new leak scandal unfolds

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) -- Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court-martial for giving hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks entered its second week Monday in a fresh spotlight cast by a brand-new leak by another low-level intelligence employee.

Like Manning, Edward Snowden could find himself hauled into court by the U.S.government after he unmasked himself Sunday as the leaker who exposed the nation’s secret phone and Internet surveillance programs to reporters.

Legal experts closely following both cases said they were shocked to find out young, low-ranking people had such access to powerful government secrets. Manning was 22 when he turned over the military and diplomatic cables about three years ago; Snowden is 29.

"In that respect, these cases suggest we should be much more careful about who is given security clearances," said David J.R. Frakt, a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer who has taught at several law schools.

At the same time, legal experts saw differences between the two cases, namely that Manning’s secret-spilling was more scattershot, while Snowden appeared more selective.

Iraq rocked by series of car bombs, killing 57 and extending wave of violence

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A wave of car bombings rocked central and northern Iraq on Monday, killing at least 57 people and extending the deadliest eruption of violence to hit the country in years.

Attackers initially targeted market-goers early in the morning, then turned their sights on police and army posts after sunset. Security forces scrambled to contain the violence, blocking a key road in central Iraq and imposing a curfew in the former Sunni insurgent stronghold of Mosul after the blasts went off.

Killing in Iraq has spiked to levels not seen since 2008. The surge in bloodshed, which follows months of protests by the country’s Sunni Arab minority against the Shiite-led government, is raising fears that Iraq is heading for another bout of uncontrollable sectarian violence.

The upsurge comes as foreign fighters are increasingly pouring into neighboring Syria, where a grueling civil war has taken on sectarian overtones similar to those that pushed Iraq to the brink of its own civil war in 2006 and 2007.

Syria’s conflict is fueling sectarian tensions inside Iraq, with Iraqi al-Qaida-linked Sunni militants cooperating with ideological allies among the Syrian rebels, while Iraqi Shiite militants increasingly fight alongside forces loyal to Syria’s Iranian-backed regime.

Apple revamps look of iPhone, iPad software in quest for simplicity and elegance

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple is throwing out most of the real-world graphical cues from its iPhone and iPad software, like the casino-green "felt" of its Game Center app, in what it calls the biggest update since the iPhone’s launch in 2007.

The new operating system, called iOS 7, strives for a clean, simple, translucent impression. Apple is redesigning all its applications and icons to conform to the new look, driven by long-time hardware design chief Jony Ive.

Apple demonstrated the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The new design direction was widely expected and will show up on iPhones, iPad and iPod Touches this fall, the company said.

The software uses simple graphical elements in neon and pastel colors. Gone is the effort to make the icons looks like three-dimensional, embossed objects. Interface designers call the new guiding principle "flat," but on the iPhone’s main screen, the background image will move subtly with the movement of the device, creating an illusion of depth. Other screens include plenty of white space.

The software has "a whole new structure that is coherent and is applied across the entire system," Ive said in a recorded presentation. "The design recedes, and in doing so, elevates your content."

Grandma of 7-year-old girl killed during Detroit police raid testifies: Police ‘came to kill’

DETROIT (AP) -- Beneath a multi-colored quilt of Disney cartoon characters, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones lay peacefully on the living room couch of her grandmother’s first-floor flat on Detroit’s east side.

Mertilla Jones lay at the other end, having recently put the girl to sleep.

Within seconds -- maybe as few as three -- a stun grenade smashed through a window, exploding over the couch. Armed, black-clad and masked police officers swarmed into the living room and, moments later, Aiyana lay bleeding to death with a gunshot wound to her head.

"As soon as they came in, their guns were just pointing right there, and he pulled the trigger," Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones said Monday of Joseph Weekley during the Detroit police officer’s involuntary manslaughter trial in Wayne County Circuit Court.

"I seen the light leave out of her eyes and the blood started gushing out her mouth and she was dead," testified the 50-year-old Jones, who then broke into tears.

Jury selection begins in trial of Fla. neighborhood watch volunteer charged
in teen’s death

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- On the first day of his trial Monday, George Zimmerman got a look at some of the people who might decide whether he committed second-degree murder when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The first group of 100 potential jurors filled out questionnaires about themselves and their ability to serve on the jury as prosecutors and defense attorneys sought to find six objective members and four alternates.

In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.

By the time the all-day session concluded, attorneys had interviewed four potential jurors, asking them what they had heard about the case on television, in newspapers and on the Internet.

A woman in her 50s who watches TV games shows said she believed she could be unbiased even though she knew some basic facts of the case. Another woman in her late 30s who recently moved from Chicago and works in a nursing home, said she only had a passing familiarity with the case -- mainly images she saw of people wearing T-shirts with Martin’s face on them.

Erdogan to meet Istanbul protesters, Turkey’s government says illegal acts won’t be tolerated

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey’s prime minister will meet with a group of protesters occupying Istanbul’s central Taksim Square this week, the deputy prime minister said Monday, as the government sought a way out of the impasse that has led to hundreds of protests in dozens of cities.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said, however, the government would no longer tolerate "illegal acts," and implied that the occupation of Taksim and its accompanying Gezi Park would be over by the weekend.

"Illegal acts in Turkey from now won’t be allowed and whatever needs to be done according to the law will be done," he said after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "All necessary actions against illegal acts will have been completed, and we will see this all together, by the weekend."

The protests appeared on the wane, with the smallest number of demonstrators in the past 11 days gathering in Taksim on Monday night. The protesters occupying Gezi Park remain, however.

Smaller protests occurred in Ankara too, with about 5,000 people demonstrating. Police there have used water cannon and tear gas to break up demonstrations almost every night.

’Glee’ star Jane Lynch and wife of 3 years say they are divorcing

"Glee" star Jane Lynch is divorcing her wife of three years.

Lynch married Dr. Lara Embry in 2010 in Massachusetts. She told People magazine in a statement Monday that splitting up was "a difficult decision for us as we care very deeply about one another."

Lynch asked for privacy for the family, which includes Embry’s daughter.

The 52-year-old actress met Embry, a 44-year-old clinical psychologist, in 2009 and they wed on Memorial Day in 2010.

Lynch is currently starring in "Annie" on Broadway and performed on Sunday night’s Tony Awards on CBS.