Homeland Security

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  B-2 Bomber Crashes On GuamFebruary 25, 2008 14:59 It's a crash that costs more than a billion dollars!

The military is investigating the first crash of a B-2 stealth bomber since it was unveiled 20 years ago.

The stealth jet went down at an air base on Guam.

It happened late Friday afternoon, Hawaii time. It was already Saturday morning in Guam.

Thick black smoke could be seen billowing from the wreckage at Andersen Air Force Base.

Two pilots were on board and ejected safely. They're both in good condition.

A board of officers will now investigate the cause of the crash.

Reporter Ronna Sweeney from our affiliate KUAM News 8 in Guam describes the crash scene.

"The two pilots are part of the 509th bomb wing they both ejected safely and transported to the Guam Naval Hospital and listed in good condition," said Sweeney. "What you are seeing now is actual video and many witnesses first noticed the smoke. this is a view from Mount Santa Rosa which over looks Andersen Air Force Base."

The B-2 costs about 1.2 billion dollars to build.
  US Congress Begins Recess Without Sending Bush Wiretap BillFebruary 15, 2008 20:21 President Bush wants lawmakers to send him a bill that will authorize intelligence agencies to monitor, without court warrants, telephone calls between Americans and suspected terrorists overseas. He also wants the bill to include a provision granting immunity from prosecution to telephone companies that took part in the administration's wiretap program following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Some 40 lawsuits are pending against telephone companies for allegedly violating wiretap laws. Speaking at the White House Friday, Mr. Bush said without legal immunity, these firms will be reluctant to take part in the surveillance program in the future.

"These telephone companies that worked collaboratively with us to protect the American people are afraid they are going to get sued," he said. "The American people have got to understand these lawsuits are going to make it harder for us to convince people to help protect you."

Mr. Bush wants the House to pass legislation approved by the Senate this week which includes a provision to grant immunity to phone companies and gives the government the authority to conduct wiretaps without a warrant. House Democrats have raised concerns about protection of privacy rights.

Public opinion polls have shown that in general the American people view Republicans as stronger on national security.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says House Democrats will have to answer constituents back home next week about why they refused to back a measure that he argues is critical to helping protect America.

"I think this will be the biggest story through the recess," he said. "People will be asking about it all over the country, and they [House Democrats] will have to decide how to answer the question."

But many Democrats argue that even if the current law expires, the government could still monitor terror suspects' communications that pass through the United States - with a court warrant. They say Republicans and the White House are creating a crisis to deflect attention away from the stagnant U.S. economy and the unpopular war in Iraq.

 
  Senate Votes For Expansion Of Spy PowersFebruary 12, 2008 20:53 After more than a year of wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory on Tuesday by voting to broaden the government’s spy powers and to give legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s program of eavesdropping without warrants.

One by one, the Senate rejected amendments that would have imposed greater civil liberties checks on the government’s surveillance powers. Finally, the Senate voted 68 to 29 to approve legislation that the White House had been pushing for months. Mr. Bush hailed the vote and urged the House to move quickly in following the Senate’s lead.

The outcome in the Senate amounted, in effect, to a broader proxy vote in support of Mr. Bush’s wiretapping program. The wide-ranging debate before the final vote presaged discussion that will play out this year in the presidential and Congressional elections on other issues testing the president’s wartime authority, including secret detentions, torture and Iraq war financing.

Republicans hailed the reworking of the surveillance law as essential to protecting national security, but some Democrats and many liberal advocacy groups saw the outcome as another example of the Democrats’ fears of being branded weak on terrorism.

 
  Chinese Espionage Marks Return To Cold War ThreatsFebruary 12, 2008 08:22 There’s nothing like an espionage story to help heat up this freezing Tuesday morning. And today’s top news story has all the elements: sleeper agents, stolen aerospace secrets and Cold War intimations.

Yesterday, the Justice Department unveiled charges against alleged Chinese spies in California and Virginia. The WSJ, NYT, and LAT all have stories.

According to the reports, in a news conference yesterday Kenneth Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security, cited a U.S. intelligence report that asserts China is “among the most aggressive in collecting against sensitive and protected U.S. systems, facilities and development projects, and their efforts are approaching Cold War levels.” Wainstein said that in 2006, American defense firms reported a 43% increase in suspicious foreign contacts.

In the Virginia case, the authorities charged 51 year-old Gregg Bergersen with conspiracy to disclose national defense information to people not entitled to receive it. According to the document filed by prosecutors with the federal court in Alexandria, Bergersen received payments for providing information about the projected sales of weapons and military equipment to Taiwan. Bergersen is a weapons-system analyst at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which is part of the Defense Department and coordinates weapons sales. Mr. Bergersen faces a 10-year sentence if convicted.
  Indictments: U.S. Official Spied For ChinaFebruary 11, 2008 11:36 A U.S. Defense Department civilian employee has been indicted on espionage-related charges involving efforts to provide secret military technology to China, officials close to the case said.

Chinese citizens, some of whom hold U.S. green cards, also are to be charged in federal court in Los Angeles, California, the sources said. The Associated Press reported that at least four Chinese citizens were named in the indictments.

According to the AP, the five are to be charged with illegally smuggling out information from places such as research facilities, labs or universities that had access to the secret material.

The indictments, returned by federal grand juries in Virginia and California, remain under seal, so officials would not provide further details.

The U.S. official is expected to appear Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

 
  Bush Ok'D Confirming Waterboarding February 06, 2008 13:29 The White House today said President Bush authorized his CIA director to confirm the use of waterboarding by U.S. officials on three suspected terrorists to gather intelligence and that the interrogation technique is not torture.



“This program and the techniques used in it were determined lawful through a process,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.



Senate Democrats, however, demanded a government investigation into the matter to determine whether laws forbidding torture were broken.



Mr. Fratto clarified his comments on the legality of waterboarding by saying that each specific time the technique has been used, its legality was “dependent on the circumstances.”



In the future, Mr. Fratto said, in each case in which intelligence officials think the technique is needed, the CIA director will present “a plan” to the attorney general for the use of what is commonly understood as simulated drowning.



The attorney general would judge waterboarding legal or illegal in each case, and if he deemed it legal, he and the CIA director would present their plan to the president, Mr. Fratto said.
  CIA Admits Waterboarding InmatesFebruary 05, 2008 12:48 The CIA has for the first time publicly admitted using the controversial method of "waterboarding" on terror suspects.
CIA director Michael Hayden told Congress however that it had only been used on three people, and not at all for the past five years.

He said the technique had been used on high-profile al-Qaeda detainees including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Mr Hayden was speaking as National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell presented his annual threat assessment.

Waterboarding is an interrogation technique in which the detainee is put in fear of drowning.