Obama: Justice will review policy on journalists’ records
President Obama said Thursday that the Justice Department will review the policy under which it obtains journalists’ records in investigations of the leak of government secrets.
Obama acknowledged he is “troubled by the possibility that leaks investigations may chill the investigative journalism” that he says holds government accountable and said he has expressed his concerns to Attorney General Eric Holder. He said his administration would continue to try to find the government employees who are responsible for leaks.
In recent weeks, the administration has acknowledged secretly seizing portions of two months of phone records from The Associated Press and reading the emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen in separate investigations about the publication of government secrets.
The president said Holder will meet with representatives of media organizations and report back to him by July 12.
Obama restated his support for a media shield law that he said would “guard against government overreach.” Such a law would require a federal judge to sign off before investigators could have a look at the records of journalists.
Murder suspect described as convert to Islam in 2003
A man seen with bloody hands wielding a butcher knife after the killing of a British soldier on the streets of London was described as a convert to Islam who took part in demonstrations with a banned radical group.
Police raided houses in connection with the brazen slaying of the off-duty soldier, identified as Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who served in Afghanistan. In addition to the two suspects who were hospitalized after being shot by police, authorities said they had arrested a man and a woman, both 29, on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
Anjem Choudary, the former head of the radical group al-Muhajiroun, told The Associated Press that the man depicted in startling video that emerged after Rigby’s death was named Michael Adebolajo, a Christian who converted to Islam around 2003 and took part in several demonstrations by the group in London.
IRS division head who took Fifth is replaced a day later
A day after she refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing, Lois Lerner has been replaced as director the Internal Revenue Service division that oversaw agents who targeted tea party groups.
Danny Werfel, the agency’s new acting commissioner, told IRS employees in an email Thursday that he has selected a new acting head.
Ken Corbin will be the acting director of the agency’s exempt organizations division. Corbin is currently deputy director of submission processing in the wage and investment division.
Deadly battles in Triploli show Syrian war spreading
Lebanese supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad fired heavy machine guns and lobbed mortar shells at each other Thursday in some of the worst fighting in the port city of Tripoli in years.
The battles raised the five-day death toll to 16 and fed fears of the Syrian civil war spreading to Lebanon and other neighbors.
The violence also added to the urgency to U.S.-Russian efforts to bring both sides of the Syrian conflict to a peace conference in Geneva. Members of the Syrian opposition began three day meetings in Istanbul to hash out a unified position on whether to attend, while maintaining that Assad’s departure from power should be the goals of the negotiations.
Lebanon has been on edge since the uprising in Syria began in March 2011. The country, which is still struggling to recover from its own 15-year civil war, is sharply divided along sectarian lines and into pro- and anti-Assad camps.
Japanese man sets record as oldest to conquer Everest
Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura broke the record for the oldest person to climb Mount Everest when the 80-year-old reached the summit Thursday, according to his website.
But he may not be able to bask in the limelight long. There are reports that Nepalese climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, 81, plans an assault on the world’s highest peak next week.
— From news service reports