WASHINGTON

CIA probing its monitoring of Senate panel members

The CIA is investigating whether its officers improperly monitored members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversees the intelligence agency, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The CIA inspector general is looking into the circumstances surrounding the committee’s investigation into allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters. The allegations include whether CIA officers improperly monitored Senate investigators and possibly accessed the computers they were using, two officials familiar with the investigation said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

At issue is whether the CIA violated an agreement made with the Senate Intelligence Committee about monitoring the committee’s use of CIA computers, according to McClatchy’s account. The CIA provided the computers to congressional staffers in a secure room at is headquarters so that the committee could review millions of pages of top-secret documents in the course of its investigation into the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration, it said.

RALEIGH, N.C.

Army general to admit guilt to three of eight charges

Lawyers for a U.S. Army general say he will admit guilt on three criminal charges, but he maintains his innocence on five remaining counts stemming from allegations he sexually assaulted a junior officer.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is set to enter the plea Thursday morning before opening statements for his court martial at Fort Bragg. His primary accuser is a female captain who claims Sinclair twice forced her to perform oral sex and threatened to kill her family if she told anyone about their three-year affair.

Defense attorney Richard Scheff said Wednesday night that Sinclair will plead guilty to having improper relationships with two other female Army officers and to committing adultery with his mistress, which is a crime in the military. He will also admit to violating orders by possessing pornography in Afghanistan.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

DOE: Radiation exposure not likely to have ill effects

Thirteen employees who were exposed to radiation during a leak at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste dump aren’t likely to experience any health effects, federal officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Energy confirmed last week that 13 workers had been exposed when radiation leaked from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Testing on follow-up samples taken from the employees came back negative for plutonium and americium, the two radioactive isotopes that were detected in preliminary tests.

The latest samples have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be verified, officials said.

DOE officials also said the ongoing monitoring has turned up no significant off-site contamination.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.

Great Lakes’ levels expected to continue steady recovery

Water levels in the Great Lakes are expected to continue a steady recovery this year, courtesy of widespread ice cover that is slowing evaporation and snowfall that has approached record amounts in some cities, federal experts said Wednesday.

The siege of polar air that has gripped the region this winter has caused the most extensive freeze-over of the lakes since the record-setting year of 1979, when nearly 95 percent of their surface area solidified. On Tuesday, the ice cover reached its highest point since then – 91 percent, said George Leshkevich, a scientist with the federal Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

— From news service reports