WASHINGTON

Ex-CIA deputy director says he altered talking points

The CIA’s former deputy director said Wednesday he deleted references to terrorism warnings from widely disputed talking points on the deadly 2012 Benghazi attack to avoid the spy agency’s gloating at the expense of the State Department.

Mike Morell faced more than three hours of questioning from the House Intelligence committee in a rare open session that examined who changed the talking points – and why – in the politically-charged aftermath of the deadly Sept. 11 assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.

Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in two separate attacks over a chaotic period of several hours. Multiple independent and congressional investigations have largely faulted the State Department for inadequate security at the mission.

Morell, a 33-year veteran of the agency who has served six Republican and Democratic presidents, insisted that politics had no bearing on the revisions to the talking points and said he was under no pressure to protect either President Obama or then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The White House, wrapped up in a fierce presidential campaign, made only minor editorial changes to the talking points, according to the onetime CIA official.

The intelligence community’s talking points, compiled for members of Congress, suggested the Sept. 11 attack stemmed from protests in Cairo and elsewhere over an anti-Islamic video rather than an assault by extremists.

LOS ANGELES

Court rules family of frozen woman can sue hospital

A family that claims a woman was frozen to death in a hospital morgue after she was prematurely declared dead can proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The California 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling that the lawsuit against White Memorial Hospital was filed too late, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Maria de Jesus Arroyo, 80, was declared dead in July 2010 after suffering a heart attack and was placed in a freezer at the Boyle Heights hospital. Morticians who received her body a few days later discovered that it was face down and the woman had a broken nose and disfiguring cuts and bruises to her face, according to court papers.

In December 2011, a pathologist concluded the woman had been frozen alive, “eventually woke up” and caused the injuries herself during a failed struggle to escape her “frozen tomb,” according to court records.

GENEVA

U.S. disease fighters to help track deadly Ebola virus

An outbreak of Ebola that has killed at least 87 people in Africa is drawing aid from U.S. disease fighters who will help track the deadly path of a virus with no cure that is fatal in about 90 percent of its cases.

A five-person team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrived March 31 in Guinea, said Steve Monroe, a CDC official. A second team may soon go to Liberia, he said.

RAmallah, West BankPalestinians not walking away from peace-deal effort

The Palestinians are not walking away from U.S.-led efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel, a top Palestinian official said Wednesday, a day after their renewed bid for international recognition of a “state of Palestine” threw Washington’s already troubled Mideast mission into further disarray.

Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. negotiators are set to meet Wednesday night, officials familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

– From news services