Here's a summary of where things stand:
• Alexander argued against limits on surveillance programs, saying the programs secure the nation and operate within the law. "From my perspective, the threats are growing," Alexander said.
• Alexander gave the NSA top grades for self-policing. "This agency in every case reports on itself, tells you what we did wrong..." Alexander said. He was echoed by Robert Litt, general counsel for the office of the director of national intelligence: "Everybody is singularly focused on ensuring that we comply with the Constitution and the law."
Here's a summary of where things stand:
A new congressional report criticizes the federal government for awarding tens of billions of dollars in contracts to companies even though they were found to have violated safety and wage laws and paid millions in penalties. Issued on behalf of the Democratic senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, the report cited examples over the past six years.
For instance, Imperial Sugar had $94.8 million in federal contracts last year, even though it paid $6 million in safety penalties over a 2008 factory explosion in Georgia that killed 14 workers. The report also noted that the federal government had awarded $4.2 billion in contracts to Tyson Foods since 2000, even though Tyson has faced more than $500,000 in safety penalties since 2007 and 11 of its workers have died on the job since 1999.
The National Security Agency is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using "cookies" and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.
The agency's internal presentation slides, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations.
General Motors Co. (GM) named Mary Barra to succeed Dan Akerson as chief executive officer, completing the GM insider’s rise from a factory-floor worker to the industry’s first female CEO after more than a century of global automaking.
Barra, 51, takes over a company that has emerged from near-collapse a half decade ago, after an infusion of government cash and outside managers. Her elevation was announced a day after the U.S. government said it had sold its final shares of GM.
In a state that pioneered rethinking marijuana laws, a majority of voters have legalization in mind.
A new Field Poll tracks the increasingly green-friendly attitude of Californians, a decades-long trend that has seen Golden State residents swing from seeking tougher enforcement to favoring the end of pot prohibition. Eight percent of voters backed allowing anyone to purchase cannabis and 47 percent said it should be available with the types of controls, like age verification, that govern alcohol sales.
Call it a double whammy. Four town councilmembers in Exeter, R.I., not only failed in their bid to get the state to take over concealed-carry permitting for their town, but now they face a recall election Saturday because of it.
The story is a small-town version of the drama that played out in Colorado earlier this year, when two state senators behind a new gun-control law were recalled by angry voters in September. A third facing recall resigned last month.
A CIA program in which operatives posed as business people to gather intelligence was a costly failure and is being canceled, past and present officials say.
The program, on which at least $3 billion was spent, began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Tribune Newspapers reported Monday.
At its height, hundreds of agents working outside the protection of diplomatic immunity under "non-official cover" used fake identities and front companies to recruit sources in hostile countries, especially Iran. However, the so-called Global Deployment Initiative was a "colossal flop," say a number of former CIA officials, because little useful information was ever gained.
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