11-30-2021  3:48 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Attorney General Rosenblum Says She Won’t Run for Governor

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Monday put to rest rumors and officially said she will not enter Oregon’s crowded race for governor.

Portland’s Black Population Grew in the Last Decade, but That’s Not the Whole Story

The Black population in North and Northeast Portland declined by 13.5% over the last 10 years as more than 3,000 Black residents moved away, new numbers from the 2020 census show.

City’s Budget Windfall Means More for Police, Despite NAACP Demands

Group calls out lack of engagement from City Hall.

Oregon Resists Dropping Controversial Investments

Oregon residents are increasingly pushing for the state to divest from fossil fuel companies and other controversial investments, but the state treasury is resisting and putting the onus on the Legislature.

NEWS BRIEFS

Open Enrollment Deadline Is Dec. 15 for Health Insurance Coverage Starting Jan. 1, 2022

Help applying and financial assistance is available through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace ...

Commissioners From Three Counties Select Lawrence-Spence to Fill Senate District 18 Vacancy

District 18 includes portions of west Portland and Tigard. ...

Congressional Black Caucus Issues a Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek

Meek, the first Black person to represent Florida in Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction, died Sunday, Nov. 28 at her...

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

Shop Local and Earn Free Parking With Parking Kitty

Find the purrfect gift for your loved ones by supporting small businesses and shopping local this holiday season, thanks to the...

Oregon governor calls for special session to protect renters

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — With winter coming and federal funds drying up, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday she'll call a special session of the Legislature Dec. 13 to approve state funding for rental assistance and extend eviction protections issued because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ...

Oregon tests voluntary electronic tool to verify vaccination

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is working on an electronic vaccine verification tool that residents could use to share their COVID-19 vaccination status with businesses that ask for proof of verification. The Oregon Health Authority said the tool would be optional and people...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Attorney: Potter will testify at trial; 4 jurors seated

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot Daunte Wright will testify at her trial, her attorney said Tuesday as jury selection began with potential panelists questioned closely about their attitudes on policing, protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. ...

Black artist Josephine Baker honored at France's Pantheon

PARIS (AP) — Josephine Baker — the U.S.-born entertainer, anti-Nazi spy and civil rights activist — was inducted into France's Pantheon on Tuesday, becoming the first Black woman to receive the nation’s highest honor. Baker's voice resonated through streets of Paris'...

France is inducting entertainer Josephine Baker into its Pantheon, the 1st Black woman to earn nation’s highest honor

PARIS (AP) — France is inducting entertainer Josephine Baker into its Pantheon, the 1st Black woman to earn nation’s highest honor....

ENTERTAINMENT

Home of Marilyn Manson searched in sex assault investigation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Media storage devices and other items were seized as a search warrant was served on the home of rocker Marilyn Manson in a months-long investigation of sexual assault and domestic violence, authorities said Tuesday. Manson, 52, whose legal name is Brian...

'The Lost Daughter' wins big at 31st Gotham Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Maggie Gyllenhaal's Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Daughter" won four Gotham Awards including best feature film at the 31st Gotham Awards, the annual New York independent film celebration that serves as a boozy kickoff to Oscar season. Gyllenhaal won...

Review: In memoir, it's good to be comedy king Mel Brooks

“All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business” by Mel Brooks (Ballantine) Bagels and Nova Scotia lox for the writing team’s breakfast while punching up the script for “Blazing Saddles.” Earl Grey tea and English digestive biscuits while developing Gene Wilder’s...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Stocks sink as omicron, rate worries rattle Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Already unnerved by the newest coronavirus variant, Wall Street's losses deepened on Tuesday...

November delivers another hit to sinking consumer confidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence fell to a nine-month low in November, clipped by rising prices and...

Detective: Brothers detailed how Jussie Smollett staged hoax

CHICAGO (AP) — Two brothers arrested for an alleged attack on Jussie Smollett recounted for Chicago police how...

Greece mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for residents over 60

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Residents in Greece over 60 years old will have to undergo mandatory vaccinations against...

German prosecutors probe alleged tax evasion by tax advisers

German investigators searched offices of accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the homes of current and...

EU draft pulled after Vatican complains Christmas 'canceled'

ROME (AP) — The European Commission on Tuesday retracted internal communication guidelines that had proposed...

Cora Currier Propublica

Related Interactive: Stacking Up the Adminstration's Drone Claims

Drones have become the go-to weapon of the U.S.'s counter-terrorism strategy, with strikes in Yemen in particular increasing steadily. U.S. drones reportedly killed twenty-nine people in Yemen recently, including perhaps ten civilians.

Administration officials regularly celebrate the drone war's apparent successes— often avoiding details or staying anonymous, but claiming tacit credit for the U.S.  

In June, a day after Abu Yahya Al-Libi was killed in Pakistan, White House spokesman Jay Carney trumpeted the death of "Al Qaeda's Number-Two."  Unnamed officials confirmed the strike in at least ten media outlets. Similarly, the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by a CIA drone last September was confirmed in many news outlets by anonymous officials. President Obama called Awlaki's death "a tribute to our intelligence community."  

Just last week President Obama spoke about drone warfare on CNN, saying the decision to target individuals for killing rather than capture involves "an extensive process with a lot of checks."  

But when it comes to details of that process, the administration clams up.

The government refuses to formally acknowledge that the CIA even has a drone program, let alone discuss its thornier elements, like how many civilians have been killed, or how the CIA chooses targets.

Officials have given speeches on the legal rationale for targeted killing and the use of drones in broad terms. The administration has also acknowledged "military operations" outside the "hot" battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, but again, details have remained under wraps.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times have both filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests for documents relating to the CIA's drones. The agency has responded by saying that it can "neither confirm nor deny the existence of records."

As part of a lawsuit challenging the CIA's response, the ACLU collected nearly two hundred on- and off-the-record statements to the media by current and former U.S. officials about the CIA's use of drones for targeted killing. In a graphic accompanying this story, we've laid out many of the statements, alongside the CIA's legal stances refusing to confirm or deny the program.  The statements cover most of Obama's first term in office. Taken together, they show the extent to which the government keeps disclosures about the CIA's drone war mostly on its own terms.  

In court briefs, Justice Department lawyers argue that widespread "unofficial" discussion notwithstanding, revealing the existence of any number of documents relating to the drone program or targeted killing would convey sensitive information about the nature and scope of such a program. They add that quotes from unnamed sources or former CIA officers don't constitute official acknowledgment. As for public remarks about drones by President Obama and other officials—the government argues that they never explicitly mention the CIA and could be referring to military operations.

A federal judge in D.C. already ruled in favor of the CIA in one suit last September, a decision the ACLU is appealing.  A hearing is scheduled for next week.

A White House spokesman declined to comment to ProPublica on the FOIA suit or on the CIA's drone program. The CIA did not respond to our requests for comment.

Some top administration officials have become well-practiced at coy references to the classified program.  

In October 2011, Defense Secretary—and former CIA director—Leon Panetta said, "I have a hell of a lot more weapons available to me in this job than I had at the CIA, although the Predators aren't bad." In the ACLU suit, the government argues that Panetta's comments were too vague to constitute an acknowledgement that the CIA actually had drones, or whether it used them for targeted killing, "as opposed to surveillance and intelligence-gathering."

A year earlier, Panetta said that Al Qaeda in Pakistan had been beaten back in part to due "the most aggressive operation the CIA has been involved in in our history." The government notes that he never said the word "drone."

Semantics aside, details on the most controversial aspects of the program have been revealed through a patchwork of these unofficial comments. For example, in May the New York Times reported that the CIA counts any military-aged male killed in a drone strike as a "militant," even if his identity isn't known. Many outlets had previously reported that the CIA conducted "signature strikes" in Pakistan, and now in Yemen, which target men believed to be militants whose identities aren't known. But neither the Times story nor subsequent reporting by ProPublica garnered much detail on how the CIA actually assesses casualties after a strike. As usual, neither the White House nor the CIA would comment on the record.

It has also been widely reported that mainly the CIA conducts strikes in Pakistan, because the U.S.'s tense diplomatic relationship with the country requires the patina of deniability provided by a covert program. When Obama referred to drone strikes in a public video chat this January, saying that that "obviously a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA," the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, many assumed he had to be talking about the CIA.

The government insists the president's comments didn't count as disclosure of anything, saying he could have been talking not about CIA strikes but military (though, as a government brief in the ACLU suit points out, those haven't been acknowledged in Pakistan either). As the government argues, "It is precisely this sort of unbridled speculation that is insufficient to support a claim of official disclosure."

The same brief framed it another way: "Even if there is speculation about a fact, unless an agency officially confirms that fact, the public does not know whether it is so."

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events