10-20-2019  8:00 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Seattle's first Opportunity Zone development breaks ground

SEATTLE (AP) — The Opportunity Zones program was marketed as a way to help poor communities by offering major capital-gains tax breaks for investors to park their cash in 8,000 designated low-income census tracts.Instead, critics have labelled it a "tax scam," ''the latest example of urban...

Prosecutors: Trade war opens doors For Mexican drug cartels

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal law enforcement officials in Oregon say they've uncovered an elaborate scheme to convert Mexican drug profits from sales in the United States back into pesos using Chinese citizens who seek to circumvent their country's banking laws.The Mexican drug cartels are...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...

ENTERTAINMENT

Adam Lambert: Happy to see more LGBTQ artists find success

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on "America Idol" in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success."I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like,...

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been...

Impeachment inquiry puts spotlight on Perry, who shunned it

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long after more flamboyant colleagues flamed out of President Donald Trump's favor amid...

Analysis: Confronted by impeachment, Trump adds to the chaos

WASHINGTON (AP) — The impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump has thrust Washington into a...

Bolivians pick between Evo Morales and change in tight vote

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — South America's longest-serving leader was seeking an unprecedented fourth term in...

Conservatives: Bland candidate is answer to Trudeau's flash

TORONTO (AP) — Even members of his own party say Canada's Conservative leader is bland.They tout it as a...

15 dead after Russian dam collapse floods dormitories

MOSCOW (AP) — At least 15 people are dead after a dam at a small Siberian gold mine collapsed and water...

McMenamins
Barbara Starr and Pam Benson CNN


John Brennan
 

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As President Barack Obama's pick for CIA director heads to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing Thursday, some in the president's own party are threatening to hold up John Brennan's nomination.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told reporters he would "pull out all the stops" to get answers about the legality of targeting Americans involved with al Qaeda overseas. Wyden was not satisfied with a confidential Justice Department memo that was sent to key congressional committees last year but only became public on Tuesday.

The 16-page white paper indicated the U.S. government could use lethal force against an American citizen overseas if the person is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or one of its affiliates and an attack is imminent. But it was a policy paper rather than the official legal document, which the American Civil Liberties Union says is 50 pages long.

The U.S. drone campaign against al Qaeda and its allies has been one of Brennan's biggest legacies in the four years he has served as Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser.

According to a count by the public policy group New America Foundation, at least 28 of al Qaeda's leading members have been killed in drone strikes -- including the U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who played an operational role in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Debate over key question

One of the questions the committee submitted to Brennan in advance of the hearing asked how it was determined that an individual was associated with al Qaeda and that a threat was imminent to justify military force. The question did not distinguish between Americans and others.

Brennan responded in writing that those determinations were made on a "case by case basis through a coordinated interagency process."

Christopher Anders, the ACLU's senior legislative counsel told CNN: "Sen. Wyden was trying to find out that very basic information and has been denied that. So you know the most basic questions about a program that John Brennan has been the architect of and the orchestrator of for four years, the most basic details of it have been withheld."

But late Wednesday, an administration official said some lawmakers will have access to a Justice Department legal opinion on the policy.

"As part of the President's ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters, the President directed the Department of Justice to provide the Congressional intelligence committees access to classified Office of Legal Counsel advice related to the subject of the Department of Justice white paper," the official said. The president, it was said, is turning over the information because he believes the scrutiny and debate is healthy.

Amnesty International weighed in on the debate, saying Congress should grill Brennan on his claim that the Obama administration's drone strikes are "conducted in full compliance with the law."

"Furthermore, Congress should immediately hold public hearings with independent experts to examine the administration's legal reasoning and ensure that the administration is following the 'rule book' for the use of lethal force that already exists: international human rights law and, in the very narrow circumstances to which it applies, international humanitarian law," the group said.

Other controversies at hand

But there are other controversies Brennan faces at his confirmation hearing.

There is his role in administration leaks about covert operations like the so-called STUXNET cyberattack on Iran's nuclear program and a foiled al Qaeda bomb plot in Yemen involving a mole.

Brennan acknowledged in his written responses to committee questions that he voluntarily was interviewed by prosecutors about those two leaked investigations. He said in both cases his counsel told him he was only a witness in those probes, not a target.

Senators also want to know what he knew about harsh interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists when he was at the CIA during the George W. Bush years.

Brennan, who was the deputy executive director of the agency at the time, said in his written responses that he "was aware of the program, but did not play a role in its creation, execution or oversight." He also said he privately discussed his objections to some of the program with some of his colleagues.

Brennan promised "these techniques would not be used again by the CIA if I were the Director."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said last month there have been contradictions in some of Brennan's statements.

"He says that he had opposed 'enhanced interrogations,' or torture, but there are statements that clearly he made several years ago where he supported it," McCain said. "I'd like to see that issue resolved."

Brennan acknowledged in the questionnaire that he still needed to review the conclusions of the committee's 6,000-page classified report on the agency's detention and interrogation program before the hearing, and he may be asked to elaborate further on his response to a question about whether he thought coercive interrogations were "effective in producing reliable intelligence that saved lives."

Although Brennan said he opposed the enhanced interrogation techniques, "a lot of information, both accurate and inaccurate, came out of interrogation sessions conducted by the CIA, including those where EITs were employed."

Brennan says he's ready to lead the CIA

Outrage over the interrogation program scuttled Brennan's chances to lead the CIA in Obama's first term. But now he says he is ready for the political heat.

When Obama nominated him for CIA director last month, Brennan said, "Although I consider myself neither a Republican nor a Democrat, I very much look forward to working closely with those on both sides of the aisle."

As the president's top counterterrorism aide, Brennan continues to be seen as all-powerful.

"I do think John is regarded in terms of the intelligence community, even where he is now, as the first among equals," CNN national security contributor Frances Fragos Townsend said.

As CIA director, Brennan would report to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. But when there's a call for highly secretive covert action, he would have a direct path to the president, talking to him on the phone or walking right into the Oval Office to brief him.

"While the CIA director will keep the director of national intelligence apprised of what he is doing, it is actually the direct responsibility of the CIA director to respond to the president in terms of covert action," Townsend said.

She added that she doesn't foresee a problem because of their long-term relationship. "They know each other, they respect each other and I think they like each other."

As for the confirmation hearing, expect to see some Washington drama, but no state secrets revealed. Any discussion of intelligence crown jewels will happen afterward in a closed-door, classified session.

CNN's Tom Dunlavey and Lesa Jansen contributed to this report.

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