06-18-2018  12:37 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Black Pioneers Host ‘Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!’ Event June 9

Representatives from local organizations will talk about how individuals can get involved in promoting social change ...

Grants Pass man, 39, drowns in Rogue River

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The Josephine County sheriff says a Grants Pass man drowned in the Rogue River.Sheriff Dave Daniel says it happened Saturday afternoon when 39-year-old James Dawson tried to swim to shore after his watercraft quit working. He was not wearing a life jacket.Crews...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDAHHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed due to damage from a wildfire that ripped through the area last year.The Register-Guard reports the Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall...

UW to pay 7K to settle Republicans' free-speech lawsuit

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington will pay 7,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after the college billed a Republican club security fees for a rally.The UW College Republicans sued, saying the bill for ,000 to cover security costs for the campus event violated free-speech and...

Old farm warehouse may be saved as part of Hanford history

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — One of Washington state's most endangered historic places is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland. That's according to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.The long warehouse along the Columbia River was once owned by farmers Paul and Mary...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Greece: 2 face racism charges over beatings of immigrants

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police say they have arrested one suspected extreme nationalist and are seeking a second as suspects in a pair of attacks on immigrants in Athens.A police statement issued Monday said the suspects allegedly attacked two Pakistanis on Friday, stole a mobile phone...

Redistricting changes headed to the ballot in several states

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday on redistricting lawsuits in Wisconsin and Maryland comes as several states already are considering changes to the criteria and processes that will be used to draw legislative districts after the 2020 Census.In most places, the state legislature and governor are...

States' redistricting plans facing challenges in court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to block the use of legislative districts in Wisconsin and Maryland in separate cases that had alleged unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. Instead, the high court allowed lower courts to continue considering the claims.The cases are among several that...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: 'Jurassic World 2' leans on nostalgia, contrivances

Here's the good news: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom " is more fun than "Jurassic World." It's not exactly a high bar, but still a welcome surprise. In the hands of a new director, J.A. Bayona, with Chris Pratt's high-wattage charisma on full blast and a fair amount of self-aware humor intact,...

'Incredibles 2' crushes animation record with 0 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a drought of family-friendly films helped "Incredibles 2" become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the 8th highest film launch overall.Disney estimated Sunday that the film...

AFI highlights Clooney's life of acting, activism and pranks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney's Hollywood career spans more than three decades, with memorable roles including fighting vampires, playing Batman and drifting through space in "Gravity." But Clooney's other accomplishments, including directing, screenwriting and activism, led to him...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Puerto Rico struggles with jump in asthma cases post-Maria

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Shortly after he turned 2, Yadriel Hernandez started struggling to breathe....

Apple sets up iPhones to relay location for 911 calls

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the...

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA (AP) — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health...

Israel PM, Jordan king meet after months of strained ties

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jordan's King Abdullah II that he is...

Geraldine McCaughrean wins Carnegie children's book prize

LONDON (AP) — British writer Geraldine McCaughrean has won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for children's...

Greek far-right lawmaker arrested on treason-linked charges

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek anti-terrorism police arrested an extreme far-right lawmaker on treason-linked...

By Tom Cohen and Michael Pearson CNN




Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that his decision to remove himself from the Justice Department investigation into a leak that led it to surreptitiously collect telephone records from the Associated Press leaves him unable to respond to questions about it.

"I don't know what happened there with the intersection between the AP and the Justice Department," Holder told the House Judiciary Committee. "I was recused from the case."

The news agency revealed Monday that federal agents had secretly collected two months of telephone records for some of its reporters and editors.

The AP said agents were apparently investigating the source of a story revealing that the CIA had thwarted an al Qaeda plot to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner in May 2012, around the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Sources later told CNN that the operative who was supposed to have carried the bomb had been inserted into al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate by Saudi intelligence, and that the device had been handed over to U.S. analysts.

Holder told the hearing that he had recused himself to avoid any potential conflict of interest in the case and had left the decision to subpoena the phone records to Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, who authorized the subpoena.

"I recused myself because I thought it would be inappropriate and have a bad appearance to be a person who was a fact witness in the case to actually lead the investigation given the fact, unlike Mr. Cole, that I have a greater interaction with members of the press than he does," Holder said.

Asked what made him a fact witness, he said, "I am a possessor of the information that was ultimately leaked. And the question then is who of those people who possessed that information, which was a relatively limited number of people within the Justice Department, who of those people, who of those possessors actually spoke in an inappropriate way to members of the Associated Press."

Asked who else had access to the information, Holder cited the ongoing nature of the investigation. "I would not want to reveal what I know and I don't know if there are other people who have been developed as possible recipients or possessors of that information during the course of this investigation," he said. "I don't know."

Answers like those prompted some sharp criticism of Holder and his deputy from Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a former Judiciary chairman.

"There doesn't seem to be any acceptance of responsibility in the Justice Department for things that have gone wrong," Sensenbrenner said. "Now may I suggest that you and Mr. Cole and maybe a few other people go to the Truman Library and take a picture of the thing that he had on his desk that said 'The Buck Stops Here?' Because we don't know where the buck stops, and I think to do adequate oversight, we better find out and we better find out how this mess happened."

And a Democrat, New York's Hakeem Jeffries, said the subpoenas appeared to be "overly broad in scope."

"Hopefully that is something that the investigation that takes place will examine with close scrutiny," he said. "And second, that I think, as many of my colleagues have expressed, I'm also troubled by the fact that the negotiation or consultation with the AP did not occur in advance of the decision to issue the subpoenas."

Holder said he recused himself because he had been questioned by FBI agents as part of the leak probe. He Tuesday that the leak, which he did not describe, had put Americans at risk and demanded "very aggressive action."

But AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said Tuesday that the records collected by the investigation cast a "very broad net" and involved AP operations "that have, as far as I know, no particular connection to the story that they (federal authorities) seem to be investigating."

"We've never seen anything along the size and scope of this particular investigation," she told CNN's Erin Burnett.

In all, the AP says, federal agents collected records involving more than 20 phone lines -- including personal lines -- used by about 100 journalists in New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Washington.

The Justice Department on Tuesday defended its decision to subpoena the records, saying the requests were limited and necessary.

"We are required to negotiate with the media organization in advance of issuing the subpoenas unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation," Cole wrote in a letter to the AP. "We take this policy, and the interests that it is intended to protect, very seriously and followed it in this matter."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said White House officials were not involved in the investigation and knew nothing about the AP inquiry.

The Obama administration has launched several high-profile leak probes, leading to the prosecution of two government employees accused of revealing classified information.

Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency official, was sentenced to one year of probation and 240 hours of community service in 2011, while former CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison after admitting to identifying a covert intelligence officer.

In 2002, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley criticized the Justice Department for its subpoenas of John Solomon, an AP writer who had written about an investigation into then-Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-New Jersey. The subpoena also spurred a protest from the journalism association Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald, whose movies have criticized the war in Iraq, Fox News and Walmart, called the administration's pursuit of leakers "an effort to silence and scare whistleblowers, and to get the press to be quiet and do what it wants them to do."

"This is a systemic, continuing problem," said Greenwald, whose latest film, "War on Whistleblowers," focuses on the issue. "It's not a one-off, and it's not an accident, sadly."

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Monday that the subpoenas were likely legal, but they go further than previous administrations in pursuing private information of journalists.

"I have never heard of a subpoena this broad," Toobin said.

CNN's Tom Cohen reported from Washington. Michael Pearson reported from Atlanta. CNN's Matt Smith, Jessica Yellin, Carol Cratty, Kevin Bohn, Greg Botelho, Joe Sterling and Josh Levs contributed to this report.

 

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