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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Feinstein: CIA should not lead declassification review of report about interrogation tactics

Dianne FeinsteinThe Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has called for the White House—not the Central Intelligence Agency—to lead the declassification process of the executive summary of the Committee’s massive 6,600-page study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

In a letter to the President dated April 7 and obtained by McClatchy, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called for swift action on the summary and the findings and conclusions of the report, which members voted last week to declassify. The summary, Feinstein said, should be released “quickly and with minimal redactions.”

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Famed Jesuit priest abducted, beaten and executed in Syria

Jesuit priest executed in SyriaAn activist Jesuit priest who spent three years living alongside besieged civilians and rebels in the Syrian city of Homs was assassinated Monday, according to the Vatican, which said he was abducted by unidentified gunmen who beat him before executing him in front of his monastery.

Father Francis Van Der Lugt, 75, a Dutch Jesuit priest, came to Syria in 1966 and eventually founded a home for children and adults with mental disabilities outside Homs, where he lived before the three-year-old civil war started. After fighting began, he relocated to the rebel-held neighborhood of Bustan al Diwan in Homs Old City, where he worked with refugees and civilians during the more than two-year-old siege by regime forces.

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Military trying hard to reverse rank tobacco has among troops

Military smokingAt the Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma, Laura Crowder is known as “the Hawk Lady.”

She’s also known as “the Smoke Lady,” but not because she’s lighting cigarettes. Instead, Crowder is a health promotions manager at the base outside Oklahoma City, working to wean service members off tobacco in any form.

The numbers have improved since her arrival, she said, with tobacco use sliding from nearly 27 percent of the base population to a little under 18 percent.

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U.S. NSA logs reveal flood of post-Snowden FOIA requests

FOIAThe National Security Agency (NSA) has been flooded with thousands of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from journalists, civil rights groups and private citizens who have asked the agency to turn over the top-secret records that former contractor Edward Snowden leaked to the media, Al Jazeera can reveal.

In response to an open records request filed in November, the NSA has just released its FOIA logs to Al Jazeera. The hundreds of pages of documents describe post-Snowden requests that have been filed with the agency — on matters from its bandwidth consumption and it sprawling new data center in Utah to metadata records and contracts with Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden’s former employer.

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For Shame: The Giant Poster That Shows Drone Pilots the People They're Bombing

For shame....drone strikesA drone's view of the huge poster placed in northwest Pakistan by Not a Bug Splat (Not a Bug Splat)

A new project, initiated by a collective of artists from around the world including the French JR, has tried to reach the people pulling the trigger in America's drone wars—the drone operators themselves.

It’s called “Not A Bug Splat,” and its gets its name from the term drone operators use for a successful “kill,” because—in the pixelated grayscale of the drone camera—ending a human life looks like squashing a bug.

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Christie Prosecutor Gets Its Star Witness to Start Talking

David WildsteinBad news for Chris Christie -- and very good news for the citizens of New Jersey: Esquire has learned from sources close to the investigation that David Wildstein, the former Port Authority operative who helped plan and execute the Great Fort Lee Clusterfk, is now cooperating with Paul Fishman, the federal prosecutor investigating the soon-to-be-ex-governor and his minions for criminal conduct.

Fishman has also increased the number of investigators at work on the case, and has begun presenting evidence and witnesses to a grand jury in Newark.

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Ron Johnson did not tell police of assault allegations against Rep. Bill Kramer three years ago

Bill KramerU.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, his chief of staff and a Waukesha County GOP official were all told three years ago of allegations that a then-aide to the senator had been sexually assaulted by state Rep. Bill Kramer, but none of them took the matter to the police or Assembly leaders.

The woman told her supervisor in Johnson's office and a number of other people, but decided at the time to have her attorney send a letter to Kramer rather than go to the police, records show. Last month — nearly three years after the alleged assault outside a Muskego bar — the woman learned of Kramer's alleged mistreatment of other women and filed a complaint with Muskego police that has resulted in two felony charges of second-degree sexual assault.

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Ford to recall about 434,000 vehicles

Ford recallFord Motor Co said on Monday it would recall about 434,700 vehicles mainly in North America due to two separate and unrelated issues.

The company is recalling about 385,750 Escape compact SUVs as rust could cause the vehicle's subframe and lower control arm to separate, potentially diminishing steering control, it said in an e-mail.

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Senate Passes Unemployment Benefits Extension

US SenateThe Senate approved a bipartisan unemployment benefits extension Monday, with six Republicans joining Senate Democrats to clear the measure.

The measure passed 59 to 38 with all Democrats in attendance voting for the bill. The five Republicans who helped negotiate the measure — Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio — joined the Democrats voting in favor of the bill along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

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