10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:
Becky Vargo
Dec 30, 2013

1. BOMBING RATCHETS UP FEARS AHEAD OF WINTER GAMES

A suicide blast killed at least 15 people and wounded scores in a southern Russia railway station, as the country prepares to host the Sochi Olympics.

2. WHO'S OBSESSED WITH TRACKING EXPENSES

Documents obtained by the AP show the al-Qaida terror group is serious about financial bookkeeping, with what amounts to a company-wide accounting policy across its many chapters.

3. NSA INTERCEPTS COMPUTER DELIVERIES, REPORT SAYS

The German magazine Der Spiegel says the U.S. hacking unit hijacks deliveries of electronics and exploits hardware vulnerabilities as part of its spying efforts.

4. FEDS KEEP AN EYE ON ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

While Colorado prepares to be the first in the nation to allow recreational pot sales in the new year, the Justice Department is standing watch.

5. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN SKI ACCIDENT

A French hospital says the seven-time F1 racing champ is in critical condition following brain surgery after hitting his head on a rock in the French Alps.

6. WHAT COULD COMPLICATE GOP PLANS FOR SENATE CONTROL

Tea partyers and social conservatives could throw a wrench in Republicans' strategy during primaries in Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina.

7. TO EXIT REFUGEE CAMP IS TO RISK DEATH, THEY SAY

Threat of ethnic attacks keeps men from venturing outside of U.N. camps in South Sudan amid spiraling violence.

8. FEDERAL HEALTH MARKET SURPASSES 1 MILLION SIGNUPS

A December surge gives a boost to the problem-plagued federal insurance market website, the White House says.

9. WHERE SOME ALZHEIMER'S PATIENTS TURN FOR CARE

Facilities in northern Thailand provide high-quality care for the elderly that's also less expensive than in Europe or the U.S., some families say.

10. PREACHING SAFETY AFTER TEXAS EXPLOSION

The state fire marshal is going on a 68-stop tour aimed at spreading awareness among businesses and first responders, in the wake of a chemical plant blast that killed 15 people.

Comments

Lanivan

11.) A major New York Times investigative piece on Benghazi, in yesterday's Times, has analyzed, in detail, the following:

* The attack on the US outpost of Benghazi and subsequent deaths of four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, was done by local extremist militia groups, and there is no evidence that Al Queda, or any other international terrorists groups, had any role in the assault.

* The attack was led by fighters who had previously benefited from NATO support.

* The attack was fueled, in large part, by anger at the American-made video denigrating Islam, which was leaked and extensively circulated, building rage against the "evils of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet".

* The probability of the attack was undermined by a failure of warning intelligence (CIA) that didn't sufficiently take into account and track the many well-armed militia groups in the regions. This despite Ambassador Stevens entry in his diary, writing of .."never-ending security threats".

The piece is consistent with the bipartisan Accountability Review Board's investigation and report; the findings of (6) Congressional committees; more than (30) hearings; and more than 25,000 pages of related documents provided by the Obama Administration to Congress.

It confirms statements made by President Obama, Sec of State Hillary Clinton, and US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. Although the remarks did not take into account all the various factors and dynamics that led to the attack and it's aftermath, they were correct in the broadest sense.

The New York Times article underscores the basis of their remarks, and lays to rest the intense Republican focus on incompetence and "scandal" within the Obama Administration and the State Dept, and the distortions, fabrications, and exploitation the right-wing has promoted to fuel the flames - not unlike the American-made video.

Barry Soetoro

So the New York Times has cleared the WH and State Dept. of incompetence and scandal? That's laughable even by your standards.

Lanivan

No - not the purpose of the article, or my comment. It is an independent investigation whose analysis is consistent with early reports and statements from administration and military officials. It conforms to the timeline the CIA released over a year ago. It clearly and concisely goes in depth into the causative factors behind the attack.

It does, however, conflict with Fox News reports.

Tri-cities realist

Were the perpetrators given their justice? I must have missed that part.

Lanivan

"By last summer, United States investigators had interviewed hundreds of witnesses and formally asked the Libyan government to arrest Mr. Abu Khattala, along with about a dozen others wanted for questioning. The United States military also prepared a plan to capture him on its own, pending presidential approval, officials said. But the administration held back, fearing that unilateral United States military action could set off a backlash that would undermine the fragile Libyan government".

Read the article to get more details on the follow-up.

Tri-cities realist

The administration held back? The buck stops... There, over there, or there, but not at the president. When fanatics know that we will not retaliate due to "fragile" governments, what will they do, sit around and sing kumbaya? That's a brilliant strategy for stopping terrorism.

Lanivan

Perhaps Obama has a few drones up his sleeve.....

Sandypants

So you swallow, huh Lani? If you swallow that horses*it, you'd swallow anything. In that case, perhaps you'd be interested in a bridge that I happen to be selling in Brooklyn? Call me!

echo5oscar

Any reason the survivors are not allowed to testify in front of Congress?

Tri-cities realist

Until we realize that these Muslim fanatics will use any excuse to attack us, no matter how much we try to "understand" them, they only recognize one way of thinking, "live by the sword..." So I say let them die by the drone, bullet, or bomb. We will never change their minds, so we might as well help free the world from their ilk.

Lanivan

And why should the US be the policemen of the world - and foot the tab?

Besides, now that the US is exporting more oil than it is importing, due to the breaking of all records for oil and gas production on US territory, the focus has pivoted. US interests are now going Asian.

Tri-cities realist

I never said we should be the policemen of the world, notice I said attacked "us". But the world should know that if you attack our embassy or any of our citizens, we will hunt you down, and bring you to justice. Now we just need a commander in chief who will do that every time we are attacked.

Lanivan

"Now we just need a commander in chief who will do that every time we are attacked". Agreed! I nominate Yosemite Sam.

"Ok rabbit...you forced me to use force". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h...

Wolverine49457

I believe the real story is buried under tons of red tape and we'll never know exactly but didn’t R’s and D legislators testify under Oath that it WAS linked to Al Qaeda and crosstalk confirmed this was not a bunch of angry guys deciding to rape and kill specific Americans and other operatives on specifically U.S. Soil one night? And just how did so many random and angry guys come across the modern weapons and assault tactics used in such a timely manner? Do they have assault rifle Red Box over there or were they supplied by some organized thing that likes to see all non-radical Muslims dead; so many questions without answers.
I recall this train wreck started in 1995 when the D’s wanted Slick Willy in the WH but Hill had left Cheatin’ Willie….Hmmm…. bad optics there so let’s make a deal with Hill and Will to play loving couple and defeat the Dullard Dole then after 1 or 2 terms as a cold fish first lady we’ll push you into all sorts of cool jobs you don’t have to be qualified for so you can make a run for president someday!
So they continually push aside her incompetence as senator and lately the screeching SOS that thinks it doesn’t matter why your loved one was killed and doesn’t seem to care…yep that’s the commander in chief we need…she can run on the “what difference does it make” platform.

bigdeal

...and soundly beat any R that has the nards to run against her. She would wipe any R up in debate. She will make a great President, and Bill will make a great first man. What an awesome couple. Bring on the NJ whale who could die of artery disease in office, just make sure he has a good running mate, mate.

Tri-cities realist

Be prepared for the wrath of Lanny. If you think she defends Obama, say anything bad about Saint Hillary, and watch her verbal assaults fly!

Lanivan

Has Pope Francis canonized Hillary already? Madame President The Saint Hillary Clinton has a nice ring....this will really help her with the Catholic voting block.

Vladtheimp

The first saint whose qualifications were obtained through injection. . . .

bigdeal

4. The laws passed by Colorado are illegal according to the international treaty signed by the US in 1961. Watch for UN forces on US soil coming soon to a drug dispensary near you. UN forces have more power than even the Feds, so keep watching this develop. Uruguay recently legalized cannabis, and their president was condemned by the UN when he spoke of how Colorado and Washington states are leading the way for legalization across the world. Let's see how the UN interprets that. Legalization is coming, starting in Latin America.

Vladtheimp

Y'All are being too hard on Lanivan. I can reveal that although the New York Times article relied on un-named sources, David Kirkpatrick spoke to me about what happened in Benghazi, and I was one of his sources.

I ran the Jumbotron that played "Innocence of Muslims" to the crowd outside the building, and I can confirm they were really P.O.'d.

I saw the Capitalists in the crowd selling Black Al Qaeda flags to the people; they were also selling mortars, since nobody goes to a rally toting their own mortars and ammo.

I watched the mortars rain on the Annex, and I can verify that it was just luck that they were so accurate - it wasn't like they were trained in their use, sighting in, and that kind of thing.

I was able to confirm that Ansar al-Shariah was not affiliated with al Qaeda.

I told Kirkpatrick that the other NY Times writers who had written about Benghazi on October 29, 2012 were wrong.

I told Kirkpatrick that his article could ignore trying to discover why Hillary Clinton ignored the many requests for additional security by Ambassador Chris Stevens.

I suggested that Kirkpatrick's "Investigative Journalism" didn't need to find out where Barack and Hillary were during the attack on September 11, and what orders to State and the military they gave. After all, at this time what possible difference could it make?

To be sure I was correct, before I acted as a New York Times source, I confirmed everything with Huma.

Can't we just forget Benghazi and all just get along?

Barry Soetoro

OK. I'm sorry, L.

Lanivan

You owe me big.

echo5oscar

.......and Solyndra, Fast and Furious, IRS etc....

Lanivan

How very foxy of you! You're conspiratorial comment lacks not only credibility but evidence. Maybe you subscribe to the 'Where's the Evidence' rule, whereby you make up stuff with no evidence to prove it, because the absence of evidence proves there once was before the opposition destroyed it.

I realize Kirkpatrick's in-depth investigative report on Benghazi has the GOP boys' boxers in a bunch, but really - "...where Barack and Hillary were during the attack..."?

You're reading too many penny dreadfuls, Vlad!!

Vladtheimp

Un Named Sources versus bi-partisan Congressional Intelligence Committee sources? My testimony is just as good as the Times' sources - Where were your heroes as our ambassador was killed (and most likely corn holed); what orders did our Secretary of State (who controls a huge diplomatic security division, and our golfing president who controls the whole armed forces, do to save our ambassador and the folks hired to protect him?

The whiff of desperation, once again - sorry for you; Chris Stevens, Obamacare, and the unemployed.

Lanivan

Just out of curiosity, if you don't mind my asking - did you actually read the report, or are you getting your talking points from the guys over at legalinsurrection?

That whiff you smell might possibly be the pungent prose of your smug self-absolution....(thanks Back to the Wall). So sorry for you - it was your guy Reagan who supported and funneled money to the fundamentalists in Afghanistan - voila, the Taliban - and who provided training and a safe haven for....bin Laden and al-Qaida!

Vladtheimp

Bin Laden Lived To Fight Another Day--Thanks To Bill Clinton See Forbes May 5 2011

Lanivan

Well, it's official: America in 2013~

1.) Thirty years of the greatest wealth redistribution in American history, has resulted in record-breaking corporate profits in 2013 - up +44.7% in a single year; stocks are up +43.2%. And jobs are down -.09%.

2.) Besides holding the honor of passing the fewest number of laws - 55 total in 2013 - our grotesquely dysfunctional Congress is dead last in approval ratings among key American institutions, lower that Big Banks....and, shudder, Big Business.

echo5oscar

I'll ask again. Is there a reason the survivors were not allowed to testify before congress?

Lanivan

LA Times: Two "Key Witnesses" Were "Grilled For Hours" On Capitol Hill. According to an October 28, 2013, report in the Los Angeles Times, "Two of the Justice Department's key witnesses in last year's terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, were summoned to Capitol Hill this month and grilled for hours in separate legal depositions" by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA):

Daily Beast: Multiple CIA Officers Who Were At The Base During The Attack Testified Before Congress. According to a May 24 report by The Daily Beast, multiple CIA officers who were in Benghazi at the time of the attack have already testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence:

A House Intelligence subcommittee will hear from CIA security officers who are expected to tell a much more detailed story about the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last year, CNN has learned.

The men, described by sources as former Navy SEALs, former Army Special Forces and former Marines, were under contract to guard CIA agents on the ground there.

The security officers were among those who responded when Stevens' compound was attacked on the night of September 11, 2012.

They will appear before lawmakers behind closed doors during the week of November 11, sources told CNN. [CNN, 10/31/13]
MediaMatters.

Goggle 'were Benghazi survivors allowed to testify'. And don't bug me with your easily-found, readily-substantiated posts that any grade school kid could look up.

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