Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said on Tuesday she is leaving what she called her "dream job" to lead a safety advocacy group. Hersman, 43, will become president and CEO of the National Safety Council, the group said in a statement. Christopher Hart, the board's vice chairman, will take over as acting chairman when Hersman leaves on April 25, the NTSB said. The NTSB investigates all types of transportation accidents, but is perhaps best known for its probes of air crashes.
A dispute between the Central Intelligence Agency and a U.S. Senate committee that oversees it burst into the open on Tuesday when a top senator accused the agency of spying on Congress and possibly breaking the law. Senator Dianne Feinstein delivered a scathing critique of the CIA's handling of her panel's investigation into a Bush-era interrogation and detention program that began after the September 11, 2001, attacks but was only made public in 2006. She said the CIA searched committee computers to find out how staff obtained an internal agency review that was more critical of the interrogation program than the official CIA report. CIA head John Brennan denied the allegations.
A senior US senator on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of illegally searching computers of Senate staff members who were investigating a CIA interrogation program. Dianne Feinstein, the powerful chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, angrily denounced the actions of the CIA, accusing it of seeking to "intimidate" lawmakers from holding the spy agency accountable. "I have grave concerns that the CIA's search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution," Feinstein said in a dramatic speech on the Senate floor. Shortly after Feinstein's speech, CIA director John Brennan denied her allegations.
By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The leaders of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday outlined plans for legislation to wind down government-owned mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that they said would continue to provide access to long-term, fixed-rate mortgages. Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, a Democrat, and Senator Mike Crapo, the panel's top Republican, announced the agreement after working for months to bridge a partisan divide with the hope of moving legislation this year. They said they were putting finishing touches on a draft bill they planned to release "in the coming days." Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or guarantee 60 percent of all U.S. home loans, provide a steady source of mortgage funds by buying loans from lenders and packaging them into securities they sell to investors. Their central role in housing finance led the government to bail them out to the tune of $187.5 billion when they ran into trouble in the midst of the financial crisis of 2007-2009.
The nominee to head the US National Security Agency on Tuesday defended the use of bulk data collection but said he also wants more transparency about the secretive spy service. Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, nominated by President Barack Obama to head the agency at the center of a public firestorm over surveillance, told lawmakers the NSA needs to be able to access the vast amounts of metadata to be able to thwart terror attacks. In a written response to questions from a Senate panel, Rogers said he sees a need to maintain the law authorizing bulk collection of phone records, known as Section 215, which has come under fire for trampling on the rights of Americans and others. But Rogers told the senators in a hearing he believes the public has a right to have better information in view of the revelations in recent months from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
President Barack Obama's nominee to head the National Security Agency said on Tuesday he considered liability protection for corporations that share information with intelligence agencies as a "critical element" in any new U.S. cybersecurity legislation. "My sense is it's a critical element in any legislation," the nominee, Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, said at his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the panel is very close to agreement on new cyber legislation. However, he said one sticking point is the issue of how to provide immunity and liability protection for companies.
By Nick Carey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In early 2009, amateur conservative Tea Party activists took to the streets to protest newly-elected U.S. President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package and health reform, a ragtag army that helped win the U.S. House for Republicans in 2010, then waged internecine war with the party establishment. There was nothing ragtag at a Feb 27 five-year celebration at the Hyatt Capitol Hill organized by Tea Party Patriots, a national umbrella group affiliated with many others in the amorphous, politically conservative movement. Instead of huddling in the cold outside at a rally, movement heroes including U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul from Kentucky showed up at the Hyatt in downtown Washington, the Capitol Building visible up the street. Cruz told cheering fans the Tea Party was "the best thing to happen for decades." Five years in, the Tea Party movement is at a crossroads.