By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A secret U.S. intelligence court let the National Security Agency collect an expanded amount of data about Americans' email even after finding that the agency systematically exceeded the limits of a smaller program, newly released documents show. The judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court recounted a litany of problems with the first, smaller program, including the NSA collecting more categories of information than had been approved by the court and sharing data more widely within the electronic eavesdropping agency than had been authorized. At issue are emails among U.S. citizens that the NSA scooped up in its pursuit of foreign intelligence. The programs let the NSA search for Americans who had electronic contact with people who were in turn linked to people hostile to the United States.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned lawmakers on Tuesday that Iran would make progress in its ability to build a nuclear weapon if there is no diplomatic deal to halt or roll back its nuclear program and urged Congress to hold off on tightening sanctions against Teheran while talks continue. ...
By Kevin Drawbaugh and Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Taxation of large U.S. multinational corporations would be dramatically overhauled by a raft of initial proposals unveiled on Tuesday by the U.S. Senate's top tax writer, though there is broad skepticism that they could become law anytime soon. Democratic Senator Max Baucus issued a "discussion draft" that called for, among other things, repealing the present tax code provision that allows U.S. multinationals to park hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign profits offshore tax-free. In place of this provision, known as offshore corporate income tax deferral, Baucus would impose immediate taxation of some foreign profits, though far from all of them. The top U.S. corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, though few multinationals pay it thanks to an abundance of loopholes.
U.S. monetary policy will probably remain very easy for a long while after either the Federal Reserve's interest rate hike threshold on unemployment, or inflation, has been crossed, Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen said in a letter to a U.S. lawmaker. Yellen, responding to a written question for the record from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren following her hearing last week before the Senate Banking Committee to become the next Fed chair, also said the jobless threshold was not a trigger. "Monetary policy is likely to remain highly accommodative long after one of the economic thresholds for the federal funds rate has been crossed," she said in her written answer.
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Former U.S. Senator John Edwards is opening a new law firm with his eldest daughter, he said on Tuesday, shedding the low profile he has kept since standing trial last year on campaign finance fraud charges that arose from a failed 2008 White House bid. The firm, billed as a national plaintiffs' practice with offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., marks a return to the career where Edwards made his fortune by winning multimillion-dollar verdicts in personal injury and product liability cases before entering politics. Edwards served one term as a senator from North Carolina before becoming the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee. A federal jury acquitted him in 2012 of accepting illegal political contributions and deadlocked on five other campaign finance charges, allowing him to retain his law license.
By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - A respected security expert will warn Congress on Tuesday that the Obama administration's healthcare website has security flaws that put user data at a "critical risk," despite recent government assurances the data is safe. "There are actual live vulnerabilities on the site now," David Kennedy, head of computer security consulting firm TrustedSec LLC, told Reuters ahead of his testimony at a Congressional hearing on the topic "Is My Data on HealthCare.gov Secure?" Kennedy, a former U.S. Marine Corps cyber-intelligence analyst, said his firm has prepared a 17-page report describing some of the problems. "We don't want to hurt people." Kennedy and other security experts have warned that vulnerabilities on the site pose risks to the security of user data since shortly after its October 1 launch.
By Zachary Fagenson PEANUT ISLAND, Florida (Reuters) - The dingy, cavernous steel fallout shelter hastily built on a man-made island off Florida's east coast is a stark reminder of the harsh realities President John F. Kennedy faced from the first days of his presidency at the height of the Cold War. As the Kennedy family vacationed minutes away at the Palm Beach compound known as the Winter White House, the shelter's main chamber sat ready at a moment's notice with 15 sets of bunk beds, a desk for the president and a conference table. The heavily protected hideaway, fully stocked with military K rations, barrels of water and radiation detection kits, could serve as home for 30 of Kennedy's family and key staff for a month in the event of a nuclear attack. "They tested bringing him here," said Anthony Miller, general manager of Palm Beach Maritime Museum, which maintains the shelter.