Senators move to rein in NSA
WASHINGTON -- The revelations of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden earlier this year produced a lot of outrage, both on Capitol Hill and among the general public, about the agency's extensive domestic surveillance activities.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced a new proposal to overhaul the nation's surveillance laws. The other co-sponsors are Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
The legislation's text has not been released yet, but among the things the senators hope to accomplish: End bulk collection of Americans' communications records, limit the legal authority for the PRISM program that allows the government to obtain information from Google, Microsoft and other online service providers, reform the secret surveillance court, and increase transparency.
FHA needs subsidy
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Housing Administration plans to tap $1.7 billion in taxpayer money at the end of the month to cover its losses -- a first for an agency that has been self-sustaining since its creation in 1934.
The FHA has played a pivotal role in propping up the housing market by backing low down-payment loans for borrowers after the mortgage market unraveled and other lending sources dried up. It currently accounts for nearly 20 percent of all home purchase mortgages.
The agency does not make loans, but insures lenders against losses should loans go bad. It has always used the fees it charges borrowers to cover any losses.
Klan rally at Gettysburg
GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- The Ku Klux Klan has been granted a permit to hold an event at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Park officials say the special-use permit was approved for a Maryland-based KKK group to exercise its First Amendment rights on Oct. 5. The afternoon event will be held on the lawn area north of Gen. George Meade's Headquarters.
The Klan held a membership rally earlier this month at the Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, Md., where thousands of people died in a Civil War clash that set the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation.
NRA a force in VA. campaign
RICHMOND --The National Rifle Association (NRA) is wading into the Virginia governor's race with a six-figure ad campaign, potentially reviving a debate over gun issues that has been mostly dormant in the contest.
Beginning Monday, the group will begin airing $500,000 worth of statewide television and online ads hitting Democrat Terry McAuliffe for his firearms stances, according to NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. The campaign is designed to benefit Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), a longtime gun rights advocate who has lagged behind Mr. McAuliffe on the financial front and can use the help on the airwaves.
Gun rights supporters have long outnumbered foes in Richmond, but there have been signs in recent years, as Virginia has become a more purple state, that the issue has lost some of its potency. Last year, Timothy Kaine (D) beat George Allen (R) in a high-profile Senate race despite Mr. Kaine's "F" grade from the NRA and Allen's "A."
Pilot has fatal heart attack
BOISE, Idaho -- A United Airlines pilot died after suffering a major heart attack while flying from Houston to Seattle, forcing crew members to make an emergency landing in Idaho while two doctors on board did CPR in the first-class cabin.
Pilot Henry Skillern, 63, of Humble, Texas, was still alive when firefighters and paramedics ran to his aid Thursday night on the Boise Airport tarmack. He died a short time later while being treated at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.
Mr. Skillern had been a pilot for United Airlines for 26 years.
Ex-EPA official scams U.S.
WASHINGTON -- A former high-level official at the Environmental Protection Agency pleaded guilty Friday to stealing nearly $900,000 in pay and bonuses by pretending to work for the CIA. For years, John C. Beale, 64, disappeared from the office and explained his lengthy absences by telling his bosses he was doing top-secret work.
Mr. Beale never worked for the CIA, never had top-secret security clearance and carried on a "pattern of deception for over 10 years," said Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola.