National news briefs: 10/18/13

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N.Y. man denies terror charges

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. -- A Long Island man pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon to charges of plotting to join al-Qaida and conspiring with a Long Island teenager to wage what federal prosecutors described as "violent jihad."

Marcos Alonso Zea, 25, of Brentwood, tried to travel to Yemen last year to join a branch of al-Qaida and provided encouragement and money to the teen for the same purpose, prosecutors said. Mr. Zea faces a maximum of life in prison.

Following his arrest Friday morning at his home, Mr. Zea pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Central Islip federal court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene Lindsay ordered Mr. Zea held without bail, citing his being a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Snowden grants interview

WASHINGTON -- Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, said in an extensive interview this month that he did not take any secret NSA documents with him to Russia when he fled there in June, assuring that Russian intelligence officials could not get access to them.

Mr. Snowden, 30, said he gave all of the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself.

He also asserted that he was able to protect the documents from China's spies because he was familiar with that nation's intelligence abilities, saying that as an NSA contractor he had targeted Chinese operations and had taught a course on Chinese cybercounterintelligence.

U.S. intelligence officials have expressed grave concern that the files might have fallen into the hands of foreign intelligence services.

Colo. shooter's emails

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes on Friday added his emails to the list of evidence they say should not be allowed at his trial.

Mr. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in the July 2012 attack. Prosecutors are looking for any evidence, such as emails, that might show signs of rationality that would undermine the insanity defense.

The defense is trying to block the emails, as well as statements Mr. Holmes made to police and evidence seized from his car, computers and iPhone.

Transit strike clogs roads

OAKLAND, Calif. -- San Francisco Bay Area rapid transit workers are on strike for the second time since July, scrambling the morning commute for hundreds of thousands of workers on Friday who were up before dawn to clog highways, swarm buses and shiver on ferry decks as they found alternative ways to the office.

The strike could drag through the weekend and into next work week. BART spokesman Rick Rice said Friday that no new talks have been scheduled, and representatives from the unions were meeting and didn't immediately return calls.

Also in the nation...

"To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee is suing a museum in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala., to stop it from selling souvenirs with her name and the title of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages. ... The White House is resuming public tours on a limited schedule after stopping the popular tourist draw when budget cuts hit federal agencies in March. A scaled-back schedule of tours will begin Nov. 5.


First Published October 18, 2013 8:00 PM


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