National news briefs: 6/16/12

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Secret Service files raise concern

WASHINGTON -- Secret Service agents and officers have been accused of involvement with prostitutes, leaking sensitive information, publishing pornography, sexual assault, illegal wiretaps, improper use of weapons and drunken behavior, according to internal government reports reviewed by The Associated Press on Friday. It wasn't immediately clear how many of the accusations turned out to be true.

The new disclosures of so many serious accusations since 2004 lend weight to concerns expressed by Congress that the Secret Service prostitution scandal in April in Colombia exposed a culture of misconduct within the agency. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan apologized for the incident during a hearing in May but insisted that what happened in Colombia was an isolated case.

The heavily censored list, which runs 229 pages, was quietly released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act to The Associated Press and other news organizations following the prostitution scandal. It describes accusations filed against Secret Service employees with the Homeland Security Department's inspector general.

Romney launches tour

STRATHAM, N.H. -- Mitt Romney returned Friday to the picturesque farm where he launched his presidential campaign a year ago to declare an end to "the era of big government" and to offer himself as the leader to steer the country to better times.

As he kicked off a five-day bus tour across six battleground states, Mr. Romney cast President Barack Obama as "detached and distant" from the struggling people he has met on factory floors, break rooms and diners across the country.

Murder suspect kills self

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A former Army weapons expert wanted for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend killed himself with a gunshot to the head.

After a two-day nationwide manhunt, police found Timothy Jorden's body Friday in thick brush a half-mile from his Lake Erie shoreline home.

Authorities had been searching for Dr. Jorden since Wednesday morning, when 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewski was found shot to death in a stairwell at the Erie County Medical Center.

Pilot competent to stand trial

AMARILLO, Texas -- Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue Airways Corp. pilot arrested in March after his erratic behavior led to the diversion of a New York to Las Vegas flight, was found mentally fit to stand trial by mutual agreement of the prosecution and defense.

U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson in Amarillo, Texas, made the ruling at a hearing Friday, after ordering Mr. Osbon in April to undergo a mental examination at a federal medical facility. Mr. Osbon's lawyer told the court in April that he will mount an insanity defense to charges that his client interfered with the duties of a flight crew.

Dozing on the job

WASHINGTON -- New regulations intended to keep air traffic controllers from dozing off on duty have been violated nearly 4,000 times, according to internal Federal Aviation Administration documents.

After a controller fell asleep last year in the tower at Reagan National Airport, it emerged that such lapses were commonplace at airports across the country, and the FAA said it would act to curb the problem.

But a memo to more than 400 frontline FAA managers this month said a five-month internal review earlier this year uncovered repeated violations of a requirement that controllers have at least nine hours off between shifts. More than half of the airport control towers were found to have violated the rule at least once. One facility broke the rule scores of times.

The FAA suspended or fired several controllers for sleeping on the job last year, and the controversy contributed to the ouster of the head of the FAA's air traffic control organization.


First Published June 16, 2012 12:00 AM


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