National briefs: Harassment cited at CIA

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WASHINGTON — A CIA document obtained by The Associated Press said 15 CIA employees were disciplined for committing sexual, racial or other types of harassment last year. That included a supervisor who was removed from the job after engaging in “bullying, hostile behavior,” and an operative who was sent home from an overseas post for inappropriately touching female colleagues, said the document, an internal message to the agency’s workforce.

The examples cited in the message, sent several weeks ago in an email by the director of the agency’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, were meant to show how the CIA is enforcing its strict policy.

But the announcement also shed light on the spy agency’s struggles to move past its free-wheeling workplace culture, especially in the National Clandestine Service, the spying arm, which attracts men and women who are willing to lie, cheat and steal for their country.

“The CIA has no tolerance for harassment of any kind and takes every allegation of such activity extremely seriously,” agency spokesman Christopher White said in a statement.

Aid to foreign kids hiked

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate panel, responding to what President Barack Obama calls an urgent humanitarian situation, on Tuesday advanced legislation significantly increasing funds to handle a surge of foreign children entering the United States illegally.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, included up to $2.28 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to feed and shelter the estimated 130,000 minors expected to arrive in the coming year.

That is up from the $868 million that Congress provided this year to handle an estimated 60,000 undocumented children who will leave their homes in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and travel to the United States without relatives.

Ms. Clinton takes heat

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that she and former President Bill Clinton “fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans,” seeking to refine remarks she made about the pair being “dead broke” when they left the White House.

The remarks came amid a series of interviews and Ms. Clinton’s book tour throughout which the former secretary of state has dropped hints that she’s seriously considering running for president in 2016. She said Republican inquiries over the 2012 attack on Americans in Benghazi gave her “more of a reason” to run.

In an interview Monday with ABC News, Ms. Clinton said she and husband Bill were “dead broke” at the end of his presidency, with legal bills that dwarfed their income. Republicans pounced, calling her out-of-touch with average Americans who struggle with personal finances.

Bergdahl briefing held

WASHINGTON — Senators emerged from a classified, closed-door briefing on the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Tuesday seemingly less convinced than ever about the wisdom of swapping five high-level Taliban prisoners for the Army soldier after he spent years in captivity.

At the session, senior Defense Department and military officials briefed members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, again presenting a united front in their support of the prisoner exchange, said Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee’s chairman.

Warthog funds defeated

WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee defeated an amendment to a defense spending bill on Tuesday that would have preserved funding for the U.S. fleet of A-10 “Warthog” aircraft.

The Pentagon, facing budget cuts, decided to eliminate all 283 of the tank-killer jets, saying it would save $3.7 billion over the next five years plus another $500 million in planned aircraft upgrades.

The 40-year-old, slow-flying Warthog is enormously popular among soldiers and Marines.


— Combined news services


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