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How was Mark Anthony Conditt caught? ‘Exotic’ batteries and cell-site analysis

Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin, Texas, serial bomber, was tracked down early Wednesday morning in part because he used “exotic” batteries in the explosive devices he allegedly made.

Investigators settled on Conditt as a suspect in five bombings in the Austin area after analyzing an unexploded device and sifting through bomb fragments, then finding that all the batteries for the devices came from Asia, according to a story from NBC News.

“These weren’t your store-bought Duracells,” a senior law enforcement officer said of the batteries used in the bombs.

>> Read more trending news 

Conditt, 24, blew himself up early Wednesday as authorities closed in on him. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned citizens to be alert because there could be bombs in the area that the suspect either had recently sent or some that were constructed and ready to be sent.

>>Who is Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin bomber?

“We don’t know if there are any other bombs out there and if so, how many and where they may be,” Abbott said. “Because this individual, either by mail or by placement or whatever the case may be, may have put other bombs out there.”

Abbott said the cellphone number of the Austin bombing suspect was of interest to law enforcement before he was captured on surveillance video at a FedEx store, The Associated Press reported. The person in the video from the store appears to be wearing a blond wig.

Abbott told reporters Wednesday that authorities used cellphone traffic data to put the suspect at the site of the explosions around Austin. He says the suspect’s phone number drew the attention of investigators. Abbott also said Conditt was believed to have purchased materials that could be made to construct bombs from a Home Depot store.

Not much information about Conditt has been released other than he lived in Pflugerville, Texas, and had attended a local community college. His motive remains a mystery, along with whether he acted alone in the five bombings in the Texas capital and suburban San Antonio that killed two people and wounded four others. 

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Easter 2018: When is it; what is it; why isn't it on the same date every year?

“Hey, do you have any idea when Christmas is?” is not a question you usually hear in late November or early December.

Major holidays are stamped on our calendars, often with little symbols, in case you don't know, for instance, that a turkey means Thanksgiving. 

Easter, however, is different. The date of Easter, when Christians celebrate the risen Christ, is different every year. 

Many factors have contributed to keeping the date a guessing game, but the rolling calendar on Easter is due mainly to astronomy and a group of men who got together in the ancient city of Nicaea to come up with a system of deciding when to celebrate the holiest day in the Christian calendar.

Here is a look at the origins of the remembrance, the reason for the floating date and when Easter will be celebrated this year.

What is Easter?On Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter who became an itinerant preacher at the age of 30. For the next three years, he drew thousands of followers in the relatively small area where he preached. 

When Jewish leaders and Roman officials began to feel threatened by his growing popularity, he was arrested as he came into Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Passover. He stood trial, was found guilty by a crowd and was mocked, beaten and eventually crucified. Followers believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.

The Old Testament prophecy of a messiah being persecuted, then executed, then resurrected – all for the sins of his followers -- is believed by many to have been fulfilled with Jesus’ death.

Where in the Bible is the story of Jesus’ execution?The story of Jesus’ death appears in all four of the Gospels of the New Testament. You’ll find them in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 18.

When is Easter this year?Easter is on April 1 in 2018.

Why is it on different dates every year?

The answer is not a simple one. In 325 CE,  the Council of Nicaea, a gathering of Christian bishops, decided that there should be a more organized and universal way to decide when Easter would be celebrated. The council decided that the remembrance would be held the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.

The date for the vernal equinox was based on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter is delayed a week.

How early and how late can Easter be celebrated?Easter can come as early as March 22, and as late as April 25 in the Gregorian calendar.

What does the word Easter mean?It could be from the name of the fertility goddess Eostre. It could be from the Norse "eostur" or "eastur," meaning “the season of the growing sun,” or some combination of those terms and others from pagan festivals and ceremonies.

When was Easter first celebrated?It’s not known when the first remembrance of Jesus’ death took place, but there are records of ceremonies beginning in the 2nd century. The celebrations were held around the Jewish Passover each year, a date that was dependent on the vernal equinox.

What are Good Friday and Maundy Thursday?Good Friday commemorates the day on which Jesus was crucified. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus had with his disciples.

How did a bunny become a symbol?No one is really sure about how the Easter Bunny came into being, but, he/she likely is a combination of several ancient harvest festival symbols. says the bunny could have come from the pagan festival of Eostre. Eostre is a goddess of fertility and, because of the rabbit’s reputation for, shall we say, productivity, the animal became the symbol for Eostre.

Historians believe it is likely that the festival with its bunny symbol made its way through Europe and gave birth to the Osterhase, or Oschter Haws – an egg-laying rabbit popular in German fiction. German immigrants brought with them to America the tradition of laying colored eggs as gifts in nests built by children during a spring festival. 

Eventually, the bunny started to bring candy and other gifts with the eggs on Easter morning as a sign of the celebration of new life.

Easter 2018: How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs for Easter egg dyeing

With Easter fast approaching, you will want to get your egg situation under control.

Didn’t realize you had an egg situation? That’s why we are here.

>> Read more trending news

If you are going to engage in the long-standing tradition of dyeing Easter eggs, you are going to need to start out with a good, sturdy canvas. 

Coloring eggs has come a long way since the days of the early Christian Church where believers stained eggs red to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The practice was so popular among the faithful, the Church adopted the use of eggs as part of the celebration of Easter in the Roman Ritual, the official ritual works of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Whether you are using commercial dyeing kits where you plop a color “pill” into a cup of vinegar then drop in an egg, or if you are more the Fabergé-has-nothing-on-me type, here’s a guide to producing the perfect hard-boiled egg.

Getting a good hard-boiled egg can be tough, but with the recipe below, you can impress your family and friends with your egg boiling skills.

  1. Put eggs in a pot large enough to hold them in a single layer.
  2. Cover the eggs with an inch of water.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon of vinegar in the water.
  4. Bring the water to a boil.
  5. Let the eggs boil in the water for about 30 seconds.
  6. Turn off the heat, and put a cover on the pot.
  7. Let the eggs sit in the covered pot for 12 minutes.

At the end of 12 minutes, the eggs will be perfect - no olive green-looking film on the yokes.

If you want to eat the eggs without coloring them, transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Leave the eggs in the ice water until they are cool.

Crack and peel the eggs under cool, running water. The shells should come off easily.

Facebook breach: Want to leave the social media giant? Here’s how

Officials with Facebook has been notified that the company will receive a letter from the Federal Trade Commission asking how the consultancy firm of Cambridge Analytica gained access to the personal data of 50 million of its users. 

FTC officials informed Facebook that they will be asking both how the firm gained access to the data in 2014, and why users were not notified by Facebook about the breach, according to a story from Bloomberg. 

Cambridge Analytica is a political consultancy firm. It was the firm President Donald Trump’s campaign hired to help with the 2016 election. 

If the thought of having your personal information at risk keeps you up at night, there is something you can do about it. 

>> Read more trending news

You can delete your account. 

Here is how you do that: 

To delete a Facebook account  

Click on the link below, and choose "Delete my account":

Delete my Facebook page 

That’s all you have to do, and your account is deleted from Facebook. There are a few things to keep in mind, however – Facebook delays deleting the account for a few days in case people change their minds, for example. 

Once an account is deleted, it can take a month and a half before all of the information and photos associated with the account are deleted from the backup server, and you cannot gain access to that content after you delete the account. 

Also, according to company officials, material such as records of when you were on the site will remain in its database, but will not be connected to any “personal identifiers.”  

If you want a copy of what’s in your account before you delete it 

You can save the photos and messages on your account before you delete it by going through the following steps on Facebook:

  • Go to the account menu
  • Click the down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page 
  • Click "Download a copy of your Facebook data" at the bottom of the General Account Settings
  • Click "Start My Archive"

Remember, deactivating the account is different from deleting the account. If you choose to deactivate the account to take some time away from social media, you can always go back and reactive the account. 

Deleting the account means ending it so neither you nor others will be able to see it again.

The Austin bombings: A timeline of events in the case

Law enforcement authorities say a bomb that exploded early Tuesday morning at a FedEx processing center in Schertz, Texas could be the latest in a series of blasts that have happened in the Austin area during the past three weeks.

The device went off a little after midnight in the processing center some 60 miles from Austin. Authorities say that bomb was in a package marked for delivery to an Austin address, sent from an Austin address.

>> Read more trending news

The explosion comes on the heels of another attack that took place Sunday night in Austin. The blast, believed to be triggered by a tripwire, injured two men.

Here is a timeline of events since the first bombing happened earlier this month.

Friday, March 2

6:55 a.m. – Anthony Stephan House, 39, finds a package on his front porch as he is leaving his home at 1112 Haverford Dr. in the northwest part of Austin. The package, which was left overnight, explodes as House picks it up. He is taken to an area hospital where he later dies from his wounds. 

Monday, March 12

6:44 a.m. – Seventeen-year-old Draylen Mason brings a package left at his 4806 Oldfort Hill Drive home into the kitchen to open it. A bomb inside the box explodes, killing the teenager and wounding his mother. Mason was a gifted musician.

11:50 a.m. – Later that day, Esperanza Morena Herrera, 75, picks up a package outside her home at 6708 Galindo St. in southeast Austin. The bomb inside the package explodes, critically injuring Herrera.

2:30 p.m. – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asks the public for help in finding information about the bombings. He announces a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone involved in the attacks.

Tuesday, March 13

4 p.m. – The Austin Police Department ups the reward for information about the bombings by an additional $50,000.

<<Austin bombings Q&A: What are the distinctive traits of a serial bomber?

Saturday, March 17

2:53 a.m. – Austin police arrest Trevor Weldon Ingram, 26, was arrested on charges of making a terroristic threat in connection with a bomb threat that led to the cancellation of band The Roots’ show Saturday at the  South by Southwest festival.

Sunday, March 18

2 p.m. – The Austin police announce another reward increase, making the total $115,000.

8:30 p.m. – Two men in their 20s either riding or waking a bike in the 4800 block of Dawn Song Drive in southwest Austin trip a wire attached to an explosive device and are injured by the blast. The bomb is the first to use a tripwire to detonate the device.

<<Austin bombings: What we know about the bomber’s habits

Monday, March 19

1:30 a.m.Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley, warns Austin residents not to pick up suspicious packages or other items, and to call 911 if they should come across one.

2:30 p.m.Gov. Abbott announces he is authorizing the use of $265,500 from an emergency fund to purchase portable X-ray machines that would be used to examine suspicious packages while minimizing the risks to law enforcement officers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

12:30 a.m. – A bomb explodes at a Fed EX processing plant in Schertz, Texas, about 50 miles from Austin. One person was injured when the package detonated as it moved from an upper conveyer belt to a lower one. Authorities said the package was to be delivered to an Austin address and was sent from an Austin address.


Austin bombings Q&A: What are the distinctive traits of a serial bomber?

What would make a person create a bomb, set it to go off then deliver it to a victim?

A variety of things, according to a forensic psychiatrist who has studied some of the worst killers society has ever seen. 

According to Dr. Michael Welner, a leading forensic psychiatrist and chairman of The Forensic Panel, a person (almost always a male) who would set a bomb to kill someone is interested in “spectacle through destruction,” hoping that news cameras are rolling following the explosion.

>> Read more trending news

Welner is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is the developer of the Depravity Standard ( ), which delineates traits of the worst of murderers. The Forensic Panel is a practice that works on complex homicides around the United States.

We asked Welner to explain the influences behind what may drive a serial bomber and the traits most common to bombers. 

Q: Are there traits common to serial bombers?

A: Male, detail-oriented, motivated by spectacle through destruction as opposed to merely destructiveness. He takes pride in abilities and planning, is socially isolated and quiet, and feels himself as unsuccessful in intimacy. He has a keen awareness of media and its tendencies in reporting.

>>Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

Q: Have you seen anything in the coverage of these bombings that would be helpful in identifying the bomber?

A: The most important aspect of coverage is to enlist the community to be vigilant and to watch their communities, film with their smart phones to capture the out-of-the-ordinary, and to report what is suspicious. Serial violent offenders are often identified by tips from people who spotted something or someone who does not add up. 

Also, the more vigilant a community is to catching such a perpetrator, the harder it is for such an offender to attack without being identified. And the serial bomber does not want to be caught. It is best to keep the focus on the initiatives and collectiveness of a community to work together.

<<Police confirm trip wire used in fourth bomb that injured 2

Q: A different bomb trigger – a tripwire – was used in the bombing on Sunday night. The first three attacks involved suspicious packages left on doorsteps. The bomb in the package that exploded Sunday was left on the side of a road. Would a bomber “stick to his script” and not change the way he delivered bombs, or would you be concerned that there was a “copycat: bomber who put the latest bomb by the side of the road?

A: Both are possibilities. … Historically, a serial bomber with a passion and training in explosives will be able to shift methods to take advantage of materials available and opportunities to offend without being caught. 

Q: Police said the bomber is trying to “send a message.” Do serial bombers want to send a message generally, or are they only interested in destruction and murder?

A: Bombers create a spectacle to draw attention. They may be motivated to draw attention to themselves and their power to hold a community in fear, or may attach to a cause to draw attention to it. The key point is that a spectacle killer is destructively motivated even before the crimes begin, but attaches to a cause that he thinks justifies violence.

Q: The first victims were African American and Hispanic. Do you think the bomber is targeting only those groups? Is that something a serial bomber generally does, or are victims randomly chosen? 

A: Those who have chosen to bomb, pick targets for their own reasons. The rationale may or may not make sense to the rest of us. But it makes sense to them. If ethnicities are targeted, it may be driven by a desire to instigate violent race conflict, as Joseph Paul Franklin (a serial killer who, in addition to murdering several people, also shot and wounded businessman Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt) told me he intended when I interviewed him. Likewise, since spectacle murderers are attempting to manipulate the media as much as anything, the bomber and whomever is assisting him may be attempting to manipulate a news cycle by staging violence that inflames racial divisions, or what some call a “false flag.” 

How vulnerable is the U.S. power grid to a cyberattack? 5 things to know

When the Trump administration announced new and tougher sanctions on Russia last week, officials also said the sanctions were, in part, punishment for attempted Russian cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, including the United States’ power grid.

>> Read more trending news 

Over the past several years, hackers have targeted a Vermont utility, power grids in Ukraine and Ireland, a nuclear power plant in the U.S. and U.S. energy companies, according to news reports.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority reported Monday that it was hacked.

>> Related: Researchers: Hackers develop highly customizable cyberweapon aimed at electric grids

The U.S. electrical grid is highly complex with some 3,300 utility companies that work together to deliver power through 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The nation also has 55,000 electrical substations and 5.5 million miles of distribution lines that power millions of homes and businesses, according to a report last year.

Just how vulnerable is the U.S. to a cyberattack on its critical infrastructure, like the power grid?

>> Related: The 2017 Russian sanctions bill: What does it do; what is Russia’s response; will Trump sign it?

In April of 2017, the Council on Foreign Relations released a report on the vulnerability of the U.S. power grid. Because of the importance of electricity to the smooth functioning of society and because of the critical nature of power to the 16 sectors of the U.S economy that make up what’s considered critical infrastructure, a significant attack on the grid could cause serious damage in the U.S., if it were to happen. “Any of the system’s principal elements – power generation, transmission or distribution – could be targeted for a cyberattack,” the agency said.

 Here are 5 things to know:

1- The U.S. power grid has long been considered a target for a major cyberattack; however “carrying out a cyberattack that successfully disrupts grid operations would be extremely difficult, but not impossible,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations’ report.

 2- The U.S. power grid was built for “reliability and safety” and is fairly easy to defend. During winter weather or a hurricane for example, U.S. power crews are good at anticipating problems and can generally move away from computers to manual operations, cyber security expert Robert M. Lee said in an interview with Scientific American magazine.

>> Related: Hackers target European businesses, banks, services in new cyberattacks

3- Because of computer technology and the growing interconnectedness of the digital landscape, and because returning to manual operations is growing more difficult, Lee said that there is cause for concern. “Our adversaries are getting much more aggressive. They’re learning a lot about our industrial systems, not just from a computer technology standpoint but from an industrial engineering standpoint, thinking about how to disrupt or maybe even destroy equipment. That’s where you start reaching some particularly alarming scenarios,” Lee told Scientific American.

4- The director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael Rogers, in testimony before Congress in 2014, said that China and a few other countries likely had the capability to shut down the U.S. power grid. “Rapid digitization combined with low levels of investment in cybersecurity and a weak regulatory regime suggest that the U.S. power system is as vulnerable - if not more vulnerable - to a cyberattack as systems in other parts of the world,” officials with the Council on Foreign Relations said.

>> Related: Homeland Security investigating after massive cyber attacks take down sites across the internet

5- A cyberattack on the U.S. electric grid could cause power losses in large parts of the United States that could last days or up to several weeks in some places, and it would cause a substantial economic impact, the Council on Foreign Relations reported. The report found the U.S. needs to work to put in place measures to prevent a cyberattack on the power grid, and to find ways to lessen the potentially catastrophic impact should one occur.


Austin bombings: What we know about the bomber’s habits

Police and federal agents continue to investigate the four bomb explosions in Austin this month that killed two people and wounded four others.At a press conference Monday, after the fourth bomb exploded injuring two men, law enforcement authorities asked the bomber to contact them and let them know what message he is trying to send, assuring him that they are “listening.”

>> Read more trending news

The bombings began March 2 when a package exploded on the front porch of the home of Anthony Stephan House, 39, killing him. The second attack happened March 12 when a bomb in a package was taken into the home of Draylen Mason, 17. The package exploded, killing Mason, and injuring his mother.

>>Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

The third bomb exploded when a 75-year-old Hispanic woman picked up a package on her front porch. She was seriously injured.On Sunday, two men were hurt when a bomb went offapparently after one of the two hit a tripwire attached to the explosive device.

>>For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings 

Authorities are operating under the assumption that the bombs were made by the same person.

Here is what we know about the Austin bomber’s habits: 

  • Prior to the explosion Sunday, the three bombs were left in packages at homes.
  • Sunday’s bomb was tripwire-activated.
  • Sunday’s bomb was in a different geographical area than the other three bombs.
  • The victims of the first three bombings were African-American and Hispanic. Sunday night’s victims were white.
  • Fred Burton, a security and terrorism analyst at Austin-based Stratfor, told the Austin American-Statesman that he believes it is the same person doing the bombing. He may have changed bombing locations and methods to throw investigators off, Burton said.
  • Common household items were used to construct the first three bombs, the American-Statesman reported. 

Why was Andrew McCabe fired? What we know now

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe late Friday, hours before the former assistant director of the FBI was to retire.

Sessions said in a statement that McCabe was let go for “lacking candor under oath” in misleading investigators about the fact that he authorized a conversation between FBI employees and The Wall Street Journal.

While some are pointing to a vindictive strike at McCabe from President Donald Trump – McCabe took James Comey’s side following Comey’s firing last year – others say McCabe was forthcoming with information requested of him by the FBI’s inspector general.

Here is what we know about McCabe’s firing.

What Sessions said:

The Justice Department  released this statement from Sessions about McCabe’s firing:

“After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). 

>> Read more trending news

“The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.

“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.’ 

“Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”

McCabe’s answer:

McCabe issued this statement after he was fired.

“I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

“For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President's tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.

“No more.

“The investigation by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI's involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

“The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

“But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

“Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey's accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG's focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday's comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration's ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel's work.

“I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.

“I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.”

What the inspector general said:

The report from the inspector general has not been released. However, according to a story from The New York Times, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that McCabe had encouraged FBI officials to speak with reporters from the Wall Street Journal about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

An associate of McCabe’s told reporters from the Journal that McCabe did not try to impede an investigation into the Clinton Family charity, the Times reported.

After the investigation, Horowitz recommended to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the department that investigates allegations of bureau employee misconduct, that McCabe be fired because he was not forthcoming with the IG’s investigation.

The report from Horowitz is expected to be released in April.  

What Trump said:

Trump tweeted that it was a “great day for Democracy” on Friday

About McCabe’s firing: 

And this one (Terry M is Terry McAuliffe): 

About McCabe saying he took notes at a meeting he had:

About McCabe’s wife:

What does his wife have to do with it?

McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, received $467,500 from a political action committee controlled by then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe when she ran for U.S. senator for Virginia. She received an additional $207,799 from the Virginia Democratic Party. 

McAuliffe ran Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and was national chairman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for president.

In a tweet, the president said McCabe ran the investigation into emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state while McCabe’s wife received the donation from the McAuliffe-run PAC.

McCabe was not in charge of the investigation into Clinton’s emails before FBI Director Comey closed it in 2016.

When an investigation into McAuliffe’s finances arose in 2016, McCabe recused himself from it.

What about his pension?

It has been reported that McCabe lost his pension when he was fired on Friday. That is not exactly the case.

McCabe was fired about 26 hours before he was to set to retire from the FBI. After 21 years of service in the Bureau, McCabe would have been eligible for early retirement at age 50.

What McCabe lost out on when he was fired was the ability to take his full benefits at age 50. He also lost his eligibility for a “top-up,” or “enhanced” benefit formula.

Federal rules state that employees in McCabe’s situation may not be able to draw pension until a date ranging from just before his 57th birthday to as late as his 62nd birthday.

That means he can still collect a pension in a few years, albeit a smaller amount than the $60,000 a year he was set to get. 

McCabe can appeal his firing in the hopes of getting his pension reinstated. 

What others said:

From former FBI Director James Comey:

From Former CIA Director John Brennan:

From U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-S.C): 

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday:

“You know, his firing may be justified. There's no way for us to know at this point, but even though it may have been justified, it can also be tainted. And I think the president's badgering of the attorney general, his urging that he be fired before his pension could vest, and the fact that McCabe and every other of the James Comey associates … who corroborate James Comey on the issue of potential obstruction of justice, every one of them has been targeted by the administration, by the Republicans and Congress. And is this because they corroborate James Comey? That's a question we also have to answer.”

Hillary Clinton breaks wrist in bathtub fall in Indian palace 

Hillary Clinton fell in a bathtub while visiting India for a book tour and fractured her wrist, according to a story from DNA India

Clinton was staying at the Umaid Bhawan Palace when she fell, the story said. The Umaid Bhawan Palace was the one-time home of the former royal family of Jodhpur.

News of the fall comes days after a video was widely circulated showing Clinton twice slipping down stairs at the Jahaz Mahal, an ancient retreat built as an inn to accommodate pilgrims who came to Delhi to visit Muslim shrines there.

Clinton is in India on a book tour for her memoir, “What Happened.” She drew criticism this week when she said in a speech in New Delhi, that President Donald Trump has “quite an affinity for dictators” and that he “really likes their authoritarian posturing and behavior.” 

>> Read more trending news

Clinton went on to say Democrats “do not do well with white men, and we don’t do well with married, white women. And part of that is an identification with the Republican Party and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.”

According to several sources, Clinton was taken to a private hospital, Goyal Hospital, around 5 a.m. (local time) Wednesday. According to Suresh Goyal, the CEO of the hospital, Clinton “was here for about 15-20 minutes.”

Clinton has had a history of suffering falls in recent years. Five months ago, she had to wear a surgical boot after breaking her toe. She said she fell as she ran down stairs carrying a cup of coffee. 

In 2016, she collapsed as she left a memorial service in New York City for the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Later that day she said she had been suffering from pneumonia and had become dehydrated at the service. Clinton suffered a concussion and a blood clot near her brain after a fall in her home in 2013.

Trump attacked Clinton’s health during the campaign, saying the former secretary of state was not well enough to serve as a president. 

On Thursday, she wore a scarf over her right arm and hand as she toured monuments in the city of Jaipur.



Miami bridge collapse: What is accelerated bridge construction?

The University City Bridge, the pedestrian bridge on the campus of Florida International University that collapsed on Thursday, apparently leaving several dead, was built under a process called Accelerated Bridge Construction.

>> Read more trending news

The bridge, a 950-ton structure, slammed down onto 8th Street, the roadway known as the Tamiami Trail, landing on at least eight vehicles in addition to hitting some pedestrians who were crossing the road at the time.

>>7 things to know about the fiery I-85 bridge collapse

The bridge was put in place about a week ago but had not been opened to pedestrian traffic. The bridge was designed by FIGG Bridge Group, a Boston firm, and built using the ABC method.

>>Where is the Florida pedestrian bridge collapse?

What is Accelerated Bridge Construction and how does it work? Here’s a look at ABC:

  • ABC projects are constructed offsite and moved to the site to be put together and anchored in place.
  • From the Federal Highway Administration: “The most common form of ABC is the use of prefabricated bridge elements. These elements can be fabricated in a controlled environment off-site and assembled in place at the bridge site. This construction method can best be described as building blocks. The prefabricated elements are connected at the site to form a complete bridge. Prefabrication of beams is not a new concept. Virtually all bridges are currently built with prefabricated beams and girders.”
  • According to a website post from FIU on a page that has since been taken down, but was cached by Google, ABC was used to build the bridge to help minimize the disruption to traffic on the eight-lane roadway it went over. “To keep the inevitable disruption of traffic associated with bridge construction to a minimum, the 174-foot portion of the bridge was built adjacent to Southwest 8th Street using a method called Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) and was driven into its perpendicular position across the road by a rig in only six hours on Saturday, March 10.”
  • From the FIU post: “Civil engineering doctoral student Dewan Hossain said: “I would say this is magic. In five hours using that ABC technology and sensors, the bridge is already there. In the classroom, we learn about the design, the construction, the safety – that’s a big issue – and here we’re seeing it actually happening. Here we are establishing a real, practical application of what we learn in the classroom. I would encourage more students to come view these types of projects to enhance what they learn.”
  • The FHA says ABC “uses innovative planning, design, materials, and construction methods in a safe and cost-effective manner to reduce the onsite construction time that occurs when building new bridges or replacing and rehabilitating existing bridges.”
  • The FHA also said about ABC: “A common reason to use ABC is to reduce traffic impacts … because the safety of the traveling public and the flow of the transportation network are directly impacted by onsite construction-related activities. However, other common and equally viable reasons to use ABC deal with site constructability issues. Oftentimes long detours, costly use of a temporary structure, remote site locations, and limited construction periods present opportunities where the use of ABC methods can provide more practical and economical solutions to those offered if conventional construction methods were used.”
  • FIU hosts the Center for Accelerated Bridge Construction, a national center for education about and promotion of ABC.
  • The University City Bridge, built by the Munilla Construction Management, was designed to survive a Category 5 hurricane.

Trump admits that he made up story about trade deficit with Canada

President Donald Trump, in remarks at a fundraiser Wednesday, said he made up a story about a trade deficit with Canada at a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to a story from The Washington Post 

“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,’” Trump could be heard saying on an audio recording The Post reported was recorded at a fundraiser in Missouri.

>> Read more trending news 

“Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in — ‘Donald, we have no trade deficit.’ He’s very proud because everybody else, you know, we’re getting killed,”

Trump said, then continued, “... So, he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. … And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t believe it.’"

Trump commented in a tweet Thursday after the Post story was published, writing, "We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do...they almost all do...and that’s how I know!"

According to officials with the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S., in fact, has a trade surplus with Canada. 

The audio also captured Trump talking about the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling Mexico “spoiled” and saying, “The best deal is to terminate it and make a new deal.”

He also talked about his upcoming meeting with North Korean President Kim Jong Un and the criticism he is receiving from the press about it.

“They were afraid of being blown up. Then, all of a sudden, they say, 'Let’s not meet,'” he said of reporters, referring to concerns that tensions between the United States and North Korea are increasing the chances of a military — and possibly nuclear — confrontation.

'Beware the Ides of March' -- What does that mean?

Today marks the Ides of March, which may vaguely remind you of a high school English class. Here are some things to know about the 15th day of the month.

>> Read more trending stories

Day marks the assassination of Julius Caesar

Most famously on this date, some 2,060 years ago, Roman dictator Julius Caesar died in an assassination by senators at the Curia of Pompey.

Tensions had been simmering between senators and Caesar before his death, fueled by Caesar's continued consolidation of power. However, Caesar considered the senators his allies. Just a few years before his death, Caesar was named “dictator in perpetuity,” a move that further strained relations.

According to historians, 60 senators planned and participated in the conspiracy to kill Caesar in 44 B.C.

Death marked a turning point in Roman history

Caesar was popular with the lower class people of Rome, who saw his death as an unwelcome decision made by the aristocratic class. With Caesar no longer leading, potential leaders waged war to fill the power vacuum.

The civil wars eventually culminated in the end of the Roman Republic and beginning of the Roman Empire.

'Beware the Ides of March' made famous by Shakespeare

In case you really did forget your high school English class, it's worth noting the phrase “Beware the Ides of March” was immortalized by William Shakespeare in his tragic masterpiece “Julius Caesar.”

In the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar to be careful on March 15, although the ruler ignores the mystic with tragic consequences.

Famous line based on historical events

It may come as a surprise to know the well-known phrase was actually inspired by real events.

According to Greek historian Plutarch, a seer really did warn Caesar that he would be at the very least injured by the Ides of March.

Caesar did not heed the warning.

On the day of his death, he saw the oracle and joked that he had made it to the Ides of March, to which the seer responded the day had not yet ended.

So why is it called the "Ides of March?"

The Romans kept track of days on their calendar by dividing each month up into three separate points marking the beginning, middle and end of the month. You may have guessed it, but the Ides fall in the middle of the month, on the 15th of March, May, July and October and the 13th for the rest of the year.

The Ides were sacred and marked a monthly sacrifice to the Roman god Jupiter. Various other religious observances also took place on the Ides of March.

Other famous events on this day

Today isn't just the anniversary of Caesar's death. Here are a few other famous events that have happened today in history:

  • 1972: Forty-six years ago (yes, that number is right) Francis Ford Coppola's three-hour crime epic "The Godfather" first played in theaters. Before "Jaws" came along in 1976, the film was the highest-grossing film ever made. It went on to win three Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.
  • 1917: Czar Nicholas II was forced by the revolting Russian people to abdicate the throne after ruling the country for more than 20 years. The February Revolution -- so named because Russia used the Julian calendar at the time -- broke out just four days before the czar abdicated his throne.
  • 1767: Our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, was born on this day somewhere between the Carolinas near the end of the colonial era. His exact place of birth is disputed.

NCAA Men’s tournament 2018: Time, channel, odds for March Madness

It’s that time. 

The Men’s NCAA basketball tournament begins on Thursday, as millions fill out their brackets and try to figure out a way to watch the games from their desks at work. 

March Madness will see 68 teams vie for one of two spots in the April 2 championship game.  

>> Read more trending news

Office pool betting has begun in earnest and according to the America Gaming Association, the NCAA tournament is one of the most illegally bet on sporting events of the year. The AGA estimates that only 3 percent of March Madness wagers (about $300 million) will be placed legally.

So how does this all work? Here’s a look at what time the games will be played, what channel, how to fill out a bracket, the odds on winning the whole thing, and more.

When does it start?

The tournament actually started on Tuesday with two of the “First Four” games. The First Four are games played by the eight weakest teams (at least on paper) in the tournament. 

On Tuesday, Radford and St. Bonaventure were winners. On Wednesday, Texas Southern and Syracuse both came out on top.

What channel is it on?

The games are broadcast on several channels so fans can see their favorite teams play and networks can make money. CBS, truTV, TBS and TNT will broadcast the games. The championship game will be on TBS. Galavision will provide Spanish language coverage.

How do I fill out an NCAA tournament bracket?

You can click here to fill out a printable bracket to keep up with your picks. ESPN offers a bracket contest where you fill out a bracket and compete with millions of others trying to pick the winner. No one has ever picked every game correctly in the ESPN bracket contest. (Can you say upset?)

How can I watch the tournament without cable?

You can stream the games live by clicking here. It is the NCAA March Madness Live app.  

Boss Button

Watching the games at work? Then you could need a “Boss Button” to keep your nosy employer from seeing you enjoy the games. The button, one of which is on the March Madness website, lets you one-click to replace the game with a fake screenshot of something more work-appropriate when the boss (read: killjoy) strolls through the office.

What channel is truTV on my television? 

Many of the games will be broadcast on the cable channel truTV. Below is a guide to finding the station on your cable network. You can also go to truTV's website using their channel locator by clicking here.

AT&T Uverse: Channel 164, Channel 1164 (HD) DISH Network: Channel 204, Channel 9430 (HD) DIRECTV: Channel 246, Channel 246-1 (HD) SlingTV: Click Here PlayStation VUE: Click Here Time Warner Cable: Click Here to search by zip code Comcast/XFinity Cable: Click Here to search by zip code Charter Cable: Click Here to search by zip code Cox Communications: Click Here to search by zip code Bright House Networks: Click Here to search by zip code Cablevision/Optimum: Click Here to search by zip code Cable One: Click Here to search by zip code Mediacom: Click Here to search by zip code Suddenlink Communications: Click Here to search by zip code WOW! cable: Click Here to search by zip code

What is the schedule?

Here is the schedule of games, times and the channel they are being broadcast on. 

First Round – Thursday (All times are ET)

(10) Oklahoma vs. (7) Rhode Island

12:15 p.m.


(14) Wright State vs. (3) Tennessee

12:40 p.m.


(13) UNCG vs. (4) Gonzaga

1:30 p.m.


(16) Penn vs. (1) Kansas

2 p.m.


(15) Iona vs. (2) Duke

2:45 p.m.


(11) Loyola-Chicago vs. (6) Miami (Fla.)

3:10 p.m.


(12) South Dakota State vs. (5) Ohio State

4 p.m.


(9) NC State vs. (8) Seton Hall

4:30 p.m.


(16) Radford vs. (1) Villanova

6:45 p.m.


(12) Davidson vs. (5) Kentucky

7:10 p.m.


(11) San Diego State vs. (6) Houston

7:20 p.m.


(14) Stephen F. Austin vs. (3) Texas Tech

7:27 p.m.


(9) Alabama vs. (8) Virginia Tech

9:20 p.m.


(13) Buffalo vs. (4) Arizona

9:40 p.m.


(14) Montana vs. (3) Michigan

9:50 p.m.


(11) St. Bonaventure vs. (6) Florida

9:55 p.m.


First Round – Friday

(10) Providence vs. (7) Texas A&M

12:15 p.m.


(15) CSU Fullerton vs. (2) Purdue

12:40 p.m.


(13) Marshall vs. (4) Wichita State

1:30 p.m.


(15) Georgia State vs. (2) Cincinnati 

2 p.m.


(15) Lipscomb vs. (2) UNC

2:45 p.m.


(10) Butler vs. (7) Arkansas

3:10 p.m.


(12) Murray State vs. (5) West Virginia

4 p.m.


(10) Texas vs. (7) Nevada

4:30 p.m.


(9) Kansas State vs. (8) Creighton

6:50 p.m.


(14) Bucknell vs. (3) Michigan State

7:10 p.m.


(16) Texas Southern vs. (1) Xavier

7:20 p.m.


(13) Charleston vs. (4) Auburn

7:27 p.m.


(16) UMBC vs. (1) Virginia

9:20 p.m.


(11) Syracuse vs. (6) TCU

9:40 p.m.


(9) Florida State vs. (8) Missouri

9:50 p.m.


(12) New Mexico State vs. (5) Clemson

9:57 p.m.


Below is the schedule for games in the second round, the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and the championship game. Check back here for an updated list of games as the tournament progresses.

Second round: Saturday, March 17

(1) Villanova vs. (9) Alabama

12:10 p.m.


(2) Duke vs. (7) Rhode Island

2:45 p.m.


(5) Kentucky vs. (13) Buffalo

5:15 p.m.


(3) Tennessee vs. (11) Loyola

6:10 p.m.


1 Kansas vs. (8) Seton Hall

7:10 p.m.


(4) Gonzaga vs. (5) Ohio State

7:45 p.m.


(3) Texas Tech vs. (6) Florida

8:40 p.m.


(3) Michigan vs. (6) Houston

9:40 p.m.


Second round: Sunday, March 18

(2) Purdue vs. (10) Butler

12:10 p.m.


(3) Michigan State vs. (11) Syracuse 

Approximately 2:40 p.m.


(2) North Carolina vs. (7) Texas A&M 

5:15 p.m.


(2) Cincinnati vs. (7) Nevada 

6:10 p.m.


(4) Auburn vs. (5) Clemson 

7:10 p.m.


(9) Kansas State vs. (16) UMBC 

Approximately 7:40 p.m.


(1) Xavier vs. (9) Florida State 

Approximately 8:40 p.m.


(5) West Virginia vs. (13) Marshall 

Approximately 9:40 p.m.


Sweet 16: Thursday, March 22

7:00 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

7:15 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

9:30 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

9:45 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

Sweet 16: Friday, March 23

7:00 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

7:15 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

9:30 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

9:45 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

Elite Eight: Saturday, March 24

6:00 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (TBS)

8:30 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (TBS) 

Elite Eight: Sunday, March 25

2:00 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (CBS)

4:55 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (CBS) 

Final Four: Saturday, March 31

6:00 p.m. -- Elite Eight winners (TBS)

8:30 p.m. -- Elite Eight winners (TBS) 

National Championship: Monday, April 2

9:00 p.m. -- Final Four winners (TBS)

What are the odds?

So, who will likely win the tournament? According to the online betting site Bovada, Villanova is the best bet. 

Here are the odds for each team. If you are not sure how to bet on the games but want to give it a go, there’s a primer on the site to help you. 

Villanova +600 Virginia +650 Duke +800 Michigan State +1100 Kansas +1200 Purdue +1200 Cincinnati +1200 Arizona +1200 Michigan +1400 North Carolina +1400 Xavier +1500 Gonzaga +1500 Kentucky +1600 West Virginia +2500 Texas Tech +4000 Tennessee +4000 Wichita State +4000 Missouri +5500 Auburn +6000 Ohio State +8000 Florida +9000 Houston +10000 Providence +10000 Rhode Island +15000 Texas A&amp;M +15000 TCU +15000 Clemson +15000 TCU +15000 Clemson +15000 Miami +15000 Oklahoma +20000 San Diego State +20000 Virginia Tech +20000 Arkansas +25000 Alabama +2000 Davidson +25000 Seton Hall +25000 Texas +25000 Loyola +25000 NC State +25000 Syracuse +25000 Butler +30000 UCLA +30000 Creighton +35000 Florida State +35000 Arizona State +50000 Kansas State +50000 Marshall +50000 Montana +50000 Nevada +50000 New Mexico State +50000 Stephen F. Austin +50000 Wright State +50000 Bucknell +70000 UMBC +100000 Buffalo +100000 Cal State Fullerton +100000 Charleston +100000 Georgia State +100000 Iona +100000 Lipscomb +100000 LIU Brooklyn +100000 Murray State +100000 North Carolina Central +100000 UNC Greensboro +100000 Pennsylvania +100000 Radford +100000 South Dakota State +100000 St. Bonaventure +100000 Texas Southern +100000

Enough National School Walkout: Live updates

Students across the United States and around the world will walk out of their classrooms Wednesday in solidarity with the victims and the survivors of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The walkout, #EnoughIsEnough, is set for 10 a.m. local time. It will last 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed in the shooting that took place one month ago Wednesday.

According to the Women’s March Youth Empower, more than 3,000 groups have registered to take part in the walkout. The organizers of the event, many of whom are survivors of the shooting, said they hope the walkout will focus attention on gun control reform.

Organizers have seen some movement on gun issues in Floridawhere Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill last week that raised the minimum age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21, created a waiting period for prospective gun buyers, allowed for some school employees to be armed and banned bump stocks, the devices that allow for some weapons to fire more quickly.

What the bill didn’t do was ban the sale of assault weapons, something organizers had hoped for.

The Associated Press reported that free speech advocates are prepared to go to bat for students who may face disciplinary action for walking out of class. The American Civil Liberties Union issued advice for students who walk out, saying schools can’t legally punish them more harshly because of the political nature of their message. In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, some lawyers said they will provide free legal help to students who are punished.

Here are the specifics of Wednesday’s event.

Time: The walkout will take place at 10 a.m. in every time zone.

Place: Students, teachers and administrators from across the country and in European countries have said they will participate. So far, 3,000 groups have registered with ENOUGH National School Walkout. Those participating are expected to walk out of class but stay on school grounds.

How schools will participate: It’s up to the student organizers, and depends on what the school will allow. Some students are planning a “lie-in," in which they will lie down to symbolize those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Others are having discussions on gun issues and some are observing minutes of silence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Live updates

Who is Gina Haspel, the new CIA director nominee?

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Gina Haspel will be nominated as the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The move came after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and announced that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would take his place.

>> Read more trending news

Trump, talking to reporters Tuesday morning about Haspel, "She's an outstanding person who also I've gotten to know very well."

Who is Gina Haspel? Here are a few things you may not know about her.

  • She is 61 years old.
  • She is a career intelligence officer and has worked for the CIA since 1985.
  • Haspel ran a CIA prison in Thailand in 2002. According to The New York Times, Haspel was part of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program which “oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects.”
  • The Washington Post reported that Haspel  was part of a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions that left some detainees  on the brink of physical collapse.” 
  • She served as chief of staff for the director of the National Clandestine Service.
  • In 2013, she was nominated for the position of deputy director of the National Clandestine Service. The National Clandestine Service is in charge of covert operations across the globe. She was not confirmed for that position after senators questioned her actions in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. 
  • Haspel served as the deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action.
  • She was appointed deputy director of the CIA by Trump in February 2017.
  • She has been awarded the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism; the Donovan Award; the Intelligence Medal of Merit; and the Presidential Rank Award, the most prestigious award in the federal civil service.
  • She is well-respected in the intelligence community.

Here, from the CIA press release, are some responses to the announcement of her nomination:

Charles Allen, former assistant director for collection at CIA: “As a CIA officer of 47 years, I can say without reservation that Gina Haspel has my strongest support in her appointment as Deputy Director. A deeply experienced clandestine officer who has held senior positions both at home and abroad, Ms. Haspel is not only an outstanding operations officer but also a recognized program manager and an exceptional leader. She has selflessly dedicated her life to the Agency and to the security of the nation. CIA officers and Intelligence Community leaders writ large will applaud her selection.”

James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence: “I am very pleased to learn of Director Pompeo’s selection of Gina Haspel as Deputy Director. It speaks well of him for picking a seasoned veteran of the Agency who is widely and deeply respected by the workforce as well as those outside the Agency. She has the broad-gauged experience from both foreign and domestic assignments to serve as the right-arm for Director Pompeo. I am particularly gratified, since she has also been a strong proponent for integration, not only within CIA, but across the Intelligence Community.”

Michael Hayden, former CIA director: “What a wonderful choice for Deputy Director, one that will be celebrated by current and former Agency officers alike. Ms. Haspel has responded with dignity, professionalism and honor to everything the Agency and nation have asked her to do. I am sure that she will be for Director Pompeo what Steve Kappes was for me --- a trusted friend, lieutenant and guide to the sometimes opaque corridors of American espionage.”

Stephen Kappes, former deputy director of CIA: “A person of great honesty and integrity, Gina Haspel is a highly skilled Agency professional who has a complete understanding of all the parts of the intelligence business. Given her vast experience both at home and abroad, she is able to work effectively and collaboratively across the many elements of the National Security establishment. She is mission-focused, leads actively and never shies away from the difficult tasks. To these tasks, she also brings creativity and a sense of innovation, both of which will be important in a fast-changing world. Gina Haspel is an excellent choice to fill the Deputy’s role and support the new Director in his movement forward.”

Fran Moore, former director for Intelligence at CIA: “Gina Haspel is an outstanding choice for Deputy Director. She is a seasoned, collaborative officer of great integrity who will be a tremendous partner for Director Pompeo in leading CIA.”

Michael Morell, former deputy director and twice acting director of CIA: “I applaud the appointment. Ms. Haspel will serve Pompeo, the Agency, and her country extremely well. She is widely respected throughout the Agency, and she will be welcomed in the new job by both current and former employees. I worked closely with Haspel from 2006 until my retirement from the Agency in 2013. During that time, I found her to be simply exceptional. She provides advice based on facts and analysis of facts. She gets things done in a quiet, yet effective way, and she is calm under fire. She appreciates the work of all CIA officers – analysts, scientists, and support specialists, as much as she appreciates operations officers.”

Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: “I have had the privilege to work with Ms. Haspel during challenging and intense times for our nation’s security. She is an exceptional leader, patriot and consummate professional. She showed the savvy and grit needed in difficult situations that have garnered respect of colleagues and adversaries alike. Her commitment to the mission and rule of law are unparalleled."


Who is Emma Gonzalez, one of the organizers of the ‘March for Our Lives’ event?

Days after the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a young woman with a buzz cut stood before television cameras and challenged lawmakers to make MSD the last school to see students killed in its hallways.

The high school senior, Emma Gonzalez, along with calling out state and federal officials for “B.S.,” told those listening that day that “it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see."

>> Read more trending news

Since the Feb. 14 shooting, Gonzalez has followed her own advice, helping to organize a movement to push those who are blocking progress on gun control out of the way. One of the organizers of “March for Our Lives,” a rally set for Washington D.C. on March 24, Gonzalez has said she hopes to get legislation banning assault weapons passed, and that the downfall of the National Rifle Association would make the deaths of the 17 people killed at MSD High School almost “bearable.”

Gonzalez, who was forced to huddle in the school’s auditorium with classmates during the shooting at her school, was part of a nationally televised town hall, has been interviewed and profiled by media around the country, and has become the face of the student movement born out of Parkland.

Here are some things you may not know about Gonzalez.

About Gonzalez:

  • She is 18 and a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • She was in the auditorium when mass shooter Nikolas Cruz pulled the fire alarm to draw students and teachers into the hallway and the line of fire.
  • She holed up in the auditorium, searching Google News for updates on the shooting at the school.
  • She gave an 11-minute speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale two days after the shooting.
  • She has two siblings.
  • Her father is an attorney for a cybersecurity company; her mother is a math tutor.González identifies as bisexual. She revealed the fact in an op-ed she wrote for Vogue.
  • She did not cut her hair off because of the shooting. She said it’s hot in Florida and her hair was “just an extra sweater I’m forced to wear.” She said she made a Powerpoint presentation to convince her parents to let her shave her head. “It worked.”
  • She has lived in Parkland her entire life.
  • Her father and members of his family immigrated from Cuba.
  • She is one of the organizers of the upcoming march in Washington D.C.
  • She was set for college in the fall but now says she and other members of the movement “Never Again” will put off college plans for a while.
  • She has 1.2 million followers on Twitter – all since the shooting, she did not have an account on Twitter prior to Feb. 14.


  • “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because … we are going to be the last mass shooting.”That’s going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook and it’s going to be due to the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most of all the students. The students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the student now suffering PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the students who had panic attacks during the vigil because the helicopters would not leave us alone, hovering over the school for 24 hours a day.” 
  • “I didn’t think it would go viral at all,” she said of the speech she gave days after the shooting. “It went so far and so fast. I’ve got celebrities tweeting about me. I wanted people to feel what I was feeling.”
  • “I feel like we’ve been writing these arguments for years,” she said of the movement for stricter gun control. “I utilized the things we’ve been taught. This school is full of people who are old enough to know when they’re being lied to.”
  • “What would make the death(s) bearable is if the NRA was destroyed and if we were the ones to destroy it, at least for me.”
  • “As the days go by, I’m kind of realizing I might not have a choice in that,” she said of going to college in the fall. “Do I have any right to feel like I deserve to go to college?”

Conway accused of Hatch Act violation; what is the Hatch Act?

At least twice last year, White House aide Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act, according to the Office of Special Counsel.

Conway, an aide to President Donald Trump, has been notified that she was in violation of the law two times in 2017. The violations occurred when Conway gave interviews from White House grounds to Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and CNN’s “New Day” defending the president’s support of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in his run for a U.S. Senate seat. Trump backed Moore who was accused of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls in the 1970s when he was a district attorney in Alabama.

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The Office of the Special Counsel said Conway advocated “for and against candidates,” which violated the act. The Office of the Special Counsel is not connected to Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

What is the Hatch Act and what is the penalty for violating it? Here’s a look at legislation.

What is the Hatch Act?

The goal of the Hatch Act is to “to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.” The act was established in 1939 and most recently updated in 2012.

Which federal employees are included under the Hatch Act?

A handful of federal employees, including the president and vice president, are exempt under the act. Here is a list of those included in the act:

  • Administrative law judges (positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372)
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Contract Appeals Boards (positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372a)
  • Criminal Division (Department of Justice)
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal Election Commission
  • Merit Systems Protection Board
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • National Security Agency
  • National Security Council
  • Office of Criminal Investigation (Internal Revenue Service)
  • Office of Investigative Programs (Customs Service)
  • Office of Law Enforcement (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)
  • United States Office of Special Counsel
  • Secret Service
  • Senior Executive Service

What are they prohibited from doing?

Those employees under the act may:

  • Register and vote as they choose.
  • Assist in voter registration drives.
  • Express opinions about candidates and issues.
  • Participate in campaigns where none of the candidates represent a political party.
  • Contribute money to political organizations or attend political fundraising functions.
  • Attend political rallies and meetings.
  • Join political clubs or parties. 
  • Sign nominating petitions.
  • Campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances.

They may not:

  • Be candidates for public office in partisan elections.
  • Campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates in partisan elections.
  • Make campaign speeches.
  • Collect contributions or sell tickets to political fundraising functions.
  • Distribute campaign material in partisan elections.
  • Organize or manage political rallies or meetings.
  • Hold office in political clubs or parties.
  • Circulate nominating petitions.
  • Work to register voters for one party only.
  • Wear political buttons at work.

What is the penalty?

Penalties range from a reprimand or suspension to removal from federal employment. The Merit System Protection Board determines if a hearing is needed to address the finding of a violation of the Hatch Act, and considers whether removal is appropriate on the basis of the seriousness of the violation.

The department the employee works for could also be called to forfeit federal funds equal to two years’ of pay at the rate the employee was receiving at the time of the violation

National school walkout: When is it; what will happen

On school campuses across the United States Wednesday, students, teachers and parents will be taking part in a walkout to focus attention on the fight to end gun violence in schools.

Called the “ENOUGH National School Walkout,” the event was organized by students working with the Women’s March Youth Empower to call for action on gun control and to remember the 17 killed by Nickolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., last month. 

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According to organizers, the goal of the walkout is "to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.”

Here are the specifics of the event.

What time: The walkout will take place at 10 a.m. in every time zone.

Where: Students, teachers and administrators from across the country and in European countries have said they will participate. So far, 2,000 groups have registered with ENOUGH National School Walkout. Those participating are expected to walkout of class but stay on school grounds.

How will schools participate: It’s up to the student organizers, and depends on what the school will allow. Some students are planning a “lie-in” where they lie down to symbolize those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Others are having  discussions on gun issues and some are observing minutes of silence.

How long will it last: It will last 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed at Stoneman Douglas High School.

Will students get into trouble for participating: That is up to the school district. Many schools have said they will tolerate a walkout if it is orderly. Others have threatened to discipline students if they leave class.

For more information: Click here to see any events planned for your area.

Easter 2018: Quotes about the holiest day on the Christian calendar

This year Easter, the holiest day in the Christian calendar, lands on April 1. 

That day will mark the end of the Lenten season, and see the celebration by billions of believers of the promise of eternal life with God.

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Here are what some people say about Easter.

  • “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – Pope John Paul II 
  • “Christ not only died for all: he died for each.” – Billy Graham
  • “The symbolic language of the crucifixion is the death of the old paradigm; resurrection is a leap into a whole new way of thinking.” – Deepak Chopra
  • “Easter is very important to me, it's a second chance.” – Reba McEntire
  • “Easter may seem boring to children, and it is blessedly unencumbered by the silly fun that plagues Christmas. Yet it contains the one thing needful for every human life: the good news of Resurrection.” – Frederica Mathewes-Green
  • “The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes – undisturbed in form and position.” – Josh McDowell
  • “It is at Easter that Jesus is most human, and like all humans, he fails and is failed. His is not an all-powerful God, it is an all-vulnerable God.” – Michael Leunig
  • “During the first 13 centuries after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, no one thought of setting up a creche to celebrate Christmas. The pre-eminent Christian holiday was Easter, not Christmas.” – Nancy Pearcey
  • “He is not here. He is risen.” – Mark 16:6
  • “Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.” – Watchman Nee
  • “Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless.” – Billy Graham
  • “Jesus Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good; He came into this world to make dead people live.” – Lee Strobel
  • “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” – John 11:25
  • “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf of springtime.” – Martin Luther
  • “Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.” – Charles Wesley’s hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”
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