US considers Israel, closest Mideast ally, to be genuine counterintelligence threat at times
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The CIA station chief opened the locked box containing the sensitive equipment he used from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, to communicate with CIA headquarters in Virginia, only to find that someone had tampered with it. He sent word to his superiors about the break-in.
The incident, described by three former senior U.S. intelligence officials, might have been dismissed as just another cloak-and-dagger incident in the world of international espionage, except that the same thing had happened to the previous station chief in Israel.
It was a not-so-subtle reminder that, even in a country friendly to the United States, the CIA was itself being watched.
In a separate episode, according to another two former U.S. officials, a CIA officer in Israel came home to find the food in the refrigerator had been rearranged. In all the cases, the U.S. government believes Israel's security services were responsible.
Such meddling underscores what is widely known but rarely discussed outside intelligence circles: Despite inarguable ties between the U.S. and its closest ally in the Middle East and despite statements from U.S. politicians trumpeting the friendship, U.S. national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat.
100 days left: In remarkably tight race between Obama and Romney, debates, economy loom large
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stubbornly close and deeply divisive, the presidential race throttles into its last 100 days as an enormous clash over economic vision, with the outcome likely to come down to fall debates, final unemployment numbers and fierce efforts to mobilize voters. It may seem like an election for the whole nation, but only about eight states will decide who wins the White House.
Polling shows the contest between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney remains remarkably static across the country and in those pivotal states even as both men and their allies pour money into largely negative television advertising to sway opinions.
The two candidates will intensify their time before voters in the weeks ahead, knowing much of the public will not truly start paying attention until after Labor Day.
What voters probably will see will look a lot like what's played out so far -- a bitter, bruising, personal contest over who can be trusted to fix the economy. Obama, for example, used his weekend radio and Internet address to blame Republicans for a stalemate that could raise taxes on Americans next year, and he took a swipe at Romney without mentioning his challenger by name.
"Republicans in Congress and their nominee for president believe that the best way to create prosperity in America is to let it trickle down from the top," he said. "They believe that if our country spends trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, we'll somehow create jobs -- even if we have to pay for it by gutting things like education and training and by raising middle-class taxes. They're wrong."
Injured Colorado theater victim whose daughter died in massacre suffers miscarriage
DENVER (AP) -- A woman who was critically wounded in the Colorado theater shooting that left dead her 6-year-old daughter has suffered a miscarriage.
The family of Ashley Moser said in a statement Saturday that she is recovering from surgery but that the trauma caused the miscarriage.
Jacki Kelley of the Jefferson County sheriff's office declined to release details and says the family has declined to speak to the media.
Moser's daughter, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, was the youngest person killed in the attack at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., more than a week ago.
Moser suffered gunshot wounds to her neck and abdomen. A family member has said they hadn't told her about Veronica's death.
Stunner: Ryan Lochte races to blowout win in 400 IM; Phelps denied a spot on the medal stand
LONDON (AP) -- Ryan Lochte strolled the deck of the Olympic Aquatics Centre wearing diamonds in his mouth and lime-green sneakers on the feet that powered him through the water faster than anyone else. Beaming, he chomped playfully on his gold medal while Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" blared throughout the massive arena.
He was nowhere to be found.
Not during the race.
Not when it came time to hand out the medals.
EYES ON LONDON: Swimming excitement as competition replaces opening ceremony excitement
LONDON (AP) -- Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:
AND FROM THE TV END ...
This from AP Television Writer David Bauder just now:
"An opening ceremony from the mother country with a Beatle, a queen and Mr. Bean proved irresistible for viewers in the United States, with a record-setting 40.7 million people watching NBC's first night of summer Olympics coverage. The Nielsen company said Saturday that London's opener was the most-watched opening ceremony of any summer or winter Olympics. It topped the previous mark of 39.8 million people who watched the 1996 Atlanta Olympics begin, and the 34.9 million who watched the colorful first night from Beijing four years ago."
Friend: Md. man accused in shooting plot was 'gentle giant,' was concerned about break-ins
WASHINGTON (AP) -- To his friends, Neil E. Prescott was a "gentle giant" -- a physically towering young man with a background in computers and electronics and a sarcastic, even biting, sense of humor that people close to him knew to shrug off as innocuous.
But police say they had no choice but to take it seriously when Prescott threatened to shoot up his workplace and referred to himself as "a joker," comments that raised particular alarm in the wake of last week's mass shooting at a Colorado theater during the latest Batman movie. The man accused in those shootings dyed his hair reddish-orange, and New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said the man called himself the Joker -- a reference to Batman's nemesis.
Prescott, 28, was taken into custody early Friday at his apartment in Maryland, where officers found several thousand rounds of ammunition and a cache of about two dozen weapons including semi-automatic rifles and pistols. He was receiving an emergency psychiatric evaluation at a hospital and had not been charged as of Saturday afternoon.
Two friends told The Associated Press Saturday that they couldn't imagine that Prescott, who was in the process of being fired or already had lost his job, intended to be taken seriously when he allegedly told a supervisor: "I'm a joker and I'm gonna load my guns and blow everybody up."
"Neil's the kind of guy who had the ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and not mean anything by it. So to him, he thinks it's funny," said Wesley Weber, who said his friend, at 6 feet 7 inches, was a "gentle giant" prone to bouts of exaggeration and inappropriate jokes who "talked big but didn't walk the walk."
Doctor says Jesse Jackson Jr.'s transfer to Mayo Clinic could point to medical complications
CHICAGO (AP) -- The announcement that Jesse Jackson Jr. had been transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota pinned down his whereabouts for the first time in weeks and gave clear confirmation that the Illinois congressman is suffering from depression.
It also was the first mention that he's now being treated for a "gastrointestinal issue," which some experts said Saturday was a sign his condition is becoming more complicated.
The Chicago Democrat and son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has been on a secretive leave of absence for nearly seven weeks, during which his office has released only occasional snippets of information, including that he was undergoing treatment for a "mood disorder" at an undisclosed inpatient facility.
A new, three-sentence written statement from the congressman was distributed by the Mayo Clinic late Friday during the national broadcast of the Olympics' opening ceremony, when public attention was more likely fixed half a world away.
As in the past, the statement gave scant detail, an apparent ongoing strategy in the face of pressure from congressional colleagues and constituents clamoring for an in-depth explanation.
Syrian rebels in Aleppo hang on to their neighborhoods as regime forces move in with tanks
BEIRUT (AP) -- The Syrian government launched an offensive Saturday to retake rebel-held neighborhoods in the nation's commercial hub of Aleppo, unleashing artillery, tanks and helicopter gunships against poorly armed opposition fighters.
Yet after a day of fighting, the rag-tag rebel forces remained in control of their neighborhoods in Syria's largest city, said activists, suggesting they had successfully fought off the government's initial assault.
The international community has raised an outcry about a possible massacre in this city of 3 million but acknowledged there was little they could do to stop the bloodshed. The foreign minister of Russia, a powerful ally of Syria, said it was "simply unrealistic" for the Syrian regime to cede control.
The state-controlled al-Watan newspaper celebrated the assault with a banner headline proclaiming the fight for Aleppo "the mother of all battles."
The rebels are estimated to control between a third and a half of the neighborhoods in this sprawling city, especially a cluster in the northeast around Sakhour neighborhood and in the southwest.
Black couple says opposition at mostly white Miss. church forced a relocation of their wedding
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A Mississippi couple says the church where they planned to get married turned them away because they are black.
Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson say they had set the date and mailed invitations, but the day before their wedding they say they got bad news from the pastor of predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs: Some members of the church complained about the black couple having a wedding there.
The Wilsons, who live in nearby Jackson, said they attend the church regularly although they are not members.
Pastor Stan Weatherford told WLBT TV (http://bit.ly/QSNlf8 ) he was surprised when a small number of church members opposed holding the wedding at the church.
"This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that," said Weatherford.
Charlie Sheen happy about 'Anger Management,' with FX sitcom poised for renewal
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- Charlie Sheen says he's not insane anymore.
Instead, these are good days for the "Anger Management" star, he declares, with his FX sitcom half-way through its initial 10-episode run and poised to get an order for 90 more.
Sheen told reporters Saturday that the prospect of continuing is as "exciting as hell," and added cheerily, "I don't think 90's gonna be enough."
With the expected pickup, FX plans to bring aboard Sheen's dad, Martin Sheen, as a recurring cast member. He will play the father of Charlie Goodson, the anger-management therapist played by Charlie Sheen. The veteran movie actor, who also played President Jed Bartlet on the drama series "The West Wing," is guest-starring on an "Anger Management" episode that airs Aug. 16.
"I think that was the best episode we did," his son said.