Political worries altered Benghazi talking points
WASHINGTON - Senior State Department officials pressed for changes in the talking points that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used after the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya last September, expressing concerns that Congress might criticize the Obama administration for ignoring warnings of a growing threat in Benghazi.
An interim report by Republicans on five House committees last month detailed how the talking points were changed, days after the Sept. 11 attack and in the heat of the 2012 presidential campaign. New details about the political concerns emerged yesterday.
The White House has insisted that it made only stylistic changes to the intelligence agency talking points in which Rice suggested that protests over an anti-Islamic video set off the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Words 'tea party' were toxic to IRS workers
WASHINGTON - The IRS is apologizing for wrongly flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.
Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.
Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.
Medic at Texas fertilizer factory explosion arrested
WACO, Texas - Texas law-enforcement officials launched a criminal investigation yesterday into the massive fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people last month, after weeks of largely treating the blast as an industrial accident.
The announcement came the same day federal agents said they found bomb-making materials belonging to a paramedic who helped evacuate residents the night of the explosion. Bryce Reed was arrested on a charge of possessing a destructive device, but officials said they had not linked the charge to the April 17 fire and blast.
Boston bomber buried in secret in Virginia
DOSWELL, Va. - Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried in a cemetery in central Virginia, infuriating some members of the area's Islamic community who say they weren't consulted and flooring at least one neighbor who said she didn't even know she lived near a burial ground.
The secret burial this week at a small Islamic cemetery ended a frustrating search for a community willing to take the body, which had been kept at a funeral home in Worcester, Mass., as cemeteries in Massachusetts and several other states refused to accept the remains.
Tsarnaev's uncle Ruslan Tsarni took responsibility for the body after Tamerlan's wife said she wanted it released to her in-laws. He said his nephew was buried in Doswell with the help of a faith coalition. "The body's buried," said the uncle. "That's it."