Obama makes a burger run, again
WASHINGTON - For a health-food nut, President Obama sure likes his burgers. Obama made a surprise lunchtime stop yesterday at Five Guys, a fast-food restaurant in Washington.
Obama ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers, and mustard as well as several other cheeseburgers to go. He also ordered a cheeseburger for NBC news anchor Brian Williams. The network was filming a day-in-the-life program at the White House.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president wasn't showing off for the cameras. "I can assure you it was done simply for the benefit of the appetite of the commander in chief," Gibbs said. - AP
CIA aims to boost language fluency
WASHINGTON - The CIA is undertaking a five-year plan to boost its fluency in foreign languages, Director Leon E. Panetta said yesterday.
Fewer than a third of CIA analysts and overseas spies are proficient in a foreign language. Panetta said he aims to raise foreign-language proficiency at the CIA to at least half of all analysts and intelligence operatives within five years.
"Whether an officer is conducting a meeting in a foreign capital, analyzing plans of a foreign government, or translating a foreign broadcast, language capability is critical to every aspect of our mission," Panetta said.
Agency officials say its staff suffers shortages in some of the world's critical languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Pashto, Urdu, and Persian. Panetta said the initiative would require significant new funding, but he did not specify an amount. - AP
'Brother' Clinton, Bush at forum
TORONTO - Former President George W. Bush defended former President Bill Clinton and called him his "brother" in their first-ever appearance together on stage.
Bush said in their appearance yesterday at a Toronto forum that he never liked when previous administration officials criticized his government. But Clinton, he said, was respectful and never did that.
Bush declined to criticize the Obama administration. His former vice president, Dick Cheney, has been a very vocal critic of President Obama.
Bush said his mother, Barbara Bush, "said President Clinton and Father [former President George W. Bush] share the stage so much, he's like a son to her."
"So, brother," he said to Clinton, "it's good to see you."
The event was organized by the Power Within, a firm that produces motivational and training programs. - AP
Reward offered for archives drive
WASHINGTON - The National Archives is offering a $50,000 reward for the recovery of a missing computer drive containing sensitive Clinton administration data.
The Western Digital My Book external hard drive was discovered missing about March 24 from an Archives processing room in College Park, Md. The Archives said yesterday that its inspector general and the Secret Service had not uncovered any evidence of theft or targeting of the device for its data.
The drive contains backup tapes from the Executive Office of the President, including some Social Security numbers, addresses, and Secret Service and White House operating procedures. Those with information are asked to call the Secret Service at 1-202-406-8800. - AP
A federal judge yesterday spared Ben-ami Kadish, 85, a former Army engineer who worked at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, N.J., prison time for passing secret documents to the Israelis in the 1980s but said it was a mystery why such a grave assault on national security took 23 years to prosecute. Kadish apologized and was fined $50,000.