Their identities have been a well-guarded secret, known only to their high-powered lawyers and a handful of House lawmakers and staff. But now Fox News has learned the names of the self-described Benghazi “whistleblowers” who are set to testify before a widely anticipated congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Appearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be three career State Department officials: Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks; Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya, the top security officer in the country in the months leading up to the attacks.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
Hicks was at the time of the highest-ranking American diplomat in the country.
Nordstrom previously testified before the oversight committee, which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in October 2012. At that time, Nordstrom made headlines by detailing for lawmakers the series of requests that he, Ambassador Stevens, and others made for enhanced security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, most of which were rejected by State Department superiors.
“For me the Taliban is on the inside of the [State Department] building,” Nordstrom testified, angry over inadequate staffing at a time when the threat environment in Benghazi was deteriorating,
The other two witnesses have not been heard from publicly before.
A grand jury prepared to start examining evidence and hearing from witnesses in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped by two high school football players after an alcohol-fueled party last summer.
The 14-person panel which by law meets secretly is investigating whether other laws were broken in connection with the August attack in Steubenville in eastern Ohio.
One of the questions before the grand jury, which begins its work on Tuesday, is likely to be whether adults like coaches or school administrators may have known about the rape allegation but failed to report it.
School superintendent Mike McVey has previously acknowledged that he, other administrators and head football coach Reno Saccoccia were interviewed by investigators in the days leading up to the March trial.
Text messages introduced at trial indicated that Saccoccia may have known about the allegation but didn’t report it, which if true would violate Ohio law requiring coaches and others to report suspected abuse.
On Wednesday, two high school boys will stand trial on charges of raping the girl in August, but more is at stake than the futures of the defendants. Steubenville, once famous for steel, Dean Martin and football trophies, is also on trial, and it is fighting to clear itself of accusations that a small-town fixation on high school athletes allowed a hideous crime to occur in front of witnesses who didn’t report it.
“The actions of a few have basically condemned our whole city,” City Manager Cathy Davison said. “Obviously we do not support sexual assault.” Fallout from the case has prompted Steubenville, population 19,000, to hire a Washington-based crisis manager to guide it through the tumult.
Critics of the investigation, though, cannot understand why more people have not been charged with failure to report a crime.
Most prominent among those critics is Alexandria Goddard, a crime blogger who grew up in the area and whose early postings on the incident helped propel the case to national prominence. Goddard, who no longer lives here, saw a news report on the arrests of Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays, both 16, on Aug. 22. The arrests were made after the girl, who says she was too intoxicated to recall details, became aware of pictures and chatter online about the incident. She told her parents, who went to police.
Al-Qaeda-linked fighters occupying Timbuktu in northern Mali have destroyed remaining mausoleums in the ancient city using pickaxes, a leader of the group says.
“Not a single mausoleum will remain in Timbuktu, Allah doesn’t like it,” Abou Dardar, head of Ansar Dine, told the AFP news agency on Sunday. “We are in the process of smashing all the hidden mausoleums in the area.”
The smashing of the mausoleum, part of what the fighters say is about defending the purity of their faith against idol worship, follows a United Nations approval of a military force to wrest back control of the conflict-ridden area.
Historians say the rebels’ campaign of destruction is pulverising a valuable part of the history of Islam in Africa.
The AFP reported that witnesses confirmed the claims, which were also corroborated by a resident who said he belonged to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), another group occupying the fabled city.
“The Islamists are currently in the process of destroying all the mausoleums in the area with pickaxes,” one witness said.
A suspect was arrested on a murder charge Wednesday in the death of a man who was pushed in front of a subway train and photographed just before he was fatally struck.
Officer James Duffy said Naeem Davis, 30, has made statements implicating himself in Ki-Suck Han’s death.
Witnesses told investigators they saw a man talking to himself Monday afternoon before he approached Han at the Times Square station, got into an altercation with him and pushed him into the train’s path. Davis was taken into custody Tuesday after police viewed a security video showing a man fitting the description of the suspect working with street vendors near Rockefeller Center, police said.
Several of Lance Armstrong’s former teammates, including George Hincapie, the rider who was by his side for all of his seven Tour de France victories, have agreed to testify in the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s case against Armstrong and several of his associates, two people close to the investigation said.
Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie — American riders who are now competing in the Tour de France — are also scheduled to be witnesses for the antidoping agency, which last week charged Armstrong with doping and playing a key role in a doping conspiracy while on the United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams. The two people with knowledge of the case insisted on anonymity because the investigation was continuing.
None of those riders responded Thursday to efforts to contact them. At the Tour on Thursday, Hincapie neither confirmed nor denied his role in the case and said his team ‘has nothing to do with this.’
‘I feel like I’ve always done the right thing for the sport,’ said Hincapie, a five-time Olympian who is riding in his 17th Tour, adding that he sympathizes with Armstrong. ‘I’m sad he is going through this,’ he said. ‘He’s done so many things for the sport. His accomplishments are incredible.’
Armstrong, who retired from cycling last year and denies ever doping, has until Monday to tell the antidoping agency if he is challenging or accepting the charges that carry a lifetime ban from Olympic sports, according to his spokesman, Mark Fabiani. Armstrong also could ask for a five-day extension. If he contests the charges, the case will go to an arbitration hearing. If he loses, he could be stripped of his seven Tour titles.
Explosions are rocking Damascus as Syrian troops clash with rebels in some of the heaviest fighting yet in the capital in the 15-month uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Troops have also unleashed a heavy assault to retake a rebel-held neighbourhood in a central flashpoint city, blasting it with heavy bombardment.
Also on Friday, UN observers entered a remote farming area where a massacre was reported this week, an activist said, a day after they were blocked from reaching it by troops and local residents and fired upon.
The fighting in Damascus erupted in the restive district of Kfar Souseh, where the night before, armed rebels took part in a large anti-government rally in the same district, witnesses said - a rare and bold public appearance by the fighters in the capital.
Friday’s fighting began when the fighters attacked a government checkpoint in the morning, according to Rami Abdul-Rahman, of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Just 60 Seconds of Combat Impairs Memory
Just 60 seconds of all-out physical exertion in a threatening situation can seriously damage the memories of those involved for many details of the incident, according to a new study of police officers.
Police officers, witnesses and victims of crime suffer loss of memory, recognition and awareness of their environment if they have had to use bursts of physical energy in a combative encounter, according to scientists.
Researchers, led by Dr Lorraine Hope of the University of Portsmouth, found that less than 60 seconds of all-out exertion, as might happen when an officer is forced to chase-down a fleeing suspect or engage in a physical battle with a resistant criminal, can seriously impair their ability to remember details of the incident - or even identify the person who was involved. Even officers in top condition are not immune to the rapid drain of physical prowess and cognitive faculties resulting from sustained hand-to-hand combat.
The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, are a stark warning to police officers, police chiefs and the courts, according to Dr Hope, a Reader in applied cognitive psychology of the university’s Department of Psychology.
She said: “Police officers are often expected to remember in detail who said what and how many blows were received or given in the midst of physical struggle or shortly afterwards. The results of our tests indicate it may be very difficult for them to do this.
A “John Doe” investigation launched in May 2010 has embroiled former Walker staffers and appointees from his time as Milwaukee County executive, his job before winning the governorship in November 2010. The investigation, led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, has led to home raids targeting former staffers with close ties to Walker and numerous felony charges for election law violations, embezzlement, and misconduct in office.
Walker says he has “fully cooperated” and “will continue to cooperate” with the John Doe probe. The governor is confident he won’t be implicated, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last September, because he held himself to high standards learned from his parents. “Certainly, they got me to the rank of Eagle Scout, and I continue to have that kind of integrity,” he told the paper.
What’s a John Doe investigation, anyway?
Here, “John Doe” doesn’t refer to one person. It is a secret legal proceeding akin to a grand jury investigation in which a prosecutor secretly gathers information on a number of individuals to find out if crimes were committed. A John Doe probe must be green-lit by a judge; in this case, according to court records, former appeals court judge Neal Nettesheim approved an investigation on May 5, 2010.
As part of a John Doe investigation, witnesses may be granted immunity from prosecution if they agree to testify under oath. If it’s learned that a witness didn’t tell the truth, however, he or she could face charges. Court records list six individuals who have been granted immunity in the investigation, including Cullen Werwie, Walker’s chief spokesman; Rose Ann Dieck, a fixture in Milwaukee County Republican politics; and Kenneth Lucht, a lobbyist for Milwaukee-based Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Co.
Talk show host Berry, who has filled in for Mark Levin, still hasn’t been charged with a hit and run to my knowledge, and the accumulated evidence from witnesses and cameras at TC’s Gay Bar seems pretty conclusive.
Lizards might remember Berry as the guy who said “I hope that someone blows it up.” in relation to the misnamed ‘Ground Zero Mosque.’
Both video and police report links are at the link above.
Security camera footage from a well-known gay bar has played a key role in a hit-and-run investigation of a former Houston City Councilman, who is now a conservative talk show host, Local 2 Investigates reported on Wednesday.
A Houston man reported to police that KTRH talk show host Michael Berryplowed his SUV into another car outside T.C.’s Show Baron Converse near Fairview in the Montrose area about 11 p.m. on January 31st.
Tuderia Bennett, of Galena Park, told Houston police that he was working as a bouncer at the front door during a popular cross-dressing ‘drag show’ that was going on inside the club. He watched the crash happen and told police he rushed up to the car after impact and got a good look at Berry behind the wheel.
“I said, ‘That’s definitely the guy.’ For sure, 100 percent,” said Bennett.
Bennett wrote down the license number from the car that he said caused more than $1,500 in damage to his car. Then, when HPD officers traced that license tag to Berry, the victim said he had no doubt it was him.
He said he did not know who Berry was until HPD officers told him and he viewed an online promotional photo of Berry.
More on Michael Berry at the Houston Press