The Secret Service may pursue a criminal investigation of the Virginia couple who crashed a White House dinner, but events at the security checkpoint may determine whether the security breach is a crime or just an embarrassment.
Jim Mackin, an agency spokesman, said the possible turn toward criminal charges is one reason the Secret Service has kept mum about what happened when Michaele and Tareq Salahi arrived at the checkpoint Tuesday. They were not on the guest list for the dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify statements on matters within the federal government's jurisdiction.
Nobody disputes that the couple, candidates for a reality TV show, were allowed through security. The Secret Service acknowledges that its procedures weren't followed.
A U.S. debt that is topping $12 trillion is raising fresh questions about the cost of President Barack Obama's proposed healthcare overhaul, but those concerns are unlikely to sink the legislation.
The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan scorekeeper of federal spending, put the first 10-year cost of the Senate healthcare bill at $849 billion and said it would reduce budget deficits by $130 billion over that period.
Republican critics of the overhaul, a top domestic priority for Obama, say those numbers reflect timing gimmicks that skew the bill's costs and that the price tag will be closer to $2.5 trillion in the first decade the bill is fully implemented.
The nation's retailers are ushering in the traditional start of the holiday shopping season with expanded hours and deep discounts on everything from toys to TVs to lure crowds of shoppers.
A number of stores, including Walmart and many Old Navy locations, opened on Thanksgiving, hoping to make the most of the extra hours. Toys R Us opened most of its stores at midnight Friday.
Online sellers also pushed to grab a piece of the action, pushing deals on Thursday and even earlier in the week.
After suffering the worst sales decline in several decades last holiday season, the good news is that the retail industry is heading into the Christmas selling period armed with lean inventories and more practical goods on their shelves that reflect shoppers' new psyche.
Defense lawyers are alleging misconduct by Justice Department prosecutors in the case against one of five Blackwater security guards accused in the killings of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad.
Recent pretrial proceedings that took place behind closed doors led the Justice Department to seek dismissal of charges against Nicholas Slatten of Sparta, Tenn., one of the five guards accused in the shootings in busy Nisoor Square in September 2007.
In a one-paragraph filing a week ago, the department disclosed that it wants to preserve the possibility of filing a new set of charges against Slatten.
On Wednesday, Slatten's lawyers said in court papers they want to stop the Justice Department from doing so and that the issue should be aired in a public court hearing.
The Secret Service maintains that President Barack Obama was never in danger at a state dinner after an uninvited Virginia couple got through security, but it wouldn't comment on whether anyone is screened for radiological or biological weapons.
Edwin Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman, said Thursday the agency doesn't discuss the levels of security screening at the White House.
Donovan had said earlier that Michaele and Tareq Salahi went through the same security screening for weapons as the 300-plus people invited to the dinner Tuesday for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The fight over a U.S. government-run public insurance plan may be getting louder and noisier, but for now the program's political symbolism far exceeds its practical impact on expanding health coverage.
The Senate's version of a public option would serve just 3 million to 4 million of the 46 million uninsured living in the United States, and charge slightly higher premiums than private plans, according to non-partisan budget analysts.
But the limited impact has not eased the raging debate over the option, which has split the Democratic Party and threatened prospects for a sweeping healthcare overhaul, President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.
Michaele and Tareq Salahi didn't look out of place at Tuesday's White House state dinner. They were all smiles as they rubbed shoulders with Vice President Joe Biden, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty and CBS News anchor Katie Couric.
No one suspected the Salahis were a couple of brazen party crashers — and wannabe reality TV stars.
The Secret Service is looking into its security procedures after determining that the Virginia couple managed to slip into Tuesday night's event even though they were not on the guest list, agency spokesman Ed Donovan said.
The Federal Reserve on Tuesday raised its outlook for US economic growth in 2010 to a range of 2.5 to 3.5 percent, and said the troubles in unemployment appeared to be near a peak.
In a new forecast accompanying minutes from the Fed's policy meeting November 3-4, the central bank said participants "anticipated that economic recovery would be gradual, with real gross domestic product (GDP) growing at a moderate pace and the unemployment rate declining slowly over the next few years."
The range for 2010 growth was boosted slightly from a July projection of between 2.1 and 3.3 percent.
The new forecast also suggests that unemployment, which hit 10.2 percent in October, could ease in early 2010.
The economy is not growing as fast as the government first thought and the recovery still faces significant obstacles, including households nervous about spending and rising unemployment.
Economists expect new reports Wednesday to give a better picture of how things are shaping up for the final three months of the year.
New filings for unemployment benefits likely will show a slight improvement while consumer spending should post a rebound in October after an auto-related plunge in September. Sales of new homes are expected to grow, propelled by first-time buyers taking advantage of a special tax credit.
Even with signs of strength, economists worry the recovery could falter if consumer spending, which makes up 70 percent of economic activity, drops in the face of unemployment that is already at the highest point in 26 years and is expected to keep rising.
Conservatives and liberals have finally found an issue where they agree: The over criminalization of the American justice system.
Both sides say the system is out of control, going after too many people for too may trivial matters.
It's a blatant example of a government out of control and too consumed with chasing people for minor crimes.
Even the law-and-order fanatics from the Reagan administration say the abuses must be curbed.
The issue has created strange bedfellows who normally line up against each other and both sides say the fight is worth the coalition it has created.