The brazen attack that killed seven CIA employees at a remote outpost in Afghanistan is likely to raise questions about whether the agency could do more to protect its operatives on dangerous assignments.
Lawmakers on Thursday issued their condolences and withheld any judgment. But officials said they expected an eventual inquiry as to whether the CIA should re-examine how it deploys individuals in hostile regions and the lengths operatives are allowed to go to get information.
"We owe these brave men and women, and their families who are forever impacted, our deepest appreciation and thanks," said Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the House Intelligence Committee chairman who had met with the CIA team on a recent trip to Afghanistan.
A federal judge cited repeated government missteps in dismissing all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in a case that inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed the case against the guards accused of the shooting in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.
The shooting in busy Nisoor Square left 17 Iraqis dead. The Iraqi government wanted the guards to face trial in Iraq and officials there said they would closely watch how the U.S. judicial system handled the case.
President Barack Obama is reviewing reports from homeland security officials as his administration tries to determine what U.S. policy and personnel failures preceded the attempted Detroit jetliner bombing.
Intelligence officials, meanwhile, prepared for what was shaping up to be uncomfortable hearings before Congress about miscommunication among anti-terror agencies and sweeping changes expected under Obama's watch.
Democrats joined a chorus led by Obama in declaring the government's intelligence procedures in need of repair. Among them, Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said that when the government gets tipped to trouble as it did before a 23-year-old Nigerian man boarded the Northwest Airlines jet with explosives, "someone's hair should be on fire."
Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska's political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday.
"We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed," South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general wrote in the letter to be sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision," they wrote.
CIA employees are believed to be among the dead in Wednesday's suicide bombing inside a base in eastern Afghanistan, a congressional official said.
A former senior CIA officer who was stationed at the base said a combination of agency officers and contractors operated out of the remote outpost with the military and other agencies.
The CIA has not yet commented on or confirmed the deaths.
The congressional official said it was not clear how many of the victims were assigned to the CIA.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.
U.S. officials said the attack occurred at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province, killing eight American civilians and wounding others.
Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is resting comfortably in a Hawaii hospital after suffering chest pains while on vacation, his radio program says.
"Rush appreciates your prayers and well wishes and will keep you updated via rushlimbaugh.com and on his radio program," the program said in a statement late Wednesday night.
Limbaugh was rushed for medical treatment earlier in the day. The statement said "Rush was admitted to and is resting comfortably in a Honolulu hospital today after suffering chest pains."
Kit Carson, Limbaugh's chief of staff, told The Associated Press that he had no further information on Limbaugh's condition.
President Barack Obama is to receive a preliminary report Thursday on how a 23-year-old Nigerian with suspected terrorist ties managed to board a plane he is accused of attempting to bomb on Christmas Day, along with recommendations on how to prevent a sequel.
The report is just the first step in what is shaping up to be an Obama-led effort to change the nation's intelligence practices after an attack that failed not because of U.S. anti-terrorism policies, but despite them. Administration officials said the system to protect the nation's skies from terrorists was deeply flawed and, even then, the government failed to follow its own directives.
The Obama administration claim that "the system worked" after a failed aircraft bombing wasn't quite as jolting as President George W. Bush's "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" while New Orleans sank under deadly Hurricane Katrina. But both raised disturbing questions about presidential response in a time of crisis.
Bush's praise for his beleaguered FEMA director, Michael Brown, came while storm evacuees remained trapped in the Louisiana Superdome and victims' bloated bodies floated in the streets. It became a clarion call for all his administration did wrong during the 2005 calamity — and a larger symbol of all that people disliked generally about Bush.
Suddenly, four days after an aborted terror attack aboard an American airliner, President Barack Obama wants answers on why information wasn't put together by the U.S. intelligence community to prevent the terrorist from even getting on the plane.
After first claiming the system "had worked," Obama appears to finally have realized that the system failed and action must be taken correct the problems that -- once again -- allowed a bomber to put Americans in danger.
The father of Umar Farouk Adbulmatallab did everything short of delivering his son in shackles to the American Embassy but U.S. agencies did not share information with each other or connect the dots on a real threat.
The State Department says counterterrorism agencies were warned that the Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up an airliner Christmas Day may be under extremists' influence.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly says it was up to the National Counterterrorism Center to coordinate the interagency effort that would have blocked 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from entering the U.S. He says U.S. counterterror agencies received the information on Nov. 20, a day after it was provided by the father, but it was not enough to revoke the visa.
Kelly says officials get thousands of negative messages about people that are not always accurate.
He says Abdulmutallab got the two-year tourist visa in 2008 because he had money, was attending a reputable school and had visited the U.S. before.