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News Wrap: CIA uses NSA data to track down targets, carry out drone strikes

October 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
In our news wrap Thursday, new revelations from documents leaked by Edward Snowden show the CIA relies heavily on the NSA's ability to gather data to track down terrorists and carry out drone strikes abroad. Also, President Obama plans to nominate former Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news, stocks staged an impressive recovery on Wall Street today after the last-minute deal to avoid a U.S. default. The S&P 500 closed with a record high. The Dow Jones industrial average erased its early losses and ended the day down just two points to close above 15,371. The Nasdaq rose 23 points to close at 3,863.

There are new revelations the CIA is collaborating extensively with the National Security Agency to carry out drone strikes against targets abroad. That’s according to documents The Washington Post received from NSA leaker Edward Snowden. They showed the CIA relies heavily on the NSA’s ability to gather vast quantities of e-mail, phone calls, and other data to track down terrorists.

President Obama plans to nominate Jeh Johnson to lead the Department of Homeland Security. An unnamed White House official said the president will make the announcement tomorrow. If confirmed, the former Pentagon lawyer will succeed Janet Napolitano, who stepped down in August.

International researchers now say air pollution is a more serious cause of cancer than passive cigarette smoke. The cancer agency of the World Health Organization made that declaration today. It’s the first time it has classified air pollution in its entirety as causing cancer, even though the risk to individuals is low.

New Jersey elected Newark Mayor Cory Booker to be the state’s next U.S. senator. In the special election, the 44-year-old Democrat won 55 percent of the vote, to Republican Steve Lonegan’s 44 percent. Booker will finish out the term of Senator Frank Lautenberg, who died in office in June. He spoke last night to crowds of his supporters in Newark.

CORY BOOKER, D-N.J. Senator-Elect: Too many people are forgetting that the lines that divide us are nothing compared to those ties that bind us. It forgets — this cynical attitude forgets the idea, that ideal, the truth that we are all in this together.

JUDY WOODRUFF: We will talk with senator-elect Booker right after the news summary.

More than 60 people were killed in a fresh wave of violence across Iraq today. Most of the car and suicide bombings targeted Shiite districts of Baghdad. Nine car bombs detonated in the capital, including one near a playground that killed two children. The explosions rang out as Iraqis celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha.

The annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia came to an end today. Nearly two million Muslim pilgrims took part in the final day of commemorations in the holy city of Mecca. They performed their last round of rituals before leaving the Grand Mosque, Islam’s most important holy site.

In Australia, unseasonably hot temperatures combined with strong winds to fan the flames of nearly 100 wildfires. And 36 of the fires in New South Wales, the most populous state in the country, were burning out of control. Smoke plumes stretched for miles, and even cast an orange haze over downtown Sydney. Conditions are still too intense to get an accurate number of how many homes have been destroyed.

 PREMIEIR BARRY O’FARRELL, New South Wales: We are unclear yet as to how many properties have been lost, but it’s suspected that by the time we finish counting, it will at least be in the hundreds. The fact is that today’s conditions, both the hot, dry conditions, but also the wind conditions, have contributed to the difficulties faced by firefighters and communities on the ground.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Nearly 1,500 firefighters are battling the fires, which authorities say are the most serious in a decade.

The social network Facebook has eased its privacy rules for teenagers. Facebook users between the ages of 13 and 17 will now be able to share their information and photos publicly, instead of with only their friends network. Facebook said it made the change to allow teens to have a more powerful voice when it came to positions or causes they support. We will have more on this story later in the program.