News Wrap: Doctor Who Helped CIA Find Bin Laden Sentenced in Pakistan
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KWAME HOLMAN: A Pakistani court today sentenced a doctor to 33 years in prison for helping track down Osama bin Laden. Shakil Afridi was convicted of conspiring against the Pakistani state. He’d secretly helped the CIA collect DNA. His information helped verify that bin Laden was at a compound in Abbottabad. American commandos raided the site last May, and killed the al-Qaida leader. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior U.S. officials had called for Afridi’s release.
A Senate investigation has discovered 64 allegations or complaints of sexual misconduct against Secret Service employees in the last five years. That word came today at a hearing chaired by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. He said it underscores doubts that a scandal involving agents and prostitutes in Colombia was an isolated incident.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, I-Conn.: It is hard for many people, including me, I will admit, to believe that on one night in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, 12 Secret Service agents there to protect the president suddenly and spontaneously did something they or other agents had never done before.
KWAME HOLMAN: Lieberman appealed to Secret Service insiders to come forward if they know about similar incidents.
Agency director Mark Sullivan apologized for the Colombia scandal, but denied it’s representative of his 7,000 employees or the culture at the Secret Service.
MARK SULLIVAN, director, U.S. Secret Service: The thought or the notion that this type of behavior is condoned or authorized is just absurd, in my opinion. I have been an agent for 29 years now. I have worked for a lot of men and women in this organization, and I never one time had any supervisor or any other agent tell me that this type of behavior is condoned.
KWAME HOLMAN: Eight Secret Service employees lost their jobs over the Colombia incident. Sullivan said two who resigned are fighting to get their jobs back.
Oil prices fell below $90 a barrel today, in an ongoing retreat from the highs of last winter. The price was down nearly $2 in New York trading to $89.90, the lowest since last October. Wall Street was down, too, for much of the day, but recovered in the last hour. The Dow Jones industrial average ended with a loss of just six points to close at 12,496. The Nasdaq rose 11 points to close at 2,850.
After trading closed, technology giant Hewlett-Packard announced plans to lay off 27,000 workers by the end of their 2014 fiscal year. That’s 8 percent of the company’s work force. H.P. said its second-quarter earnings fell 31 percent.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called today for a major move to vouchers in public education. In a Washington speech, he accused the Obama administration of putting teachers unions ahead of student needs. Romney said he’d let low-income and disabled students use federal funds to attend the public or private school of their choice.
MITT ROMNEY (R): Here we are in the most prosperous nation on Earth, but millions of kids are getting a Third World education. And America’s minority children suffer the most. This is the civil rights issue of our era. And it’s the great challenge of our time.
KWAME HOLMAN: Romney also responded to President Obama’s criticism of his work at Bain Capital. He told Time magazine his business background makes him better qualified to manage the economy.
Mr. Obama focused today on the U.S. role in the world after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spoke at the U.S. Air Force Academy commencement in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, we can say with confidence and pride the United States is stronger, and safer and more respected in the world, because, even as we have done the work of ending these wars, we have laid the foundation for a new era of American leadership.
And now, cadets, we have to build on it.
KWAME HOLMAN: The president also rejected what he called the tired notion that America is in decline, indirectly countering criticism by Romney.
The World Health Organization now says most of the radiation spikes in Japan after last year’s nuclear disaster were below cancer-causing levels. The U.N. agency also reported today that two locations around the Fukushima plant did show higher levels of radiation. An earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns in the plant’s reactors in March of last year.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.