New plan to shut detention facility will require congressional action
President Obama wants to turn the page on a dark chapter of American history by ending the illegal detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Obama said maintaining the prison helps terrorist groups recruit new members and undermines relationships with allies.
New Horizons mission a big step in exploration of solar system
FRISCO — After a 10-year, 3 billion mile voyage across the solar system, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew within 8,000 miles of Pluto today — the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.
“The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system,” Bolden said.
Federal officials also touted other NASA space efforts, including the Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. Continue reading “NASA spacecraft flies to within 8,000 miles of Pluto”→
FRISCO — Most years, the annual meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is a time to celebrate the best of humanity and nature, as world leaders gather to designate new sites based on outstanding cultural and natural attributes that are of value to the whole world.
But this week in Bonn, the meeting started on a somber note, as speakers warned of the unprecedented threat of violent extremism and cultural cleansing that has specifically targeted world heritage sites in the Middle East.
Time to move beyond tired election rehash stories and campaign post-mortems
By Bob Berwyn
Mark Udall will be missed by many in Colorado’s high country towns, where people have developed a culture and lifestyle based on values that mostly transcend political and ideological divides. We don’t squabble so much about gun rights or abortion — mountain culture is global, rooted to natural resources and imbued, for the most part, with an appreciation of a clean and healthy environment.
Udall has hiked, skied and camped across the Colorado mountains and really involved himself in issues that matter to high country dwellers: Forest fires, outdoor recreation, water and wilderness preservation among the most important. He was probably the closest thing we had in Congress to a champion for the mountains, which isn’t surprising, given his family’s legacy, so there was a real sense of sadness in some of the social media comments on his loss to Cory Gardner.
More worrisome was the immediate nasty and partisan edge to some of the comments about Cory Gardner, who will represent Summit County, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Grand County … ALL of Colorado for the next six years.
Documents related to bulk collection of email data remains classified
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Newly declassified intelligence documents related to NSA telephone data collection show that the agency’s compliance and oversight mechanisms may simply been overwhelmed by the massive amount of data coming — “operational momentum,” as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described in a statement accompanying the release of the documents.
According to Clapper, the agency responded by ramping up compliance and oversight efforts by more than quadrupling personnel associated with making sure the data collection program doesn’t violate the law. Clapper’s office has also established a Tumblr blog to provide access to some limited information about intelligence activities.
“This increase was designed to address changes in technology and authorities and reflects a commitment on the part of the Intelligence Community and the rest of the Government to ensuring that intelligence activities are conducted responsibly and subject to the rule of law,” Clapper said in his statement.
Released FISA Court document raises Fourth Amendment issues
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Far from just passively collecting long lists of telephone numbers, U.S. spy agencies actively worked to intercept communications by tapping into fiber-optic cables, going well beyond the bounds of programs authorized by a secret intelligence court.
FRISCO — While Obama administration officials have acknowledged that the National Security Agency may have made some mistakes in the course of its widespread and invasive surveillance, new documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the agency overstepped its bounds, and broke the law, thousands of times just in the past year.
The Washington Post reported on the revelations of an internal NSA audit based on documents provided by Snowden. The NSA violations were widely reported in the press this week and drew a sharp response from a pair of U.S. Senators who have been watch-dogging the intelligence agency.