Conflagration. After burning for only two days, the fire raging at the edge of Colorado’s Black Forest has already outstripped last year’s deadly conflagration—destroying 360 homes and forcing 38,000 people to evacuate. The Black Forest blaze is now the most destructive in state history, consuming more than 15,000 acres in less than 72 hours. As of Thursday morning, it was 0 percent contained. The cause of the fire is unknown, but investigators have ruled out lightning strikes. It is one of three fires coursing through the tree-covered area outside Colorado Springs. Ash and smoke from the fires have spread as far as Denver, about 60 miles to the north. No injuries or deaths have been reported so far, although one person reported missing on Wednesday remains unaccounted for.
Criminal charges. FBI Director Robert Mueller said today his agency is doing everything it can to hold former intelligence officer Edward Snowden responsible for leaking details of the nation’s surveillance programs to the media. Mueller said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing that the former National Security Agency contractor had harmed national security: “As to the individual who has admitted making these disclosures, he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.” Snowden, who gave information to London’s Guardian and The Washington Post, said he planned to seek asylum to avoid extradition to the United States. But he told a Hong Kong newspaper on Wednesday he was not in hiding.
Judicial complaint. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to investigate complaints made against a conservative Texas judge. Civil rights groups and legal ethicists accuse Judge Edith Jones of Houston, who sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, of making inappropriate remarks about minorities and people with mental disabilities during a speech at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Although the speech was not recorded, the complaint alleges Jones said certain racial groups, including African-Americans and Hispanics, were “predisposed to crime.” She also allegedly described defendants’ claims of racism nothing more than “red herrings.” The investigation into Jones’ comments is unusual. Most complaints against judges are dismissed. President Ronald Reagan appointed Jones to the appeals court in 1985.
Piece of Nazi history. Federal authorities have recovered pages from the wartime diary of Nazi party official and key Hitler advisor Alfred Rosenberg. The discovery, made in upstate New York, includes 400 handwritten pages. Rosenberg was tried and convicted of war crimes at the post-World War II Nuremberg trials and executed in 1946. The diary pages initially belonged to a collection of documents used during the trial by government lawyers. When attorney Robert M.W. Kempner died in 1993, most of his collection went to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. But the diary pages remained missing until November, when an art security specialist working for the museum located them. The pages cover the period between 1936 and 1944, when “Rosenberg was responsible for looting valuables in lands occupied by the Nazis and planning Nazi rule of conquered Soviet territories,” according to a statement released by the museum.