More leaks. The Justice Department is investigating a retired four-star Marine Corps general over allegations he leaked classified information about a U.S.-Israeli cyberattack initiative aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. Retired Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, a former deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is accused of revealing information about a highly classified effort to use a computer virus later dubbed “Stuxnet” to sabotage equipment in Iranian nuclear enrichment plants. News of the investigation itself could be considered a leak. The administration official source declined to be named because he wasn’t authorized to talk about the investigation. Neither the Justice Department nor Cartwright’s lawyers are saying anything about it.
Here’s the deal. In other leak-related news, Edward Snowden’s father went on NBC’s Today show to reveal terms he thinks his son would accept as conditions to return home. Snowden, who is charged with treason and espionage for leaking details of several U.S. cyber-surveillance programs, might agree to come home if the government promises not to detain him before his trial or issue a gag order in the case. Snowden also wants to select where his trial will take place. Good luck with that. At the moment, the former CIA analyst and Booz Allen Hamilton employee is holed up in a Russian airport. It’s hard to believe that’s more comfortable than a U.S. jail. Russian President Vladimir Putin says he won’t extradite Snowden but he also won’t let him leave the airport. Tom Hanks would be perfect for the lead role in the movie version of this saga.
Hottest day ever? The weather is making headlines in the West this week as a record-breaking heat wave rolls over California, Arizona, and Nevada. Temperatures are expected to top 120 degrees in the Coachella Valley and 129 degrees in Death Valley, both in California. Officials fear Fourth of July fireworks shows could spark fires all over the southern part of the state. Media outlets are hyping the heat wave, calling today one of the hottest days ever recorded on Earth. The National Weather service is forecasting 118 for Phoenix and 117 in Las Vegas on Sunday—a high reached in Sin City only twice before.
Analyzing the sun. Maybe NASA can shed some light on why it’s so blazing hot. Late yesterday, the space agency launched a satellite on a mission to explore a little-studied region of the sun. The satellite, nicknamed “Iris,” is supposed to better-forecast space weather that can disrupt communications systems on Earth. But maybe it can do some local forecasting while it’s hanging around up there. Iris measures 7 feet and weighs 400 pounds, carrying an ultraviolet telescope that can take high-resolution images every few seconds. It is expected to remain in orbit for two years.