Daily Dispatches

Midday Roundup: ‘Somebody had to do it’


Coming clean. A group of burglars who broke into an FBI field office outside Philadelphia 43 years ago finally came clean this week, admitting they stole more than 1,000 documents to prove the government was spying on its own citizens. “We did it … because somebody had to do it,” John Raines, now 80 and a retired professor of religion at Temple University, told NBC News. Raines, his wife Bonnie, and Keith Forsyth were anti-Vietnam War protestors who gave the documents they stole to reporters. The FBI launched an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to find the burglars, who remained unidentified until now. The stories published based on the documents’ revelations led to a Senate investigation and new guidelines barring the agency from investigating political activity protected by the First Amendment.

Jobless vote. The Senate voted 60-37 this morning to consider a bill that would extend long-term jobless benefits. Republicans oppose the bill because it doesn’t include spending cuts elsewhere in the budget to make up for the $6.4 billion cost. Even if the bill does eventually pass the Senate, it faces an uncertain future in the House.

Fraud bust. Federal investigators are executing one of the largest Social Security disability fraud busts in U.S. history this morning, issuing arrest warrants for 106 people. Most of those charged received benefits but four—including a lawyer, a consultant, and two recruiters—are accused of helping them get money they didn’t qualify for. In most cases, the defendants claimed they couldn’t work or even leave their homes but actually lived active lives. The scheme resulted in $24 million in fraudulent payments. Today’s arrests come as Congress is cracking down on the Social Security Administration, which has been plagued by fraud scandals in recent months and is running out of money to make disability payments.

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Keeping and bearing. A federal judge appointed by President Barack Obama ruled on Monday that Chicago’s ban on gun sales within city limits is unconstitutional. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang said the city failed to convince him that its soaring gun violence would decline if people had to go elsewhere to legally buy guns. The city plans to appeal the decision and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he strongly disagrees with lifting the ban. While he acknowledged Chicago had a problem with gun violence, Chang said the city’s blanket restrictions violated residents’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

More Rodman craziness. Former pro basketball star Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea, defending his decision to continue his “friendship” with the country’s dictator despite North Korea’s record on human rights abuses. Rodman brought several other former National Basketball Association players with him and plans to stage an exhibition game against a North Korean team to honor leader Kim Jong Un on his 31st birthday Wednesday. When a CNN reporter asked Rodman whether he would ask Kim to release American Kenneth Bae, held since November 2012 for “hostile acts” against North Korea, Rodman suggested Bae had earned his jail sentence. After his first visit to North Korea, Rodman asked Kim via Twitter to “do me a solid” and set Bae free.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the managing editor of WORLD's website.


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