Daily Dispatches
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Midday Roundup: Who isn’t the CIA spying on?


Illegal snooping? In a speech earlier today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., accused the CIA of spying on the Senate and violating the Constitution. Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said agency analysts snooped on computers Senate staffers used during a review of the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects during the Bush administration. “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution,” Feinstein said. “It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities. … I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate.” But CIA Director John Brennan disputed the claims, saying, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Still missing. Malaysian officials still have found no sign of the missing jetliner that disappeared Saturday, two hours into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But they now say the Boeing 777 might have strayed far from its original flight path before it crashed. Recovery teams have expanded their search area. Meanwhile, Malaysian officials downplayed fears that terrorism might have played a role in the crash. One of two men who boarded the plane with stolen passports was an Iranian teenager seeking asylum in Europe. Officials have not released details on the other man, a 29-year-old, but say he probably wasn’t a terrorist either.

Distracted parenting. Researchers from the Boston Medical Center say that phones and tablet devices distract parents when they should be interacting with their children. In findings published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers chronicled distracted caregivers and their children’s responses. Some seemed to accept their technological competition, while others began to act out in a bid to get attention. Parents absorbed in their technology often responded angrily to their children’s attempts to get their attention. Although the study sample was small, researchers say it provides a starting point for future assessments.

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Pot discrimination? A Colorado barber is refusing service to anyone who smells like marijuana. Hugo Corral has a sign in the window of his barbershop in Greeley, Colo., that says if you smell like pot, you’re not welcome. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, within limits, on Jan. 1. Corral said he does not object to people smoking pot in their homes. He took action because of customer complaints. You as a father, you’re going to walk in and wait for a haircut, sit there for two hours and have to smell the guy sitting next to you that smells like weed?” he said. “You know, it’s not right. It’s not right at all.”

Maryland’s money pit. An Obamacare website that cost hundreds of millions of dollars still isn’t working properly five months after launch. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., asked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general to investigate what went wrong with Maryland’s state-based exchange. “Only 22,000 have actually paid a premium, which is way under the expectations of what they were supposed to have by this point in time,” Harris said, adding that most of those people had to sign up manually. The HHS inspector general agreed, and that probe is now underway. “I think we need to find out how you could have spent over $200 million of federal taxpayer money and not gotten a result that works,” Harris said. Joe Antos of the American Enterprise Institute said Maryland’s Obamacare website has turned into a money pit: “The likelihood is that Marylanders might have to pay another $30 million over the next two years to recover from this mistake.”

Jim Henry of The World and Everything in It contributed to this report.


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