Foiled plan. A community’s vigilance thwarted a teenager’s elaborate plot to kill his family and bomb a junior and senior high school in southern Minnesota, authorities said Thursday. Police in Waseca, Minn., arrested the 17-year-old suspect after a resident reported suspicious activity at a self-storage facility. Capt. Kris Markeson said the teenager is believed to have been acting alone and would have carried out the attack in the next few weeks if he hadn’t been caught. Police recovered seven firearms, ammunition, and three functional bombs from the boy’s home. He allegedly told police he planned to shoot his mother, father, and sister, then start a fire in a rural field to distract first-responders while he went to the school to set off pressure-cooker bombs in the cafeteria. He also allegedly planned to throw Molotov cocktails, gun down students, and kill a school liaison officer while he helped injured students. “This case is a classic example of citizens doing the right thing in calling the police when things seem out of place,” Markeson said. “By doing the right thing, unimaginable tragedy has been prevented.”
A closer look. House majority leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, is expected to announce today the formation of a special committee to investigate the Benghazi terror attacks. The investigation comes after the watchdog group Judicial Watch released declassified emails showing the White House intentionally misled the public about events leading up to the attack. So far, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has led much of Congress’ probe into events in Benghazi. Boehner has resisted pressure to form a special committee, which would have to be approved by the whole House.
Back to work. Unemployment figures released today showed unexpected growth in the U.S. economy. The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate sank in April to 6.3 percent, its lowest level since September 2008. U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs in April, the most in two years and the strongest evidence to date that the economy is picking up after a brutal winter slowed growth.
Merkel in Washington. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the White House today, Russia’s actions in Ukraine are sure to dominate her conversations with President Barack Obama. Sanctions imposed by Western allies seem to be doing little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin’s resolve to destabilize Ukraine’s fledgling, pro-Western government. Merkel faces pressure at home as Europe seeks to toe a hard line against Russia on Ukraine without harming its own economic interests. She also must balance the need to show unity with Obama against Russia with her own aggravation over the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping on her cellphone conversations. The issue has annoyed German citizens, prompting calls for Berlin to strike some type of agreement with Washington to limit U.S. surveillance on German soil.