Review Category : National News

Deflate-gate Investigation Won’t Be Complete Before Super Bowl, Patriots Owner Hopes for Apology If No Wrongdoing Found

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft speaks to the media on Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – An attorney hired by the NFL to investigate the Deflate-gate scandal acknowledged on Monday that the investigation would last beyond this Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“We are in the process of conducting a thorough investigation of the issue of the footballs used in the AFC Championship,” Ted Wells said, regarding the game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts for which the Patriots allegedly provided 12 footballs, of which 11 were under-inflated by about two pounds per square inch.

“This work began last week, stretched through the weekend, and is proceeding expeditiously this week notwithstanding the Super Bowl.” Wells said he expects his investigation to take “at least several more weeks,” saying that “in the interim, it would be best if everyone involved or potentially involved in this matter avoids public comment concerning the matter until the investigation is concluded.”

Wells also noted that the results of the investigation will be made public.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had previously told ESPN that he would not be interviewed regarding the incident until after the Super Bowl. Wells’ comments represent the first confirmation that the investigation wouldn’t be resolved before Sunday, however.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, however, spoke out on Monday, saying that he had spoken with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick about the matter. Both Brady and Belichick told Kraft that they had no knowledge of what happened. Kraft affirmed his belief in the two men, saying that he “has never known them to lie to him.”

Kraft further expressed disappointment that the “reputations and integrity” of Brady and Belichick — “and by association that of our team” — has been called into question.

“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs,” Kraft said, “I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular to Coach Belichick and Tom Brady, for what they have had to endure this past week.”

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Former CIA Officer Convicted of Illegally Disclosing National Defense Information

Kuzma/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A former CIA officer was convicted of illegally disclosing national defense information on Monday.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling broke the law by providing information on an unidentified country’s weapons capabilities to a reporter. FBI Director James Comey said that Sterling “violated his sworn duty to protect our nation’s secrets and he betrayed our country.”

Attorney General Eric Holder called the conviction “a just and appropriate outcome,” adding that Sterling’s actions “compromised operations undertaken in defense of America’s national security” and “placed lives at risk.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 through January 2002. For a portion of that time, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program that was intended to undermine the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

The DOJ says that Sterling “pursued administrative and civil actions against the CIA” in 2000. When the CIA refused to settle those actions on terms he deemed favorable, Sterling “disclosed information concerning the classified operational program and [a] human asset” to a New York Times reporter.

Sterling is set to face sentencing in April.

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Former CIA Officer Convicted of Illegally Disclosing National Defense Information

Kuzma/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A former CIA officer was convicted of illegally disclosing national defense information on Monday.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling broke the law by providing information on an unidentified country’s weapons capabilities to a reporter. FBI Director James Comey said that Sterling “violated his sworn duty to protect our nation’s secrets and he betrayed our country.”

Attorney General Eric Holder called the conviction “a just and appropriate outcome,” adding that Sterling’s actions “compromised operations undertaken in defense of America’s national security” and “placed lives at risk.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 through January 2002. For a portion of that time, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program that was intended to undermine the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

The DOJ says that Sterling “pursued administrative and civil actions against the CIA” in 2000. When the CIA refused to settle those actions on terms he deemed favorable, Sterling “disclosed information concerning the classified operational program and [a] human asset” to a New York Times reporter.

Sterling is set to face sentencing in April.

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Sixth Body Found at Annapolis, Maryland, Mansion Fire

Obtained by ABC News(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — A sixth body was recovered Monday from the scene of a mansion fire in Annapolis, Maryland, and all occupants of the home are now believed to be accounted for, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said.

The first two bodies were found Jan. 21 and others were found on the following days.

Tech executive Don Pyle, his wife, Sandy Pyle, and four of their grandchildren were believed to have been inside the 16,000-square-foot mansion on Jan. 19 when the fire broke out, according to relatives and neighbors.

Operations at the scene will continue for two more days, the Fire Department said Monday.

Officials have not released a cause of the four-alarm blaze.

Relatives of the victims thanked well-wishers last week in a statement. Attributed to “the Boone and Pyle families,” the statement referenced four children — Alexis (Lexi) Boone, 8, Kaitlyn (Katie) Boone, 7, Charlotte Boone, 8, and Wesley (Wes) Boone, 6 — and the Pyles, who records list as the mansion’s owners.

“We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation for the love and support being shared with us during this tragic event,” the families said. “We are blessed that so many family, friends, and neighbors have come together for us in our time of need.”

The statement added, “Our love for our family is boundless. Our loss demands time and quiet reflection to process these feelings. We ask that you respect our need for privacy.”

”Life is fragile,” the statement concluded. “Make time today to embrace your loved ones.”

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Sixth Body Found at Annapolis, Maryland, Mansion Fire

Obtained by ABC News(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — A sixth body was recovered Monday from the scene of a mansion fire in Annapolis, Maryland, and all occupants of the home are now believed to be accounted for, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said.

The first two bodies were found Jan. 21 and others were found on the following days.

Tech executive Don Pyle, his wife, Sandy Pyle, and four of their grandchildren were believed to have been inside the 16,000-square-foot mansion on Jan. 19 when the fire broke out, according to relatives and neighbors.

Operations at the scene will continue for two more days, the Fire Department said Monday.

Officials have not released a cause of the four-alarm blaze.

Relatives of the victims thanked well-wishers last week in a statement. Attributed to “the Boone and Pyle families,” the statement referenced four children — Alexis (Lexi) Boone, 8, Kaitlyn (Katie) Boone, 7, Charlotte Boone, 8, and Wesley (Wes) Boone, 6 — and the Pyles, who records list as the mansion’s owners.

“We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation for the love and support being shared with us during this tragic event,” the families said. “We are blessed that so many family, friends, and neighbors have come together for us in our time of need.”

The statement added, “Our love for our family is boundless. Our loss demands time and quiet reflection to process these feelings. We ask that you respect our need for privacy.”

”Life is fragile,” the statement concluded. “Make time today to embrace your loved ones.”

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Bodies, Vehicle Found in Georgia Case of Missing Craigslist Car Couple

The Runion Family | Telfair County Sheriff’s Office(ATLANTA) — Investigators have found the unidentified bodies of a male and a female, as well as an SUV owned by a Georgia couple who vanished last week while going to meet someone to buy a vintage car they found on Craigslist.

“It’s not the outcome we had hoped for, but obviously it’s one we have to deal with,” Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson told reporters.

Bud Runion, 69, and his wife, June, 66, disappeared Thursday, authorities said. The pair had posted an ad seeking to buy a vintage 1966 Ford Mustang convertible. Relatives said the Mustang was the couple’s dream car, one they’d wanted to buy since they were married decades ago.

The couple’s 2003 GMC Envoy was found submerged in a lake, the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page. The unidentified bodies were found at another location, near property affiliated with the family of a suspect in the case who turned himself in to law enforcement earlier Monday, officials said.

That suspect, Ronnie “Jay” Towns, 28, was the alleged owner of the phone that last communicated with the Runions’ phone, according to the sheriff’s office.

The couple, after finding what they believed was a seller, reportedly set out on a 180-mile road trip from Marietta, Georgia, to McRae, Georgia.

The Runions haven’t been heard from since, and never showed up to babysit their grandchildren Friday. Their three daughters had grown increasingly worried by their parents’ disappearance.

“Whoever has them, we hope that they will let them come home to us,” daughter Stephanie Bishop said. “We miss them.”

The Runion family has set up a Facebook page — “Find Bud and June Runion” — and it has about 100,000 supporters, a growing group desperately searching for the couple.

“We are unbelievably grateful for all of the media support and to each of you for sharing the page. We ask that you please keep sharing the page and spreading the word so we can find Bud and June Runion,” the couple’s relatives wrote.

Officials with Craigslist referred to the safety page on the company’s website, which notes, “Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.”

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Bodies, Vehicle Found in Georgia Case of Missing Craigslist Car Couple

The Runion Family | Telfair County Sheriff’s Office(ATLANTA) — Investigators have found the unidentified bodies of a male and a female, as well as an SUV owned by a Georgia couple who vanished last week while going to meet someone to buy a vintage car they found on Craigslist.

“It’s not the outcome we had hoped for, but obviously it’s one we have to deal with,” Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson told reporters.

Bud Runion, 69, and his wife, June, 66, disappeared Thursday, authorities said. The pair had posted an ad seeking to buy a vintage 1966 Ford Mustang convertible. Relatives said the Mustang was the couple’s dream car, one they’d wanted to buy since they were married decades ago.

The couple’s 2003 GMC Envoy was found submerged in a lake, the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page. The unidentified bodies were found at another location, near property affiliated with the family of a suspect in the case who turned himself in to law enforcement earlier Monday, officials said.

That suspect, Ronnie “Jay” Towns, 28, was the alleged owner of the phone that last communicated with the Runions’ phone, according to the sheriff’s office.

The couple, after finding what they believed was a seller, reportedly set out on a 180-mile road trip from Marietta, Georgia, to McRae, Georgia.

The Runions haven’t been heard from since, and never showed up to babysit their grandchildren Friday. Their three daughters had grown increasingly worried by their parents’ disappearance.

“Whoever has them, we hope that they will let them come home to us,” daughter Stephanie Bishop said. “We miss them.”

The Runion family has set up a Facebook page — “Find Bud and June Runion” — and it has about 100,000 supporters, a growing group desperately searching for the couple.

“We are unbelievably grateful for all of the media support and to each of you for sharing the page. We ask that you please keep sharing the page and spreading the word so we can find Bud and June Runion,” the couple’s relatives wrote.

Officials with Craigslist referred to the safety page on the company’s website, which notes, “Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.”

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Flights Canceled, Travel Bans Enacted Ahead of Major Winter Storm

ABC News(NEW YORK) — As a massive blizzard prepares to engulf the Northeast, some 2,983 flights have been canceled as the storm is expected to bring two feet or more of snow from New Jersey to Maine.

An additional 3,670 flights have been cancelled for Tuesday and that number is expected to rise, according to FlightAware.com.

The greatest impacts from the storm, which began as a clipper system that brought snow and slick roads to the Midwest on Sunday, are expected Monday evening through Tuesday.

President Obama was briefed on the storm, and White House officials have been in touch with state and local officials on the eastern seaboard, according to White House Spokesman Josh Earnest.

FEMA also has assets in the region ready to assist, Earnest said.

Governors in six states — Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have all declared states of emergency.

Local leaders in the New York area were warning residents to stay off the roads and planned to shut down or curtail mass transit systems as the storm intensifies.

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a travel ban for the entire state effective at 9 p.m. this evening.

“We encourage citizens to stay in place during the duration of the storm,” Malloy said.

Cuomo and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie announced at separate briefings that the New York subway, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North and New Jersey Transit would all be reducing service dramatically leading up to total closures for the subway, LIRR and Metro North at 11 p.m. and for NJ Transit at 10 p.m. Subway and PATH train service were to be curtailed. The MTA said that Monday night was the first time snow has shut down the entire subway system.

Cuomo also said that all non-emergency vehicles would be banned from local, county and state roads on Long Island beginning at 11 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio told residents not to underestimate the storm.

“Prepare for something worse than we have seen before. Prepare to be safe. Take every precaution,” he said. “Now is the time to get ready for this extreme weather.”

All vehicles will be barred from New York City roads starting at 11 p.m., as part of an order that will stand until further notice, de Blasio said.

Ahead of the winter storm, New York City residents raced to stock up on food essentials.

De Blasio said crews were readying to keep streets clear, as officials prepare for what could be “one of the top two or three largest storms in the history of this city.” He also warned that the storm “will hit very hard and very fast and people cannot be caught off guard.”

New York City Public Schools will also be closed Tuesday to more than one million students.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency was also preparing for the storm.

“All of the things that come into play during these events, we want to make sure there are no surprises and everybody is on the same page,” said MEMA spokesman Peter Judge.

Boston Public Schools are slated to be closed both Tuesday and Wednesday due to the storm.

The highest snowfall amounts are currently expected between just east of New York City and Boston, where up to two feet of snow is expected.

New York City can expect 12-18 inches of snow, with cities southwest on I-95, like Philadelphia seeing 6-12 inches.

Winter storm watches, warnings, and advisories are in effect from the mid-Atlantic through New England, with blizzard watches posted for cities closer to the coast, including New York City and Boston, where blizzard conditions are expected during the height of the storm.

In anticipation of the dangerous winter weather, several major U.S. airlines have issued travel advisories, including Jet Blue, US Airways, American, Southwest and Delta.

Many airlines are also waiving their flight change and cancellation fees for any flights that are scheduled to arrive in cities expected to be affected by the storm this evening and Tuesday.

Travelers can check with their specific airline for how to change or cancel their flight and get the latest updates on any travel advisories.

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Feds: Russian Spy Posing as Banker Nabbed in NYC

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An alleged Russian spy posing as a banker in Manhattan has been arrested, federal officials said Monday.

The banker, identified in a criminal complaint as Evgeny Buryakov, is accused of working with agents of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR, as a “non-official cover” agent.

“Specifically, Buryakov is posing as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank,” the complaint, unsealed Monday, says.

Buraykov was arrested as part of an alleged spy ring that involved two other individuals, the Department of Justice said. The other two, identified as Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy, had worked in the U.S. before on behalf of Russia and were protected by diplomatic immunity. Sporyshev worked as a Trade Representative for Russia in New York until late last year and Podobnyy was an attaché to Russia’s Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, the complaint says.

“These charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country — no matter how deep their cover.”

Buryakov is listed as the Deputy Representative in the U.S. for Russia’s Vnesheconombank, based in Manhattan. A spokesperson at the state-run bank declined to comment to ABC News.

Federal officials say the spy ring was tasked by Moscow with gathering information on, among other things, potential U.S. sanctions against Russia and U.S. efforts to develop alternative energy resources. The three allegedly worked for a particular division of Russian intelligence called “Directorate ER,” which “focuses on economic issues,” according to the complaint.

The FBI began tracking the trio after the 2010 arrests of Anna Chapman and nine other spies known as the “Illegals.” The trio is accused of trying to recruit female spies for Russia.

The three newly uncovered alleged spies regularly met and communicated using clandestine methods and coded messages, in order to exchange intelligence-related information while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents. To pass information court records say they held clandestine meetings outdoors where they passed bags, magazines or slips of paper.

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Feds: Russian Spy Posing as Banker Nabbed in NYC

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An alleged Russian spy posing as a banker in Manhattan has been arrested, federal officials said Monday.

The banker, identified in a criminal complaint as Evgeny Buryakov, is accused of working with agents of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR, as a “non-official cover” agent.

“Specifically, Buryakov is posing as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank,” the complaint, unsealed Monday, says.

Buraykov was arrested as part of an alleged spy ring that involved two other individuals, the Department of Justice said. The other two, identified as Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy, had worked in the U.S. before on behalf of Russia and were protected by diplomatic immunity. Sporyshev worked as a Trade Representative for Russia in New York until late last year and Podobnyy was an attaché to Russia’s Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, the complaint says.

“These charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country — no matter how deep their cover.”

Buryakov is listed as the Deputy Representative in the U.S. for Russia’s Vnesheconombank, based in Manhattan. A spokesperson at the state-run bank declined to comment to ABC News.

Federal officials say the spy ring was tasked by Moscow with gathering information on, among other things, potential U.S. sanctions against Russia and U.S. efforts to develop alternative energy resources. The three allegedly worked for a particular division of Russian intelligence called “Directorate ER,” which “focuses on economic issues,” according to the complaint.

The FBI began tracking the trio after the 2010 arrests of Anna Chapman and nine other spies known as the “Illegals.” The trio is accused of trying to recruit female spies for Russia.

The three newly uncovered alleged spies regularly met and communicated using clandestine methods and coded messages, in order to exchange intelligence-related information while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents. To pass information court records say they held clandestine meetings outdoors where they passed bags, magazines or slips of paper.

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