May 3, 2013 Reuters
WASHINGTON - The number of names on a highly classified U.S. central database used to track suspected terrorists has jumped to 875,000 from 540,000 only five years ago, a U.S. official familiar with the matter said.
Among those was suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose name was added in 2011. The increase in names is due in part to security agencies using the system more in the wake of the failed 2009 attack on a plane by "underpants bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Detroit.
Intelligence and law enforcement officials acknowledged in Congress that they had missed clues to that attack despite Abdulmutallab's name appearing in the main database, known as TIDE.
Maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center, the highly classified database is not a "watchlist" but instead is a repository of information on people whom U.S. authorities see as known, suspected or potential terrorists from around the world.
The "Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment" is a master database which agencies use to build other catalogs of possible terrorists, like the "no-fly" list which prevents people who feature on it from boarding airplanes.
The official familiar with the latest statistics said that even though the number of TIDE entries has grown substantially, this does not mean that the data is less manageable as intelligence agencies have gotten better at figuring how to extract information from the oceans of data.
April 30, 2013 CNN
George Zimmerman, set to stand trial in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, on Tuesday waived his right to a "stand your ground" pretrial immunity hearing. Zimmerman's attorneys have decided they will try this as a self-defense case.
Motions over evidence continued Tuesday in the Seminole County, Florida, court. The trial is set to begin on June 10 with jury selection.
Florida's deadly force law, also called "stand your ground," was passed in 2005. It allows people to meet "force with force" if they believe they or someone else is in danger of being seriously harmed by an assailant. Under the law, a person can use deadly force anywhere as long as he is not engaged in an unlawful activity; is being attacked in a place he has a right to be; and reasonably believes that his life and safety are in danger as a result of an overt act or perceived threat committed by someone else.
In a pretrial immunity hearing, a judge would have ruled whether Zimmerman's actions were protected under the "stand your ground" law; a ruling in favor of the defendant would have meant that no criminal or civil trial could proceed.
April 28, 2013 Good Morning America
The disappearance of a Michigan mother who was last seen working the late shift at a gas station was reclassified today as an abduction, as the woman's family pleaded for her safe return.
Jessica Heeringa, 25, made her last sale at the Exxon gas station in Norton Shores, Mich., at 11 p.m. Friday, police said. She was preparing to close the store for the night, but 15 minutes later authorities said they received a call from a concerned customer reporting that there was no employee at the open gas station.
"She was going to get out in 15 minutes," Shelly Heeringa, Jessica's mother, told ABC News. "In 15 minutes that store would've been closed and she would've been on her way home."
Heeringa's purse and keys were left behind and the cleaning supplies she always took out at closing time were on the counter, her mother said.
Five people were slain early on Wednesday in Manchester, Ill., and a suspect died after a shootout with police, Illinois State Police said.
State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond confirmed the killings and also said that a 6-year-old girl had been injured and taken to a hospital. Initial reports were that the victims had been shot, but Bond could not confirm this.
A suspect fled in a white Chevy Lumina, police said, citing witnesses. At about 7:13 a.m., the car was spotted and chased by state and local police who exchanged gunfire with the suspect, state police said.
About 15 minutes later, the suspect was arrested and taken to a hospital, and later pronounced dead, Bond said. Police did not release the person's name.
April 25, 2013 ABC News
Four female correction officers were impregnated by the reported leader of a Maryland prison gang, which used a network of female prison guards to help launder money, run drugs and smuggle contraband into state detention facilities, according to a federal indictment.
One of the guards was twice impregnated by Tavon White, identified in court papers as the alleged leader of the Black Guerilla Family.
Two of the female correction officers tattooed "Tavon" on their bodies, one on her neck and another on the wrist, according to the indictment.
In one incident, one guard kept watch over a closet, in which White and another guard had sex, according to authorities.
Thirteen female and two male prison guards are facing federal corruption charges following a months long investigation into corruption and conspiracy at Maryland's correctional facilities.
The indictment portrays a prison system run by inmates, including members of the Black Guerilla Family gang.
April 20, 2013 Associated Press
DENVER — Gunfire erupted at a Denver pot celebration Saturday, injuring two people and scattering a crowd of thousands who had gathered for the first 4/20 counterculture holiday since the state legalized marijuana.
The man and woman who were shot were expected to survive, and police were looking for one or two suspects, said Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson. Police asked festival attendees for possible photo or video of the shootings, and had no immediate motive.
Witnesses described a scene in which a jovial atmosphere quickly turned to one of panic at the downtown Civic Center Park just before 5 p.m. Several thought firecrackers were being set off, then a man fell bleeding, his dog also shot.
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