Washington (CNN) - Former FBI and CIA Director William Webster will lead an outside investigation of the FBI's "policies, practices and actions" before the November massacre at Fort Hood, the bureau announced Tuesday.
Webster, a former federal judge, led the FBI from 1978 to 1987. The bureau's current director, Robert Mueller, picked him to look into "whether there are improvements to our current practices or other authorities that could make us all safer in the future," Mueller said in a statement Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Aaron Schock said Friday that he was "grateful" to the FBI for thwarting a terrorist attack targeting his office in Springfield, Illinois.
"My office was notified today of the attempted terrorist attack on both the Federal Building and my Congressional Office in Springfield," Schock said in a statement. "I am incredibly grateful to the FBI for their fine work in preventing this terrorist attack."
The Illinois Republican's office was reportedly the "secondary target" of Michael C. Finton, also known as "Talib Islam."
Finton had been supplied with a van filled explosives, which were harmless, by an FBI officer posing as an al Qaeda operative. Finton reportedly then drove to the Paul Findley Federal Office Building and Courthouse, which is close to Schock's office, and attempted to detonate the explosives with a cell phone. Finton was arrested immediately.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives on Thursday approved an amendment that calls for halting government funding to the community organizing group ACORN.
The measure, added to a larger bill on reforming student loans that won House approval, follows a provision passed earlier in the week by the Senate that would halt Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN.
Both measures would have to have their differences reconciled in Congress to take effect. In addition, ACORN's chief executive officer says the group gets most of its money from members and other supporters, and its operations would continue even if it is cut off from government grants.
However, approval of the House and Senate measures demonstrated the political fallout against ACORN following recent reports of videos that appeared to show the agency's employees condoning illegal actions.
(CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the Justice Department's decision to review waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques is politically motivated.
Cheney said he opposes the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to ask a former prosecutor to review CIA interrogations of high-profile terrorism suspects.
Cheney made clear he believes President Obama directed Holder to launch the review because the president is feeling pressure from left-wing Democrats. Cheney said the review will undermine the willingness of CIA personnel to conduct necessary operations.
"I think it's a terrible decision," Cheney said on "Fox News Sunday." "It's clearly a political move. There's no other rationale for why they're doing this."
He criticized Obama for allowing a review considering the president previously said that CIA operatives involved in the interrogations would not be prosecuted. "I think he's trying to duck responsibility for what's going on here, and I think it's wrong," Cheney said.
Updated: 2:43 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The contentious debate over so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" took center stage on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a former FBI agent involved in the questioning of terror suspects testified that such techniques - including waterboarding - are ineffective.
Ali Soufan, an FBI special agent from 1997 to 2005, told members of a key Senate Judiciary subcommittee that such "techniques, from an operational perspective, are ineffective, slow and unreliable, and harmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda."
His remarks followed heated exchanges between committee members with sharply differing views on both the value of the techniques and the purpose of the hearing itself.
Soufan, who was involved in the interrogation of CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah, took issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has argued that enhanced interrogation techniques helped the government acquire intelligence necessary to prevent further attacks after September 11, 2001.
The techniques, which were approved by the Bush administration, are considered torture by many critics.
"From my experience - and I speak as someone who has personally interrogated many terrorists and elicited important actionable intelligence - I strongly believe that it is a mistake to use what has become known as the 'enhanced interrogation techniques,'" Soufan noted in his written statement.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The FBI has failed to place the names of dozens of suspected terrorists on the government's watch list, an omission that could have "significant consequences to public safety," the Justice Department's watchdog says.
In a report released Wednesday, Inspector General Glenn Fine sharply criticizes the FBI for failing to add 35 terrorism subjects to the consolidated watch list, and for being slow to add many others.
He says he found at least 12 people - ones either not put on the list or added after an excessive delay - who may have been moving about the United States during the time they were not listed.
The report also says the FBI failed to remove several people from the list after they had been cleared.
The consolidated list is used to screen individuals seeking to enter the United States and those who are stopped by local police agencies. It was created in 2003 to bring order to the flurry of separate agency watch lists that quickly developed following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
(CNN) – An offbeat campaign-year trend carried over into President Obama's White House tenure Tuesday: as he delivered remarks at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an overwhelmed audience member fainted away.
"Oop, did somebody faint," the president interrupted mid-sentence after a bureau employee collapsed. "Do we have a EMT here?"
The president said it wasn't the first time his speeches caused someone to pass out.
"This happened during my political campaign all the time," the president told the crowd. "I was talking too long, people would be falling out every which way. They are usually fine. They just need a little bit of air and a little bit of water."
Moments before the episode, FBI director Robert Muller handed President Obama two teddy bears for daughters Sasha and Malia along with a bureau t-shirt and baseball hat.
"I am grateful to the FBI for the t-shirts, the teddy bear for the girls. Even though we kept our promise on the dog I wouldn't want to come home empty handed," the president joked.