From Washington, this is VOA news. White House declines comment on NSA leaker. Turkey’s prime minister agrees to meet with protesters. I’m Ray Kouguell reporting from Washington.
The White House is declining comment on the revelation of the identity of former Central Intelligence Agency employee Edward Snowden, who leaked information about top secret U.S. government surveillance programs. VOA’s Dan Robinson reports.
Press Secretary Jay Carney declined Monday to comment specifically about Snowden, noting that the Department of Justice is investigating the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
Carney said surveillance programs are subject to oversight and he reiterated “The programs we’ve discussed because of the leaks that have happened lately, while legitimate subject of debate and discussion, when we talk about the balance necessary. All involve court approval; they involve judicial, I mean they involve congressional review and oversight.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the intelligence community is reviewing “damage from recent disclosures.” Dan Robinson, VOA news, the White House.
Twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden came forward Sunday in Hong Kong as a source of newspaper reports. They revealed U.S. government monitoring of phone calls and Internet use for threats of terrorism.
Reports say Snowden apparently checked out of his Hong Kong hotel at midday Monday. His whereabouts are unknown.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with anti-government protesters.
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says the meeting will take place Wednesday and he also warned that illegal demonstrations will no longer be allowed.
The protesters refused to back down Monday, even as police again used tear gas and water cannon to break up an anti-government march in Istanbul. Demonstrators responded with rocks and gasoline bombs.
Three people have died since the marches began 11 days ago. Thousands have been hurt and thousands of others arrested.
U.S. officials say a series of urgent White House meetings this week could bring a decision on whether to arm Syrian opposition rebels.
A Pentagon spokesman, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller, says discussions are covering a full range of options and that arming the opposition is not being ruled out.
“The next logical step would be to, in fact, provide lethal aid, but we have not yet received any notice that, in fact, that is occurring yet, not to say that it again is not an option that we are looking at, perhaps, in the near future.”
The meetings are being made urgent by concerns that pro-government forces backed by Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia may be gaining the upper hand in the Syrian conflict.
A series of insurgent attacks across Iraq killed at least 70 people and injured scores of others.
No one claims responsibility for Monday’s attacks. They included car bombs, suicide attacks and gun battles.
The deadliest violence hit the northern city of Mosul, where four car bombs targeted security forces, killing 29 people and wounding 80.
Taliban fighters, including suicide bombers, attacked Kabul’s airport Monday. That airport handles civilian air traffic, and also houses NATO military facilities. VOA’s Sharon Behn has more.
Explosions and rocket fire were heard in the capital early Monday morning, as seven Taliban militants attacked the Kabul airport.
In a message to the media, the Taliban claims responsibility for the attack, which it says was aimed at the “foreign military side” of the airport.
In the message , the Taliban also claims to have inflicted major casualties, but Afghan officials say that no Afghan forces died in the fight. The Taliban often exaggerates casualty numbers.
Taliban assaults on the strongly guarded airport are unusual. But the Taliban recently have ramped up their annual so-called Spring offensive as national forces continue to take on more security responsibilities ahead of the international troop withdrawal in 2014.
Sharon Behn, VOA news, Islamabad.
In Pakistan, officials say militants attacked a NATO convoy in the northwestern part of the country, killing four people. It happened Monday near Jamrud in the Khyber district located along the Afghan border.
South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela remains in serious but stable condition as he enters the fourth day in a Pretoria hospital getting treatment for a recurring lung infection.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon has been hospitalized four times since December.
And thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in eastern Germany, where the swollen Elbe River flooded villages and stalled rail transport in the region.
The Elbe breached its levee overnight Monday just west of Berlin.
I’m Ray Kouguell, VOA news. More at voanews.com.
Source: Voice of AmericaMore Series for You: