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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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buried lead

June 28th, 2013
06:44 PM ET

Who watches the watchmen? Claims that inspector general violated ethics standards

Ethical standards within the Department of Homeland Security – sounds pretty important right?

A letter obtained by CNN from two U.S. senators alleges that the man in charge of guarding those ethical standards is abusing his authority.

According to the letter, whistleblowers in his department claim that Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards manipulated reports, used office funds for personal travel, and even forced employees to do his homework for a Ph.D program.

Cause of Action, a nonpartisan government accountability organization, is asking President Barack Obama to take a careful look at the allegations.

Dan Epstein, the organization’s executive director, told CNN that Edwards is clearly wasting American tax dollars and “creating a complete reversal of what someone who's dedicated their life to public service really should be doing.”

Epstein says there are serious questions as to whether Edwards’ behavior led to certain investigations being covered up. There are allegations that Edwards played a role in the scrubbing of the investigation into Secret Service agents hiring prostitutes prior to a presidential visit to Colombia.

A spokesman for the Inspector General’s office said Edwards is currently on vacation in India and is unavailable for comment. However, the Inspector General’s office has promised full cooperation with the Senators pursing more information on the allegations.

Update, July 2

In a written statement, Edwards said he will defend himself against these personal attacks.

"Allegations can be lodged anonymously by anyone. Truth can be distorted to misrepresent circumstances and make them appear improper when they are not.  Sadly, those persons that choose to anonymously attack me honor no boundaries, but I must follow Federal rules and not publicly disclose protected information as I present my defense," Edwards said in the statement.

 

 

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politics lead

June 27th, 2013
07:18 PM ET

Analysis: Bumpy road in the House for immigration reform

The U.S. Senate gave final approval Thursday to a sweeping immigration bill, passing the legislation by a 68-32 vote.

The bill promises to overhaul immigration laws for the first time since 1986, creating a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents while ratcheting up security along the Mexican border.

It's all in the hands of the House now.
FULL POST

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buried lead

June 27th, 2013
07:13 PM ET

Report: NSA mined U.S. e-mail data

The Guardian newspaper reports that the National Security Agency was collecting and analyzing e-mail metadata from Americans in bulk. So the agency could know who Americans were e-mailing, who was emailing back, and which IP addresses were used, which could also give away physical locations.

But according to documents obtained by the newspaper, the actual content was off limits. The newspaper reports that the program started under former President George W. Bush's administration, and continued under President Barack Obama, until 2011 when it was stopped for "operational and resource reasons," according to a statement to the paper from the director of communications for national intelligence.

Meanwhile, the man who's been spilling the NSA's secrets, Edward Snowden, is still reportedly living out of a suitcase in the transit zone of the Moscow airport, where he has been for days.
FULL POST

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national lead

June 27th, 2013
07:07 PM ET

Analysis: If jury believes witness, self-defense is off the table for Zimmerman

Rachel Jeantel did not seem as easily rattled on the stand Thursday, compared with Wednesday's cross examination, when she often appeared combative and frustrated with the defense.

Still, her body language hinted that the witness box was pretty much the last place she wanted to be. But she chose to answer the bulk of the defense attorney's questions with a short, "Yes, sir."

"I think she came across more often than not just very raw, very authentic, not coached. But there was a difference between her demeanor yesterday and today," said CNN contributor Sunny Hostin.

Jeantel is a reluctant witness, saying she did not want to come forward from the very beginning.

"When you speak to jurors, those reluctant witnesses are the ones they tend to believe a bit more, because they're not stealth, they're not trying to write a book, they're not trying to be flamboyant, they're just being authentic," said Hostin.
FULL POST

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Who's watching the watchmen? Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General accused of various misdeeds

national lead

June 27th, 2013
06:51 PM ET

Who's watching the watchmen? Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General accused of various misdeeds

By CNN Chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper

Inspectors general are the internal watchdogs in government, the independent officers upon whom the public relies.

But what happens when the inspectors general themselves are accused of wrongdoing? Who watches the watchmen?

CNN has obtained a letter from the chair and ranking Republican on the Senate subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight to the acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Charles Edwards, laying out a number of potentially damaging allegations against him, including his being susceptible to political pressure to the point that an investigation into Secret Service misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia, was scrubbed of damaging information.
FULL POST

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