WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's top intelligence official says a previously undisclosed program for tapping into Internet usage is authorized by Congress, falls under strict supervision of a secret court and cannot intentionally target a U.S. citizen. And he says it was reckless to reveal it and another intelligence-gathering program.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has taken the rare step of declassifying some details of an intelligence program to respond to media reports about the government's counterterrorism techniques.
His statement and declassification on Saturday addresses the Internet scouring program, code-named PRISM, that allows the NSA and FBI to tap directly into the servers of major U.S. Internet companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL. Like the phone-records program, PRISM was approved by a judge in a secret court order. Unlike that program, however, PRISM allows the government to seize actual conversations: emails, video chats, instant messages and more.
Clapper says the program, authorized in the USA Patriot Act, has been in place since 2008 and "has proven vital to keeping the nation and our allies safe."
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) - The U.S. Air Force has launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile from a California base, a month after the test flight was postponed because of tensions with North Korea.
Vandenberg Air Force Base says the Minuteman 3 lifted off at 6:27 a.m. PDT Wednesday. It later splashed down thousands of miles away in the Pacific.
It's the first Minuteman test-launch of the year. Several Minutemans are launched each year at from Vandenberg to determine the weapon system's accuracy and reliability.
Officials say the original mid-April flight plan was delayed to avoid it being misconstrued by North Korea during a time of heightened tensions. It was rescheduled for Tuesday morning but was pushed back a day due to a problem with range safety instruments.
St. Louis is well-represented on the most recent Fortune 500 list of the largest companies in the country.
Express Scripts got the highest ranking of the nine area companies at number 24. The company jumped 60 spots after acquiring Medco Health Services in the last year. Some of the other companies on the list from the area, Emerson, Monsanto, and Ameren.
The top company in the country this year was Wal-mart.
Here are the St. Louis companies that made the list:
24. Express Scripts Holding
275. Reinsurance Group of America
315. Peabody Energy
465. Graybar Electric
491. Jones Financial