VIDEO - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, spent some time with former President Bill Clinton at a conference. CBS News political director John Dickerson discusses the move, which may be part of a plan to portray him as a bi-partisan problem solver.
VIDEO - As President Obama landed in Northern Ireland to attend the G8 Summit, a British newspaper printed new secret documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden that accuse the U.S. and U.K. governments of spying on G20 participants. CBS News' Major Garrett reports.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The man who leaked details about top-secret U.S. government surveillance programs is defending his actions.
In what The Guardian newspaper said was an online chat with him, Edward Snowden attacked U.S. officials for calling him a traitor. He says he didn't reveal any U.S. operations against what he calls legitimate military targets.
Snowden said being labeled a traitor by former Vice President Dick Cheney is "the highest honor you can give an American."
He said the government had "destroyed any possibility of a fair trial" for him, and indicated he won't be returning to the U.S. voluntarily.
Snowden was asked at one point whether he had fled to Hong Kong because he was spying for China. He wrote, "If I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing?" He said he could be "living in a palace" by now.
Snowden dismissed the U.S. government's claim that the surveillance programs had helped thwart dozens of terrorist attacks. He said the real question is how many attacks were prevented solely by information that came from this surveillance, but couldn't have been gathered any other way.
He added, "Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism," but that Americans have "been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it."
WASHINGTON (AP) - The details are expected to be announced tomorrow on the military's plan to start moving women into thousands of combat jobs, including those in special operations forces.
Under the schedules delivered to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Army will develop standards within the next two years to let women train and possibly serve as Rangers. By March of 2016, women could begin training as Navy SEALS.
U.S. Special Operations Command is working on deciding what commando jobs could be opened to women, and when the transition would take place.
The plans require women and men to meet the same physical and mental standards to qualify for the front-line positions. It's still possible that women will be kept out of some jobs if research and testing find that they couldn't be successful in sufficient numbers.
The military services are also working to determine the cost of opening certain jobs to women, particularly aboard a variety of Navy ships, including some submarines and small warships. Dozens of ships do not have adequate berthing or facilities for women to meet privacy needs, and would require design and construction changes.
OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The FBI says it is searching a field in suburban Detroit based on information involving the disappearance of former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa.
Robert Foley, special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit division, says the agency and its partners on Monday executed a search warrant in Oakland Township, about 25 miles north of Detroit. He says the warrant is sealed and didn't take questions from reporters.
Tony Zerilli told Detroit TV station WDIV in February the FBI had enough information for a search warrant to dig at the site. Zerilli was in prison in 1975 when Hoffa disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant but told New York TV station WNBC in January he was informed about Hoffa's whereabouts after his release.
Hoffa was president of the Teamsters union until 1971.
CHICAGO (AP) - The National Weather Service is upgrading the risk of storms to its highest alert level for parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
The agency's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., says there's a high risk that damaging winds will strike in extreme eastern Iowa into northern portions of Illinois and Indiana and northwest portions of Ohio.
Storm Prediction Center Director Russell Schneider says it's the first time this year that the center has used its highest alert level. Wednesday's storms are likely to generate tornadoes and cause power outages.
The storms could affect more than one in five Americans on Wednesday as they rumble from Iowa to Maryland packing hail, lightning and tree-toppling winds.
Schneider says the storm could hit Chicago around rush hour.
NEW YORK (AP) - The country's book-buyers are reading up on being watched.
Sales for dystopian classics such as George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" have been strong since news broke last week that the U.S. government had vast surveillance programs targeting phones and Internet records.
Several editions of Orwell's "1984," about an all-seeing government, were among Amazon.com's top 200 sellers as of Wednesday morning. Huxley's story of a mindless future ranked No. 210 and was out of stock.
A perennial favorite of futuristic horror, Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," was ranked No. 75.
HOUSTON (AP) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide money to help rebuild the small Texas town where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people.
According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, FEMA says it reviewed the state's appeal for the funds to help West. But the agency says the impact from the explosion "is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration."
West Mayor Tommy Muska says the money is needed to cover $57 million in damage, including $40 million to rebuild a destroyed school. The West Fertilizer Co. blew up in April.
The letter is addressed to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and dated June 10.
FEMA did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Chief executives for the largest U.S. companies are more optimistic about sales over the next six months and plan to add more workers.
The Business Roundtable says its April-June quarterly survey found 32 percent of its members expect to expand payrolls in the next six months. That's up from 29 percent in the January-March survey. And 78 percent expect their sales to increase. That's up from 72 percent from the previous survey.
Consumers have kept spending this year, despite an increase in Social Security taxes. That's helped the economy grow at a modest pace.
Still, most of the CEOs don't expect growth to accelerate. They forecast growth of 2.2 percent this year, about the same as first quarter survey.
The group represents leaders of the 200 biggest U.S. companies.
VIDEO - When NSA leaker Edward Snowden revealed details of two National Security Agency surveillance programs, he spotlighted the risks of making so many employees of private contractors a key part of the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The entire House of Representatives has gotten a briefing from intelligence officials as part of an effort to calm outrage over National Security Agency programs that collect Americans' phone and Internet records.
The officials have been making the case that the information-gathering is necessary to protect Americans - and does not trample on their privacy rights.
Several key lawmakers have tried to refocus the furor on the 29-year-old former intelligence contractor who is claiming responsibility for revealing the programs. House Speaker John Boehner joined others in calling Edward Snowden a "traitor."
But attempts to defend the NSA systems by a leading Republican senator who supports them is highlighting how confusingly intricate they are.
Sen. Lindsey Graham described how the NSA uses pattern analysis of millions of phone calls from the United States, even if those numbers have no known connection to terrorism. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has vigorously maintained that there are strict limits on the programs to prevent intruding on Americans' privacy, and senior officials quickly denied Graham's description.
Meanwhile, the ACLU American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today, calling for the Obama administration to end the phone surveillance and purge the records it has collected.
DETROIT (AP) - U.S. safety regulators are trying to figure out if Honda needs to recall some older Odyssey minivans because the air bags can inflate without a crash.
The investigation covers 320,000 vans from the 2003 and 2004 model years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received six complaints about the front air bags suddenly inflating while the vans were being driven. Three people said they were hurt.
The agency will determine if the problem is serious enough to cause a recall.
The minivans have air bag control circuits that were linked to recalls last year of more than 1.8 million older-model Chrysler and Toyota vehicles worldwide. The circuits were made by parts supplier TRW Automotive
Dealers were to install an electronic filter to fix the problem.
VIDEO - President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to begin two days of talks Friday in the Southern California Desert. Protesters were on hand when Xi traveled through the town of Indian Wells.
VIDEO - A high-ranking IRS official admitted that he saw no redeeming value in a now infamous IRS video. Faris Fink, who played the role of Mr. Spock in the Star Trek parody, testified before a House committee on Thursday.
VIDEO - The search for victims of a building collapse that killed six people wound down Thursday amid mounting questions about whether the demolition company that was tearing down the structure caused the tragedy by cutting corners.
VIDEO - The Obama administration and some leading members of Congress are defending the NSA spying on citizen's phone records . Republican congressman Mike Rogers says the search of phone records had, in fact, prevented a terror attack in recent years
MIAMI (AP) - Much of Florida is getting a pounding today from heavy rain, as the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season heads toward the state's western coast.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for a large section of Florida's west coast, and for the East Coast all the way to Virginia.
Tropical Storm Andrea's top sustained winds are near 60 miles an hour. It's expected to make landfall this afternoon in Florida's Big Bend area before moving across southeastern Georgia and the Carolinas.
South Georgia residents are bracing for heavy rains that could lead to flooding. Forecasters say while heavy rain and floods will be the main threats in Georgia, tornadoes are also possible.
In Florida, the storm surge is expected to be the biggest threat as the storm comes onshore.
As it moves up the East Coast, the storm is expected to hug the coastline, bringing rain as far as southern New England through the weekend.
Heavy rains associated with the storm have soaked the western part of Cuba for the last several days, overflowing rivers and damaging crops.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the House Intelligence committee says the ongoing NSA search of telephone records thwarted an attempted terrorist attack in the United States in the last few years.
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan defended the telephone records collection at a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday. He said the information culled from the records enabled U.S. authorities to stop a "significant case."
He declined to provide additional details but said he was in touch with U.S. officials about providing more information.
He said the NSA search is for business records and is constantly being reviewed. He said nothing is done without court approval.
VIDEO - Britain's Guardian Newspaper reports that the National Security Agency is collecting extensive phone records on millions of calls from Verizon. The Associated Press has not confirmed this report.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities say 14 people were taken from a building collapse in central Philadelphia and 13 were taken to hospitals with mostly minor injuries.
Officials have declined to comment on the status of the 14th person.
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers and Mayor Michael Nutter said Wednesday the rescue effort would continue with the aid of two search and rescue dogs until officials were assured no other victims remained.
Ayers says rescuers pulled a woman trapped amid the rubble of a Salvation Army thrift store after they heard her voice after the 10:45 a.m. collapse on the edge of the downtown area.
Rescuers used buckets and their bare hands to move bricks and rubble.
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) - Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year, pleaded guilty Wednesday to avoid the death penalty. This is what AP reporters and photographers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle are learning about the events unfolding (in Pacific Time):
HEARING ENDS, 3:08 p.m. - The judge ordered the defense to give notice by July 1 if they're using mental health experts, and to turn over all underlying mental health data from examinations of Bales by that day. And with that, the hearing concluded.
LEGAL DISPUTE, 2:54 p.m. - As the hearing continued, Bales' lawyers and prosecutors sparred over whether the defense should have already notified the government of any intent to call expert witnesses at sentencing who could testify about any mental issues Bales was suffering from at the time of the slayings.
GUILTY, 2:06 p.m. - The judge has accepted Bales' guilty plea in the slayings of 16 Afghan civilians. He asked the soldier to rise, then pronounced him guilty. A jury will decide in August whether Bales gets a sentence of life with or without the possibility of parole.
SOLDIER WAIVES RIGHTS, 1:53 p.m. - Among the terms of the plea deal is that Bales agreed to waive his right to confront certain witnesses against him in person during his sentencing in August. Instead, the government could present statements or audio or video recordings from the witnesses. The judge questioned Bales to make sure he understood those conditions.
POSSIBLE SENTENCES DISCUSSED, 1:43 p.m. - After a midday break, the hearing resumes. The judge informs Bales of a possible sentence -- life without parole.
LUNCH, 12:11 p.m. - After a morning spent reviewing the charges and hearing Bales recount how he killed Afghan civilians, the hearing has gone to recess for a lunch break.
BURNINGS/STEROID USE, 12:09 p.m. -The judge again questioned Bales about burning his victims' bodies. Bales said he understood it would be considered desecration: "Sir, I understand it is against their cultural norms." Now onto drug use: Bales said he was taking steroids to make himself "smaller, leaner, more fit for the mission," and to help him recover more quickly from rigorous activity. "It definitely increased my irritability and anger," he said. Bales said he took three doses per week.
HEARING RESUMES, 11:53 a.m. -Bales is now describing an unrelated attack: His assault on a man who was unloading a truck at the base in February 2012, the month before the massacre. Bales acknowledged striking the man with his fists and knees but didn't immediately explain why. "We were inside a truck. He fell to the floor of the truck."
'MURDER ANYONE,' 11:22 a.m. - Bales spoke while seated at the defense table, hands folded in front of him, twiddling his thumbs. Lt. Col. Jay Morse, one of the prosecutors, raised concerns that Bales' testimony may have contradicted what he acknowledged in the stipulation of fact he signed. Morse noted that Bales testified he formed the intent to kill each victim when he raised his gun and pointed at them. But in the stipulation, Bales said he struggled with the grandmother, Na'ikmarga, before killing her, and that "after the tussle" he decided to "murder anyone that he saw." The judge questioned Bales about it, and Bales confirmed that yes, after struggling with her, he decided to kill everyone there. The hearing then went to a recess.
VICTIMS BURNED, 11:06 a.m. - When asked about the burning of the victims, Bales said he remembers a kerosene lantern in the room and recalls a fire and having matches in his pocket when he returned to the base, but not setting the bodies on fire. The judge pressed him on whether he set the bodies on fire with the lantern. Bales replied, "It's the only thing that makes sense, sir."
WHY? 'NOT A GOOD REASON IN THIS WORLD,' 11:01 a.m. - As for the motivation behind the horrific slayings, Bales told the judge: "Sir, as far as why: I've asked that question a million times since then. There's not a good reason in this world for why I did the horrible things I did."
'HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY'RE DEAD?,' 10:56 a.m. - The judge asked Bales of the victims: "How do you know they're dead?" Bales answered that he has seen the Army's investigation report, Afghan investigation report and heard testimony to that effect during a hearing last fall. "I formed the intent as I raised my weapon prior to shooting them, sir." Judge: "Was it your intent to end the lives of the persons you were aiming your weapon at?" Bales: "Yes, sir."
SOLDIER SPEAKS, 10:43 a.m. - After a lengthy review of the charges, the judge said to Bales: "What I want you to do now is tell me in your own words why you believe you're guilty of these offenses." Bales reads from a statement in a clear and steady voice, describing his actions for each killing in the same terms: "I left the VSP (Village Stability Platform at Belambay) and went to the nearby village of Alkozai. While inside a compound in Alkozai, I observed a female I now know to be Na'ikmarga. I formed the intent to kill Na'ikmarga, and I did kill Na'ikmarga by shooting her with a firearm. This act was without legal justification, sir."
VICTIMS NAMED, 10:24 a.m. - The judge read the names of two girls Bales wounded - Robina and Zardana - which evoked last fall's hearing when those young victims testified in bright head coverings and sipped from juice boxes. The judge was reading the names of the victims referred to in each charge.
NO QUESTIONS, 10:20 a.m. - Bales has had no questions for the judge about any of the premeditated or attempted murder charges.
JUDGE BREAKS DOWN CHARGES, - 9:56 a.m. - For each murder charge, the judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, asked Bales whether he understood the four elements: that the victim is dead; that the death resulted from Bales' actions; that the killing was unlawful; and that the killing was premeditated.
HEARING RESUMES, - 9:49 a.m. - After a brief recess, the hearing continued with the judge asking Bales about his guilty pleas in the slayings. Judge: "Is everything in the stipulation true?" Bales: "Yes, sir." The judge asked if there is anything in the stipulation that Bales does not want to admit to as true. Bales: "No, sir."
JUDGE TO QUESTION SOLDIER, 9:23 a.m. - Bales signed a lengthy stipulation of facts about his actions the night of the killings. The judge says he'll question Bales about the details he acknowledged in that document. The hearing then went to a brief recess.
GUILTY, 9:14 a.m. - Bales has pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty. He made the plea in a military courtroom to multiple counts of premeditated murder and other charges.
JUDGE SPEAKS TO BALES, 9:09 a.m. - The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, explained Bales' rights and asked if he understands them. Bales stood and answered: "Yes, sir, I do." Judge told him he can remain seated unless otherwise instructed.
HEARING BEGINS, 9:05 a.m. - The proceedings have started. Bales is sitting next to his attorneys, Emma Scanlan and John Henry Browne. Browne is a well-known Seattle-area lawyer whose clients have included serial killer Ted Bundy and the teenage thief known as the Barefoot Bandit. The 6-foot-6 Browne has a sometimes brash courtroom style.
FAMILY SUPPORT, 8:58 a.m. - Prior to the hearing beginning, Bales was in the courtroom, speaking with his wife and touching her elbow. Karilyn Bales has supported her husband throughout the legal proceedings, saying he is a loving father to his two children.
HUGE MEDIA PRESENCE, 8:50 a.m. - The number of media vehicles waiting for the Bales hearing was so large that a regular lane of traffic was blocked off near the JBLM gate to accommodate them before moving the first group to the security screening area. There, as with past hearings, vehicles had to have all doors open and were screened by a dog and a handler wearing a bullet proof vest. As media filed in to the work area, John Henry Browne and Lance Rosen, attorneys for Bales and his family, were seen talking in a separate parking lot. It looks like that for this hearing, media in the work area will have a four-camera split-screen view of the proceedings, in order to show different areas of the courtroom.
VIDEO - Mississippi River communities scrambling Tuesday to fend off the rain-engorged waterway got discouraging news: More rains looming across much of the nation's midsection threatened to slow the potential retreat of the renegade river.
VIDEO - All six members of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday to discuss the sexual assault crisis in the armed forces, acknowledging it's 'like a cancer' that could destroy the force.
VIDEO - Lois Lerner, a top IRS official in the non-profit division that paralyzed Tea Party groups with ongoing harassment, is on administrative leave and receiving a paycheck it was revealed in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday. Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions during Congressional testimony schedule before the House Oversight Committee last month concerning her involvement in IRS targeting conservative political groups seeking tax exempt status. Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel defended the department saying that many leaders have been "held accountable" by either being asked to resign or by resigning at the leisure and being replaced.
VIDEO - The final Boston Marathon bombing victim left the hospital on Monday. Erika Brannock returned home to Maryland, after 50 days in the hospital in Boston. She lost one leg and has had eleven surgeries.
VIDEO - Something akin to lottery fever has gripped residents in Zephyrhills, Florida. Two weeks ago, a Publix Supermarket there sold a winning Powerball ticket for the $590 million jackpot, but the winner is still a mystery.
VIDEO - A fire north of Los Angeles has forced nearly 3,000 people to evacuate their homes. The fire has burned about 35 square miles in the mountains and canyons of the Angeles National Forest, destroying at least six homes and damaging 15 more.
VIDEO - A rare tornado may have touched down in Maine on Sunday, as powerful winds, thunderstorms and hail pounded Northern New England. As of early Monday, 19,000 homes and businesses were without power in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Ark. (AP) - Flash flooding killed at least two people in Arkansas, including a sheriff who ventured out in bad weather with a game warden to check on residents in a home threatened by high water.
State officials said Friday that the game warden and two people from the home in Y City were missing. Searchers found the boat that Sheriff Cody Carpenter and the warden took onto Mill Creek near the Oklahoma border.
A woman's body was found in a car. Her death was attributed to the flooding but details weren't immediately offered. Her death was the third reported from storms overnight.
Heavy rains over rugged terrain forced creeks and rivers up sharply around Y City.
Forecasters are warning of more bad weather today in much of the Southern Plains and Ozarks.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Forecasters warned that large hail and more tornadoes could strafe parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri on Friday, a day after powerful storms and floods killed at least three people in the storm-weary region.
Up to a dozen tornadoes touched down in mostly rural parts of Arkansas on Thursday, as well as one in Illinois and three in Oklahoma. One twister bounced through the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow, causing some structural damage, but no injuries.
A western Arkansas sheriff who went missing while checking on residents in a flooded area was among the fatalities. Keith Stephens of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said the body of Sheriff Cody Carpenter was recovered in Y City, 125 miles west of Little Rock, Friday morning. Carpenter and a wildlife officer were in a boat checking on a home in the area after the Fourche La Fave River rose sharply. The wildlife officer was still missing.
State police spokesman Bill Sadler said there were "confirmed fatalities" in the area.
Heavy winds caused a tree to topple onto a car in Tull, about 30 miles southwest of Little Rock, late Thursday, killing the driver, the Grant County Sheriff's Office said.
At least nine people were reported injured.
The National Weather Service was sending teams to survey the aftermath of Thursday's storms in Arkansas. Warning coordination meteorologist in Little Rock, John Robinson, said it could take days for the weather service to confirm whether tornadoes struck as flooded highways was hindering access to the storm-hit areas.
And more storms were expected Friday.
The agency's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said large hail and tornadoes are likely Friday in Oklahoma and parts of the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri. The areas at greatest risk include Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Joplin, Mo., where the second-deadliest American tornado on record killed at least 158 people in 2011.
Flooding was also a concern in parts of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois through Sunday.
Thursday's tornadoes all appeared to be much less dangerous than the top-of-the-scale EF5 storm that struck Moore, Okla., on May 20 and killed 24 along its 17-mile path. The U.S. averages more than 1,200 tornadoes a year, but EF5 storms like the one in Moore - with winds over 200 mph - happen only about once per year. The tornado last week was the nation's first EF5 since 2011.
This spring's tornado season got a late start, with unusually cool weather keeping funnel clouds at bay until mid-May. The season usually starts in March and then ramps up for the next couple of months.
Of the 60 EF5 tornadoes since 1950, Oklahoma and Alabama have been struck the most, seven times each. More than half of these top-of-the-scale twisters have occurred in just five states: Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Associated Press writers Ken Miller in Oklahoma City, Jeannie Nuss in Little Rock, Ark., and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.