NEW YORK -- The heads of the nation's three top intelligence agencies said Thursday they strive to protect Americans' privacy in an evolving era of cybersecurity threats, electronic surveillance and concerns about government data-monitoring.
Since former government contract systems analyst Edward Snowden leaked classified documents about the National Security Agency's data-gathering in May, lawmakers and average Americans have re-engaged in debate over the boundaries between preventing terrorism and preserving Americans' privacy rights.
Speaking at a cybersecurity conference, CIA director John Brennan, FBI director Robert Mueller and the NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander, didn't directly address the agency's programs that sweep up swaths of data on phone and Internet use, including hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records. The officials spoke largely about malicious software attacks and other electronic intrusions.
But when asked about privacy, Alexander said intelligence officials understand their charge is to protect the country and civil rights.
McCain expresses concern: Fresh off a contentious meeting in Cairo, Sen. John McCain expressed concern Thursday that Egypt may be headed toward a period of prolonged violence if the Arab country's military and the Muslim Brotherhood cannot start a political dialogue. McCain and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham pressed their case over meetings this week with Egypt's top army brass, interim political leaders, youth groups and allies of Egypt's ousted and now imprisoned president, Mohammed Morsi.
Clinton, Winfrey among honorees: Former President Bill Clinton is headed back to the White House -- just for a day -- and Oprah is coming, too. Clinton and Oprah Winfrey will be among 16 people that President Barack Obama will venerate later this year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Thursday. They'll join other prominent people to be honored this year, including musicians, scientists, activists -- even an astronaut.
Meijer to hire more than 9,000: Midwest retailer Meijer Inc. plans to hire more than 9,000 new employees in five states in the coming months. MLive.com reported (http://bit.ly/14nQQA1) the Grand Rapids-based company says the hiring is because of growth and preparation for fall and holiday seasons. Meijer says it wants to hire 4,400 in Michigan, 1,800 in Indiana, 1,600 in Ohio, 900 in Illinois and 500 in Kentucky. Meijer has opened five new stores this year, including one in Detroit, and plans one more this year. It has nine scheduled to open in 2014. The retailer said most of the new positions will be part-time.
GM to keep Colorado, Canyon names: General Motors will keep the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon names when it rolls out redesigned midsize pickup trucks next year. The new trucks will be markedly different from the current models, with the Colorado targeted toward people who spend time outdoors and the Canyon aimed at professional buyers, chief financial officer Dan Ammann said Thursday at an auto industry conference. Ammann said the old truck names have brand equity with customers.
Firm in rail tragedy granted protection: A Canadian judge has granted creditor protection to a rail company whose runaway oil train caused an explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec, a day after the company filed for bankruptcy. Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. and its Canadian counterpart, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Canada Co., filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Canada on Wednesday, citing debts to more than 200 creditors following the disaster in Lac-Megantic. A Quebec Superior Court justice handed down his ruling Thursday.
Bank looted in Kenya airport fire: Officials in Kenya investigating the massive airport fire that gutted the arrival hall at Nairobi's main airport said Thursday that first responders looted electronics, a bank and an ATM during and after the blaze. The officials said first responders stole electronics and money from an ATM. Another official said that police guarding the site overnight attempted to a take a safe from a bank in the burned-out arrivals hall, which also houses several foreign currency exchange shops. All four officials who described the alleged looting are close to the investigation.