TIME Congress

Mike Rogers Says Obama Has Gone ‘Kinder, Gentler’ Against al-Qaeda

Mike Rogers
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., at a press conference in Washington, March 25, 2014. J. Scott Applewhite—AP

The retiring House Intelligence Committee chief tells TIME that Obama is leaving terrorists "on the battlefield," and explains his charge that Edward Snowden is "under the influence" of Russia's security service

When you think of spring break, you probably don’t envision a congressional hearing on Benghazi. But politics runs deep in the home of Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, whose college-age son is spending his time off from school in Washington, D.C., this month, and who attended the hearing his dad convened Wednesday on the 2012 tragedy in Libya that Republicans call a scandal and Democrats a dead horse. “Don’t give him any ideas,” Rogers said with a chuckle when TIME suggested to his son that spring break should be enjoyed on a Florida beach, not in a Rayburn building hearing room.

It’s actually the elder Rogers who’s about to enjoy a good time. After more than a decade in Congress, the Michigan Republican announced last week that he’s leaving the Hill at the end of this year to become a talk-radio host, with a national show syndicated by Cumulus Media. The salary is undisclosed, but presumably large enough for a few luxurious beach vacations. And for a man who loves to talk — Rogers has long been a fixture on political television — the new gig should be a breeze.

Nor does Rogers seem to be foreclosing a political future, unlike the countless members of Congress who jump to lucrative influence-peddling jobs. “I don’t think I’m done with government service,” Rogers said with a knowing smile, before unsubtly offering that his show will reach primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. (Presidential intention or PR gimmick? You decide.)

For now, though, Rogers is still in the thick of it — consumed by the parade of horribles on view in his regular classified briefings, fretting about America’s myriad vulnerabilities. In a TIME Newsmaker interview, Rogers talked about which threats worry him most, his belief that President Barack Obama has gone too soft on al-Qaeda and just what he means when he says Edward Snowden is “under the influence” of Russian officials. Here’s a partial transcript:

You just held yet another hearing on Benghazi, this one featuring former deputy CIA director Michael Morell. So much has been said about that night already — did you really take away anything new?

The takeaway is that the CIA had all the relevant information. There was confusion in the day or day after the attack, but it started to gel that this was an al-Qaeda extremist event — yet the narrative of the Administration never changed.

Isn’t one reason the Benghazi debate never ends that people disagree about whether it’s correct to call it an “al-Qaeda event”? Even if people with al-Qaeda connections were involved, that doesn’t mean it was planned and organized by core al-Qaeda leaders. Which is what the New York Times reported in December.

That all went out the window today when the deputy director of the CIA said that the reason he removed references to al-Qaeda from the talking points was because they had sources that said al-Qaeda participated in the event, and in their mind they didn’t want to disclose those sources. [See here for more on Morell’s testimony and this dispute.]

We have numerous people that we know participated in the Benghazi attacks affiliated with al-Qaeda that are still on the battlefield. We have the capacity to get them but there’s no planning to get them. We have other serious al-Qaeda threats that normally we would take off the battlefield, but because of this Administration’s more kinder, gentler approach we have not done that.

What do you mean by a “kinder, gentler” approach? Is that because the pace of drone strikes seems to have slowed?

I’m not allowed to talk about specific programs. But I can tell you that there are ways that we have taken people off the battlefield that have been disruptive to their ability to plan operations, and there are cases where we are no longer doing that.

And if you have serious al-Qaeda players remaining on the battlefield because of bureaucracy created here, that’s a problem. We know from the 9/11 Commission that once nothing happened after the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in 2000, the psychology of that empowered al-Qaeda and led them to do bigger and bolder things. Which led to 9/11.

The old slogan is that Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive, and that al-Qaeda core is going away. Which is inconsistent with the facts that we know. And it concerns me that it is translated into policy. If you tell everybody that works for you that al-Qaeda’s not that big a threat, well, guess what? Their decisions will reflect that.

You get classified briefings. Apart from al-Qaeda, what worries you the most?

Oh, which one? Cyber is the biggest national-security threat I’ve ever seen, one that we’re not prepared to deal with. Disengaging the size and scope of our military has sent a pretty awful message — it has said to countries they can invade their neighbors without fear of retribution. Radiological material, black-market issues around the world. Iran’s interest in getting a nuclear weapon.

How about bioterror? Not everyone thinks it’s a serious threat.

I do worry. It’s cheap. That’s worrisome. I did a biodefense bill to stockpile prophylactics. I still worry about it, because we know it’s out there and we know that al-Qaeda has talked about trying to get their hands on it.

You have said that Edward Snowden is “under the influence” of Russian officials. What does that mean, exactly? That they house him? Pay him? Recruited him? People say you’re casting aspersions without evidence.

The NSA contractor is definitely under the influence of Russian officials. We know that he was in China, Hong Kong anyway, and in Russia today. We have seen patterns and activities that lead us to believe that some or all of that information is being worked through by those intelligence services and putting the U.S. at risk.

“The NSA contractor” — you don’t use his name?

I think people have wrongly given him some elevated status, and he has some kind of an underground rock-star status. He’s a traitor who puts our soldiers lives at risk.

So what exactly does “under the influence” of Russian officials mean?

First of all, he’s living about a mile from the FSB [Russian security service] facilities. We know he has regular conversations with the FSB. And remember we have a long history of both KGB and FSB operations, we know how they work. The FSB grabbed a guy off the street in Kiev who was involved in the street protests, cut his ear off, drilled a hole in his hand — all to make him confess that he took money from the Americans to foment problems in Kiev. This wasn’t 1950, it wasn’t 1960, wasn’t 1970. This was this year.

So we see how they get people to cooperate, the kind of tactics that they use. And it is absolutely naive to believe that this guy who we know has been in the custody of intelligence agents of the Russian Federation, who has been housed in the joint facility, who got permission to go to work — that’s just not happening without their approval.

You’re saying he’s housed in a “joint facility”?

No, no, not a joint facility. He’s housed very near an FSB facility. Makes it convenient for everybody.

And remember we have other classified ways as well. That’s why no counterintelligence official does not believe that today he’s under the influence.

But that’s not the debate. The debate is, when did it start? Did it start in 2010 when he was taking classes in India, and made it known — in a place that is frequented by Russian intelligence officials — made it very clear that he was working for a U.S. intelligence agency? We don’t know, exactly. The FBI would call that a clue. In the spy business you call that a dangle.

We have other cases, you can go back and look at the history of profiles of someone who did not get along with co-workers, who had employment-history problems. This guy fits the profile to a T. I get worried when people want to think he’s something different than he is.

You took over the House Intelligence Committee in January 2011. Is the average American more or less safe today?

Oof. [Pauses.] Again, there are counterterrorism policies that I disagree with that I argue put us in a more dangerous position today. On this committee, I think the oversight is far better, I think the budgeting is far better. We chased partisanship out of the committee.

We engaged in constructive investigations — the Huawei investigation, for example, where it was darn close that the Chinese government was going to own the pipes through which all our private information traveled within the United States. And that is no longer the case, because of the work of our report. We have moved the country to a better place to be better protected on a whole host of threats.

Will you have more influence as a talk-radio host than you do as a Congressman?

The opportunity is pretty significant. It’s across the country. It’s talking to people every single day to develop a relationship. The kinds of things I was able to do at the committee never get talked about. This notion that if we just hide under our desks, the rest of the world will leave us alone and we’ll have a prosperous nation is dangerous. And that perspective is there on both the right and the left.

I think more people will tune in, and we’ll have better, more fired-up and productive conservatives at the end of the day.

And if a Republican is elected in 2016, will you return to run the CIA, FBI or Department of Homeland Security?

I never say never. I don’t think I’m done with government service. We’ll see what role it takes.

I look forward to the opportunity to talk to people in Iowa and New Hampshire too, that’d be nice. And of course New Mexico, Michigan and South Carolina. ["Ooo-kay," an aide says warily, ending the interview on schedule. Rogers laughs.]

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity and readability.

TIME Military

How to Stop the Next Fort Hood Attack

U.S. Army Col. Kathy Platoni holds up her cap at her home in Beaver Creek, Ohio, Nov. 1, 2010.
Kathy Platoni holds up her cap with the names of colleagues killed at Fort Hood in 2009 written inside. Al Behrman—AP

Military mental-health experts argue it’s time for wholesale change—and more money

Fort Hood tore down nondescript Building 42003 a couple of months ago. But razing the building didn’t remove the horrors of that November 2009 day when Army Major Nidal Hasan murdered 13 people inside it. Now Specialist Ivan Lopez’s shooting spree is raising new concerns.

“We’re not real good at recognizing when danger exists,” says retired Army Reserve Colonel Kathy Platoni, who comforted psychiatric nurse Captain John Gaffaney as he lay dying nearly five years ago, shot multiple times in his effort to stop Hasan.

The Army, Platoni says, simply doesn’t have the funds and personnel to do mental health adequately. “If it doesn’t smell right as a mental health professional, you’ve got to look further—but we don’t have the manpower to do it,” Platoni says. “A five-minute interview to fill out a prescription isn’t going to cut it.”

Fort Hood Shooting Building
Building 42003 being demolished at Fort Hood in February. Fort Hood Public Affairs Office / AP

The Army’s top civilian offered additional details about Lopez Thursday. Until he pulled out his Smith & Wesson, he’d had no military record of bad behavior. Like many cases of military suicide, Lopez, who served the last four months of 2011 in Iraq but didn’t see combat, was seeking help. He knew something was wrong. “He was undergoing a variety of treatment and diagnoses for mental health conditions ranging from depression, to anxiety, to some sleep disturbance,” Army Secretary John McHugh said.

Lopez was taking “a number of drugs… including Ambien” to help, and had seen a psychiatrist last month. “We had no indication on the record of that examination that there was any sign of likely violence, either to himself or to others,” McHugh said. “So the plan [going] forward was to just continue to monitor and to treat him as deemed appropriate.”

McHugh added: “We have ordered all possible means of medical and investigatory support, as well as added behavioral health counselors” to Fort Hood.

Could dispatching “added behavioral health counselors” to Fort Hood before the shooting have made a difference?

Experts with years in the military mental-health field say that increased staffing—as well as wholesale changes in how the nation, and the Army, treat mental-health ailments—are needed to stop a third Fort Hood attack.

“We need to focus programs on dangerousness,” says psychiatrist and retired Army brigadier general Stephen Xenakis. “Dangerousness is a community-health issue. Military clinicians should make it routine to ask about guns, drug and alcohol problems, are there mood shifts, and are they explosive? It becomes very apparent when you are sitting with folks who might be dangerous.”

Lopez apparently sent such signals before he exploded. “We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates an unstable psychiatric or psychological condition,” Lieut. General Mark Milley, the top officer at Fort Hood, said Thursday. “We believe that to be the fundamental underlying causal factor.”

A trained mental-health professional can sense trouble, Platoni says. “You’ve got to develop trust and rapport with the soldiers so they can tell you what’s eating away at their soul,” she says. “People get really agitated, sometimes their eyes are red, they’re tapping their feet, they feel very uncomfortable within their own bodies,” she says, describing potential red flags. “They can’t focus, and have no tolerance for frustration,” Platoni adds. “These things don’t happen in a vacuum—there are always signs when it’s not quite right.”

But the Army only has the funds Congress—representing the U.S. taxpayer—gives it. “They send us to war, and then they don’t want to treat us,” Platoni says. “It’s another ‘no thanks for your service.’”

Retired general Pete Chiarelli was the Army’s second-ranking officer in 2009 when Nidal Hasan struck, and he championed mental health for soldiers as vice chief of staff. He says the Army—and the civilian world—haven’t made much progress in dealing with mental health in recent decades. The nation needs a mental-health Manhattan Project to study the mind and figure out how to fix it when it’s hurt. Instead, Chiarelli argues, it’s relying on antiquated methods that don’t always work.

Pete Chiarelli retired from the Army as its No. 2 officer in 2012. Army photo

“We have horrible diagnostics, we’ve got 20 questions in DSM-5, the psychiatric manual, based on a numerical score that tells us whether we have post-traumatic stress or not, the drugs that we’re prescribing to these kids are all 30-to-40-year old anti-depressants, they’re all off-label kinds of drugs, genetically, everybody reacts differently to them, and we’re short of health-care providers,” says Chiarelli, who retired in 2012. “So even when we do have some therapies that work, we don’t always have the time to apply them—does it become easier to prescribe something, or put him through 15 to 20 90-minute sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy?”

Too much research funded by the federal government remains locked up by the researchers who did it instead of being widely shared with others who might be able to build on it, Chiarelli says. “I had no idea when I signed the [$50 million suicide-prevention] contract with NIH [the federally-funded National Institutes of Health] that the data they collected wouldn’t be released to all the people who were studying suicide, and only released to those people who were part of the study,” he says. “The Army’s thrown $500 million against PTS [post-traumatic stress] research, and what have they got? They’ve still got DSM-5 and a bunch of anti-depressants—they have no new drugs.” Smarter research would go a long way to helping solve such mental-health woes, Chiarelli says—and not just in the Army.

“Go ahead and complain about this kid who had post-traumatic stress down at Fort Hood, Texas,” he says. “But there are all kinds of other people—as we saw at Newtown—who never served a day in the military who have this problem, and we don’t have what we need to help them. Whether it’s Newtown or the Navy Yard or Fort Hood, you have a gun—but you also had a person who had a severe mental issue,” Chiarelli says. “Now that we have the ability to crunch data and probably find diagnostics, and then treatment, for this stuff, God damn it, why aren’t we doing it?”

TIME politics

Welcome to the Era of Politically Correct Web Browsing

Now, apparently, we’re boycotting free products and demanding companies dance to the tune called by socially conscious customers.

Just days after being named the new head of web-browser maker Mozilla, Brendan Eich has stepped down after being outed as an opponent of gay marriage. On Tuesday, dating site OkCupid urged its members who use Mozilla Firefox to “consider using different software for accessing OkCupid.” It turns out that Eich had given money to the campaign in support of California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State. (The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled Prop. 8 invalid, and same-sex unions are once again legal in California.)

Welcome to the brave new world of socially conscious … web browsing. In the past, consumers might patronize certain businesses whose stated missions extended beyond increasing shareholder value (Whole Foods, for example, or Ben & Jerry’s). Or they might avoid others with politically objectionable CEOs; a reputation for being, say, antiabortion (e.g. Domino’s Pizza); or public positions opposed to certain forms of birth control (Hobby Lobby, for instance). Now we’re boycotting free products like Firefox and demanding that companies dance to the tune called by customers. I think that’s a good thing overall — but it may end up being just as difficult for consumers to live with as it will be for corporations.

Whether you care about gay marriage or politically correct web experiences, Eich’s resignation shows how businesses respond to market signals. “Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech,” writes Mitchell Baker, the organization’s executive chairwoman, in announcing Eich’s stepping down. “And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

Just as the Internet has empowered consumers to find lower prices, more-extensive reviews and a wider variety of goods than ever before, it’s also made it easier for them to call out companies for all sorts of dastardly actions, screwups and problems. I like that OkCupid’s intervention wasn’t a call for government action to limit people’s choices or ban something. Indeed, OkCupid didn’t even block Firefox users from its site — rather, it politely asked them to consider getting to the site via a different browser.

But this sort of action complicates the simple act of shopping for both traditional conservatives and liberals in ways that are not yet fully clear. Conservatives should like the fact that this was done without calling for government action, even if they aren’t fans of gay marriage. For liberals, they surely like the outcome — a corporation pledges to support marriage equality — even as they will have to rethink the idea that corporations or businesses don’t have “personhood” or can’t take stances on issues (as liberals like to claim when it comes to campaign-finance questions). In fact, we ascribe intention to businesses all the time based on their practices and leadership.

It wasn’t that long ago — in fact, it seems like just last week — that we accessed the web to hunt for the best deal on a new cell phone or a pair of shoes. Now we must be aware not simply of the deep politics of the companies we actually buy from but even that of the company whose free downloads we use. Increasingly, we will be asking ourselves what sorts of non-business-related policies companies have and whether we want to associate with all that — even when we don’t pay a dime for a particular good or service.

That’s fine. After all, now that we’re well past a subsistence economy, we live in a world of largely symbolic exchange, where we don’t simply choose something because we’re hungry or naked but because we want to make a statement about what sort of person we are, what sort of taste we possess and what sort of values we share.

But socially conscious web browsing will also be a time-consuming and hugely complicated activity. One of the great promises of the Internet was that it would allow all of us to sift through vast amounts of information and arrive at the best answer in record time. We all know it hasn’t quite worked out that way. We spend more time than ever hunting for new things and then even more energy comparing this option to that option. Now we have even more to consider every time we fire up our browsers.


Republicans Want Us To Be Europe

Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, walks with his staff following a meeting on the newest Republican budget for 2015 on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, walks with his staff following a meeting on the newest Republican budget for 2015 on Capitol Hill, in Washington, April 2, 2014. Doug Mills—The New York Times/Redux

The party that talks the most about the dangers of America going Continental is the one dead set on making it happen. When it comes to economics, the GOP is the party of croissants and lederhosen

The basic Republican critique of President Obama is that he’s Europeanizing America. In the last campaign, Mitt Romney claimed Obama “takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe.” Paul Ryan warned “we will turn out just like Europe if we stick with European policies.” Europe’s continuing economic stagnation—12 percent unemployment, near deflation, tepid growth—is certainly an unattractive model for the United States. You can see why conservative cartoonists like to draw Obama in a beret.

But the policies that created the mess in Europe are not Obama’s policies. They are the policies—especially tight money and fiscal austerity—that Republicans have pushed for America. And where economics is concerned, the GOP is still the party of croissants and lederhosen.

The big news in Europe this week was inflation dropping to 0.5 percent, which might sound like good news but isn’t. Yes, too much inflation can be bad, shaking confidence in currencies, hurting the purchasing power of workers and seniors with fixed incomes. But the European Central Bank has an inflation target of nearly 2 percent, and persistent “lowflation,” with a nagging risk of deflation, is exactly what the continent doesn’t need after a severe financial crisis and a brutal recession. It’s terrible for families (and governments) with debts. And it’s increasing the value of the euro, which hurts European exporters and discourages investment. As I’ve tried to explain, in tough times, a little inflation can be a good thing.

The problem is that the ECB—under pressure from the inflation-phobic Germans on its board—has kept its monetary policy much too tight. The Federal Reserve lowered its key interest rate to zero in December 2008 and has kept it there ever since; more than five years later, the ECB still hasn’t quite gotten to zero. The Fed has also engaged in three rounds of “quantitative easing,” buying bonds to try to juice the economy; the ECB has not yet tried monetary stimulus. Inflation in the U.S. is only 1.1 percent, below the Fed’s target, but at least former Fed chair Ben Bernanke and current chair Janet Yellen have tried to do something about it.

Republicans have fought them every step of the way. They have accused the Fed of “debasing the currency,” of fueling the next bubble by printing money, of trying to turn the U.S. into Zimbabwe. In 2011, the top four congressional Republicans wrote Bernanke to demand an end to quantitative easing. Most Senate Republicans opposed Yellen’s nomination, arguing that the Fed has kept monetary policy too much, that it has focused too much on creating jobs and not enough on squelching inflation. The Fed has a statutory “dual mandate” to maximize employment and stabilize prices, but congressional Republicans, led by Paul Ryan, have called for the elimination of the employment requirement, so it would focus solely on inflation.

In other words, they want the Fed to be like the ECB.

Fortunately, they have been mostly unsuccessful. The Fed has begun to “taper” its monetary stimulus, but the inflation hawks on the Fed board have been consistently outvoted. That’s one reason our inflation rate is more than twice as high as Europe’s, although it’s still too low, and our unemployment rate is nearly half as low as Europe’s, although it’s still too high.

The other main drag on European growth has been overly tight fiscal policy. After a short burst of countercyclical stimulus following the financial meltdown in 2008, Europe has embraced fiscal austerity, pushing spending cuts and balanced budgets throughout the continent. This has inspired riots, killed jobs, and depressed growth in countries like Greece and Spain, which now have jobless rates over 25 percent. The United Kingdom’s austerity after David Cameron became prime minister in 2010 turned a promising recovery into a double-dip recession.

Again, the contrast with the United States is instructive. President Obama’s $800 billion Recovery Act—sorry, I’m a stimulus bore—was the largest fiscal stimulus in history, a big reason the Great Recession ended just four months later. Obama passed more than $1 trillion in additional stimulus in 2009 and 2010, a big reason U.S. economic output is now 6 percent above its pre-crisis level, while most European countries have yet to return to their pre-crisis GDP. When private demand disappears, government needs to fill the gap.

And again, Republicans have been pushing for us to be more like Europe, railing against stimulus, demanding draconian budget cuts that suck money out of the economy. Only three Republicans in Congress voted for the Recovery Act. Republicans have bitterly fought unemployment benefits, small business tax cuts, and other stimulus measures they used to support. They even threatened to force the U.S. government into default if Obama didn’t agree to massive spending cuts; overall, cutbacks in local, state, and federal spending have reduced GDP by about 1 percent a year since the Republicans took back the House of Representatives. President Obama has pushed for the American Jobs Act, new research and infrastructure spending, and other stimulus measures, but Republicans have insisted on austerity. That’s why U.S. growth has been mediocre instead of strong.

Still, it’s been better than Europe’s growth, mainly because the U.S. has done more monetary stimulus and more fiscal stimulus. We also had a more aggressive response to our financial crisis, recapitalizing our financial system through government interventions like the $700 billion TARP; the Europeans never did a TARP, one reason its banking system is in much worse shape than ours, providing much less support to the broader economy. It almost goes without saying that most Republicans voted against TARP. And Ryan’s latest budget would make it even harder for government officials to intervene in future financial crises.

None of this seems to infiltrate media coverage. Republicans don’t like universal health insurance or welfare, so they’re seen as “anti-European.” When Republicans like Senator Orrin Hatch say that “President Obama basically would like us to be Europe,” nobody questions them. But the Europeanization of the GOP continues. The Europeanization of America, on the other hand, hasn’t happened, because the party that always talks about it is still in the minority.

TIME Congress

Lobbyists Push Congress to Curb Misleading Photoshopped Ads

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif. speaks at a news conference, March 20, 2012.
Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif. speaks at a news conference, March 20, 2012. Tom Williams—CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Fashion and beauty ads where the physical appearance of subjects is dramatically altered can have a dire effect on the health outcomes of young people, say anti-eating disorder groups. A bill introduced last month could prompt the FTC to investigate

Lobbyists concerned with the way digitally altered advertisements impact young women and girls took to Capitol Hill on Thursday to rally support for a new bill.

Members of the Eating Disorders Coalition met with over 50 lawmakers about the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014, introduced on March 27, which they say could prompt the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the impact digitally retouched images have on society.

Seth Matlins, a marketer who works to promote positive images of women and girls, said Thursday he’s concerned about “ads that take Kim Kardashian’s body and make it Miley Cyrus’s.”

“If photoshopped ads told the same bold-faced lies that they do on images there would be regulatory action,” Matlins said during a briefing on the lobbying effort. “Truth in advertising matters because we can no longer sit by and allow this to happen.”

The problem for the Eating Disorders Coalition isn’t the ads themselves; it’s the altered images the ads present. The group handed out before and after images of advertisements from fashion houses like Ralph Lauren and Lancôme that they claimed showed the insidious effect of digital alterations. Speakers, who included a former Photoshop professional who referred to himself as an “eye-con,” told personal stories of how altered images had affected people around them.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the new bill, said during the briefing that as a mother and as a school nurse in her home state she had seen the impact altered fashion ads can have on young girls. She acknowledged the bill faced an uphill battle to gain widespread support in today’s Congress, but said there was a historical precedent for action.

“Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women,” she said. “And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops.”

The Eating Disorders Coalition claims the bill is a great first step to preventing some of the negative health outcomes that have been directly linked to these types of images. Though the new bill would not force the Federal Trade Commission to take direct action against advertisers, the federal government would study the use of images where subjects’ physical attributes had been tweaked in order to pursue recommendations on what should be done about it.

Several research studies have found that higher exposure to beauty and fashion magazines increase the likelihood that young girls will develop negative body image and eating disorders. In one study, young girls in Fiji had already begun to develop eating disorders and body image issues only three years after western TV was introduced there.

“The link between false ads and eating disorders becomes increasingly clear every day,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a co-sponsor of the new bill. “We need to instead empower young men and women to have realistic expectations of their bodies.”

But the Federal Trade Commission already has the authority to keep “unfair and deceptive” commerce away from consumers, and Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers says the federal government already has more than enough power to protect vulnerable communities from false ads. He argues the law as it stands is actually too broad and that eliminating the use of photoshop would be going too far.

“The use of cosmetics and photoshop are widespread practices,” Jaffe says. “It can’t just be the photoshopping that they go after, it would have to be tied to something specific. Are you just going to say that when ever someone photoshops it’s a per se violation? I think that would be going too far.”


Senate Panel Votes to Make CIA Report Public

Senator Dianne Feinstein D-CA waits to speak to the media after a closed meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill
California Senator Dianne Feinstein waits to speak to the media after a closed meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 3, 2014 Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee lifts a blackout on key parts of its report on the CIA's controversial interrogation and detention program, which concludes that the agency inflated the effectiveness of “enhanced” techniques

A Senate panel voted Thursday to declassify key aspects of a controversial report on the CIA’s interrogation program during the George W. Bush Administration.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report was written by its Democratic staff, and reportedly concludes that the CIA inflated the effectiveness of “enhanced” interrogation and detention practices, misleading the Justice Department, Congress and the public.

The panel voted to make public the 480-page executive summary and 20 findings and conclusions of the five-year study, which involved more than 100 detainees, according to committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. The panel voted 11 to 3 in favor of declassification, as Republican Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Dan Coats of Indiana and James Risch of Idaho voted nay. The top Republican on the committee, Saxby Chambliss, and his Republican colleagues Richard Burr of North Carolina and Maine’s Susan Collins voted to declassify the report, while Republican Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn voted present because he was not a member of the committee when it voted to conduct the report.

“The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation,” said Feinstein after the committee met for about 10 minutes to vote. “The report also points to major problems with the CIA’s management of this program, and its interactions with the White House, other parts of the Executive Branch and Congress.”

But it could be weeks before the declassified sections are made available to the public. Feinstein hoped the declassification process could be completed in as “early as 30 days,” but conceded that “may be wishful thinking.” She also expressed hope that the CIA would not drag its feet in opposition to the White House and pushed for as few redactions as possible.

Chambliss was among those who voted with Feinstein, but he disagreed on the purpose and outcome of the report.

“We need to get this behind us,” he said. “I was never in favor of this report being done; I think it was a waste of time. We already had a report done by the Armed Services Committee on this issue.”

“As we point specifically in the minority report, there was information that was gleaned from this program which led not only to the take down of [Osama] bin Laden, but to the interruption and disruption of other terrorist plots over a period of years,” Chambliss said.

Civil rights groups celebrated the announcement as proof that the decision to embrace torture — including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and stress positions — was neither effective in its purpose gaining intelligence nor moral. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Constitution Project pushed President Obama to take the lead to decide what gets redacted instead of the CIA. “The CIA should not be handed a black-out pen to hide its use of torture or the lies it told to keep the torture program going,” wrote Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU, in a public statement.

The report has become a bone of contention between the CIA and Senate investigators, which erupted into recriminations last month when Feinstein accused the agency of spying on Senate computers used in the investigation. The CIA, in turn, said investigators illegally accessed internal documents.

“It is now abundantly clear that in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks after 9/11, and bring those responsible to justice, the CIA did make some serious mistakes and that they haunt us to this day,” said Feinstein. “We are acknowledging those mistakes, and we have a continuing responsibility to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.”


Final Obamacare Deadline Is April 15

President Obama Speaks About New Health Care ActPresident Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington
President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, April 1, 2014. Brooks Kraft—Corbis

Anyone who began an application for a health care plan on the law's exchanges prior to Monday but didn't complete it has an extra 15 days to enroll. Some Americans ran into maintenance issues while trying to enroll before the March 31 deadline

The last day for people to complete their enrollment in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act is April 15, the White House has announced.

The enrollment deadline was midnight on Monday, but the White House is allowing anyone who started an application before the deadline a grace period to complete it. A post on HealthCare.gov announced that period would end on the 15th.

Some Americans ran into maintenance issues while trying to enroll before March 31, and others had delays due to enrolling over mail and not receiving information in time. Politico reports that insurance companies are happy with the grace period, since it will help them make more accurate estimates for 2015 premiums. Originally, the Obama Administration had not given a definite deadline, risking confusion for both the companies and people enrolling.

Earlier this week, President Obama announced that 7.1 million Americans had enrolled in health care before the March 31 deadline.

TIME Crime

Fort Hood Shooter Had ‘Clean Record’

Spec. Ivan Lopez, suspected Fort Hood shooter
Spec. Ivan Lopez, suspected Fort Hood shooter Texas Dept. of Motor Vehicles

The Secretary of the Army said a background check on the Fort Hood shooting suspect showed that he had no involvement with extremist organizations

The Secretary of the Army told Congress Thursday that the suspected shooter at Fort Hood “had a clean record” behaviorally and showed no signs that he would commit violence during a psychiatric examination a month earlier.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the national defense budget, Army Secretary John McHugh provided new details about the man suspected of killing three people before shooting himself in the second deadly shooting at Fort Hood since 2009.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul earlier identified 34-year-old Army Spc. Ivan Lopez as the suspect, though McHugh did not name him in his testimony.

McHugh said Lopez, from Puerto Rico, enlisted in the Army in 2008 and was deployed twice, including once to Iraq where he drove trucks and did not see combat. He said Lopez was married and investigators had questioned his wife.

He also said the suspect was undergoing treatment for depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances, but that he had a “clean record” and “no outstanding bad marks for any kinds of major misbehaviors that we’re yet aware of.” After an examination last month, the Army planned to “continue to monitor and treat him as deemed appropriate.”

But McHugh’s testimony also raised new questions about the suspect’s motives after officials previously said the shooting was not related to terrorism. McHugh said a background check showed that he had “no involvement with extremist organizations of any kind,” but he said investigators have not made any conclusions.

‘We’re going to keep an open mind,” McHugh said. “Possible extremist involvement is still being looked at very, very carefully.”

McHugh said the shooter’s .45 caliber weapon was recently purchased and was not registered with the base. While soldiers living off-post like Lopez are not required to register personal weapons with the base, he was not allowed to bring it to the base.

TIME Newsmaker Interview

Exclusive: SEC Chair Mary Jo White On Not Sleeping, Money Markets And The Angry Left

In her first year at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chair Mary Jo White has toughened enforcement, broken a partisan stalemate over post-crash regulation and launched studies of high frequency trading and market fragmentation. In a profile in this week’s magazine, available to subscribers here, TIME reports on how she has turned the agency around and where she is taking it.

Last month she sat down for an interview with TIME in her office overlooking the U.S. Capitol Building. An edited version follows.

One of the first things you did on arriving at the SEC was to change its settlement policy to require admissions of guilt in certain cases. How did you come to that position?

When I was U.S. Attorney I actually did the first deferred prosecution agreement and in that case I decided admissions really added to the accountability of the purported potential defendant.

The money market fund rule proposed last June broke a rule-making stalemate at the SEC but it was a compromise. Why should everyday Americans have faith that a rule produced by a political compromise will be effective?

Our proposal was based on a very important analysis and study by our economists, and that made a tremendous impact not only on me, but on the other commissioners [by showing that the 2010 reforms] didn’t completely address the phenomenon that we’d seen, the structural vulnerability that we’d seen,during the financial crisis. Second, this is an independent agency, we are deciding this on the merits.

Sen. Sherrod Brown [Democrat of Ohio] said he voted against you in committee in part because he thought you were too close to Wall Street. What do you say to those who say as a white collar defense lawyer you’re predisposed to Wall Street’s view more than the individual investor you’re charged with protecting?

My job here, my duty here, is to serve the American public, obviously, including investors in our markets, and that’s what I do. I started my career in the private sector and then became U.S. attorney. I think I was a stronger U.S. attorney, and I frankly think I am a stronger Chair of the SEC, because of that experience.

You said the policy of requiring admissions of guilt would evolve. What do you mean by that?

I would expect it to expand. There are lots of things you could put into the bucket of “particularly egregious conduct,” which is one of things we consider when seeking admissions. So far we’ve proceeded primarily with admissions against institutions, which I think is appropriate. But one must also think about appropriate cases for individuals too when the conduct was particularly egregious.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren famously grilled your predecessor for not prosecuting big banks.

I think what she was saying was, are they too big to try in court? The answer is they’re not too big to try. If you get everything you ask for in a settlement that the law allows you to have and they agree to it, there’s not going to be a trial. There is a premium that companies of all kinds place on putting the matter behind them. So that’s going to translate into not very many trials because they’re going to give us as the government all the relief we are seeking in a settlement.

Why have you proposed a review of company’s public disclosure procedures? The left is angry.

And they shouldn’t be. All you have to do is read the disclosures that are out there now and be struck by the fact that we can do this better and in a more meaningful way. The idea isn’t less disclosure, the idea is more meaningful disclosure for investors.

The left in general is unhappy. They see you as being overly solicitous to concerns of commissioners on the right and staffers here whom they perceive to be institutionally aligned with prior administrations.

I’m basically merits driven. I’m literally an independent. Apolitical. So that I am not always going to be with the left’s perceived interests or the right’s perceived interests. It’s going to be what I think the right answer is. Look, you have to decide over time, no matter who you are, what I’m about.

One of the things that’s interesting about this job is that it’s unlike being U.S. Attorney, where 90% of what you do, everybody loves. You’re going after bad guys. Here everything you do somebody’s going to dislike. That just kind of goes with the territory I think, and my job is to do what I think is the right thing. Carry out the mission the best way I can.

Is there anything about the market structure that worries you, that keeps you up at night? That makes you feel like there’s an imminent danger to the economy or the markets?

My usual answer to what keeps me up is I don’t sleep. Which is actually true.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

About four. That’s always been true. It serves me very well now.

But in terms of the market structure issues, each issue can undermine the confidence in our markets. The fragmentation of markets, dark pools and high frequency traders—it’s important to say that those phenomena are pretty well known.

The impacts, however, are not as well known and the theories about them are all over the lot. And so one of my primary focuses, really since before I walked in the door, was to make sure that we were doing everything we could to fully understand those issues. We do have a lot of safeguards. It’s just a matter of what else do we need to do, to make it even better, more resilient.

Even your friends say that while you’re an expert on enforcement, you’re a novice on market structure and rules.

Every chair and every commissioner has different expertise. The staff, however, has the full range of expertise. So you pick your staff well. You listen to them. You learn. I think I’m a quick study. I also, in my prior life, sat on the NASDAQ board for four years and was exposed to a number of these issues then, including many of the market structure issues. I made a decision about whether, given my particular background, I thought I could do a very strong job here and I certainly made the decision that I could. And I guess time will tell.

What’s your vision for the commission and what you can achieve while you’re here?

Overall vision is that it remains the very strong independent agency that it is, that oversees the fairness and safety of the markets on behalf of companies and investors and that’s really the heart of it. I’d like to see significant progress made on market structure issues. Being perceived as a strong cop on the beat I think is very important on the enforcement side, in terms of the confidence in the safety of our markets and the credibility not just of law enforcement but of government itself.

What does personal success look like?

Did a good job and was a strong leader of a strong agency.

Have you had any conversations with the White House or anybody else about being Attorney General if that job opened up?

I’m not going to talk about specific conversations.I’m here to do this job.



Senate Committee Votes To Declassify CIA Report

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 27, 2014.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 27, 2014. J. Scott Applewhite—AP

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to lift a blackout on its report on the CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention program

Updated 3.00pm ET

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to declassify its 6,300-page report detailing the CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention program.

The report is still expected to remain largely unseen, and it could take weeks before even some sections, including the executive summary, findings, and conclusions, are released to the public.

Recent leaks reported by the Washington Post suggest the document provides a scathing review of CIA practices after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The report, says the Post, claims the CIA adopted brutal interrogation tactics that walked a fine line between approved and illegal techniques and exaggerated the importance of the information obtained from the program.

The vote to declassify the report, until recently opposed by Senate Republicans, received a boost Wednesday when committee members and Maine Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I), issued a joint statement backing the release of the report because “its findings lead us to conclude that some detainees were subjected to techniques that constituted torture.”

The report has become a bone of contention between the CIA and senate investigators, which erupted into recriminations last month when Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein accused the agency of spying on Senate computers used in the investigation. The CIA, in turn, said investigators illegally accessed internal documents.

But the report has also drawn accusations of bias and factual errors from officials. When the document was approved in 2012, ranking Republican committee member Sen. Saxby Chambliss said that “a number of significant errors, omissions, assumptions, and ambiguities–as well as a lot of cherry-picking–were found that call the conclusions into question.”

This story was updated to reflect Senate vote in favor of declassification


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