TIME Crime

White House Fence Jumper Killed in Pennsylvania Courthouse Attack

Chester County Justice Center
Chester County Pennsylvania The Chester County Justice Center

"[He] came directly into the justice center and pulled out a knife"

Correction appended, Aug. 25, 2015

A Philadelphia-area man who allegedly scaled the White House fence in March was shot and killed on Tuesday after attacking a sheriff’s deputy in a courthouse, authorities said.

Investigators said Curtis Smith, 34, of Coatesville, Pa., stormed the Chester County Justice Center around 11 a.m., setting off metal detectors and triggering a lockdown, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “[He] came directly into the justice center and pulled out a knife and attacked a deputy sheriff, slashing him,” District Attorney Tom Hogan said on Tuesday afternoon.

Another deputy responded by opening fire on Smith, striking him, Hogan said. Smith was taken to Paoli Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead. The injured sheriff’s deputy, whose identity was not released, was treated for wounds to his arm and hand and is listed in stable condition. No one else was harmed.

Hogan revealed Smith’s connection to the March 1 White House incident, in which Smith allegedly climbed over a stone wall at the South East vehicle entrance, according to court documents. Although Smith was arrested by the Secret Service and charged with unlawful entry, he had reached a settlement in late April allowing him to defer prosecution until a status hearing scheduled for October.

Smith had been a truck driver for propane company AmeriGas for about two months, according to a company spokesperson.

Correction: The original version of the story misstated the length of time Smith worked as a truck driver at AmeriGas. He worked there for two months.

[Philadelphia Inquirer]

TIME White House

‘Feisty’ Obama Planning How to ‘Deal With the Crazies’

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he addresses the National Clean Energy Summit at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas
Carlos Barria—Reuters U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the National Clean Energy Summit in Las vegas on Aug. 24, 2015.

The president said he was ready to face off against a Republican congress that disagrees with many of his policies

(LAS VEGAS) — President Barack Obama is putting people on notice: He’s back from vacation feeling “refreshed, renewed, recharged” — and “a little feisty.”

He immediately showed his feisty side.

At a Democratic fundraiser Monday night in Nevada, Obama declared himself ready for the challenges he faces this fall in dealing with a Republican Congress that disagrees with him on the budget, energy policy, education and much more.

Obama said that as he’d ridden to the fundraiser with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, they’d done some reminiscing and spent some time “figuring out how we are going to deal with the crazies in terms of managing some problems.”

He didn’t identify exactly who the two of them had defined as “crazies.”

But Obama spoke at length about his differences with the GOP Congress. And he lamented that “too often, our political debates are not about what’s best for the country but what’s best for the next election.”

If the country is to remain a strong world leader, he said, it needs “not just a president who, after a few gray hairs, seems to know what he’s doing, but we also need a Congress that functions.”

Obama also looked beyond the immediate challenges to simpler times down the road.

He said that since neither he nor Reid is seeking re-election next year, the two off them had talked about “riding off into the sunset together.”

Earlier Monday, Obama spoke at a green energy conference where he accused fossil fuel interests and other critics of his energy policies of trying to restrict consumers from accessing solar, wind and other renewable sources in order to protect the status quo.

“That’s not the American way,” Obama said. “This is about the past versus the future. America believes in the future.”

The president also questioned the ideological consistency of those who champion free-market solutions — except when the free market is pointing to the wisdom of renewable energy. He singled out billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who are major donors to Republican political candidates.

“It’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market,” Obama said. “It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy, and suddenly you’re not for it anymore. That’s a problem.”

In a statement, Koch Industries’ Philip Ellender said the company “supports all forms of energy, but we believe they need to stand on their own merits. Koch has consistently lobbied for the repeal of taxpayer-funded subsidies and mandates. Even though they may benefit us in the short-term, we will continue to fight these market-distorting policies and special deals, and we will continue to call them what they are — corporate welfare.”

Obama said the economics are now such that “solar isn’t just for the green crowd any more, it’s” for the green-eyeshade crowd too.”

Fossil fuel and utility interests have been working at the state level and elsewhere to undercut clean energy policies with arguments that the matter should be left to the free market.


Deez Nuts Speaks: Meet Brady Olson, The 15-Year-Old Candidate for President

Prepare for Nuts/McCubbins 2016 because it's never going to happen

He is a third-party candidate for President running to shake up America’s gridlocked political system, hoping to create a movement on the ground to mobilize voters who are upset with the state of the election. He calls himself Deez Nuts. And he is 15 years old.

Deez Nuts is actually a high school boy in Iowa named Brady Olson, and he’s putting up some of the best third-party candidate numbers in two decades, never mind the fact that he’s 20 years too young to legally be President.

Olson told TIME in an email that it’s no secret in his hometown that he’s the man behind Deez Nuts. “[My] school has been contacted by media so they know,” he said. “My family and friends are taking this well and they support me fully.”

Olson said he decided to run because he is “frustrated with the two-party system,” and the viral momentum of Deez Nuts seems to show that America agrees with him. According to Olson, he’s been contacted by people in 23 states who want to help with the campaign.

This is part of a larger trend in the primary season, in which voters are bucking career politician candidates. Trump, neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former tech CEO Carly Fiorina, the three mainstream candidates who haven’t held elected office, have all also seen polling bumps in recent weeks. For those looking to vent their frustration, a teenager who legally cannot be elected has proven as attractive a vehicle as the other outsiders.

Olson, playing the role, says he has already given some thought to potential running mates if this zeitgeist propels him all the way to the White House. “For my VP, I would choose Limberbutt McCubbins (D-KY),” he said. Appropriately enough, McCubbins is actually a house cat, albeit one with a catchy slogan:

But if the Nuts/McCubbins ticket doesn’t work out, Olson says he would consider taking the Vice President slot himself. “There are only 3 candidates I would drop out for to be their VP,” he said, “Bernie Sanders (D-VT), John Kasich (R-OH), and Gary Johnson (L-NM).” Sanders is a independent who recently became a Democrat; Kasich is a Republican; and Johnson is eyeing the Libertarian Party nomination.

None could pick Nuts as a veep candidate because of his age. As Article II of the U.S. Constitution says of the presidency, “neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years.” The 12th Amendment puts the same requirements on the office of the Vice President. “No person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States,” it reads.

“It is possible to erase section 1 of Article 2 through a Constitutional amendment, but [that] is not likely going to happen,” he concedes.

But as he awaits that phone call, Olson is happy to see how far the Deez Nuts campaign can go. So far he’s started a veritable revolution of FEC filings from other fake-name candidates, including the new entries “King Prescott Satan” and “Butt Stuff.”

“It’s great that they want to get involved, and I support their ambitions,” Olson said. “It’s great to know that you’ve made a difference.”

TIME White House

Why the White House Fire Still Matters

A view of the Capitol after the conflagration of the 24th August 1814.
Universal History Archive / Getty Images A view of the Capitol after the conflagration of Aug. 24, 1814.

Aug. 24, 1814: British forces set fire to the White House

When Americans remember the War of 1812 — if we remember it at all — we typically recall the stinging losses it entailed: dominion over Canada, for one, along with many of the brand-new buildings in our nation’s young capital. While we won the war, these humiliating deprivations made it “the bucktoothed stepsister of American military victories,” as TIME put it last year.

On this day, Aug. 24, in 1814, following their victory at the Battle of Bladensburg, British forces marched on Washington and set fire to the White House — as well as the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. Treasury, among other buildings. It was a low point in the war, and our entire military history, as National Geographic notes, when Americans saw “their capital burned, their Army literally running away, and President Madison and his wife, Dolley, forced to abandon the White House… with the president’s dinner still on the table.” British officers helped themselves to the food and wine before torching the place, according to TIME.

It’s no surprise, then, that the War of 1812 doesn’t get the same attention in American history books as the Revolutionary War. But some historians say it doesn’t deserve its bad rap: It went a long way toward establishing America’s national identity and its reputation as an international superpower.

Three weeks after being routed in Washington, after all, the American military bounced back at Baltimore, handing the British a dramatic defeat that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.

And while scorch marks are still visible on some White House walls, the past two centuries have put a lot of water under the bridge between the U.S. and the U.K. When British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the White House in 2012, Obama joked that his predecessors had “really lit the place up,” per National Geographic.

Others think it’s still too soon to make light of the famous fire, however. The British embassy in Washington learned this lesson the hard way when it commemorated the 200th anniversary of the fire on Twitter last year. Embassy officials tweeted a photo of a cake topped with a model of the White House — adorned with glowing sparklers.

According to The Guardian, outraged Americans took issue with the British display of levity. One tweeted back “WWHHAATT??? Is this suppose [sic] to be funny?” It was, according to the British embassy, which apologized for ruffling any feathers.

“We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our strong friendship today,” embassy officials replied.

Read more from 1967 about the burning of Washington and other military-history lowlights, here in the TIME archives: Divided We Stand: The Unpopularity of U.S. Wars

Read next: How the Star-Spangled Banner Became the National Anthem

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TIME White House

Jimmy Carter Does Double Duty at Sunday School After Sharing Cancer News

Former President Jimmy Carter opens up a Bible while teaching Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, in Plains, Ga. The 90-year-old Carter gave one lesson to about 300 people filling the small Baptist church that he and his wife, Rosalynn, attend. It was Carter's first lesson since detailing the intravenous drug doses and radiation treatment planned to treat melanoma found in his brain after surgery to remove a tumor from his liver. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
David Goldman—AP Former President Jimmy Carter opens up a Bible while teaching Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown Plains, Ga., on Aug. 23, 2015.

Former President taught a second class due to overwhelming demand in Plains, Ga.

More than 800 people lined up in the wee hours outside the tiny Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. on Sunday to hear Jimmy Carter teach his 689th Sunday School lesson, with the crowds eventually filling the sanctuary and an overflow room, before the former president volunteered to do double-duty and teach an unprecedented second class.

Days after he shared the grim news that the cancer found in his liver is melanoma and has spread to four “very small” spots in his brain, the much-loved humanitarian seemed in high spirits.

He was energetic enough, in fact, that when he learned hundreds of people would have to be turned away, he volunteered to teach another class at the local Plains high school for the first time ever…

Read more at People.com

TIME privacy

Ashley Madison Users Included White House and Congress Staffers

Hackers Release Confidential Member Information From The Ashley Madison Infidelity Website
Carl Court—Getty Images A detail of the Ashley Madison website on Aug. 19, 2015.

The AP investigation finds hundreds of U.S. government employees as registered users on the controversial website

(WASHINGTON) — Hundreds of U.S. government employees — including some with sensitive jobs in the White House, Congress and law enforcement agencies — used Internet connections in their federal offices to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website Ashley Madison, The Associated Press has learned.

The AP traced many of the accounts exposed by hackers back to federal workers. They included at least two assistant U.S. attorneys; an information technology administrator in the Executive Office of the President; a division chief, an investigator and a trial attorney in the Justice Department; a government hacker at the Homeland Security Department and another DHS employee who indicated he worked on a U.S. counterterrorism response team.

Few actually paid for their services with their government email accounts. But AP traced their government Internet connections — logged by the website over five years — and reviewed their credit-card transactions to identify them. They included workers at more than two dozen Obama administration agencies, including the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Energy, Treasury, Transportation and Homeland Security. Others came from House or Senate computer networks.

The AP is not naming the government subscribers it found because they are not elected officials or accused of a crime.

Hackers this week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website one month after the break-in at Ashley Madison’s parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. The website — whose slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair” — is marketed to facilitate extra-marital affairs.

Many federal customers appeared to use non-government email addresses with handles such as “sexlessmarriage,” ”soontobesingle” or “latinlovers.” Some Justice Department employees appeared to use pre-paid credit cards to help preserve their anonymity but connected to the service from their office computers.

“I was doing some things I shouldn’t have been doing,” a Justice Department investigator told the AP. Asked about the threat of blackmail, the investigator said if prompted he would reveal his actions to his family and employer to prevent it. “I’ve worked too hard all my life to be a victim of blackmail. That wouldn’t happen,” he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was deeply embarrassed and not authorized by the government to speak to reporters using his name.

The AP’s analysis also found hundreds of transactions associated with Department of Defense networks, either at the Pentagon or from armed services connections elsewhere.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed the Pentagon was looking into the list of people who used military email addresses. Adultery can be a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“I’m aware it,” Carter said. “Of course it’s an issue because conduct is very important. And we expect good conduct on the part of our people. … The services are looking into it and as well they should be. Absolutely.”

The AP’s review was the first to reveal that federal workers used their office systems to access the site, based on their Internet Protocol addresses associated with credit card transactions. It focused on searching for government employees in especially sensitive positions who could perhaps become blackmail targets. The government hacker at the Homeland Security Department, who did not respond to phone or email messages, included photographs of his wife and infant son on his Facebook page.

One assistant U.S. attorney declined through a spokesman to speak to the AP, and another did not return phone or email messages.

A White House spokesman said Thursday he could not immediately comment on the matter. The IT administrator in the White House did not return email messages.

Federal policies vary for employees by agency as to whether they would be permitted during work hours to use websites like Ashley Madison, which could fall under the same category as dating websites. But it raises questions about what personal business is acceptable — and what websites are OK to visit — for government workers on taxpayer time, especially employees who could face blackmail.

The Homeland Security Department rules for use of work computers say the devices should be used for only for official purposes, though “limited personal use is authorized as long as this use does not interfere with official duties or cause degradation of network services.” Employees are barred from using government computers to access “inappropriate sites” including those that are “obscene, hateful, harmful, malicious, hostile, threatening, abusive, vulgar, defamatory, profane, or racially, sexually, or ethnically objectionable.”

The hackers who took credit for the break-in had accused the website’s owners of deceit and incompetence, and said the company refused to bow to their demands to close the site. Avid Life released a statement calling the hackers criminals. It added that law enforcement in both the U.S. and Canada is investigating and declined comment beyond its statement Tuesday that it was investigating the hackers’ claims.


Associated Press writers Alicia Caldwell and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.

TIME White House

Watch LIVE: Jimmy Carter Discusses Cancer Diagnosis

Former President Jimmy Carter was expected to address his recent cancer diagnosis during a news conference in Atlanta. The Democrat, 90, earlier said the cancer had been discovered during an operation to remove a mass from his liver.

TIME Foreign Policy

Jewish Leaders Urge Congress to OK Deal With Iran

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during an event at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building August 6, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong—Getty Images U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during an event at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building August 6, 2015 in Washington, DC.

'While not perfect, this deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program'

More than two dozen leaders of the Jewish community signed a full-page ad in Thursday’s New York Times urging Congress to support an international agreement that backers say will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon for at least a decade.

Organized by the non-profit No Nukes for Iran Project, the ad is the latest sign that White House allies are stepping up lobbying efforts to keep the deal with Tehran on track. For the moment, it looks as though Congress cannot block the deal, although some Democratic defections—Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey—are raising blood pressures ever so slightly inside the White House.

“We remain deeply concerned that Iran is unflinchingly anti-Semitic and an unapologetic state-sponsor of terrorism. However, a nuclear-armed Iran would be even more dangerous,” the pro-deal leaders write. “While not perfect, this deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”

Its signatories include three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, 10 former heads of many of its biggest member organizations and three former members of Congress.

Notable among the signatories is Thomas Dine, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. That group, perhaps the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying Washington, is strongly opposed to the deal: “Congress should insist on a better deal,” AIPAC leaders urge in a call-to-action message.

Along with AIPAC, the studiously apolitical American Jewish Committee and the typically liberal Anti-Defamation League have also come out against the deal. The Iran deal faces opposition from some of the biggest Jewish Federations in America, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami.

The question of the deal with Iran is a tough one for Jewish voters, who overwhelmingly support Democrats. (The Pew Research Center finds that 61 percent of Jewish voters identified as Democrats or lean Democratic, while just 31 percent are Republican or lean that way.) Yet polls find Jewish voters souring on Obama; a Gallup poll in March found Obama’s approval rating among Jewish voters at 50 percent, down from 77 percent during 2009.

The Republicans looking to replace Obama at the White House have loudly opposed the deal, saying it was gives Iran too much in exchange for too little. Obama has stridently defended it and is urging Congress to get out of his way.

China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States negotiated the deal with Iran. Under the deal, Iran will get relief from sanctions and regain access to international oil markets, which will bring it a windfall of about $100 billion. In exchange, Iran must dispose of most of its low-enriched uranium, stop efforts to produce or acquire more nuclear fuel and consent to inspections.

Thursday’s ad was unlikely to change the overall tone of the debate, although it was a signal that supporters of the deal were starting to mobilize as Congress starts to make its way back to Washington after its August recess.

The ad quotes retired Admiral Ami Ayalon, the former Chief of the Israeli Navy and former head of the nation’s security service. “When it comes to Iran’s nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option,” he is quoted as saying.

“We agree with Admiral Ayalon and leading Israeli military, scientific and intelligence experts who share this view,” the signatories echo.

The full list of supporters: S. Daniel Abraham, Chair, S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace; Michael M. Adler, President, Greater Miami Jewish Federation (2004-2006); Robert Arnow, Chair, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Board of Governors (1983-1994); Thomas A. Dine, Executive Director, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (1980-1993); Stanley P. Gold, Chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (2008-2009); E. Robert Goodkind, President, American Jewish Committee (2004-2007); Alan S. Jaffe, President, UJA-Federation of New York (1992-1995); Marvin Lender, Chair, United Jewish Appeal (1990-1992); Carl Levin, U.S. Senator, Michigan (1979-2015); Jacqueline K. Levine, Chair, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (1983-1986); Mel Levine, Member of Congress, California (1983-1993); Rabbi Brain Lurie, Chief Executive Officer, United Jewish Appeal (1991-1996); Lynn Lyss, Chair, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (1994-1996); Theodore Mann, Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (1978-1980); Ambassador (ret.) Alfred H. Moses, President, American Jewish Committee (1991-1994); Nancy Ratzan, Chair, National Council of Jewish Women (2008-2011); Seymour D. Reich, Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (1989-1990); Robert S. Rifkind, President, American Jewish Committee (1994-1998); Greg Rosenbaum, Chair, National Jewish Democratic Council (2014-present); Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary (1986-20006); Ambassador (ret.) Alan Solomont, Chair, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Great Boston (2003-2005); Alan Solow, Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (2009-2011); Marc R. Stanley, Co-Chair, Foundation for Jewish Culture (2012-2014); Robert Wexler, Member of Congress, Florida (1997-2010); Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism (1996-2012); Larry Zicklin, President, UJA-Federation of New York (2001-2004)

TIME White House

Obama to Visit New Orleans on Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

President Obama will travel to New Orleans next week to look at the city’s rebuilding efforts 10 years after Hurricane Katrina.

During the Aug. 27 trip, Obama and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate will meet with Mayor Mitch Landrieu and residents of neighborhoods hit by the storm. Fugate will also tour Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas in the days leading up to the anniversary.

Katrina, which slammed the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, caused more than $100 billion in damage and led to almost 2,000 deaths, making it the costliest and the third deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.

On the storm’s fifth anniversary in 2010, Obama said that much of the damage was a “man-made catastrophe,” arguing it was due to “a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men and women and children abandoned and alone.”

He is expected to address rebuilding efforts during his visit and may also note the possible links between extreme weather events like Katrina and climate change. Obama is also slated to visit Alaska at the end of the month to discuss climate change, a focus of recent White House efforts.

Read Next: New Orleans, Here & Now

TIME White House

DNA Tests Show This President Did Not Have Black Ancestors

Warren G Harding, 29th President of the United States, (1933). Harding (1865-1923) was President from 1921 until 1923. Published in The American Presidents, (London, 1933).
Print Collector/Getty Images Warren G Harding, 29th President of the United States. Published in The American Presidents, (London, 1933).

DNA tests that proved Warren Harding had a child by his mistress have solved another historical mystery: He did not have African-American ancestors.

For decades, some have claimed that Harding had some African-American heritage, an argument that received renewed attention after President Obama’s election in 2008. Harding himself once told a reporter that “one of [his] ancestors may have jumped the fence.”

But Julie Granka, population geneticist at genealogy company Ancestry.com, which conducted the tests, told the New York Times that the tests did not find any “detectable genetic signatures of sub-Saharan African heritage” in any of Harding’s close relatives tested in the DNA exercise.

It was “very unlikely” that Harding had a black ancestor within four generations, she said.

Dr. Peter Harding, the president’s grandnephew and also part of the DNA tests, said that he was disappointed. “I was hoping for black blood,” he told the Times.

Read Next: DNA Tests Proved This 92-Year-Old Presidential Rumor


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