American drone strikes, Tamerlan's friend, Oklahoma death toll holds steady, and more from The Slatest PM.

Slatest PM: U.S. Admits To Killing 4 Americans in Drone Strikes

Slatest PM: U.S. Admits To Killing 4 Americans in Drone Strikes

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May 22 2013 4:42 PM

Slatest PM: U.S. Admits To Killing 4 Americans in Drone Strikes

In this handout released by the U.S. Navy courtesy of Northrop Grumman, an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 14, 2013 in the Atlantic Ocean

File photo by Alan Radecki/U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman via Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.

U.S. Acknowledges Killing FOUR Americans in Drone Strikes: New York Times: "One day before President Obama is due to deliver a major speech on national security, his administration on Wednesday formally acknowledged that the United States had killed four American citizens in drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. In a letter to Congressional leaders obtained by The New York Times, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. disclosed that the administration had deliberately killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was killed in a drone strike in September 2011 in Yemen. The American responsibility for Mr. Awlaki’s death has been widely reported, but the administration had until now refused to confirm or deny it. The letter also said that the United States had killed three other Americans: Samir Khan, who was killed in the same strike; Mr. Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was also killed in Yemen; and Jude Mohammed, who was killed in a strike in Pakistan. 'These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States,' Mr. Holder wrote." Read the letter here.


Tamerlan's Friend: Boston Globe: "A Chechen man with ties to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed by an FBI agent in Orlando while he was being questioned about his possible involvement in an unsolved triple homicide in Waltham, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation. Two Massachusetts State Police troopers were also participating in questioning “in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation” at the time of the fatal shooting, the FBI said. State Police spokesman David Procopio had no comment. Todashev was a suspect in the 2011 triple slaying in Waltham, a crime that authorities now suspect may have also been committed by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the two law enforcement officials said."

London's Machete Attack: Associated Press: "A brutal attack in broad daylight near a military barracks in London left one man dead and two suspects hospitalized Wednesday after a shootout with police. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the attack appeared to be terror related. ... One man was found dead and two men were shot by police and taken to separate London hospitals, Commander Simon Letchford said. One of those hospitalized was in serious condition, according to London Ambulance Service. A number of weapons — including butchers’ knives — could be seen on the blood-spattered street. ... One British broadcaster ran video footage of what appeared to be one of the attackers, his hands covered in blood, making political statements about 'an eye for an eye' to an unknown cameraperson as a body lay behind him on the ground." Watch the video here.

Welcome to Wednesday's edition of the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.


Pleading the Fifth: Washington Post: "The head of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt organizations office, faced with allegations of improper targeting of conservative groups, told a House committee Wednesday that she has done nothing wrong but declined to answer questions, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Lois G. Lerner told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in an opening statement that members of the panel have already accused her of providing false information to Congress. ... Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the committee chairman, asked her to reconsider, to no avail, then dismissed her and her attorney from the hearing room."

Moore Death Toll Holds Steady: Reuters: "Tornado survivors thanked God, sturdy closets and luck in explaining how they lived through the colossal twister that devastated an Oklahoma town and killed 24 people, an astonishingly low toll given the extent of destruction. At least one family took refuge in a bathtub and some people shut themselves in underground shelters built into their houses when the powerful storm tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday afternoon. While rescue workers and body-sniffing dogs sifted through the ruins on Wednesday, those who escaped told their stories of survival while trying to salvage what was left of their belongings."

The Dead: NBC News: "A mother who sought shelter in a 7-Eleven that collapsed under the force of tornado winds, killing both her and her four-month-old son, are among the victims whose names were released by Oklahoma's chief medical examiner Wednesday. Megan Futrell, 29, had just picked her son Case up from his babysitter on Monday in Moore, Okla., when she saw the tornado approaching their Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, relatives said. Thinking she would be safest inside the local convenience store, she hunkered down there with Case.But the EF-5 force winds, which exceeded 200 mph at times, blew the 7-Eleven in on top of them, burying them and two others in the rubble. ... Case Futrell was the youngest victim of Monday's tornado who has been identified. A seven-month old girl, identified as Sydnee Vargys, was the next youngest; Karrina Vargyas, 4, was on the list of victims as well, but it was not immediately clear what her relationship to Sydnee was. ... Ten of the 24 people on the medical examiner's victims' list were children, seven of whom were killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore. Six of the children were listed as 9 years old, and one was 8 years old."


Cleveland Women "Happy and Safe": ABC News: "The three Cleveland women rescued from the kidnappings that kept them in captivity for over a decade say they are "happy and safe" as they continue to recover from the harrowing ordeal. The attorneys for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight released a letter on behalf of their clients thanking the public for their encouragement, as well as for respecting their requests for privacy. 'The outpouring of public support has been nothing short of remarkable,' the letter stated. 'To have complete strangers offer loving support in the form of money, goods and services, reaching out to help like a family member, is appreciated in ways that are impossible to put into words. Amanda, Gina and Michelle, who have asked for nothing, are frankly overwhelmed by it all.'"

Paul Ryan Is Writing a Book: National Review: "According to a source close to Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican is working with attorney Bob Barnett to release his first major book next year, and it’ll feature a mix of autobiography, political analysis, and policy prescriptions. So far, Ryan has been doing the writing by himself. The early theme of the draft is a broad discussion of American renewal, with an emphasis on the Republican future and the party’s need to articulate what he calls the 'American idea.' Behind the scenes, Ryan is worried that the GOP is losing its connection with working Americans, and he has been writing about how the party needs to speak more to those in poverty about empowerment and economic freedom."

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