Today’s edition of quick hits:
* If this is correct, it has the potential to be a very big deal: “The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.”
* Ukraine: “NATO released satellite photographs on Thursday showing Russian military equipment, including fighter jets and tanks, that it described as part of a deployment of as many as 40,000 troops near the border with Ukraine. The release came the same day that President Vladimir V. Putin reiterated a threat to curtail gas sales to Ukraine.”
* In related news: “The Treasury Department announced sanctions against six “Crimean separatists,” as well as a Crimean gas company, Friday in the latest move to punish Russia for annexing Crimea. Individuals who’ve been sanctioned include the head of the security service in Crimea and officials in the Crimea Electoral Commission, which oversaw the March referendum where the region voted to join Russia.”
* Excessive force: “At least 37 times in the last four years, police officers here have responded to threats with bullets, killing 23 people and wounding 14 others. On Thursday, the Justice Department weighed in with a scathing assessment, accusing the Albuquerque Police Department of a ‘pattern or practice of use of excessive force’ that routinely violated people’s constitutional rights.”
* GM: “House investigators on Friday made public more than 200,000 pages of internal General Motors correspondence and other documents detailing years of internal deliberations over a dangerous flaw in a small-car ignition switch that the company did not disclose to the public until this year.”
* As if the New Jersey governor didn’t have enough trouble on his hands: “Financial analysts at Standard & Poor’s downgraded New Jersey’s debt rating today, flagging Gov. Chris Christie’s budget practices as something that should give pause to investors.”
* Fracking: “State geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to gas drilling, leading the state to issue new permit conditions in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.”
* Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens suggests adding five words to the Second Amendment “to make it unambiguously conform to the original intent of its draftsmen.”
* The White House is sorry to see him go: “William J. Burns, a career diplomat who led the Obama administration’s back-channel negotiations with Iran, is planning to step down from his job as the State Department’s second-ranking official in October, administration officials said on Friday.”
* Rupert Murdoch argued this week that Fox News doesn’t “promote the Tea Party,” but rather, “We recognize their existence.” There’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest this isn’t true.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.