Thursday’s Mini-Report

Updated

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* According to the State Department, U.S. officials are “working urgently” on the investigation into Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki added that the U.S. is “unable to conclusively determine” whether chemical weapons were used, and President Obama has directed officials “to urgently gather additional information.”

* In related news: “U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday dispatched his top disarmament official to Syria to seek permission for U.N. investigators to visit a Damascus suburb where the Syrian opposition claims chemical weapons were used against civilians.”

* Egypt: “Egypt’s new rulers on Thursday moved former President Hosni Mubarak from a prison cell to house arrest at a military hospital, ending more than two years of incarceration but stopping short of granting him full freedom.”

* Nidal Hasan refused to make a closing statement: “Military jurors on Thursday started deliberating in the case of the soldier accused of killing 13 people during the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood.”

* Yemen: “Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is requesting Washington hand over a number of armed drones to his forces, to combat al Qaeda forces based in the southern part of the country.”

* President Obama has chosen four people to join an independent panel to review legal, privacy, and transparency issues surrounding the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. Among the four is Peter Swire from the Center for American Progress, who’s worked on online privacy and cybersecurity issues for quite a while.

* An important retirement: “U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride – whose office is in the national spotlight as it investigates Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and those in the WikiLeaks organization – told staffers Thursday morning that he plans to leave his post in the Eastern District of Virginia next month. The announcement, which comes as MacBride nears four years in the position, will almost certainly raise questions about the status of those high-profile investigations and how they might proceed without the seasoned attorney’s hand to guide them.”

* As a human-interest story, this is a great read: “Three times, mainly by chance and in very different circumstances, Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg has met President Obama.”

* With Louie Gohmert taking the lead, I’m sure there’s no reason at all to ridicule this: “Rest assured, Obamacare opponents: A group of Republican lawmakers meets every week to figure out how to get rid of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.”

* And if you missed the announcement earlier, Rachel will be doing tonight’s show live from North Carolina. Trust me; it’s going to be a good one.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report

Updated