First Read Flash: Defensive moves

Updated
President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, left, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and the service...
President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, left, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and the service...
Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

Drone admission. On Wednesday, the Obama administration publicly acknowledged for the first time that U.S. drone strikes have killed four Americans since 2009, NBC News reports, “including the previously undisclosed death of a North Carolina resident who left the United States for Pakistan and was later indicted on federal terrorism charges.” According to a senior administration official, at a 2 p.m. speech at the National Defense University, President Obama will outline the administration’s plans to begin shifting authority over drone operations from the CIA to the military.

Beware the Fifth. In testimony before the House Oversight Committee, “lawmakers expressed both anger and bewilderment that IRS leaders had not told Congress sooner about indications that the tax agency had improperly singled out conservatives and Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status,” NBC News reports. Lois Lerner, the IRS official that oversaw the division under fire, invoked her Fifth Amendment right, asserting her innocence, but telling the committee: “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws…I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations and I have not provided any false information to this or any other committee.” Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), however, says Lerner waived her right against self-incrimination when she made an opening statement before the committee, and says he plans to subpoena her before the committee again.

As the Washington Post reports, White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler saw on April 14 the basics of the IRS findings, but she and other senior White House aides “agreed that it would be best not to share it with President Obama until the independent audit was completed and made public, in part to protect him from even the appearance of trying to influence an investigation.”

First Read Flash: Defensive moves

Updated