By LARA JAKES and PETE YOST
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that four American citizens have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen since 2009. The disclosure to Congress comes on the eve of a major national security speech by President Barack Obama in which he plans to pledge more transparency to Congress in his counterterrorism policy.
It was already known that three Americans had been killed in U.S. drones strikes in counterterrorism operations overseas, but Attorney General Eric Holder disclosed details that had remained secret and also that a fourth American had been killed.
In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Holder said that the government targeted and killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and that the U.S. "is aware" of the killing of three others who were not targets of counterterror operations.
Al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, was killed in a drone strike in September 2011 in Yemen. The other two known cases are Samir Khan, who was killed in the same drone strike as al-Awlaki and al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, a Denver native, who also was killed in Yemen.
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Chechen immigrant was shot to death by authorities early Wednesday after he turned violent while being questioned about his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, officials said.
Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter, was gunned down at his Orlando townhouse during a meeting with an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers, authorities said. The agent was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Three law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Todashev had lunged at the FBI agent with a knife. However, two of those officials said later in the day it was no longer clear what happened. The third official had not received any new information.
The FBI gave no details on why it was interested in Todashev except to say that he was being questioned as part of the Boston investigation.
FAYETTEVILLE -- A federal court struck down Fayette County's at-large method of electing members to certain county offices, saying in an opinion released Tuesday that the method was a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
With Fayette County being about 70 percent white and 20 percent black, according to Census statistics from 2011, officials from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund officials said the at-large method virtually guaranteed that African-American candidates would never be elected to the County Board of Commissioners or the County Board of Education. Regardless of their qualifications, African-American candidates could not get the support of white voters in the county, Legal Defense Fund officials said in a release.
No African-American candidate has ever been elected to the board of commissioners or education in the county's 191-year history.
The court ordered officials to present alternative voting methods on or before June 25. The method may be a district-based voting method, which Legal Defense Fund officials say is likely to give the county's African-American residents better representation.
FOREST PARK -- A 1-year-old girl who was in the back seat of a car when it was stolen outside a daycare center near Atlanta was found safe Wednesday morning, authorities said.
By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI and SEAN MURPHY
MOORE, Okla. -- The tornado that ripped through an Oklahoma City suburb this week may have created $2 billion or more in damage as it tore through as many as 13,000 homes, multiple schools and a hospital, officials said Wednesday as they gave the first detailed account of the devastation.
At the same time, authorities released the identities of some of the 24 people, including 10 children, who perished. While anguish over the deaths was palpable as residents began picking up their shattered neighborhoods, many remained stunned that the twister didn't take a higher human toll during its 17 miles and 40 minutes on the ground.
The physical destruction was staggering.
"The tornado that we're talking about is the 1 or 2 percent tornado," Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said of the twister, which measured a top-of-the-scale EF5 with winds of at least 200 mph. "This is the anomaly that flattens everything to the ground."
By ANGELA K. BROWN
FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood attack wants to represent himself at his upcoming murder trial, which means he could question the nearly three dozen soldiers he's accused of wounding in the shooting rampage.
Maj. Nidal Hasan's request, announced Wednesday by Fort Hood officials, is to be considered at a pretrial hearing next week. The request prompted the military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, to delay jury selection to June 5, about a week after it was scheduled to start.
Hasan, an American-born Muslim, faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5, 2009, attack on the Texas Army post, about 125 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Military law allows defendants to represent themselves, but the judge will ask Hasan's attorneys to stay throughout the trial in case he asks for their help, according to court-martial guidelines. Two of Hasan's three Army attorneys have represented him since shortly after his arrest.
By JULIE PACE
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's spokesman says the White House is facing "legitimate criticisms" for its shifting accounts about who knew what about the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative political groups, and when they knew it.
Press secretary Jay Carney's acknowledgement Wednesday was an attempt to stem a growing narrative that the White House has bungled its response to the IRS controversy, even though the White House appears to have had no direct role in the agency's targeting of conservative political groups.
"There have been some legitimate criticisms about how we're handling this," Carney told reporters during his daily briefing. "And I say 'legitimate' because I mean it."
The criticism of the White House has largely focused on its evolving story about who in the White House knew about the IRS targeting before it became public May 10. Carney on Wednesday attributed the changing accounts in part to an attempt by the White House to provide the public information quickly, even before the full details are known.