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FBI recovers 168 children in child sex trafficking sting

Authorities rescued 168 children and arrested 281 alleged pimps in cities across the US in a week-long child sex-trafficking sting, the FBI has said.

“Our children are not for sale,” FBI director James Comey said, announcing the results of what the bureau dubbed Operation Cross Country.

About 400 law enforcement agencies across more than 100 cities assisted in the haul, he said.

Some of the children had been “sold” online, FBI officials said.

“These are not faraway kids in faraway lands,” Mr Comey said. “These are America’s children.

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Fort Hood gunman had ‘leave dispute’ prior to shooting

A soldier who killed three men at a US Army base on Wednesday had an argument over a request for leave shortly before the shooting, reports say.

Specialist Ivan Lopez, 34, was denied leave to attend to family matters, officials speaking on condition of anonymity told US media.

He also wounded 16 people before shooting himself at the Fort Hood base.

The soldier’s father said on Friday he “could not have been in his right frame of mind” during the attack.

Spc Lopez is alleged to have walked into one of the buildings of the Fort Hood base and opened fire with a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol.

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US allows Boeing Airplane Component Sales to Iran

The US Treasury has granted plane manufacturer Boeing a licence to export certain spare commercial parts to Iran, a company spokesman says.

Boeing has had no public dealings with Tehran since 1979.

In a statement, the US company said the licence had been granted for the safety of flight.

The step is being seen as part of a temporary agreement to ease sanctions on Tehran that US Secretary of State John Kerry reached with Iran last year.

Under the deal brokered in November, Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for sanctions relief from nations including Britain, China and the US.

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US created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest

The US created a text-message social network designed to foment unrest in Cuba, according to an investigation by the Associated Press news agency.

ZunZuneo, dubbed a “Cuban Twitter”, had 40,000 subscribers at its height in a country with limited web access.

The project reportedly lasted from 2009-12 when the grant money ran out.

The US is said to have concealed its links to the network through a series of shell companies and by funnelling messages through other countries.

The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in the Cuban capital of Havana says there is a thirst for information on the island, which has no independent media.

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When Secret Service agents go rogue

US Secret Service agents are responsible for keeping the president safe and traditionally have a stellar reputation. Recently, though, they have been embroiled in scandal.

A Secret Service agent reportedly got drunk and passed out in the hallway of an Amsterdam hotel before President Barack Obama arrived in the Netherlands this week.

Officials said he was sent home for “disciplinary reasons”. The agent was part of the Secret Service’s Counter Assault Team, according to the Washington Post.


He is not the only one who has been in trouble. Here is a look at five other incidents that have marred the record of the White House’s praetorian guard.

A bullet left behind

Agent Ignacio Zamora met a woman at a bar at the Hay-Adams, a hotel in Washington, in June 2013 and went to her room. She saw that he had a weapon and asked him to leave.

Later she found a bullet in the room – one that he had left behind. Authorities were told about the incident.

During their investigation they found that he had been sending sexually suggestive emails to someone who worked for the Secret Service.

He was taken off the president’s security duty.

A fight over money

Agents arrived in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012 – shortly before Mr Obama’s arrival. They went to a bar. Some of them reportedly paid $60 (£38) apiece to the owner and then brought prostitutes back to their hotel.

The next morning one of the women said that they still owed her money. They got into a loud argument at the hotel, and the police were notified.

Secret Service officials promised they would look into the incident. Agent Zamora – who later got into trouble because he left a bullet in a woman’s hotel room – helped to lead the investigation of misconduct in Colombia.

Some lawmakers said that they did not think he was the right person to investigate misbehaviour among agents.

“This is like the fox guarding the hen house,” said Senator Ron Johnson, who is a Republican from Wisconsin, in a statement to the BBC.

Senator Johnson said: “This type of behaviour jeopardises the security of the president of the United States and makes US government personnel susceptible to coercion and blackmail.”

A spokesman for the Secret Service declined to comment.

 White House party crashers

Three agents allowed a couple from Virginia, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, into the first state dinner hosted by Mr Obama in November 2009 – apparently without an invitation.

The Salahis became celebrities, appearing on The Real Housewives of DC. The agents were put on administrative leave.

Caught in a prostitution sting

An off-duty officer driving in a vehicle with Secret Service markings was arrested in Washington when he tried to solicit a prostitute in 2008, according to USA Today. The prostitute was actually an undercover law-enforcement officer.

Officials said that the Secret Service agent faced administrative action.

Please return to owner

Two agents visited a skateboarding store in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February 2002, before the Winter Olympics. They bought nine Olympic hats, according to the New York Times, and left.

Afterwards the store owner found some papers on the counter – security details for Vice-President Dick Cheney and his family, describing where the agents would be posted during the Games.

A spokesman for the Secret Service said that the agents were careless – but that the vice-president and his family had not been in danger.