Carrie Johnson

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull says he will apologize to President Obama and ask for a panel of judges to investigate his conduct after a Montana newspaper reported he had sent a racially inflammatory message using his courthouse email account last month.

The Great Falls Tribune reported the judge had forwarded the following message to six of his friends February 20:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to All Things Considered from NPR News.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The top lawyer at the Pentagon offered a strong defense of the Obama administration's targeted killing program Wednesday, arguing the use of lethal force against the enemy is a "long-standing and long-legal practice."

In a speech at Yale University's Law School, Jeh Johnson said there's no real difference between high tech strikes against members of al-Qaida today and the U.S. military decision to target an airplane carrying the commander of the Japanese Navy in 1943.

A report by congressional Republicans places new blame for the botched gun-trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious at the feet of federal agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who failed to share information and coordinate with sister law enforcement agencies.

Every year, federal judges sentence more than 80,000 criminals. Those punishments are supposed to be fair — and predictable. But seven years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw a wrench into the system by ruling that the guidelines that judges use to figure out a prison sentence are only suggestions.

A former CIA officer was charged on Monday with leaking secrets to reporters — and then lying about it.

The Justice Department has accused John Kiriakou of violating the Espionage Act by outing his colleagues and passing sensitive details about counterterrorism operations to reporters for The New York Times and other media outlets.

Kiriakou, 47, of Arlington, Va., appeared in federal court in Virginia on Monday, where he was released after posting a $250,000 bond.

The Reluctant Spy

The Justice Department's massive copyright case against the file-sharing website Megaupload.com had the Internet world hopping this week. But it also got lawyers talking, about the scope of a criminal investigation that spanned eight countries and the hard-nosed tactics that the government deployed.

Prosecutors and FBI agents who built the case against Megaupload call it an international crime ring — a racketeering enterprise, like the mob or a drug gang, that made $175 million from pirated movies and music since 2005 and cost copyright holders nearly half a billion dollars more.

An investigating officer has recommended that Army private Bradley Manning face court-martial on multiple criminal charges related to the downloading of nearly 1 million war logs and secret diplomatic cables. Manning is accused of taking the files and them passing them on to WikiLeaks.

If he does face a court martial and is convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

President Obama acted within his legal authority to appoint Richard Cordray to lead the National Consumer Protection Bureau last week, during a period when the Senate was conducting "pro forma" holiday sessions, according to a memo released this morning by a key unit of the Justice Department.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli will leave the third highest-ranking post at the Justice Department in March after nearly three years managing a bustling portfolio that has run the gamut from mortgage abuses and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to stamping out domestic violence in Indian country.

President Obama took a controversial step this week in making appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Labor Relations Board during what the White House considered a congressional recess, bypassing any objections from lawmakers.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Pages