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POSTED May 23, 2012 10:51 p.m.

CLINTON: US HACKED YEMENI AL-QAIDA SITES: TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The State Department has launched a different sort of raid against al-Qaida — hacking into al-Qaida websites in Yemen.

In a rare public admission of the covert cyber war against extremists, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says cyber experts based at the State Department hacked Yemeni tribal websites, replacing al-Qaida propaganda that bragged about killing Americans.

"Within 48 hours, our team plastered the same sites with altered versions of the ads that showed the toll al-Qaida attacks have taken on the Yemeni people," Clinton said Wednesday.

In response, "Extremists are publicly venting their frustration and asking supporters not to believe everything they read on the Internet," she said.

Clinton described the cyber effort as part of a larger, multipronged attack on terrorism that goes beyond attacks like the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden to include the propaganda battle, and the longer, slower campaign of diplomats working alongside special operations troops to shore up local governments and economies and train local forces.

MARIELA CASTRO BLASTS 'CUBAN MAFIA' IN CALIF. TALK : SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro had some blunt words Wednesday for Cuban-Americans who support economic and travel restrictions between the U.S. and her country, saying "a Cuban Mafia" made up of émigrés "who have no scruples" are holding the American people hostage.

Speaking in Spanish through a translator, Mariela Castro made the comments about Cuban exiles who oppose her father's regime and that of her uncle, former president Fidel Castro, while speaking at San Francisco General Hospital about transgender health care in Cuba, a topic she would go on to frame as a continuation of her country's socialist ideals.

"A group of Cuban Mafia in the U.S., why are they taking away rights of American people to travel to Cuba? It's not fair," Castro, 49, told about 50 medical professionals and transgender advocates. "You are millions of people against a tiny Mafia of people who have no scruples....We are fighting for the rights of Cubans and the rights of Americans."

DRUG CARTEL SUPECT EXTRADITED TO US: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A U.S.-born drug cartel lieutenant who was arrested in Mexico was successfully extradited to the United States on Wednesday to face federal racketeering and drug charges, according to federal prosecutors.

Armando Villareal Heredia is the lead defendant in a 43-defendant prosecution against the Fernando Sanchez-Arellano Organization, a drug cartel, and is now in the custody of American officials, said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

Also known as Gordo Villareal, the top cartel lieutenant was arrested by Mexican law enforcement July 9, 2011, in the northern city of Hermosillo, at the request of U.S. officials.

UNABOMBER SUBMITS UPDATE TO HARVARD ALUMNI BOOK: BOSTON (AP) — Harvard University alumni attending their 50th class reunion this week are getting updates on classmates — including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Kaczynski graduated in 1962 and is locked up in the federal Supermax prison in Colorado for killing three people and injuring 23 during a nationwide bombing spree between 1978 and 1995. In an alumni directory, he lists his occupation as "prisoner" and says his awards are "Eight life sentences, issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1998."

Harvard's alumni association said all class members, including Kaczynski, were invited to submit entries for the class report, distributed for reunion activities during commencement week. But it said it regrets including his references to his convictions.

"While all members of the class who submit entries are included, we regret publishing Kaczynski's references to his convictions and apologize for any distress that it may have caused others," the Harvard Alumni Association said in a statement Wednesday evening.

 

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