Newsletter: Is This ‘Making America Safe Again’?

A hazardous-materials worker is hosed off on Capitol Hill in October 2001
A hazardous-materials worker is hosed off on Capitol Hill in October 2001 after anthrax-laced letters were sent to two senators. The Department of Homeland Security has cut back multiple programs created after the Sept. 11 attacks to help detect and prevent terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.
(Ron Thomas / Associated Press)

The Trump administration has gutted programs aimed at detecting weapons of mass destruction.


Is This ‘Making America Safe Again’?

The Trump administration has quietly dismantled or cut back multiple programs that were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to help detect and prevent terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction, a Times investigation has found. The retreat has taken place over the last two years at the Department of Homeland Security, which has primary domestic responsibility for helping authorities identify and block potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. More than 30 current and former Homeland Security employees and contractors voiced concern that the changes — including the cancellation of dozens of training exercises — have put Americans at greater risk.

Let’s Go to the Videotape


“Send her back!” At a rally featuring President Trump in North Carolina on Wednesday, that’s what the crowd chanted, after Trump began cataloging his grievances against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a favorite target. The president paused for about 12 seconds and looked on, appearing to show approval, and shortly thereafter said, “Hey, if they don’t like it, let them leave, let them leave.” But as a number of Republican congressional leaders began to criticize the chant the next day, Trump insisted he “was not happy with it.” End of story? Just ask the “very fine people on both sides” about that.

President Trump
President Trump arrives at a campaign rally Wednesday in Greenville, N.C.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

More Politics

-- Court documents show Trump was in close contact with Michael Cohen as his longtime lawyer arranged hush-money payments to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign.

-- Trump says a U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

-- The president says he will nominate lawyer Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be his new Labor secretary.

-- House Democrats have approved legislation to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $15 an hour. It has little chance of passing the GOP-led Senate but could become a campaign issue.

-- Why pick just one? Hollywood donors are funding numerous Democrats in their bid to beat Trump.

Tense Times

It’s been long-standing Los Angeles Police Department policy not to enforce federal immigration law; the reasoning is that doing so would make those here illegally too afraid to cooperate in fighting crime. But lately, the relationship between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and L.A. police has become particularly strained, as the Trump administration has threatened to unleash immigration sweeps.

‘This Whole Manson Thing’

“Everybody has a little something in their history that, I’m not going to say embarrasses, but they keep in the closet.” Speaking to the media for the first time in 26 years, Michael Brunner — son of the late convicted murderer Charles Manson and follower Mary Brunner — discusses his “average” childhood and “this whole Manson thing.”

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-- Officials say a dispute between the Trump administration and state firefighting agencies over millions of dollars in back pay has ended with both sides agreeing to maintain an existing cooperation agreement, according to officials.

-- Authorities say a U.S. Customs and Border Protection watch commander at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has admitted to running an illegal gun operation.

-- In Commerce, marijuana battles have turned ugly with fistfights, accusations and questions.


-- In the Piñata District of downtown L.A., a street food market is a theater that overwhelms the senses.

-- Readers’ favorite Jonathan Gold-approved recipes from our archives.

-- Pollinators and pests in your garden: How to save the former, get rid of the latter.

-- The new Jurassic World ride at Universal Studios Hollywood opened quietly but is making a big splash with new technology.

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-- Remember when Comic-Con was about comic books? The event taking place this weekend in San Diego is a lot different now, for better or worse.

-- Kathy Griffin fell from the D-list to the S-list. She’s clawing her way back.

-- The new “Cats” trailer has provoked, well, cattiness. Here are some of the best reactions to it.


-- A whole generation of migrant kids is languishing at the U.S.-Mexico border.

-- A judge has denied bail for jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges after prosecutors argued the jet-setting defendant is a danger to the public and might flee the country.

-- Turkey says the U.S. decision to exclude it from a F-35 fighter jet program goes against the “spirit of alliance.” The Trump administration says it’s because Turkey is buying a Russian air defense system.

-- This Belize island costs less than the median price of an L.A. home.


-- Could eyeglasses possibly get more expensive? Yup. Consumer columnist David Lazarus says a pending deal makes it likely.

-- Columnist Michael Hiltzik asks: Why is Trump’s consumer protection agency helping to promote H&R Block’s credit card?


-- In a freak accident, two horses died during morning training on the Del Mar dirt surface after a horse unseated his rider and collided with another horse.

-- Manny Pacquaio is trying, at 40, to prove he’s a fighter for the ages.


-- It has been half a century since we first went to the moon. The feeling today is a combination of pride and anxiety, patriotism and ambivalence.

-- “What I didn’t know about my transgender child”: One pediatrician’s story.


-- The village in Alaska where every cop has been convicted of domestic violence. (ProPublica)

-- Do we want Elon Musk to reinvent what it means to be human? (The Atlantic)


No more “manpower” or “manhole”: Berkeley adopted an ordinance to replace gendered language in the city’s municipal code with neutral terms. The City Council has voted unanimously to replace more than two dozen terms often used in the municipal code with gender-neutral words. Berkeley has also enacted some other changes. In February, the city offered the option to all employees to receive a name badge with their preferred pronoun printed alongside their professional title.

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