JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an unclassified message to the CIA workforce, CIA Director John Brennan announced a long-expected reorganization for the intelligence agency.
Brennan says that the CIA has previously faced similar shifts in national security and landscape and that each time it has proven "it can adapt and transform in significant ways," highlighting the agency's response to global terrorism. "The time has come for us to do so again, which will require bold action in four interrelated areas," Brennan said in his message.
Brennan's changes aim to "attract the best from the broadest pool of American talent and develop our officers with the skills, knowledge, and Agency-wide perspective they will need to lead us into the future," "be positioned to embrace and leverage the digital revolution to the benefit of all mission areas," implement "organizational construct and business practices that support our decisionmaking process" and "allow all of our Agency's capabilities to be brought to bear as quickly and coherently as possible to meet the Nation's challenges."
The CIA will create ten new Mission Centers to "bring the full range of operational, analytic, support, technical, and digital personnel and capabilities to bear on the nation's most pressing security issues and interests," the message says. Each center will be run by an assistant director who will report to directorate heads.
The National Clandestine Service will now be renamed the Directorate of Operations, while the Directorate of Intelligence will be renamed the Directorate of Analysis.
The agency also aims to "modernize the way we do business," by streamlining processes and practices and delegating decisionmaking and accountability to "the lowest appropriate level."
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking at a gathering of LGBT rights activists Friday, Vice President Joe Biden took a swipe at potential Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson for his recent remark that being gay is a choice.
Biden, who has been a longtime advocate for gay rights, called Carson’s comment a “ridiculous assertion.”
“I mean Jesus God. I mean it’s kind of hard to fathom,” Biden told an audience at the Human Rights Campaign spring equality convention in Washington, D.C.
Biden’s comments on Carson got laughs and cheers from the packed room.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, sparked controversy when on Wednesday he said in an interview with CNN that gay people chose their sexuality because “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they’re gay.”
Yesterday, CNN reported, he apologized for it in a statement: "I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.”
Fighting through a cold and with a hoarse voice, Biden argued for basic human rights not just in the U.S. but for the world and said he was “optimistic” that this country would enact federal anti-discrimination legislation, but that we “have to pass it now.”
“Granted we've come a great distance and we've still have much further to go...The momentum is undeniably on our side. It is not capable of being slowed, it is not capable of being stopped,” Biden said. “We are all entitled to basic human rights.”
He also drew comparisons between the civil rights march across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge and the Stonewall Riots, when the gay community protested the police raiding of New York City gay bars, calling them “the same basic movement.”
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system rather than a government-run account while serving as Secretary of State has raised questions about what rules she may have broken, whether she knew she was in violation, and who else knew about her private system.
ABC News has now identified at least two ways in which Clinton may have broken federal rules. During her tenure at the State Department she appears to have violated an existing 2005 rule. And after her tenure, it appears that she did not heed a 2013 rule change that may have put her in violation.
For her part, Clinton recently tweeted that she "want[s] the public to see my email" -- but that process will take months and will only apply to email that her team self-selected to hand over to the State Department.
Here is a full timeline of Clinton's history with email, the federal guidelines that theoretically applied to her when she took office, and the events of this week.
Hillary Clinton was recorded telling a donor that she didn't like using email.
Home video footage from 2000, shot at a fundraiser by a donor, Peter Paul, showed then-Sen. Clinton talking about how she had chosen to avoid email for fear of leaving a paper trail.
"As much as I’ve been investigated and all of that, you know, why would I? I don’t even want -- why would I ever want to do e-mail?" Clinton said.
"Can you imagine?" she asked.
The Foreign Affairs Manual was codified by the State Department, which ruled in 2005 that employees could only use private email accounts for official business if they turned those emails over to be entered into government computers.
That ruling also forbade State Department employees from including "sensitive but unclassified" information on private email, except for some very narrow exceptions.
In the midst of the 2008 presidential race, Clinton took a jab at the Bush administration's use of non-governmental email accounts.
"Our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps. We know about secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts," Clinton said in a 2007 campaign speech. 2008
Much of the mystery surrounding Clinton’s emails came from the fact that an IP address associated with the clintonemail.com domain she is believed to have used was registered to a person named Eric Hoteham on Feb. 1, 2008. No public records matching that individual can be found and it is possible that it was simply a misspelling of the name Eric Hothem, a former aide to Clinton while she was first lady. An Eric Hothem is now listed as an employee at JP Morgan in Washington, D.C.
The IP address for clintonemail.com, along with others registered in Hoteham’s name, are all connected to the Clinton’s address in Chappaqua, New York.
Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton, registered the clintonemail.com domain on Jan. 13, a little more than a week before Hillary Clinton took office as secretary of state on Jan. 21.
It was also a year when another rule went into place regarding the use of private email. According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations in 2009, if an agency allows its employees to use a personal email account, it must ensure that the emails are “preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.”
Questions remain about what the National Archives considers an “appropriate agency recordkeeping system” and if they believe Clinton, who did not hand over any emails until last year, was in compliance with it.
Clinton was not the only one in the diplomatic service to use a personal email account, but it appears that someone else got in trouble for their habit.
As part of a 2012 report by the Office of the Inspector General, the then-Ambassador to Kenya, Scott Grationm, was reprimanded for using private email and other issues.
The report suggested his "use of commercial email for official government business" amounted to a failure to "adhere to department regulations and government information security standards." 2013
Clinton stepped down from the State Department on Feb. 1.
Later that year, the National Archives updated their guidelines to say that agency employees should generally only use personal email accounts in “emergency situations.” If an employee does use a personal account, all of the emails must be preserved in “accordance with agency recordkeeping practices.”
President Obama signed the Federal Records Act into law in late November, requiring the head of each agency to "make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures and essential transactions of the agency."
The realization that Clinton’s emails were not recorded at the State Department appears to have been made in two steps. According to a timeline from the New York Times, first, the Congressional Committee investigating the Benghazi attack asked the State Department for all relevant emails. At that point, the State Department asked for Clinton to turn over all of her non-personal emails from her time as secretary.
She handed over 55,000 pages of emails late in 2014.
The State Department also asked other former secretaries of state to turn over government-related emails for preservation.
The New York Times reports that, in mid-February, Clinton handed over more than 300 emails to the House committee investigating the Benghazi, Libya, consulate attack.
Clinton’s use of a private email address does not become public knowledge until the New York Times reported on it Tuesday, March 3. Clinton’s team insisted she acted in the spirit of the laws governing email use.
After growing pressure, Clinton asked the State Department to release her emails.
I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On Saturday, nine potential presidential candidates -- Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Scott Walker -- will descend on Des Moines for the first-ever Iowa Agriculture Summit.
Hosted by Iowa “kingmaker” Bruce Rastetter, an agribusiness mogul, the seven-hour summit will give these possible candidates a chance to clarify their views on agriculture policy. But what they really care about is wooing Iowa voters.
Seriously, what’s the deal with Iowa?
If you’ve been following the 2016 chatter at all, you’ve probably noticed politicians sucking up to Iowa. That’s because the state, home to the now-famous 600-pound butter cow, is the first to vote -- or, more accurately, caucus -- in the presidential primaries.
Though Iowa’s majority white population isn’t representative of the rest of the country, winning in the Hawkeye State signals major momentum, attracting the kind of big donors that can catapult a candidate to the White House -- donors like Rastetter.
Tell me more about this millionaire kingmaker.
Rastetter made his millions in pork and ethanol. He has reportedly donated more than $1.5 million to political candidates since 2003.
Pundits call him a “kingmaker.” Though he shies away from the label, he has bankrolled GOP candidates from Florida to California, and continues to be most influential Republican donor in the state.
Rastetter, who encouraged Christie to run in 2012, hasn't yet endorsed a candidate for 2016. Saturday’s event will thrust him squarely into the spotlight. For 20 minutes each, he’ll quiz some of the nation’s top political talent on everything from immigration to ethanol.
Speaking of ethanol, why are Iowans so obsessed with it?
The corn-based fuel alternative is a major boon for Iowa corn farmers. According to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, nearly half of the two billion bushels of corn grown in the state each year goes into ethanol production, and many growers there won’t support a president who doesn’t champion ethanol.
That makes Saturday’s summit slightly awkward for politicians like Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, who has become increasingly hostile toward government-subsidized biofuels.
"I believe we should pursue an all-of-the-above energy policy and that Washington shouldn't be picking winners and losers," Cruz said in August.
The Texas senator wants to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates refiners blend ethanol into the fuel supply.
That puts him at odds with some of the other politicians hoping to make political hay in the Hawkeye State. Huckabee and Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and 2012, respectively, have both expressed support for the standard.
(Other politicians who oppose the standard, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have opted to skip the summit.)
Which candidate faces the highest stakes?
The biggest story line of this weekend is Bush’s return to Iowa.
The ag summit will be an opening salvo of sorts for the former Florida governor, who hasn’t stepped foot in the Hawkeye State since October 2012. Bush, who sat out the high-profile Iowa Freedom Summit in January, has planned a two-day swing through the state, with appearances in Cedar Rapids, Urbandale and Waukee.
Nationally, Bush is polling relatively well compared to his potential rivals. But according to the Quinnipiac poll, Iowa -- a state that has historically embraced more right-wing conservatives like Huckabee and Santorum -- hasn’t yet fallen in love with Bush.
His controversial views on immigration and common core education standards don’t sit well with the state’s conservative base.
The good news for Bush? According to a poll released in January, 63 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers say his last name isn’t a deal breaker.
Who else should I be watching?
Pundits are wondering whether Wisconsin Gov. Walker, who has surged in the polls of late, will make an even bigger splash on Saturday.
In a Quinnipiac poll released just last week, Walker led the GOP pack in Iowa, scoring 25 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers, followed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (13 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee (11 percent), neurosurgeon Ben Carson (11 percent) and Bush (10 percent).
And what’s this I hear about The Bachelor?
The biggest heartthrob in the Hawkeye State, Bachelor star Chris Soules, works for Rastetter, and his fawning fans in Iowa hoped he'd make an appearance at the summit.
Bad news, people -- Soules tells ABC he "can't make it."
US Department of Labor(WASHINGTON) -- Labor Secretary Tom Perez is pleased with February's jobs report.
"This was a very good jobs report. Last year was the best year of job growth since the late '90s and the first two months of this year are continuing that momentum," he said.
The Labor Department reported Friday morning that 295,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in February, exceeding economists' predictions.
"We haven't had 12 months straight of 200,000 plus job growth in decades. We now have had 60 months in a row of private sector job growth," Perez said.
The unemployment rate also fared better than expected, dropping to 5.5 percent.
Perez said it's a great sign for the economy. "The wind is at our back. There's undeniable unfinished business, but a year ago the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent. Now it's 5.5 percent and so we're moving in the right direction," he added.
Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Jacob Lew, the secretary of the Treasury, has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner requesting Congress increase the debt limit “as soon as possible.”
Congress passed the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act, suspending the statutory debt limit through March 15. Lew warns that beginning on Monday, March 16, the outstanding debt of the United States will be at the statutory limit, and he’ll have to take “extraordinary measures” to finance the government on a temporary basis.
“Only Congress is empowered to increase the nation’s borrowing authority, and I hope that Congress will address this matter without controversy or brinksmanship,” Lew writes. “Accordingly, I respectfully ask Congress to raise the debt limit as soon as possible.”
Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is headed to South Carolina Friday, where he's expected to highlight his economic plan to grow the middle class.
The president will visit Benedict College, a historically black college in Columbia, and participate in a town hall with students and young members of the community. He is expected to talk about the role that institutions like this college can play in fulfilling the demand for skilled professionals and helping to train people for those highly skilled jobs across the country.
Obama's trip to South Carolina marks his first visit to the Palmetto State as president. It was one of only three states he had yet to visit as president. The two states that remain are Utah and South Dakota.
In second place is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 14 percent, followed by Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, with 10 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Another 14 percent are undecided.
Taking Clinton out of the race, Biden trumps Warren to take the top spot with 35 percent to Warren's 25 percent. Sanders comes in third with 7 percent, while 25 percent of voters remain undecided.
It is worth noting that this poll was completed on March 2, just before The New York Times first broke the news that Clinton exclusively used a personal e-mail account during her time at the State Department. Still, the survey shows a commanding lead.
Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic leaders in the key early caucus state of Iowa and elsewhere are offering mixed reactions to revelations surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state, with most standing by her but some questioning whether their party needs another choice.
"Those supportive of Hillary Clinton that were backing her in 2008 are pushing this aside," Linda Nelson, the Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Democratic chair, told ABC News. "Others are saying, 'Hey, Hillary is going to continue to have baggage from her husband's administration, from the State Department that’s going to be drawn out again and again, and we aren’t going to win the presidency. Let’s just get a fresh face and move forward.’”
Walt Pregler, Democratic Party chair for Dubuque County, Iowa, called the email issue "trivial," and other local Democratic leaders seemed to feel the same way.
“Everybody has a private email account. The fact that she has one doesn’t seem to make a big difference," Polk County Democratic Chair Tom Henderson told ABC News. "I don’t think voters know why it’s important yet."
Martin Peterson from Crawford County, Iowa, expressed concerns over a lack of options.
"Unfortunately there are no other candidates- I wish there were," Peterson said to ABC News. "It won’t be competitive enough and we’ll probably lose because I don’t think it will play out well for us. Now how about that for pessimism?"
Clinton’s team has said it has handed over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department for review, and while the question of whether or not she broke any rules by purposefully avoiding a government-run email account is still up in the air, the optics of the controversy are the bigger issue, for some.
“She had the right to use it. But was it smart? Probably not,” Cedar County, Iowa, Democratic Party chair Larry Hodgden said. “It’s not illegal but this is just one more thing she’s opened herself up to controversy.”
Outside Iowa, other Democrats see the email controversy just as part of the inevitable political process.
Doug Grant, Democratic Party chair for the northern part of Grafton County, New Hampshire, called the email issue "a tempest in a teapot."
"I will look for a blazing star [candidate] that will come out from nowhere in the next three months, that will blaze in the sky. That’s just not too plausible, unfortunately," he said.
Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn told ABC News that he has "no pause" about Clinton, but a primary is necessary "if you have candidates who haven’t been battle-tested...but we’ve had that conversation with Hillary Clinton and we have pretty much vetted her."
One of the most vocal Democratic voices speaking out against Clinton is Dick Harpootlian, one of Vice President Joe Biden's biggest supporters and a former Democratic Party chairman in South Carolina.
"The chatter down here is, 'Is this the best we can do?'" Harpootlian told The Washington Post on Wednesday. "Certainly everyone wants to give a woman a chance to lead this country, but is [Clinton] the woman? There are plenty of other women who would be competitive, whether it’s Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar or Kirsten Gillibrand."
Harpootlian continued his criticisms Thursday on CNN, saying that the assumption that Clinton is the front-runner may save her from having to answer questions during the primary.
“Is that what we really want in a presidential candidate and is that really what we want in a president?” Harpootlian asked.
"Is she going to lose over the email account? Absolutley not. What I'm saying is this is symptomatic of a larger problem," he said.
“She’s got to run the campaign,” Harpootlian said. “I was around Clinton in '92. I was with Obama here in Virginia in '08. I’ll tell you who ran those campaigns: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Who the hell’s running this campaign?”
National Republican figures have suggested Clinton’s conduct regarding the emails will be a campaign issue.
"Hillary Clinton must think we’re all suckers," Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short said in a statement released Wednesday evening. "The fact Hillary Clinton set up a 'homebrewed' email system in her house to skirt federal recordkeeping regulations is a pretty good indicator of just how transparent she’s interested in being."
Jeb Bush, one of Clinton’s likely opponents, tweeted a slight at Clinton as soon as the news of her private email domain and servers broke on Monday.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton was in violation of State Department rules governing the use of non-governmental email accounts during her entire tenure as secretary of state, ABC News has learned.
A senior State Department official tells ABC News that under rules in place while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, employees could only use private email accounts for official business if they turn those emails over to be entered into government computers. This policy is still in place.
Until the private emails are entered into government computers, the official says, an employee is in violation of the rules.
Mrs. Clinton used a private email account for her entire tenure as secretary – and did not even have a government-issued email. Mrs. Clinton did turn over some 55,000 pages of emails to be entered into government computer systems late last year, nearly two years after she stepped down from the State Department.
If Mrs. Clinton has now turned over all emails related to official business, she would be in compliance with State Department rules, an official said. But there is no way to independently verify that she has done that.
Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman says she has turned over about 90 percent of the emails she wrote as secretary of state, withholding only those that were strictly personal and not covered by the policy.
State Department email rules became an issue while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state.
One of Mrs. Clinton’s ambassadors was criticized by the Department’s inspector general in a 2012 report for using private email.
“It is the Department’s general policy that normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an authorized information system, which has the proper level of security controls,” the Office of Inspector General wrote in the 2012 report.
The IG report warns that the use of non-governmental email accounts “increases the risk” of security breaches and the “loss of official public records as these systems do not have approved record preservation or backup functions.”
Clinton established her own private email network based out of her Chappaqua, New York, home, where aides say she has personally preserved all messages before turning them over.
Mrs. Clinton tweeted late Wednesday that she has asked the State Department to publicly release all the emails she turned over, but has otherwise remained silent on the controversy.
Back when she was last ran for president, Mrs. Clinton was quite vocal about other government officials who use private emails which circumvent automatic government archiving.
“Our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps, the secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts,” she said at an event in 2007, indirectly indicting the Republican administration. “It’s a stunning record of secrecy and corruption, of cronyism run amok.”
At least one Democrat -- a supporter of Vice President Biden -- lashed out at Mrs. Clinton's email practices in an interview on CNN.
“Is that what we really want in a presidential candidate?” former South Carolina Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian said in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN. “Who the hell’s running this campaign?”
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Perry’s PAC released a new online video on Thursday in which he criticizes, point-by-point, the nuclear deal the United States is seeking with Iran.
At the end of the video, which was first reported byThe Weekly Standard, Perry says the next president should not be bound by any agreement President Obama signs if Congress doesn’t support it.
“An arms control agreement that excludes our Congress, damages our security, and endangers our allies has to be reconsidered by any future president. We must not allow the incompetence of one administration to damage our country’s security for years and decades to come,” Perry said.
The video places Perry in front of all the other 2016 potential candidates on the issue, shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and the AIPAC conference.
hroe/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Heavy snow blanketed Capitol Hill on Thursday, producing a widespread urge to sled down Washington’s most iconic slopes.
The only problem? Sledding is banned on Capitol Grounds, dumbfounding many of DC’s residents.
“You're saying we can't sled on Capitol Hill?” one resident said in disbelief. “God.”
Nevertheless, dozens of DC residents and their children defied the ban, facing off against Capitol Police officers tasked with enforcement.
“Capitol regulations as stated are that there is no sledding or skiing on Capitol grounds for life safety and property damage issues,” USCP Lt. Eric Graves told people who had gathered to sled on a bunny hill on the West Front of the Capitol. “The main point being that there are sprinkler heads and stuff buried in the ground and we're seriously concerned about people coming to an abrupt stop or causing the sleds to flip over. That's why we ask people not to sled on Capitol grounds.”
But Graves’ warning didn’t deter anybody from a little fun.
“I understand your regulations, but we're going to do a little more sledding here,” one man told Graves, turning away to resume playing with his kids.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, pleaded with the Capitol Police board to lift the ban through the snowy weekend, but her request was quickly denied Wednesday night.
Many of DC’s residents don’t understand the justification.
“What is the threat of letting a 10-year-old and a seven-year-old sled down Capitol Hill?” one woman asked incredulously.
Capitol Hill resident Ellen Adams brought her twin daughters Charlotte and Kendall, and hopes that beyond a day in the snow, they’ll take an important lesson home.
“It's ridiculous, I mean, it's such a great hill. It's just such a fun activity for the kids here on Capitol Hill,” Adams said. “I'm trying to teach them about civil disobedience.”
Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the discovery that Hillary Clinton used a personal email account and private server during her time as secretary of State was the fact that the system was registered to a man who no one had ever heard of.
Who was Eric Hoteham? And why did have at least three different email domains -- clintonemail.com, wjcoffice.com and presidentclinton.com -- registered in his name even though the domains apparently were based in the former first couple’s home in suburban New York?
Efforts to locate public records related to anyone named Eric Hoteham were unsuccessful, in a search that included donor records, birth records or property records.
There is, however, an Eric Hothem who is named as a Clinton aide in a Washington Post article from 2001. At the time, he reportedly dismissed concerns from the White House chief usher who believed that, when leaving the White House at the end of President Bill Clinton's second term, the couple took pieces of furniture that should have remained in the White House.
Hothem was also mentioned in a House Government Reform Committee Report from 2002. In the report, he was identified as "an aide to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton" who sent a wire transfer of $15,000 to Roger Clinton, Bill Clinton's brother.
Hothem's lawyer deferred to the first couple's lawyer, David Kendall, who said that the account for which Hothem was the custodian was the personal Citibank account of the former president and his wife, then a U.S. senator. Kendall said the money was a loan to Roger Clinton to help him obtain legal counsel for the committee's investigation.
On top of that, Hothem is thanked in Hillary Clinton’s 2003 memoir, Living History.
Hothem’s connection to the Clintons appears to drop off the public record shortly after the Clintons' time in the White House ended.
But right around that time, in October 2002, a man named Eric Hothem began working at Citigroup, according to financial records database BrightScope. He moved to JP Morgan in May 2013.
Hothem did not answer requests for comment Wednesday and JP Morgan had “no comment” when asked about the story.
Although ABC News has not been able to definitively link them, The New York Times reported that the current JP Morgan employee is the same man as Hillary Clinton's former aide.
One difficulty connecting the man who registered the Clinton domain names to the former first lady’s aide stemmed from the differences in the spelling of the names.
However, according to Jonathan Mayer, a computer science expert at Stanford University, there are often contradictions or typographical errors in server records, so it could be a spelling error.
iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- County sheriffs and prosecutors from three states launched a court challenge Thursday against Colorado’s legalized marijuana, claiming that huge amounts of weed crossing state lines is placing an “undue burden” on the resources of small departments.
Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 legalizing recreational marijuana in November 2012. Retail stores began selling weed on Jan. 1, 2014, but marijuana is still considered illegal by the federal government.
"Amendment 64 is preempted by federal law and therefore violates the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the United States Constitution,” according to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court.
The plaintiffs -- six Colorado sheriffs, four Nebraska sheriffs along with two county attorneys from Nebraska and Kansas -- want the relevant sections of the Colorado constitution declared “invalid, null, and void.”
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Thursday, Sheriff Mark Overman of Scott’s Bluff County, Nebraska says Colorado’s marijuana is a burden on taxpayers in his jurisdiction.
“Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has completely changed the landscape involving the marijuana that we encounter,” he said. “Because of Amendment 64, our jails are full, our court dockets are full. There are increased costs for overtime, for incarceration.”
Overman also claims his deputies are busting more kids for pot.
“We are seeing a marked increase in the numbers of children as young as 13 that we are finding in possession of marijuana. We don’t want what Colorado has," he said.
Larimer County Colorado Sheriff Justin Smith also said legalized marijuana in his state has created a “constitutional showdown” for law enforcement.
“In Colorado every elected official, sheriffs included, are required under the state constitution to take an oath of office,” Smith said. “And that oath of office requires that they swear to defend the Constitution of the United States and the state of Colorado. Amendment 64 puts a conflict in those two parts of the oath of office.”
The Justice Department has said it will not take legal action against states that have approved recreational marijuana use.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is named as the defendant in the lawsuit filed Thursday.
Hickenlooper has not been formally served with the lawsuit, said his spokeswoman Kathy Green.
However, Green told ABC News, “We will continue to defend the will of the voters while prioritizing public safety.”
Marijuana advocates say the lawsuit is frivolous.
"These guys need to get over it,” said Mason Tyvert with the Marijuana Policy Project.
"These law enforcement officers are trying to force marijuana cultivation and sales back into the underground market. Colorado adopted these laws in order to start controlling marijuana, and it's working,” Tyvert told ABC News.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in Alaska, Colorado, Washington state and Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner and a bipartisan group of senior congressional leaders want President Obama to beef up Ukraine's military, including the transfer of lethal defensive weapons systems, urging the president to utilize powers given to him by Congress late last year that he has not yet exercised but they believe will help fend off Russian aggression.
“In the wake of a cease-fire agreement that appears only to have consolidated Russian and separatist gains since the first Minsk agreement, we urge you to quickly approve additional efforts to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign territory, including through the transfer of lethal, defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military,” a letter sent by the group of lawmakers on Thursday reads.
Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act on Dec. 18, but noted in a statement that day that “the administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the act gives the administration additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted.”
Now, Congress wants Obama to reconsider after his administration has been hesitant to provide military aid.
“Congress has already, with overwhelming bipartisan support, provided you with the authorities, resources, and political support to provide assistance, including lethal, to the government and people of Ukraine,” notes the letter, signed by eight Republicans and three Democrats. “We urge you in the strongest possible terms to use those authorities and resources to meet the specific and direct requests the government of Ukraine has made of your administration.”
Last week, Boehner and a bipartisan group of lawmakers met at the Capitol with Ukrainian lawmakers, including Andriy Parubiy, first vice-speaker of the Verkohona Rada, also known as the Supreme Council of Ukraine. The speaker's office said the group "had a productive discussion about their shared goals of peace, freedom, and security." The letter on Thursday is the first visible effort to follow up on that meeting.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed a joint meeting of the United States Congress last September, urging lawmakers to stand with Ukraine.
The letter is signed by Boehner; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky.; House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas; Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif.; House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.; Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.; State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas; Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.