A.M. Links: U.S. Blames Russia For Creating Conditions for Likely Accidental Downing of Malaysia Flight, International Flights to Israel Canceled After Hamas Rocket Lands Near Airport, Lois Lerner Hard Drive Scratched But Not Destroyed


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    U.S. intelligence officials blamed Russia for creating the "conditions" under which Malaysian Air Flight MH-17 was shot down but indicated pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine likely downed the flight by mistake.

  • International flights to and from Israel are being canceled, with the Federal Aviation Administration banning them for 24 hours,  after a rocket launched from Gaza landed near Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. Israeli airline El-Al will continue to operate flights and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg will be flying to Israel to demonstrate that it's safe. John Kerry, meanwhile, is back in the region for more diplomacy.
  • The hard drive containing Lois Lerner e-mails of interest to House investigators may not have been destroyed after all—an Internal Revenue Service tech expert now says the drive was merely scratched.
  • The Tea Party-backed Barry Loudermilk defeated 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate and former Republican representative Bob Barr in a Republican congressional primary run-off in Georgia. On the GOP's senate side, businessman David Purdue defeated longtime representative Jack Kingston.
  • The New York Police Department will be retraining all of its officers after a man a group of officers tried to subdue with a chokehold died. The police commissioner also said he wouldn't be surprise if the federal government brought civil rights charges against the cops involved.
  • Sixty seven percent of voting respondents in a Rasmussen poll said Americans were more divided now than they were four years ago.

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