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Alabama Supreme Court Orders a Stop to Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- The Alabama Supreme Court handed down a ruling Tuesday evening, ordering a stop to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses by probate judges.

The order comes after the Elmore County's probate judge requested the state's supreme court for further guidance in regards to issuing licenses.

In the ruling, the supreme court cites an effort to comply with Alabama law, which states marriage is between one man and one woman, as the reason to halt same-sex marriage licenses.

"As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for 'marriage' between only one man and one woman," the ruling said. "Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty."

Alabama's probate judges now have five days to file a letter stating why they should not be bound to the court's decision.

The order on Tuesday comes after a federal appeals court ruled last month against delaying the overturning of Alabama's gay-marriage ban, which U.S. District Judge Callie Granade called unconstitutional.

State Attorney General Luther Strange responded to the appeals court ruling by asking the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay on the marriages until the high court took up the nationwide issue in the spring.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, a vocal opponent of gay marriage, then ordered county probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples, despite Granade's having ruled that probate judges had a legal duty to issue the licenses.

On Feb. 9, the U.S. Supreme Court opted not to halt the start of the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the state, but Moore said he would fight until the justices ruled.

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Massive Winter Storm Bringing Snow, Ice and Wind Hits 30 States

aetb/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A massive and slow-moving winter storm continued to grip the U.S. on Tuesday, dumping snow, ice and rain from Utah and Louisiana to Maine.

At least 30 states were under winter weather alerts on Tuesday, and the storm was affecting 120 million Americans.

In Minnesota, treacherous ice and slick conditions brought traffic on Interstate 94 to a complete standstill after more than a dozen crashes in the area.

Near St. Paul, Minnesota, a car slammed a police vehicle as the officer investigated another crash.

 

#MSPcrash I94 near Clearwater (veh vs sign) no inj. #SlowDown #PayAttention pic.twitter.com/KDM70C3jMr

— Sgt. Jesse Grabow (@MSPPIO_NW) March 3, 2015

 

Strong winds gusting at 40 mph were a problem in Watertown, South Dakota.

In the Midwest, blinding snow and slippery roads in parts of Michigan and Indiana caused spinout after spinout.

"I just completely turned all the way around and slid off the road," said one driver. "How scary is that? I mean, I'm just happy there weren't any cars coming."

 

MN-7 at mile post 89 southwest of Willmar at 12 PM. #mnwx pic.twitter.com/Ilq2CH73Mg

— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) March 3, 2015



Although one to three inches was possible along the I-95 corridor on Tuesday, some areas, such as New York City, could receive 6-8 inches with Wednesday night’s snowfall.

 

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Boston Bombing Suspect’s Widow Under Investigation, Could Face Charges

FBI(BOSTON) -- The widow of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects is under active investigation and could face potential criminal charges related to the deadly blast, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI declined to comment, and authorities said no decision has been made on whether to eventually bring charges while prosecutors concentrate on the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Katherine Russell’s brother-in-law.

Russell, who was married to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is suspected of being the woman who accompanied Tsarnaev to a Macy’s in Boston two months before the April 2013 attack where the couple bought five pressure cookers – two of which were allegedly used to make the bombs placed at the marathon finish line. In an affidavit to search Tsarnaev’s home, FBI agents said they were looking for clothing consistent with those seen on a security video at Macy’s.

A few weeks earlier Tamerlan Tsarnaev had gone to a fireworks store in New Hampshire and bought 48 mortar shells, also used in the bombs. At the fireworks store, Tamerlan had asked for the “biggest and loudest” fireworks available and spent roughly $200, according to court documents.

“To live in a small apartment and buy five pressure cookers and have all those explosives obviously just does not make sense – something other than cooking was going on,” said former FBI special agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett.

Both lawyers for Russell and federal prosecutors declined to answer ABC News questions about Russell’s status, but a senior law enforcement official said she could face charges of misprision of a felony, or failing to notify authorities of a crime about to happen.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a police shootout three days after prosecutors say he and his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, detonated twin bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people – including an eight-year-old boy – and injuring some 260 others.

Days after Tamerlan Tsarnaev was identified as one of the suspected bombers, Russell’s attorney released a statement saying Russell was assisting the investigation into the bombing and was not aware of the plot beforehand.

“As a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, Katie deeply mourns the pain and loss to innocent victims, students, law enforcement officers, families and our community,” the attorney, Miriam Weizenbaum, said then.

Shortly after the bombing, Russell left her family and moved to New Jersey to live with Tsarnaev’s two sisters. She later moved out of her sister-in-law’s apartment and was last seen in a transitional housing facility for the homeless in New Jersey, according to authorities briefed on the investigation. Authorities told ABC News the FBI put Russell under surveillance during last year’s Boston Marathon race.

Opening statements in the murder trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are set to begin Wednesday morning. Russell is not expected to be called as a witness for the government.

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175-Pound Pit Bull Shatters Misconceptions About Breed

Ruaridh Connellan/Barcroft Media /Landov(NEW YORK) -- This dog just may be the world's largest Pit Bull. Only 18 months old, Hulk weighs a hefty 175 pounds.

Despite his intimidating size, his owners Marlon and Lisa Grannan say Hulk is a sweet family dog and a best friend to their 3-year-old son Jordan.

Videos and photos of Hulk with their son online shatter misconceptions about Pit Bulls as ruthless monsters.

The toddler can be seen riding Hulk, singing with him and napping with him.

"He's a wonderful, excellently trained dog," Marlon Grannan said. "He plays with my kid, he's great with the family and he's so, so sweet."

"Because Pit Bulls are only in the media when bad things happen, this myth of them as monsters gets perpetuated," Grannan added, "but it's not true. They might not be for everyone, but under a good leader and with proper trained, they make amazing family and work or protection dogs."

Grannan and his wife are the owners of Dark Dynasty K9s, a family-owned kennel that breeds and trains American Pit Bull Terriers as protection dogs for clients worldwide. Dark Dynasty K9s is also a member of the American Dog Breeders Association and the United Kennel Club.

"I want to emphasize that we breed and train dogs who come in stable," Grannan said. "Our goal is to make these dogs fearless for the intimidation factor that protection dogs need to have, not for them to be uncontrolled and maul or bite anyone. That is improper training."

He owns 12 Pit Bulls in training and one Chihuahua. All of them live and work with him at their 150-acre home and kennel, Grannan said.

And yet, Hulk, the biggest of them all, has garnered the most attention. A video of him being weighed last month had over seven million views as of Tuesday morning.

"My hope is that we can stop ignorance and change people's minds about Pit Bulls in a positive way with all this attention," Grannan said.

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Engineer Dies Following California Train Crash

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- A sad turn of events involving the engineer of the Metrolink train that derailed in Oxnard, California, last week.  

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office confirmed on Tuesday to ABC News that Glenn Steele, 62, died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Steele had 42 years of experience driving trains, and had been on the job so long that he was at the top of Metrolink’s seniority list.

Steele was in the front of the train when it slammed into a truck on the tracks last week.

The truck driver who caused the crash is not facing any charges, but his attorney had said if any victims died his client could face misdemeanor manslaughter charges.

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Curt Schilling, Ex-Red Sox Pitcher, Knocks Down Internet Trolls Who Bullied His Daughter

Hunter Martin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- World Series MVP and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling took matters into his own hands when Twitter users started to cyberbully his teenage daughter.

The All-Star struck back at two Internet trolls in particular who made vulgar remarks, with Schilling revealing their identities and schools on his blog.

The crude comments were in response to Schilling's congratulatory tweet to his daughter's acceptance to college in Rhode Island.

 

Congrats to Gabby Schilling who will pitch for the Salve Regina Seahawks next year!!

— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) February 25, 2015

Despite spending years around jock talk in locker rooms, Schilling, who last played in 2007, said the tweets, which alluded to lewd acts and rape, crossed the line.

"Anybody that reads it and says it's just a joke, I know a couple things for a fact, they're not fathers of kids," Schilling told ABC’s Good Morning America.

Schilling, 48, posted images of some of the vulgar tweets on his blog Sunday, writing, "is this even remotely ok? In ANY world? At ANY time?"

"I grew up in a locker room. I grew up playing sports. I know what it means to be a guy. Never in my life, have I ever uttered half of the words that these guys were posting," Schilling said.

True to what Schilling wrote in his blog, where he wrote, "The real world has consequences when you do and say things about others," there were consequences for the trolls.

The school of one of the Twitter users, Brookdale Community College in New Jersey, said it suspended the student.

"The student has been summarily suspended and will be scheduled for a conduct hearing where further disciplinary action will be taken," the college posted on its Facebook page Monday. "The Brookdale Police are actively investigating this matter. Brookdale takes this behavior very seriously and does not tolerate any form of harassment. Our sincerest apologies to Gabby Schilling. Her achievement should be celebrated and not clouded by offensive comments."

Each Twitter account mentioned in Schilling's blog has been suspended or is no longer in use.

Another Twitter user mentioned by Schilling in his blog was fired from his job selling tickets part-time with the New York Yankees, Jason Zillo, the team's director of communications, confirmed to NJ.com. The Yankees did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

The two individuals did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

"This wasn't a mistake," Schilling said. "This was a conscious decision to be an idiot and to say some evil stuff."

Gabby Schilling added: "Nobody should be able to get away with saying things like that to a father about their daughter."

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'Free Range' Parents Found Responsible for Child Neglect After Allowing Kids to Walk Home Alone

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- A Maryland couple who was being investigated for allowing their two children to walk home alone from a neighborhood park have been "found responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect" by the state's Child Protective Services.

Maryland Child Protective Services began investigating Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of Silver Spring, Maryland, for practicing so-called “free-range parenting,” a philosophy that encourages children to have some independence.

In the Meitivs' case, this means they allow their two children, Rafi and Dvora, ages 10 and 6, to play outside and walk home by themselves.

The couple told ABC's Nightline in an email Tuesday that they found out the results of the CPS investigation last week.

“We are shocked and outraged that we have been deemed negligent for granting our children the simple freedom to play outdoors. We fully intend to appeal,” Danielle Meitiv said via email. “We also have no intention of changing our parenting approach.”

The Meitivs told Nightline in an interview that aired in January that they trust their children and want to give them the freedom to make mistakes, away from the parental safety net.

“I'm just parenting the way I was parented and the way that almost every adult I know was parented,” Danielle told Nightline at the time.

But that all changed after the Montgomery County Police stopped the kids in December as they were walking home from a park without an adult and gave them a stern warning.

Maryland Child Protective Services then accused the Meitivs of neglect, saying unless they committed to a safety plan, the kids would have to go into foster homes. In Silver Spring, leaving anyone under age 18 unsupervised constitutes neglect.

Suddenly, this middle-class suburban family found themselves smack in the middle of a national parenting debate.

When asked for comment, Maryland Child Protective Services referred the case to the Maryland State Department of Human Resources.

A Maryland State Department of Human Resources spokeswoman said that confidentiality laws prohibit them from commenting on any specific case, and would only say that the ruling would serve as "a point of reference that will be used in any future decision."

No criminal charges have been filed.

The Meitivs stand by their belief that they are the best ones to judge if their kids are ready, and if their neighborhood is safe enough, for them to be on their own, not the government.

“Frankly I think that raising independent children and responsible children and giving them the freedom that I enjoyed is a risk worth taking,” Danielle Meitiv told Nightline in a previous interview. “In the end it's our decision as parents.”

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LAPD Shooting: Name of the 'Homeless' Victim Released

Ventura County Sheriff's Office(LOS ANGELES) --  The identity of the man who was shot by Los Angeles police officers Sunday has now been confirmed.

ABC News has learned that the man's name was Charley Robinet.

The only information about the man, whose altercation with police was caught on video, came from the Los Angeles County Coroner, who told Los Angeles ABC News affiliate KABC-TV that he was a black man in his 30s.

Witnesses at the scene told KABC-TV that the man was called "Africa" by people who knew him. The shooting took place on the city's Skid Row, a stretch of Central Los Angeles where many of the city's homeless congregate.

Footage obtained by ABC News shows Robinet entering his tent on the sidewalk shortly before police arrive at the scene.

At least two investigations into the shooting are underway.


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Ferguson Shooting: Federal Investigation Expected to Show Pattern of Discrimination at Police Department

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Department of Justice is expected to release its finding on the investigation into the Ferguson Police Department as early as Wednesday, sources tell ABC News.

According to a law enforcement official, the report will say the Ferguson Police Department’s conduct routinely violated the constitution and federal law due to a combination of racial bias and a focus on generating revenue.

According to the findings, African-Americans make up 67 percent of the population of Ferguson, but were subject to 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of citations and 93 percent of arrests.

In essence they accuse the Ferguson police department of a pattern and practice of discrimination.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division found multiple examples of police and municipal court officials exhibiting racial bias in emails sent on official Ferguson accounts.

Examples include a November 2008 email, which stated that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

Another racist email from May 2011 stated: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”

From April to September 2014, 95 percent of people held at the Ferguson jail longer than two days were African American.

African Americans accounted for 95 percent of all “Manner of Walking in Roadway” -- essentially jaywalking -- charges, 94 percent of “failure to comply” charges and 92 percent of all “peace disturbance” charges.

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Basketball Team Disqualified for Wearing Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Thomas Cordova/Daily Breeze(LOS ANGELES) -- A girls' high school basketball team was forced to forfeit a semi-final playoff win because the team wore pink letters and numbers on its jerseys to support breast cancer awareness.

The organization that oversees Nathaniel Narbonne High School's team in the Harbor City area of Los Angeles has strict rules regarding team colors. So now, Narbonne is appealing a decision that forced the team to forfeit a 57-52 win on Saturday against View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School.

"Uniform colors may only be a combination of the official school colors. Pink is not a school color at Narbonne. Penalties will include probation and forfeiture of contents," the California Interscholastic Federation's Los Angeles City Section said in a statement, according to ABC News station KABC in Los Angeles.

Team members were taken aback by the decision that disqualified the team from title contention.

"I kind of thought it was maybe just a joke at one point in time until all the teammates started to say, 'No, this is serious.' It was very, very shocking to us," Narbonne senior guard Laticia Smith told KABC. "The punishment didn't fit the crime. You know, we feel like we really didn't know. We had no idea and if we had some type of warning, we would have never come on the court with those uniforms."

The approved colors of the top-seeded school are green, gold and black. Earlier in the school year, the North Hollywood High girls' volleyball team forfeited a match because it wore uniforms that were entirely black.

Pro teams have changed their colors based on a particular cause or group. For instance, NFL teams have approved use of pink gloves, cleats and wristbands for breast cancer awareness and, in the NBA, the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors were allowed to wear red uniforms with Chinese lettering to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Narbonne's athletic director and principal were told of the violation during halftime and the decision to disqualify the team was made later, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The school is appealing the decision and a panel is hearing its case on Tuesday, the Times reported.

The team hopes to play in the championship game on Saturday, KABC reported.

The California Interscholastic Federation's Los Angeles City Section did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News. The statewide California Interscholastic Federation said the issue is under the jurisdiction of CIF LA City Section's rule and not a CIF State rule.

Narbonne High School did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

The City Section gave some teams waivers to wear pink in their uniforms during breast cancer awareness month in October.

"If they are going to do something against our bylaws, they need to call us to request it," City Section commissioner John Aguirre told the Times.

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Tamir Rice's Mother Says City's Apology over Wording Is 'Disrespectful'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The mother of the 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by Cleveland police would accept an apology from the department for shooting her child if one were offered, she said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

"The city’s answer is disrespectful to my son Tamir," Samaria Rice said Tuesday morning. "I have yet to receive an apology from the police department or the city of Cleveland in regards to the killing of my son and it hurts."

Her comments came a day after the mayor apologized for an earlier court document in which city lawyers suggested it was Tamir’s fault he was shot.

The city has apologized for the "insensitive" language used in the city's response to a federal lawsuit filed by Samaria Rice, but not for the Nov. 22 shooting itself. Tamir Rice was shot on a playground while holding a pellet gun.

The lawsuit makes a half dozen allegations, including that the officers used excessive force, failed to administer aid to the boy who died the day after the shooting, and inflicted emotional distress to the boy's mother and sister when they responded to the shooting.

At Tuesday's news conference, Rice and her attorneys also shared surveillance footage of the moment when police shot her son and though the video had been released previously, they have since added a stop clock to the top-right corner, which shows the boy was shot 0.792 seconds after the car pulled up to the scene.

Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing the Rice family, said the city had a month to issue its response to the lawsuit, giving officials sufficient time to choose their words carefully.

"The city had over 30 days to deliberate and articulate its decision on Tamir Rice and they chose the words that they chose," Crump said.

"Anytime that they try to justify -- other than to say that they made a mistake -- anything short of that is disrespectful from the family," he said.

An investigation into the shooting by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department is underway and a grand jury is expected to consider whether criminal charges should be brought against the officers.


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NASA Celebrates 100th Birthday of America's First Flight Program

NASA(HOUSTON) -- NASA is celebrating the 100th birthday of the United States' original aeronautics program on Tuesday with photos showing what the dream of flight looked like a century ago.

Founded on March 3, 1915, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, called NACA, focused on innovation in aeronautics, including the creation of the retractable landing gear, jet engine compressors and turbines, among other technologies.

The mission, according to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, was to "supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution."

Starting with a small budget and no payroll, the committee grew into a powerhouse around World War II, developing cutting edge aeronautics technology that helped lead American troops to victory overseas.

It wasn't until the 1950s that the reality of space travel came into the picture. All 7,500 NACA employees became part of the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or what we commonly call NASA.

The influence of NACA can be seen today in "streamlined aircraft bodies, quieter jet engines, techniques for preventing icing, drag-reducing winglets and lightweight composite structures are an everyday part of flying thanks to research concepts and tools that trace their origins to the NACA," Bolden said in a statement celebrating the milestone anniversary.

NACA's place in history is also cemented by a set of footprints left behind on the moon. Before NASA was formed, the first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong, was a NACA employee.

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Best Man Faces Trial in Political Strategist's 2013 Slaying

ABC News(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Opening statements are expected to begin this week in the trial of Jonathan Broyhill, who’s accused of killing his best friend’s wife, a political strategist.

Jamie Hahn, 29, was attacked in her Raleigh, North Carolina, home in April 2013.

She ran a successful political consulting company, working with former U.S. Congressman Brad Miller, D-N.C. Hahn hired Broyhill -- her husband Nation’s best man at their wedding -- to do the campaign’s accounting.

“He was practically like part of the family,” neighbor Pamela Hung said of Broyhill in 2013. “That’s how much time he spent at their house.”

But the relationship reportedly soured after Nation and Jamie Hahn became aware of alleged financial irregularities and confronted Broyhill.

Jamie Hahn was stabbed 24 times, authorities said. Nation Hahn was also wounded as he tried to defend his wife, police say.

Broyhill, 32, has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney says his client attempted suicide after Hahn’s death.

“That goes to state of mind, with respect to the theories of what caused the homicide to occur, that we would at some point anticipate addressing,” defense attorney Joe Arbour said in court.

That point could be part of the defense’s strategy, according to legal analyst Mark Eiglarsh, who is not personally connected to the case.

“The prosecution has to prove that it was premeditated. What the defense is trying to do is create reasonable doubt that he didn’t plan on murder, he planned on killing himself instead,” Eiglarsh said.

Broyhill’s attorney has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

The trial is expected to take up to three weeks.

Broyhill faces one charge of first-degree murder, two charges of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury.

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Hear Moment Stunned Motorists Found Guards After Gold Heist

iStock/Thinkstock(WILSON, N.C.) -- Two passing motorists on I-95 called 911 to report seeing a pair of guards walking in the woods off the interstate with their hands tied after an alleged gold robbery in North Carolina, according to recordings of the calls released on Tuesday.

Three armed suspects had allegedly robbed a tractor-trailer that was carrying $4.8 million worth of gold and bound the armed guards, who had been driving the vehicle on Sunday.

The 911 calls were released Tuesday morning by Wilson County emergency communications officials.

"There's a couple guys that look like they've got their hands just tied behind their backs...trying to wave people down and call the police," the first caller says.

The caller, whose name has not been released, can be heard shouting to the guard, though the guard's responses are unintelligible. However, the 911 caller relays the guard's answers.

The guard tells the man that he and the other guard had weapons but that the suspects took them when they took the gold.

A second caller mentions seeing the guards but not communicating with them.

The guards, who have not been identified, worked for a Florida-based security company called TransValue Inc. and were transporting gold and silver from Miami to Attleboro, Massachusetts.

TransValue Inc. has issued a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest or recovery of the stolen property.

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GAO Report: Air Traffic Control System Not Safe from Hackers

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As you pack a bag for your next business trip or vacation, the security of the air traffic control system is probably the last thing you think about. But a new report from federal inspectors finds serious deficiencies that could compromise the safety of the flying public.

The 46-page report from the Government Accountability Office states that the Federal Aviation Administration hasn't done enough to ensure the security of the air traffic control infrastructure.

"While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken steps to protect its air traffic control systems from cyber-based and other threats, significant security control weaknesses remain, threatening the agency’s ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation of the national airspace system (NAS)," it states.

"These include weaknesses in controls intended to prevent, limit, and detect unauthorized access to computer resources, such as controls for protecting system boundaries, identifying and authenticating users, authorizing users to access systems, encrypting sensitive data, and auditing and monitoring activity on FAA’s systems," the report continues.

The GAO lists 14 recommendations to reduce the risks to the security of the airspace system. Transportation officials say they are aware of the weaknesses but have been taking steps to improve security. They add that they will implement all of the recommendations in the GAO report.

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