This just in
July 7, 2014

An abundance of original documents detailing Soviet spying and sabotage plots were released Monday by the Churchill Archive at Cambridge University after being held in secret for two decades.

The files, which were smuggled out of Russia in 1992 by KGB senior official-turned-defector Vasili Mitrokhin, describe plots involving sabotage, booby traps, and undercover agents in the West. If this story sounds familiar, that's because it's the real-life basis for the Soviet spies in FX's The Americans. The Associated Press reports that the documents detail "one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history."

Mitrokhin, a senior archivist at the KGB's foreign intelligence headquarters, made secret copies of files for more than a decade. After his collection was rejected by the U.S. embassy, Mitrokhin took his collection to the British embassy following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. He spent the remainder of his life under a false name and police protection in Britain until his death in 2004.

Mitrokhin's files exposed the identities of roughly 1,000 KGB agents in America over several decades. Among those listed are agents who were sent to then-Czechoslovakia after the 1968 Prague Spring pro-democracy uprising, as well as those who targeted Karol Wojtyla — later Pope John Paul II — and his followers for his "extremely anti-Communist views."

Nineteen boxes of the Russian-language files, typed by Mitrokhin, are available to researchers at the Churchill Archive, but Mitrokhin's original handwritten notes will remain classified. Meghan DeMaria

10:01 p.m. ET

A fire that quickly engulfed a pool at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday was fueled by decorative trees that are not regulated by Clark County codes.

Current codes govern structures like pool decks and cabanas, but not plants and outdoor furniture, Ron Lynn, director of the county's Department of Building and Fire Prevention, told reporters Monday. The fire started in a cabana at the Bamboo Pool, then spread to the trees, which were made from high-density foam and plastic. One person was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and another was treated at the scene. The fire was put out within 30 minutes, and the pool reopened Sunday.

Lynn said officials are still trying to get to the bottom of what caused the fire, and will likely take a close look at the role the trees played in the fire, the Las Vegas Sun reports. Lynn also said officials might need to establish new rules to control the use of fake trees. Catherine Garcia

the search is on
9:27 p.m. ET

A Coast Guard official says that as long as current water conditions remain the same, two teenage boys lost at sea off the Florida coast could likely survive for four or five days.

Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, were last seen Friday at 1:30 p.m. buying gas at a marina in Jupiter, Florida. On Sunday, their boat was found capsized off the coast of Ponce de Leon Inlet, but there was no sign of Stephanos or Cohen. Coast Guard Captain Mark Fedor said that while the water in the area is relatively warm, it's still a dangerous environment. Fedor also told ABC News that he's hopeful the boys are holding onto either a lifejacket or cooler, which was believed to be onboard the boat.

Family members told the Coast Guard that the teens mentioned going towards the Bahamas. Rescuers are focusing on the area north of where the boat was found, and by midnight Monday, crews will have searched more than 27,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of West Virginia. Catherine Garcia

This just in
8:14 p.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On Monday, the governing board of the Boy Scouts of America voted to end its ban on gay scout leaders.

The national executive board came to the conclusion that the policy "was no longer legally defensible," and the decision was approved by 79 percent of the board, NBC News reports. Local scouting units can still bar gay applicants from leadership positions if hiring them would violate religious beliefs. "This change allows Scouting's members and parents to select local units chartered by organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families," the Boy Scouts said in a statement. About 70 percent of local scouting units are sponsored by religious organizations, with many speaking out about the ban in the past.  Catherine Garcia

this is horrible
7:54 p.m. ET

A tourist is suspected of paying a safari operator $55,000 in order to kill Cecil, a 13-year-old lion who lived in a national park in Zimbabwe.

Cecil was well known, and wore a GPS collar as part of a research project with Oxford University. Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told CNN that Cecil was lured out of a national park with food, shot with a crossbow, tracked for 40 more hours, and then shot and killed July 6. Rodrigues said Cecil's skin and head, which was cut off as a trophy, were found and are being held as evidence. The tourist is believed to be a Spaniard, and three other people may have been involved.

Only the operator of the safari, a member of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association, has been arrested, and has a hearing set for August 6. Cecil's death is hitting David Macdonald of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit hard. "It's not many months ago that I watched Cecil with my hand on my heart as he strayed toward a hunting concession," he said. "On that occasion he turned back into the protection of the park, but this time he made a fatal mistake and I feel deeply sad, personally." Macdonald said that research has shown when a male lion is killed, it has a ripple effect and can lead to the deaths of other males and his cubs. Cecil regularly mated with about six lionesses, and leaves behind around 24 cubs. Catherine Garcia

campaign 2016
7:03 p.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In an interview conducted entirely in Spanish on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said he was "herido" — the Spanish word for "hurt" — by comments Donald Trump made about Mexican immigrants last month, specifically that those coming to the U.S. are "rapists" who are bringing "drugs" and "crime" to the country.

“I was hurt hearing somebody speaking in such a vulgar fashion,” Bush, whose wife is from Mexico, told MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart. "This makes solving this problem much more difficult. When we can have politicians like that we cannot progress. In a political sense it was bad, and it creates an environment that is worse."

Bush also took issue with another GOP presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, who over the weekend said President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran will "take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." Bush told reporters in Orlando that he does not agree with the deal, but added, "The use of that kind of language is just wrong. This is not the way we're going to win elections and that's not how we're going to solve problems. So, unfortunate remark — not quite sure why he felt compelled to say it." Catherine Garcia

hold the phone
5:02 p.m. ET
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

The National Security Agency will destroy nearly 10 years of phone records collected from millions of Americans, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Monday.

When President Obama signed into law a revised version of the Patriot Act in June following contentious congressional debate, the NSA lost its legal ability to collect the bulk records. Going forward, intelligence agencies must seek targeted records directly from phone companies. Since the amendment became law, White House officials have been discussing whether to keep the existing records going forward.

The bulk collection program, first implemented under President George W. Bush, came under scrutiny after whistleblower Edward Snowden brought the policy to the public's attention in 2013.

Phone records connected to pending lawsuits will be preserved. Julie Kliegman

vote of confidence
4:00 p.m. ET

If anyone deserves a Nobel Prize, it's embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter. At least that's what Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks.

"I think people like Mr. Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition," Putin reportedly said in an interview that Swiss public broadcaster RTS aired Monday, Reuters reports. "If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it's those people."

Blatter announced he'll step down from the helm of soccer's governing body after the U.S. indicted several of the organization's top officials on charges of corruption in May.

Blatter has maintained he has no personal connection to the corruption, a claim Putin has said he backs. The two buddies hung out Saturday in St. Petersburg, where Blatter said FIFA fully supports Russia holding the 2018 World Cup. Take note everyone, this is what true friendship looks like. Julie Kliegman

See More Speed Reads