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Sheridan, Ore.Spy seeks ‘pension’: Former CIA agent Harold Nicholson, imprisoned in 1997 for giving Russian intelligence the names of CIA agents, continued to contact his spymasters from his Oregon prison cell, the FBI charged last week. Nicholson, agents said, enlisted his 24-year-old son, Nathaniel, to meet with Russian officials and collect cash from them. Nicholson was seeking a “kind of retirement ‘pension’ available to him in Russia,” the FBI said. Nicholson, a former CIA trainer, admitted leaking the names of several CIA trainees and the agency’s Moscow station chief, in exchange for $300,000. Nathaniel Nicholson, the FBI says, met Russian intelligence officials overseas on his father’s behalf and collected $35,000. Both men face conspiracy and money-laundering charges.

Oklahoma CityArmy loses data: A used MP3 player bought in Oklahoma held sensitive data about U.S. soldiers and troop movements, New Zealand television reported last week. New Zealander Chris Ogle was visiting Oklahoma City last year when he paid $9 for an MP3 player at a thrift store. After he connected the device to his computer, he found it contained the names and addresses of U.S. soldiers, as well as lists of equipment to be shipped to war zones. “The more I look at it, the more I see, and the less I think I should see,” Ogle said. Ogle met with U.S. military personnel this week and exchanged the player for a new one. The Pentagon said it was investigating.  

Springfield, Ill.Blagojevich booted: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was ousted from office last week after the Illinois Senate voted 59–0 to convict him on corruption charges. He was replaced immediately by Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Blagojevich had boycotted his Senate trial, claiming it was rigged, but he came before the Senate to deliver an impassioned closing argument. “Sometimes I push too much,” he said, but insisted he had “done absolutely nothing wrong.” Lawmakers disagreed, convicting him of attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama, breaking state hiring laws, and other counts. Blagojevich still faces federal corruption charges. He is the eighth governor in U.S. history to be impeached and removed from office, and the first in Illinois.

Chester, S.C.Safe landing: A first-time skydiver seized the controls of his parachute from his dying instructor in midair last week, guiding the chute to a safe landing. Daniel Pharr, an Army signals expert, was strapped to skydiving instructor George Steele when they jumped from a plane at 13,500 feet. Shortly after deploying the parachute, Steele passed out, and a quick-witted Pharr snatched the toggles that controlled the chute away from him. Pharr was able to steer away from a wooded area and a residential development, landing safely in a field. He then sought help for Steele, but he was already dead. “I wish I could have helped him,” Pharr said.

Washington, D.C.Rove to testify: After repeatedly refusing to meet with investigators, a lawyer for former White House advisor Karl Rove said this week that Rove would cooperate with a federal criminal inquiry into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration. Several of the fired U.S. attorneys say that Rove was the driving force behind their dismissals, which they allege were politically motivated. The House Judiciary Committee is also investigating the attorney firings and has subpoenaed Rove in the matter. He has not said whether he would comply with the subpoena or assert executive privilege, as he did while Bush was president. The Obama administration has not said whether it would support an executive privilege claim by Rove.

Columbia, S.C.Phelps smokes pot: The image of Olympic golden boy Michael Phelps was tarnished this week after newspapers and websites around the world ran a photo of him smoking marijuana. Phelps, 23, has 14 Olympic swimming gold medals, including eight won during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The photograph, taken last November during a party at the University of South Carolina, shows him inhaling pot smoke from a water pipe. Phelps, who has an estimated $5 million in endorsement deals from Kellogg’s, Omega watches, and Speedo, among others, publicly apologized for his “bad judgment.” Following Phelps’ apology, several of his sponsors said they would stand by their man. But South Carolina police say they’re considering criminal charges against him.

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