From VOA Learning English, this is In the News.
President Obama this week found himself on the defensive on three different issues. Political observers say the issues could threaten his plan of action for his second term as president.
Critics say the most serious threat right now to the Obama administration involves the federal tax agency, the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has admitted that agency officials targeted conservative political groups which sought to become tax-exempt. Organizations that are tax-exempt do not have to pay federal taxes. The groups targeted for special attention by the IRS oppose many of the administration's spending and tax policies.
批评家表示，目前，奥巴马总统面临的最严重的威胁涉及联邦税务机构，美国国税局(Internal Revenue Service)。国税局承认，税务官员针对原本应该免税的保守派政治团体。免税团体不需要缴纳联邦税务。国税局刻意针对的这些团体反对奥巴马政府的许多支出和税收政策。
Late Wednesday, the president announced that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and received the resignation of the acting director of the IRS. Mr. Obama spoke after meeting with top officials to discuss a report from the Treasury Department inspector general.
"I've reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog's report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It is inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it."
Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a criminal investigation of the actions by the IRS. On Thursday, the president said he did not know about the abuses until they were described in news reports last week.
The administration is also on the defensive over the Justice Department's seizure of telephone records from the Associated Press news agency. The AP said on Monday that the government secretly obtained two months of phone records for some of its reporters and editors.
Administration officials say the Justice Department is investigating who may have provided information for an AP story last year. The story described an American intelligence operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida bomb plot.
On Tuesday, reporters questioned White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the phone records. He said President Obama supports the constitutional right of freedom of the press.
"The president is committed to the press's ability to pursue information, to defending the First Amendment. He is also, as a citizen and as commander-in-chief, committed to the proposition that we cannot allow classified information that can do harm to our national security interests or to endanger individuals to be leaked. And that is a balance that has to be struck."
Attorney General Holder said he had no direct involvement in the Justice Department's examination of the phone records. He said the seizure was part of an investigation into what he called a grave national security leak. President Obama said he makes "no apologies" for a criminal investigation into national security leaks.
Also this week, the administration released 100 pages of e-mails about the attacks on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Chris Stephens and three other Americans died in the attacks last September 11.
Administration officials first described the events in Benghazi as a spontaneous attack, with no sign of a plot. But they later called it an act of terrorism. Republicans say the administration wanted to avoid admitting it was terrorism while Mr. Obama was seeking re-election.
And that's In the News from VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember.
If there was a cover-up, it involved people at the very highest levels of government.
2.admit vi. 承认
I am willing to admit that I do make mistakes...
3.review vt. 检验；复查
The Prime Minister reviewed the situation with his Cabinet yesterday...
4.misconduct n. 行为不正，渎职
Dr Lee was cleared of serious professional misconduct.
5.uncover v. 揭开；揭露
Auditors said they had uncovered evidence of fraud...
6.inexcusable adj. 不可原谅的，不可宽恕的
The Home Office has been accused of inexcusable incompetence.
7.seizure n. 没收； 夺取
Police have made one of the biggest seizures of heroin there's ever been in Britain.
8.obtain vt. 获得，得到
Evans was trying to obtain a false passport and other documents...
1.President Obama this week found himself on the defensive on three different issues.
on the defensive处于守势
The enemy troops are put on the defensive.
Animal agriculture was on the defensive.
2.The president is committed to the press's ability to pursue information, to defending the First Amendment.
be committed to致力于
You must be committed to winning and working hard in a competitive sales environment.
3.But they later called it an act of terrorism.
late, later, latter, latest与 lately
1.late adj. & adv. 迟，迟的，晚的。
She is never late for school.
It was late autumn and the weather was a little cold.
He came to work in a small factory in the south in the late 1990’s.
in the late afternoon 傍晚，在下午较晚的时候
in the late 1990’s / 1990s 在二十世纪九十年代末
work late /far/deep into the night 工作至深夜
late in autumn 深秋
2.later adj. & adv. 为late比较级，意指较迟，较晚一些。
He promised to call me later.
If you work hard, your dream will come true sooner or later.
sooner or later 迟早
no later than 不迟于
later on 以后，后来
The child will go to school in the latter part of the year.
4.latest adj. & adv. 为late的最高级。意思是“最新”，“最近”，“最迟”。如：
Have you heard of the latest news?
5.lately adv. (=recently) “最近”，“近来”，常用于现在完成时，如：
Have you met him lately?