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Bush Blocks 9/11 Panel From Seeing Clinton Papers

The Bush administration is blocking the 9/11 commission from examining about 8,000 classified documents from the Clinton administration turned over for the commission to review.

The files contain classified documents about the Clinton administration’s efforts against Al Qaeda.

An attorney for Clinton’s presidential foundation accused the Bush White House of blocking the release of material that would be valuable to the 9/11 commission.

The 9/11 commission has announced National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice will testify publicly under oath before the panel next Thursday, April 8.

Meanwhile Salon.com is reporting that former U.S Senator Gary Hart is accusing the Bush administration of ignoring his warnings before Sept. 11 about the threat of terrorism. Hart personally warned Rice a week before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Hart had served as co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security, a bipartisan panel that conducted the most thorough investigation of U.S. security challenges since World War II. He is now working as an advisor to Sen. Kerry on his presidential campaign.

House GOP Drops Medicare Cost Inquiry

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that House Republicans have shut down an inquiry by Democrats on whether the Bush administration mislead Congress on the true costs of last year’s Medicare prescription drug bill.

The Democrats were attempting to force the White House to allow two top officials connected to Medicare to answer questions regarding the charges that Medicare’s former administrator, Thomas Scully, threatened to fire a top actuary if he revealed the actual costs.

But for the second time in recent weeks the White House claimed there was a longstanding policy against having White House staff testify before Congress. The Bush administration had also used this excuse to justify its initial refusal to allow National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testify publicly before the 9/11 commission.

Scully, the former head of Medicare, said he couldn’t testify because he has been too busy traveling. Scully left government soon after the Medicare bill was passed to take a lucrative job working for law firms that represent pharmaceutical interests that benefited from the new law.

Bush Signs Unborn Victims of Violent Act

President Bush signed legislation Thursday that makes it a separate crime to harm a fetus during the committal of a violent federal crime against a pregnant woman.

Abortion rights groups opposed protested the Unborn Victims of Violence Act because it they view it as part of a right-wing strategy to lay the groundwork to challenge Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Prosecutors Broaden CIA Leak Investigation

The New York Times is reporting that prosecutors have broadened the investigation into whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of former CIA operative Valerie Plame. Prosecutors are now investigating whether White House officials lied to investigators or improperly handled classified information.

March: Second Deadliest Month for U.S. in Iraq

CNN is reporting that March was the second deadliest month for US forces in Iraq since major combat operations ended. The military lost 51 soldiers and staff workers during the month.

A total of 600 U.S. troops have died since the invasion of Iraq.

The toll would be even higher if it included the number of private military contractors killed. On Thursday the military released the names of three of the Blackwater USA employees who were brutally killed in Falujah on Wednesday. All three were military veterans.

Sharon Threatens to Assassinate Arafat

Israeli Prime Minister Ari el Sharon yesterday warned that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could be targeted for assassination. Sharon said "Anyone who kills a Jew or harms an Israeli citizen, or sends people to kill Jews, is a marked man." He went on to say the Arafat should not "feel immune."

FBI Translator: U.S. Knew 9/11 Attack Was Coming

And an update from earlier this week. On Wednesday Democracy Now! interviewed Sibel Edmonds who was hired by the FBI after Sept. 11 to work as a translator. After receiving top security clearances, the Turkish-American translator was given intelligence gathered over the previous year related to Al Qaeda. Based on the documents she saw, Edmonds charges the FBI knew that Al Qaeda was planning to attack the U.S. with airplanes. The story is now making headlines around the world. The London Independent leads with the story on its front page today. UPI ran a major article on Thursday. The story is prominently featured on top websites including the Drudge Report. In case you missed Democracy Now!'s interview on Wednesday we wanted to replay an excerpt with Sibel Edmonds, the whistleblower the White House wants to silence. I asked her to comment on Condoleezza Rice's charge that the government had no information about an imminent domestic threat involving airplanes.


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