President Bush stands by his 28-page gap. He is refusing to declassify the portion of the Congressional 9/11 report that is believed to detail ties between Saudi Arabia and the Sept. 11 attacks.
This comes despite calls from the Saudi foreign minister and a bipartisan coalition of Senators.
Bush yesterday held a hastily arranged meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Faisal after which Faisal told reporters at the White House “We have nothing to hide. Anybody who accuses us must have a morbid imagination.’’
Bush claimed the section could not be released without jeopardizing national security. But Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, who served as a vice chairman of the congressional inquiry, contradicted Bush by saying up to 95 percent of the section could be released.
At the meeting, the Saudi minister agreed to allow U.S. officials question Omar Bayoumi, the former Saudi aviation official, who is believed to have helped two of the hijackers find and pay for an apartment prior to the attacks. The report found that Bayoumi had “had access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia.”
In Iraq, the top U.S. commander Gen. Richard Myers admitted yesterday that central Iraq is still a “war zone.”
Myers said at a news conference, “Militarily we won’t be defeated in Iraq. We will stay until the job is done.”
U.S. forces yesterday captured a personal bodyguard of Saddam Hussein during raids in Tikrit. The New York Times reports U.S. officials captured 175 Iraqis and carried out almost 60 raids around Tikrit in the search for Saddam Hussein.
Another dispute has broken out between the Bush administration and the Arabic television station Al Jazeera. This week Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz claimed Al-Jazeera was “inciting violence” and “endangering the lives of American troops” in Iraq.
Now the station’s chief in Baghdad has come public saying that his staff has been “subject to strafing by gunfire, death threats, confiscation of news material, and multiple detentions and arrests, all carried out by US soldiers”.
The four-star general who is slated to become the next head of the U.S. army says he will likely ask Congress to increase the size of the country’s active army up from 480,000 troops.
The four-star general Peter Schoomaker yesterday was questioned by the Senate during his confirmation hearing.
The Pentagon yesterday said it has decided to abandon a plan to set up a stock market like investment system that would allow speculators to bet on the likelihood of events in the war occurring on terror such as a suicide bombings and assassinations.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz announced the decision yesterday claiming that he had only learned of the terror betting system following news reports on Monday.
The system was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under the guidance of John Poindexter who also oversaw the developed of the Big Brother-like Total Information Awareness system.
Democrat Senator Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, said, “I must say this is perhaps the most irresponsible, outrageous and poorly thought-out of anything that I have heard the administration propose to date.”
Plans to send U.S. and African troops into Liberia has stalled because of a dispute arising over who will pay the bills. This according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Nigeria has said it has 1,500 soldiers set up to go but needs $10 million more in aid from the U.S. The Bush administration has so far refused to provide the extra money.
In response, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked the U.N. Security Council yesterday to divert funds from a peacekeeping mission in neighboring Sierra Leone to sustain the Nigerian troops.
Meanwhile in Nigeria, a group of 80 women have taken over a Shell Oil installation in the Niger Delta to demand the company fulfill its promises of new jobs and other benefits.
One woman said, “Our children and our husbands … have never been employed by the company. We want to know: Why they should continue operating here?”
The 2001 Nobel Prize winner for economics is calling the Bush administration the ?worst ever? in American history.
George Akerlof told the German paper Der Spiegel “I think this is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible policies not only in foreign policy and economics but also in social and environmental policy.”
A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll indicates the United States has become less tolerant of homosexuality over the last month since the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling overturning anti-sodomy laws.
According to the survey, only 48 percent of respondents now believe that same-sex relations between consenting adults should be legal. This is the lowest percentage since 1996. In May the same poll found 60 percent of Americans approved of such relations.
A Los Angeles judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the case of the white police officer accused of beating Donovan Jackson, a young African American man.
The hung jury voted 7 to 5 in favor of convicting officer Jeremy Morse. The jury included one African American. Morse’s former partner, Bijan Darvish, was found not guilty of filing a false police report.
Morse was caught on video last year slamming Donovan Jackson into a patrol car after stopping his father to check his license plates. Morse and Darvish could have received three years in prison if convicted.
If OK’d by the District Attorney, a retrial would begin on September 29. The trial was the city?s highest profile police brutality case since the beating of Rodney King in 1991.
The judge in Eagle County, Colorado hearing sexual assault charges against Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant issued an order to protect the identity of the accuser that some are calling unconstitutional. The order bars from the courtroom any media outlet that disseminates the identity of the woman accusing Bryant of rape. First Amendment lawyers say the unorthodox order violates free speech protections.