In Iraq more American soldiers have now died since May 1 when President Bush declared major combat operations to be over than before. A total of 277 have been killed, 138 before and 139 after.
Congressional investigators are accusing Vice President Dick Cheney of stymieing their investigation into his energy task force by withholding key documents that detailed which corporations helped write the administration’s energy policy.
Without the records the General Accounting Office reports the public may never know the extent that the nation’s energy policy was shaped by oil, coal, nuclear, chemical and natural gas companies. Among the industry executives who met privately with Cheney and aides was Kenneth Lay, the former chairman of Enron.
Among other things, the Cheney-led task force claims it cannot provide a budget of money spent or of notes from any of the 10 Cabinet-level meetings it held in 2001.
Michigan Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat, said “This report is a sad chronicle of the efforts of the office of the vice president to hide its activities from the American people.”
The Washington Post reports the Bush administration yesterday launched a public relations campaign to counter the growing criticism of the administration’s handling of the Iraq occupation.
Both Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice addressed the 104th VFW national convention. Rice highlighted what she saw as successes in Iraq as well as in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
It was at the 103rd VFW that Vice President Cheney spoke a year ago kickstarting the administration’s push towards war. At the time, Cheney said, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”
Nearly two years after Saudi hijackers led attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Saudi Arabia has agreed to set up a joint task force with the United States to target suspected members of Al Qaeda in the kingdom. Agents from the F.B.I., the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service will soon be stationed in Saudi Arabia.
One of the top State Department experts on North Korea has resigned just days before the U.S. is set to enter into nuclear talks with North Korea and four other nations.
The diplomat Jack Pritchard was seen as one of the administration’s few moderates on North Korea and has long backed giving North Korea incentives for complying with international demands.
Agence France Press is reporting the death toll from yesterday’s car bombings in Bombay has reached at least 52 people. No group has taken responsibility. Indian officials blamed Muslim militants. One of the bombs went off near a Hindu temple in the old city.
Fox News Channel has dropped its lawsuit against humorist Al Franken. A federal judge Friday refused the request of Fox to block publication of Franken’s book titled “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Fox claimed the phrase “fair and balanced” could not be used because it had been copyrighted by the network.
And this news from St. Louis: a man who has spent 17 years in prison was released yesterday after DNA tests proved he was innocent. Lonnie Erby had been sentenced to 115 years in prison for committing three rapes. Erby said after being released “I’ve got dreams, you know. I want to go places and do things that I never got the chance to do.”