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A senior CIA operative who worked with informants in Iraq asserts that his managers at the CIA asked him to falsify his reporting on weapons of mass destruction before the US invasion and then retaliated against him after he refused. This according to a report in the Washington Post. The undercover operative charges in a lawsuit made public Wednesday that a co-worker warned him three years ago "that CIA management planned to 'get him' for his role in reporting intelligence contrary to official CIA dogma." Accusations of intelligence officers being pressured on their Iraq findings in the lead-up to the war has long been alleged, but no CIA official has come public before with such claims. According to the undercover agent, the CIA management retaliated against him by launching investigations of allegations that he had a sexual affair with a female asset and that he stole money meant to be pay off for sources. The lawsuit charges those investigations were "initiated for the sole purpose of discrediting him and retaliating against him for questioning the integrity of the WMD reporting . . . and for refusing to falsify his intelligence reporting to support the politically mandated conclusion."
In news from Iraq, a car bomb exploded today in the northern city of Mosul near a busy fruit and vegetable market. At least two people were injured. The bombing came a day after police in Mosul killed four militants. Meanwhile in Baghdad mortar rounds hit near the Italian Embassy and an Iraqi National Guard base. At least there people died.
In Sammara, the Iraqi resistance blew up one of the city’s police stations Wednesday. And the city’s police chief has resigned.
In Iraq election news, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has suggested spreading the country’s elections over several weeks instead of having a single election day on Jan. 30. Shiite figures supporting Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are expected to announce today the formation of a new Shiite coalition of political parties that will run as a political slate in next month’s election.
In other Iraq news, outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Europe today urging European nations to send more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.
UPI is reporting homeless shelters around the country are reporting they are already seeing some recently returned veterans from the ongoing Iraq war showing up in need of shelter. The number of homeless vets who fought in this Iraq war is still unknown but UPI reports advocates fear the emergence of a new generation of homeless vets. The Homeless Veterans coalition estimates that nearly 500,000 veterans are homeless at some point in a given year. Almost half served during the Vietnam era.
In news from Capitol Hill, the Senate voted 89 to 2 to approve a sweeping bill to reform the nation’s intelligence community. One of the two Senators voting against the measure, Robert Byrd of West Virginia chastised his colleagues for voting before reading the final version of the massive bill.
The Associated Press reports however the intelligence bill includes the creation of a highly secretive and expensive new spy program. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said the program was '’totally unjustified and very, very wasteful and dangerous to the national security.'’ He called the program "stunningly expensive." Outside intelligence experts speculated that the secret program was likely a spy satellite system, perhaps with technology to destroy potential attackers. Defense analyst John Pike warned sending even defensive satellite weapons into orbit could start an arms race in space.
In political news, former presidential candidate Howard Dean delivered a major address Wednesday and called on the Democratic Party not to move farther to the right. He said "We cannot win by being Republican-lite. We’ve tried it, it does not work." Dean called on Democrats to run campaigns based on true moral values — health care, education and election reform. He said "there’s only one thing Republican power brokers want more than for us to lurch to the left — and that’s for us to lurch to the right. What they fear most is that we may really begin fighting for what we believe — the fiscally responsible, socially progressive values for which Democrats have always stood and fought." On Saturday, Dean will be one of seven Democrats to make their case to head the Democratic National Committee at a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs.
The secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, has become the ninth member of President Bush’s cabinet to resign. Meanwhile the White House announced Wednesday that John Snow will remain the Secretary of Treasury after all. For weeks it was widely speculated that Snow would leave. The Washington Post even reports the White House offered the position to someone else but they declined the position.
Palestinian pro-democracy leader and presidential candidate Dr. Mustafa Barghouti has reported he was beaten up and detained by Israeli forces Wednesday while campaigning near the West Bank town of Jenin. Barghouti is currently polling in third place in the presidential race behind Mahmoud Abbas and the jailed Marwan Barghouti. According to Mustafa Barghouti, Israeli troops hit him and pinned him to the grounds with rifles after his entourage refused a soldiers request to submit to a security check. He was detained for an hour. Following the incident Barghouti accused Israel of discrimination for allowing Abbas to travel freely in the occupied territories while his rivals face heavy restrictions.
Earlier today the Israeli military attempted to assassinate a leader of the Popular Resistance Committee. An Israeli drone fired a missile at a car in the Gaza Strip. Four people were injured including the target of the attack, Jamal Abu Samhadana. On Wednesday, the Israeli military killed five Palestinians near the Egyptian border in Gaza.
Meanwhile an Israeli military commander was indicted earlier today for the killing of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza in October. The unnamed soldier is accused of shooting the girl up to 20 times. The indictment comes after video was released that documented the soldier saying he "confirmed the kill." Relatives said the girl was shot while she headed to school.
The London Times is reporting British Prime Minister Tony Blair has begun pressuring the Bush administration to cut greenhouse gases despite the U.S. opposition to the Kyoto Protocol. Blair is said to believe that the United States’ refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol on emissions is undermining other countries’ resolve to cut carbon dioxide production.
Meanwhile automobile manufacturers have sued the state of California in an attempt to block the state from implementing the country’s toughest vehicle emissions standards. The lawsuit claims that only the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — and not individuals states — has the authority to set fuel economy standards.
And the Bush administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court Wednesday officially backing the display of the 10 Commandments on government property.
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