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CIA director George Tenet has resigned and another top CIA official is expected to announce his resignation today marking a major overhaul for the agency that Tenet has headed for seven years. The CIA claims the departure of Tenet and James Pavitt, the deputy director for operations who oversaw the agency’s spies, are unconnected but they come at a time that the agency is under intense criticism. As early as next month the 9/11 commission will release its findings of what went wrong prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. Meanwhile the Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing to release a 400-page report on how the country’s intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was so inaccurate. Sen. Carl Levin told USA Today “It’s a very hard-hitting report. It’s highly critical of the CIA.” The agency was given a classified version of the report last month and was asked for its comment. Some say Tenet may have been forced out. Sen. Bob Graham, told the New York Times, “I suspect there was some push out of the office.” We’ll have more on Tenet’s resignation in a few minutes.
President Bush’s trip to Europe to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day is being greeted by wide opposition in Italy and France. In Italy, 10,000 police officers have been deployed in Rome. Massive protests have forced Bush to cancel a planned trip to the historic Piazza Venezia where he was scheduled to lay a wreath at Italy’s tomb of the unknown soldier. In France, the Financial Times is reporting the government has banned all demonstrations in Paris during the president’s visit.
Agence France Press is reporting the United States is scrambling to soften harsh criticism of US troops in Iraq in a UN human rights report to be released this week. The report was originally scheduled to be released four days ago but it was held up after the US asked for more time to contribute their side of the story. The report accuses US forces of committing “systematic gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law” in Iraq.
In news from Iraq, the country’s leading Shiite cleric the Ayatollah Sistani has given his backing to the interim government. Meanwhile UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has described the head of the US occupation, Paul Bremer, in unusually blunt terms. He said “Bremer is the dictator of Iraq. He has the money. He has the signature.” The Washington Post reports two Marines have plead guilty to electronically shocking an Iraqi prisoner.
CNN has sued Florida’s elections office to force them to hand over a list of possible felons who could be purged from voter rolls before the November elections. The state has compiled a list of possible felons that it sends to county elections officials who then review the list with their voting rolls. After the 2000 election, an investigation by BBC reporter Greg Palast found thousands of eligible voters were illegally purged from the election rolls in Florida because their names were similar to those of convicted felons.
In Afghanistan, the international group Doctors Without Borders has suspended its work in the country after five members of its team were shot dead in an ambush earlier this week. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a Norwegian doctor and workers from Belgium, the Netherlands and two from Afghanistan.
In Venezuela it appears opponents of president Hugo Chavez have forced a recall vote to determine if Chavez can stay in office. The head of the National Elections Council announced on Thursday that based on early projections enough signatures had been collected to force the recall.
And today is the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China when the government killed hundreds during a student uprising. The New York Times is reporting the Chinese government has taken great measures to block any protests on the anniversary. Many human rights activists and dissidents have been put under house arrest. The Asia Times reports special police forces have been trained to counter initiatives by students and political activists on the anniversary. And universities have been put under surveillance. Around the square itself the government has posting vans at entrances is limiting access to the area. The Chinese government has made Commemorating June 4th in any way illegal.