In Washington calls are intensifying for President Bush’s chief advisor Karl Rove to resign because of his role in the outing of an undercover CIA agent. For nearly two years the White House has denied Rove had any part in the leak, but on Sunday Newsweek revealed that Rove personally spoke with a reporter from Time Magazine about the agent, Valerie Plame, although he did not state her name. On Monday, White House press spokesperson Scott McClellan refused to answer questions about Rove claiming that it would be premature to do so since the investigation is ongoing. But two years ago when allegations about Rove first emerged the White House repeatedly denied he played any role in the leak. In September of that year McClellan told reporters that he had spoken personally with Rove and that it was “simply not true” that Rove had any role in the leak. As for the president, he has repeatedly said he would fire anyone involved in the leak of classified information. On Monday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said “I trust they will follow through on this pledge.”
In London, the official death toll from last week’s bombings is now 52. Earlier today police announced they had searched five residential homes in West Yorkshire in northeast England in connection with the bombings. Investigators now believe that the bombs were made by a single bomb maker using military-grade explosives.
On Monday President Bush vowed to keep waging the so-called war on terror. Meanwhile a new CNN poll has found that a majority of Americans now believe the war in Iraq has made the United States less safe from terrorism. The percentage of respondents who felt this way jumped from 39 to 54 percent following the bombings in London. Just 40 percent of Americans believe the war in Iraq has made this country safer.
In Iraq, Shiite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr has launched a petition drive calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. Sadr is seeking to collect one million signatures this week. 400,000 people have already signed the petition, which will be submitted to the Iraqi government and United Nations. The petition reads: “I hereby declare my rejection of the forces of occupation and demand their withdrawal”.
In other Iraq war news — a federal judge has ruled that two whistleblowers who allege that their former employer cheated taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars on reconstruction projects in Iraq can go ahead with their lawsuit. The whistleblowers are former employees of Custer Battles.
In Lebanon, the country’s outgoing defense minister has survived an attack on his motorcade while it drove through an affluent suburb of Beirut. The minister–Elias Murr–was taken to the hospital with minor wounds. At least two people died in the car bombing. Murr is the son-in-law of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud.
On Monday, the world community marked the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre when 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serbians. The killing marked Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II. The Muslims were massacred after being taken from what was supposed to be a UN protected 'safe area'. Mark Brown, special envoy of Kofi Annan, read a personal message from the Secretary General. The alleged perpetrators — wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander, Ratko Mladic, have been indicted for genocide by the UN tribunal at The Hague but remain at large somewhere in the former Yugoslavia.
Back home in this country — the U.S. Supreme Court granted a last-minute stay of execution Monday for a man from Virginia who was scheduled to be executed at 9 o clock last night. Attorneys for Robin Lovitt requested his murder conviction be reviewed after a court clerk destroyed key evidence making additional DNA testing impossible.
A coalition of 12 environmental and activist groups are calling for a boycott of Exxon Mobil. The groups are aiming to brand the oil giant as an outlaw company for refusing to acknowledge the existence of global warming as well as the company’s support for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Groups involved include the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the U.S. Public Interest Group
And finally — another official involved in the Iran-Contra scandal is back in the news again. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Robert Earl is now serving in one of the most coveted offices of the Pentagon as chief of staff to Gordon England, acting deputy secretary of Defense. In 1987 Earl admitted to a grand jury that he had destroyed and stolen national security documents while working for Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra scandal. He was never prosecuted. The Los Angeles Times reports that in his new position, Earl has clearance to review the kinds of classified documents he once destroyed. Several other key players in the Iran-Contra affair–including Elliott Abrams and John Poindexter–have played key roles in the current Bush administration.