By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
February 11, 2007
Acting Defense Department Inspector General Tomas Gimble reported Friday that the Pentagon made "inappropriate" use of intelligence reports to convince the White House that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was plotting with al Qaeda to harm the United States. Gimble said then-military policy chief Douglas Feith "did not provide the most accurate analysis of intelligence to senior decision makers." Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the report is "a devastating condemnation" of Defense Department actions in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Another U.S. military helicopter crashes in Iraq
A U.S. Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed northwest of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing all seven on board. It was the fifth American helicopter lost in Iraq in less than three weeks. U.S. military authorities said the latest crash may have suffered mechanical failure, although an insurgency group claimed to have shot it down. The other four craft were confirmed to have crashed due to enemy fire. The aging helicopter fleet used in Iraq has been termed "tired iron" by U.S. troops. The CH-46 began flying in 1964 at the outset of the Vietnam War.
U.S. helicopters fire on Kurdish troops
U.S. assault helicopters fired on a Kurdish bunker in Mosul, Iraq, on Friday during an attack intended for members of al Qaeda. The U.S. military said the "friendly fire" incident killed five, but Kurdish officials said eight died and another six were wounded. U.S. and Iraqi authorities said the air attack was made after ground forces observed armed men in a bunker next to a building thought to be used to manufacture bombs. U.S. officials said they ordered the men to surrender before calling in the helicopter strike.
Astronaut charged with attempted murder in love triangle
Space shuttle astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted first-degree murder. Orlando, Fla., police said Nowak attacked Colleen Shipman because she thought Shipman was a rival for the affections of astronaut William Oefelein. Police found pepper spray, a knife, a steel mallet and a BB gun in Nowak's car. The astronaut was released on bail, ordered to stay away from Shipman and must wear a personal tracking device. NASA officials said they are reviewing their psychological testing procedures for active and prospective astronauts.
Drugs in hotel room where Anna Nicole Smith died
Former Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith - and the widow of oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II - died Thursday after losing consciousness in her Florida hotel room.
Police found prescription drugs in her room but a medical examiner found no pills in her stomach. Further tests will be made. Family members and acquaintances said they believe drugs were responsible for the demise of the 39-year-old former blue-jeans model. "She was too drugged up," Smith's mother, Vergie Arthur, said on network television. Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel, died suddenly five months ago from what a medical examiner said was a fatal interaction from methadone and two anti-depressant drugs.
Pelosi under fire for Air Force plane
House Republicans, angered by weeks of tough floor tactics by Democrats, on Thursday began a barrage of criticism against Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposed use of expensive Air Force aircraft to provide non-stop transportation to her California home. Because of the distance, Pelosi's aircraft must be larger than the commuter-sized craft used by former Speaker Dennis Hastert. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., said Pelosi's request for a C-32, the military version of the Boeing 757, is "an extravagance of power that the taxpayers won't swallow." White House spokesman Tony Snow said the controversy is "silly."
Landis to skip 2007 Tour de France
U.S. cyclist - and 2006 Tour de France winner - Floyd Landis agreed Thursday to skip this year's Tour de France in exchange for postponement of a decision by the French anti-doping agency on whether to ban him from future competitions. He will attend a hearing before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on May 14 to make his case that he did not use illegal performance-enhancing drugs during last year's tour. Landis underwent hip-replacement surgery four months ago.
Violence flares around Jerusalem's Temple Mount
Days of scattered violence escalated Friday as 3,000 Muslim protesters, angered by construction work to repair a ramp near a holy site on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, clashed with 200 riot-equipped Israeli police. Muslims feared the work to repair damage caused by a 2004 snowstorm would harm the Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa mosque. The compound is believed to be the site where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Jews revere the compound as the site of the ancient Jewish Temple. Israeli officials accused "extremist elements" of provoking the unrest.
Palestinian factions sign peace accord
Rival Palestinian factions promised to end months of bloody feuds Thursday, as the militant Islamic group Hamas signed a power-sharing accord with the more moderate Fatah organization. Hamas promised to form a coalition government that would respect previous peace treaties with Israel. The U.S. and Israeli governments complained that the agreement does not specifically renounce future violence or recognize Israel's right to exist. The Israeli government put Palestine under an economic blockade after Hamas won elections in January 2006.
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com
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