2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 14, 2002
Bush Cabinet didn't help Enron
WASHINGTON (AP) - Two Bush cabinet mem-
bers said yesterday they never considered intervening
in Enron's spiral toward bankruptcy, nor informed
President Bush of requests for help from the fallen
"Companies come and go. It's ... part of the genius
of capitalism," said Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill,
when asked if he was surprised at the sudden collapse
of Enron. The company's failure has left the one-time
energy trading behemoth's stock virtually worthless
and thousands of workers' pension funds in disarray.
Last fall, a month before declaring bankruptcy,
O'Neill received two telephone calls from Enron's
chief executive, Kenneth Lay. Lay also called Com-
merce Secretary Don Evans at the time, reaching out
for help to harness the energy company's financial
O'Neill's view of Enron's collapse was characterized
as "cold-blooded" and reflective of "the 18th century,
but not the 21st century" by Sen. Joseph Lieberman,
D-Conn., whose Committee on Governmental Affairs
is leading Senate investigations into the Enron debacle.
Separately, Lieberman said that an internal
Arthur Andersen LLP memo on Oct. 12 direct-
1M 1iS vO'
ing that all but basic Enron working papers be
destroyed "raises very serious questions about
whether obstruction of justice occurred."
Andersen this past week revealed that Enron docu-
ments had been destroyed. But Lieberman said most
troubling was that the memo, disclosed in a report in
Time magazine, "was specifically about Enron" and
not a general directive to clean out files. Congressional
investigators want to find out why Andersen did not
raise flags about Enron's business practices.
Lieberman and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on
CBS' "Face the Nation" the administration may have
been right in not intervening to try to save Enron. But
they said the government's response - as well as earli-
er federal monitoring of its business practices - may
have been hampered by the energy company's free-
wheeling flow of campaign contributions.
"We're all tainted by the millions and millions of
dollars that were contributed by Enron executives,
which ... creates the appearance bf impropriety," said
McCain, a longtime voice for campaign finance
reform. McCain acknowledged getting $9,500 in
Enron contributions in two Senate campaigns.
Lieberman, who said he received $1,000 from
Enron in his 1994 Senate campaign, said one
focus of his committee's investigation will be
"whether any of the influence" from Enron
money affected the administration's handling of
the Enron collapse, or oversight by federal agen-
"I don't feel at all compromised," added Lieber-
man, referring to his committee's investigation.
Since 1990, Enron and its employees contributed
$5.77 million to political campaigns, about three-
fourths of it to GOP candidates. About half of the
money was spent in the 2000 election, with President
Bush a major beneficiary.
O'Neill and Evans said Sunday that while they
received calls from Lay in late October and early
November, they dismissed any suggestion of inter-
vening to help the company.
Evans said that Lay was looking "for all the possi-
ble ways that he could stabilize his company" and
asked that Evans consider contacting credit rating
agencies. "I considered it and said, 'Thank you for
the call,"' Evans said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
O'Neill said that Lay, in a call of three or four
minutes, "asked me for nothing."
s in Kashmir
Bush chokes on pretzel, faints briefly
President Bush fainted briefly in the White House residence yesterday after
choking on a pretzel while watching a National Football League playoff game on
television, White House physician Dr. Richard Tubb said. The doctor, an Air
Force colonel, said Bush quickly recovered and was doing well.
"He fainted due to a temporary decrease in heart rate brought on by swallow-
ing a pretzel," Tubb said. "I do not find any reason that this would happen again."
Bush, 55, suffered an abrasion on his left cheek the size of a half dollar and a
bruise on his lower lip, apparently from falling onto the floor from a couch. Bush
said he had been feeling under the weather Saturday and yesterday.
"He had not been feeling well the last couple of days;" said Tubb, although
Bush had exercised rigorously Saturday and had a lighter workout yesterday.
Tubb said Bush has felt "a little off his game," as if he was coming down with a
Bush plans to travel to the Midwest on Monday as planned, White House
spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
Tubb said the episode does not appear to be related to stress or extra work
brought on by Bush's duties as commander in chief and the war in Afghanistan.
This is the first health scare for Bush as president.
video shows assassination rehearsals
Al-Qaida militants practiced carrying out a mass assassination of world lead-
ers and an attack on a motorcade, according to a video obtained in Afghanistan
and broadcast on Australian television.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. late yesterday aired parts of video tapes
recorded at an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan that showed what the net-
work said were Arab, Pakistani and African fighters rehearsing hostage-takings
The publicly owned network said today it would now send the tapes to the U.S.
Defense Intelligence Agency for analysis.
The tapes showed drills, using live ammunition, that appeared to be aimed at
potential Western targets, ABC said.
The exercises included detailed plans to attack a motorcade on what appeared
to be a road system in Washington, D.C., and a mass assassination of national
leaders at a golf tournament.
In another exercise, those acting as hostages and the attackers practice speak-
ing in English.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -
President Pervez Musharraf's
pledge to crack down on terrorism
failed to persuade India to ease the
tense military standoff, and Kash-
miri militants vowed more attacks
against Indian rule in the contested
India's government yesterday
welcomed Musharraf's promise to
prevent Pakistan from being used
as a base for terrorism and to ban
five Islamic extremist groups. Two
of the groups have been accused by
India of the Dec. 13 attack on the
Indian parliament in which 14 peo-
ple were killed.
More than 1,000 people, most of
them from the five groups, were
rounded? up during a weekend
crackdown that began just before
Musharraf's speech was broadcast
Saturday, Interior Ministry official
Tasneem Noorani said.
Police also raided the offices of
at least two Kashmiri groups not
covered by the ban, according to
members of the organizations. At
least 80 people from those organi-
zations - al-Badr Mujahedeen and
Harkat-ul Mujahedeen - were
"The government is targeting
(militant) groups at the behest of
America and India," said Mustaq
Askari, an al-Badr spokesman."But
any crackdown or restrictions won't
hurt our struggle. Our Kashmiri
jihad will continue." -
In New Delhi, Indian External
Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh wel-
comed the ban on the two extremist
groups blamed for the parliament
attack - Jaish-e-Mohammed and
Singh told reporters India was
"looking forward to full implemen-
tation of this measure" so that
members of the groups do not con-
tinue their activities under other
"There would be a similar need
to address other organizations tar-
geting India, as also the parent
organizations that spawned them,"
Meantime, India will maintain its
forces along the Pakistani border,
where a million heavily armed and
nuclear capable troops from the two
nations face one another in their
largest buildup since the 1971
"The mobilization remains as it
is," Indian Defense Ministry
spokesman S.K. Bandopadhyay
said in New Delhi. "We will keep
the situation under observation.
Whether it will ease or not is some-
thing to be seen over the next few
days. Whatever (Musharraf) has
said, he has to act on."
A policeman shows a padlocked gate at the office of religious party Tehrik-e-Jafria
yesterday in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistani President Musharraf declared Saturday
a crackdown on Islamic extremists and other sources of terrorism.
Control of Senate
at stake in election
The contest to win control of the Sen-
ate is extraordinarily evenly matched at
the start of this election year and hinges
on racesinabout a dozen states.
Democrats have only a one-vote lead
in the Senate, meaning the overall out-
come could be decided by a single cam-
paign mistake or external factors like
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle
launched the political season earlier this
month with a speech strongly criticizing
President Bush's stewardship of the
economy. The president fired back that
his economic proposals, which empha-
size more tax cuts, are the best approach
and he promised to block any efforts to
The powerstruggle between Bush
and Daschle, a potential Democratic
presidential candidate in 2004, is exem-
plified by the competitive race in
Daschle's home state.
VICENTE DEL CAGUAN
Rebels declare end
to Colombiantal ks
Stoking fears that Colombia's war
will enter its bloodiest phase, leftist
rebels declared the peace process over
yesterday and prepared to abandon the
safe haven that has served as head-
quarters for three years of negotia-
Moments before the announcement
by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, a military warplane circled
over the site of the failed peace talks in
the hamlet of Los Pozos. Troops
massed in military bases across this
South American country, and even
reservists were called to duty, prepared
to retake the guerrilla sanctuary, an area
roughly twice the size of New Jersey.
The government ceded the zone to
the rebels, known by their Spanish
acronym FARC, as a condition to start
the peace talks and the rebels had
pledged to give it back if the talks
Prince Harry to
enter drug rehab
Seventeen-year-old Prince Harry was
taken to a rehab center after he admitted
he had smoked marijuana and illegally
drank alcoholic beverages, the first pub-
lic embarrassment involving one of
Princess Diana's children since her
The story, broken by yesterday's
News of the World tabloid under the
headline "Harry's Drug Shame," and
all but confirmed by the royal family,
dominated British print and broadcast
news reports all day. It also led to
widespread speculation about what it
will mean for the royal family and for
Prince Harry, who could conceivably
be expelled from Eton, the presti-
gious private school.
But given how many parents have
faced similar problems with their teen-
agers, including British Prime Minister
Tony Blair, Prince Charles won praise
for the way he had dealt with Harry.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The bodies
of six U.S. Marines killed in an air crash
in Pakistan were on their way home yes-
terday, and more than two dozen al-
Qaida and Taliban prisoners were en
route to detention in Cuba.
Military investigators continued to
search the crash site in the rugged
mountain area of southwest Pakistan for
the last of the seven victims and clues to
what caused the crash of the military
refueling plane Wednesday.
"The search will continue," said Lt.
Col. Martin Compton of the U.S. Cen-
tral Command. "The Marines will leave
no one behind."
U.S. warplanes struck again near
the eastern Afghanistan village of
Zawar, at the site of a huge com-
plex of caves, tunnels and buildings
the Pentagon says was used as an
underground hide-out by al-Qaida
and Taliban members.
After more than a week of
strikes, yesterday's bombing
appeared to be the heaviest attack
since last month's strikes on the al-
Qaida cave complex at Tora Bora
A plane carrying the remains of six
Marines killed in the plane crash arrived
yesterday at the U.S. Rhine-Main Air
Base in Germany, adjacent to Frank-
furt's international airport. It left later
for the second leg of the trip to Dover
Air Force Base in Delaware, where it
was expected to arrive later yesterday or
The names of the Marines found
were not released.
In the southern Afghan city of
Kandahar, 30 prisoners departed for
Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, three
days after the first group of prison-
ers was transferred to the high
Shackled and with white caps
covering their faces, they shuffled
in the darkness later yesterday,
Afghan time, into a C-17 transport
plane for the flight to eastern Cuba.
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