2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 25, 2004
Ex-aide: Bush slow on terrorism NEWS IN BRIEF ,m*.
HP-ADLINL5 FROM AROUND THE WORLD
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush
White House scaledback the struggle
against al-Qaida after taking office in
2001 and spurned suggestions that it
retaliate for the bombing of a U.S. war-
ship because "it happened on the Clin-
ton administration's watch," a former top
terrorism adviser testified yesterday.
The Clinton administration had "no
higher priority" than combatting terror-
ists while the Bush administration made
it "an important issue but not an urgent
issue' in the months before Sept. 11,
2001, said Richard Clarke, who advised
both presidents. He testified before the
commission investigating the worst ter-
rorist attacks in U.S. history.
Clarke's turn in the witness chair
transformed what has been a painstak-
ing, bipartisan probe of pre-Sept. 11
intelligence failures and bureaucratic
missteps into a nationally televised
criticism of President Bush on the ter-
rorism issue at the core of his cam-
paign for re-election.
The White House redoubled efforts
to undermine Clarke, the author of a
recent book critical of the president.
Officials also took the unusual step
of identifying him as the senior official
who had praised the president's anti-
terrorism efforts in an anonymous
briefing for reporters the year follow-
ing the attacks.
"He needs to get his story straight,"
said Condoleezza Rice, Bush's nation-
al security adviser and Clarke's boss
while he served in the administration.
Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson,
a Republican, took up the president's
cause inside the commission hearing.
"We have your book and we have your
press briefing of August 2002. Which
is true?" he challenged the witness.
Despite the flare-up, commission
members worked later to distance
themselves from the sort of partisan-
ship that could undermine the credibil-
"If officers at all levels ques-
tioned the effectiveness of the most
active strategy the policy-makers
were employing to defeat the terror-
ist enemy, the commission needs to
ask why that strategy remained
largely unchanged throughout the
period leading up to 9-11," it con-
Officials from Clinton's National
Security Council told investigators
the CIA had sufficient authority to
assassinate al-Qaida, the report said,
but Director George Tenet and other
spy agency officials "believed the
only acceptable context for killing
bin Laden was a credible capture
Sandy Berger, Clinton's national
security adviser, testified that the for-
mer president gave the CIA "every
inch of authorization that it asked for"
to kill bin Laden.
"There could have not been any
doubt about what President Clinton's
intent was after he fired 60 Tomahawk
cruise missiles at bin Laden in August
1998," Berger said, referring to strikes
at a camp in Afghanistan where the al-
Qaida leader was believed present. Bin
Tenet, who preceded Berger in the
witness chair, also was asked about the
issue of authorization to kill bin
"I never went back and said, 'I don't
have all the authorities I need,' " he
Tenet said that even if bin Laden had
been captured or killed in 2001, he did
not think it would have prevented the
9-11 attacks, an assertion that mirrored
testimony by Defense Secretary Don-
ald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State
Colin Powell on Tuesday.
Tenet's tenure has spanned two
administrations. And unlike Clarke, he
praised aides to both presidents.
Microsoft fined $613M by EU antitrust office
The European Union slapped Microsoft Corp. with a $613 million fine yester-
day for abusively wielding its Windows software monopoly and ordered sanctions
that go well beyond the U.S. antitrust settlement - setting up what could be
another lengthy court battle.
Microsoft called the EU's decision "unwarranted and ill-considered," and said it
would ask a judge to suspend the order pending appeal.
The EU antitrust office said it sought to alter Microsoft's behavior because its
five-year investigation found that the software giant tried to squeeze competitors
out of Windows-related markets and "the illegal behavior is still ongoing."
It gave the company 90 days to offer European computer manufacturers a ver-
sion of Windows stripped of the company's digital media player, software for
viewing video and listening to music that is expected to become pivotal in the
industry as multimedia content becomes more pervasive.
The EU also gave Microsoft 120 days to release "complete and accurate" infor-
mation to rivals in the office server market so their products can work more
smoothly with desktop computers running Windows.
Kerry ends vacation, courts endorsements
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry wrapped up his nearly weeklong
vacation in Sun Valley yesterday and was flying back to Washington to accept a
key union endorsement and rally former rival Howard Dean and other party lead-
ers behind his candidacy.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will
endorse Kerry today in a meeting of the union's executive council, Democratic
officials said. AFSCME, with 1.3 million members, is the second-largest union in
Kerry is meeting privately today with members of the Democratic National
Committee, then speaking to the National Newspaper Publishers Association. He
has a private meeting with Dean's congressional supporters and donors, then plans
to accept Dean's endorsement during a rally at George Washington University, fol-
lowed by the AFSCME endorsement.
Former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke testifies yesterday before the
bipartisan commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
ity of the final report they are expected
to release this summer.
"Nobody has clean hands in this
one," said former New Jersey Gov.
Thomas Kean, a Republican and the
commission chairman, referring to the
Bush and Clinton administrations. "It
was a failure of individuals. The ques-
tion now is whether or not we learned
from our mistakes."
Clarke began his appearance with an
apology to "the loved ones of the vic-
tims of 9-11.... Your government failed
you. Those entrusted with protecting
you failed you and I failed you," he
added, as some relatives of those killed
in the attacks dabbed at their eyes with
The appearance of the white-haired
former official overshadowed the release
of a commission staff report that said
bureaucratic disagreements about the
extent of the CIA's authority to kill
Osama bin Laden hampered efforts to
eliminate al-Qaida's leader during the
Clinton era. The result was a continued
reliance on local forces in Afghanistan
that all sides recognized reduced the
chance of success, both before and after
Bush took office, the report added.
Hamas vows to kill Israel PM Sharon
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -
The militant group Hamas backed off
its initial threats «
against the United We are
States, saying yester- the OCcul
day that it would focus
on attacking Israel - nothing t
and try to kill Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon - Abd
- in retaliation for Newly appc
the assassination of its
founder in an Israeli
The Syrian-based leader of
Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, addressed
mourners in a Gaza City soccer sta-
dium by telephone hookup yesterday,
promising victory over Israel and
appealing for Palestinian unity.
"Who is America and who is this
ugly world and who is Sharon and
who is Mofaz?" Mashaal said in a
show of contempt. Shaul Mofaz is
Israel's defense minister.
esisting threats, militants
)anion, appear to have trou-
ble carrying out
lse. immediate revenge
attacks. Israel has
el Aziz Rantisi been on the highest
nted leader of possible alert since
Hamas the killing of Hamas
Yassin on Monday.
Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis
in suicide bombings and other attacks in
recent years.-Alto'gether, since violence
erupted in 2000, more than 2,700 people
have been killed on the Palestinian side
and more than 950 on the Israeli side.
Late yesterday, several Israeli tanks
moved back into an area of the Khan
Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza
where some structures were razed in a
similar operation a day earlier, resi-
dents said. The military had no imme-
In the West Bank, a 16-year-old
Palestinian was caught at an Israeli
roadblock with a bomb vest strapped to
his body. Soldiers jumped behind barri-
cades, and a dramatic standoff ensued.
After persuading the youth to take off
the vest, troops sent a robot to deliver
scissors and he cut off the vest. The
teen's brother said the boy is gullible
and easily manipulated.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
claimed responsibility for sending tie'
youth, a resident of the West Bank city
The new Hamas leader in Gaza,
Abdel Aziz Rantisi, yesterday backed
off veiled threats the group made
against the United States following
Yassin's killing. And another Hamas
leader in Gaza also said Americans
were not a target.
Immediately after the missile strike,
Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al
Qassam, said it held the United States
responsible because of its support for
Israel, and that "all the Muslims of the
world will be honored to join in the
retaliation for this crime."
President Bush said Tuesday that the
United States takes the threat seriously.
Yesterday, State Department deputy
spokesman Adam Ereli said the United
States remains concerned about the
safety of Americans in the region. And
a senior Bush administration official,
asking not to be identified, said the
credibility of yesterday's disavowal
cannot be assured.
Rantisi, a 56-year-old trained pedia-
trician, told reporters yesterday the
group is not interested in exporting its
activities and that Hamas's attacks will
be aimed solely at Israel. "We are inside
Palestinian land and acting only inside
Palestinian land. We are resisting the
occupation, nothing else," he said. "Our
resistance will continue just inside our
border, here inside our country."
Another Hamas leader in Gaza, Mah-
moud Zahar, also said Americans have
nothing to fear from Hamas. "You are
people innocent of the Zionist conspira-
cy that is fooling you and is stealing
your money. You are not our target," he
said. Zahar said Israel is doomed and
will disappear. "Israel knows that the
vision of the Muslim victory is com-
ing, and the blood of martyrs will be a
fire that will burn the ground beneath
you," he said.
Attack kills civilians,
wounds U.S. soldiers
Insurgents attacked a U.S. military
patrol west of Baghdad early yester-
day and an ensuing fight left three
civilians dead and two U.S. soldiers
injured, the U.S. military and Iraqi
hospital officials said.
The fighting came a day after
assailants shot at a van carrying police
recruits south of Baghdad, killing nine,
while gunmen killed two policemen in
the north. Yesterday, the police chief of
a nearby district was shot and killed.
In a speech in central Baghdad mark-
ing the last 100 days of U.S. political
control, top U.S. administrator L. Paul
Bremer said Iraq is "on the path to full
democracy" and has made significant
economic progress since Saddam Hus-
sein was toppled nearly a year ago.
A rocket was fired into the headquar-
ters of the coalition in Baghdad early
yesterday, wounding a contractor, a sen-
ior U.S. official said.
High court begins
hearing pledge suit
A California atheist told the Supreme
Court yesterday that the words "under
God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are
unconstitutional and offensive to people
who don't believe there is a God.
Michael Newdow, who challenged
the Pledge of Allegiance on behalf of
his daughter, said the court has no
choice but to keep it out of public
"It's indoctrinating children," he
said. "The government is supposed to
stay out of religion."
Chief Justice William Rehnquist
noted that Congress unanimously
added the words "under God" in the
pledge in 1954. "That doesn't sound
divisive," he said.
"That's only because no atheists
can be elected to office," Newdow
Coast Guard searches
for missing helicopter
The Coast Guard yesterday
focused on a mile-long oil slick in
the Gulf of Mexico as it searched for
a helicopter that disappeared with 10
people aboard on its way to an oil
The helicopter last made radio con-
tact Tuesday night, when it was about
90 miles south of Galveston.
"We are hoping that something went
wrong and they maybe landed on a dif-
ferent platform," Coast Guard Chief
Warrant Officer Adam Wine said. "We
are hoping for the best."
No signs of the helicopter were
found overnight. There were no reports
of bad weather, and everyone on board
was believed to be wearing life jackets,
the Coast Guard said.
-Compiled from Daily wire reports
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