2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 18, 2005
Bush names new intelligence chief NEWS IN BRIEF
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush
named John Negroponte, the U.S. ambas-
sador to Iraq, as the government's first
national intelligence director yesterday,
turning to a veteran diplomat to revive a
spy community besieged by criticism after
the Sept. 11 attacks.
Ending a nine-week search, Bush chose
Negroponte, who has been in Iraq for less
than a year, for the difficult job of imple-
menting the most sweeping intelligence
overhaul in 50 years.
Negroponte, 65, is tasked with bring-
ing together 15 highly competitive spy
agencies and learning to work with the
combative Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld, the brand new CIA Director
Porter Goss and other intelligence leaders.
He'll oversee a covert intelligence budget
estimated at $40 billion.
Negroponte, a former ambassador to the
United Nations and to a number of coun-
tries, called the job his "most challenging
assignment" in more than 40 years of gov-
He was widely believed not to have been the
first choice, but Bush officials denied the presi-
dent had had trouble filling the position.
If confirmed by the Senate, as expected,
Negroponte said he planned "reform of the
intelligence community in ways designed
to best meet the intelligence needs of the
Bush signaled that he sees Negroponte as
the man to steer his intelligence clearing-
house. "If we're going to stop the terrorists
before they strike, we must ensure that our
intelligence agencies work as a single, uni-
fied enterprise," Bush said.
Negroponte will have coveted time
with the president during daily intelli-
gence briefings and will have authority
over the spy community's intelligence
collection priorities. Perhaps most impor-
tantly, Bush made clear that Negropontej
will set budgets for the national intelli-
"People who control the money, people
who have access to the president generally
have a lot of influence," Bush said. "And
that's why John Negroponte is going to have
a lot of influence."
Bush also announced he had chosen an
intelligence insider to serve as Negropon-
te's deputy, Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, the
National Security Agency's director since
1999. As the longest-serving head of the
secretive codebreaking and eavesdrop-
ping agency, Hayden pushed for change
by asking some longtime personnel to
retire and increasing reliance on technol-
- - 7.1 1 -
Shittes win slim majority in assembly
A Shiite alliance won a slim majority in Iraq's new National Assembly, accord-
ing to certified election returns announced yesterday, but it may take weeks to form
a government. Meanwhile, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi cautioned against
excluding all of Saddam Hussein's supporters.
Because a two-thirds majority in the 275-member parliament, or 182 seats, is
required for confirming the top positions in the new government, the United Iraqi
Alliance will have to make deals with the other parties.
The alliance won 140 seats, while Kurdish parties got 75, secular Shiites
took 40 and nine smaller parties shared 20, the final returns of the Jan. 30
Shiite and Kurdish leaders have already agreed that they must reach out
to prominent Sunnis to participate in the government if they want it to be
considered legitimate among Sunnis and to have any hope of ending the
country's largely Sunni-led insurgency.
The Sunni-led Iraqis Party won only five seats in parliament, because many
Sunni Arabs avoided the elections - either out of fear of violence or to support a
boycott call by radical clerics opposed to the U.S. military.
Class-action lawsuit limit bill sent to Bush
President Bush, left, walks in with John Negroponte, right, to
announce Negroponte's nomination as intelligence director.
Israel ends collective punishment policy
homes have been razed
due to the strategy
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's defense
minister ordered a halt yesterday to the
controversial policy of demolishing the
homes of Palestinian suicide bomb-
ers and gunmen after an internal army
review concluded it has not deterred
attackers but has inflamed hatred.
Since the 1967 Middle East War,
Israel has razed more than 2,400
Palestinian homes as punishment or
deterrence - leaving thousands of
people homeless - including 675
houses destroyed in the past four years
of fighting, according to the Israeli
human rights group B'tselem.
Human rights groups have con-
demned the demolitions as collective
punishment and a violation of inter-
national law, and long have demanded
that they be halted.
The army review found the prac-
tice has inflamed hatred. The Haaretz
newspaper said there were no more
than 20 cases in which the threat
of demolition deterred attackers or
pushed their families to turn them in.
Militant groups compensate families
of attackers and help them rebuild,
weakening possible deterrence.
House demolitions, along with other
army practices, such as targeted killings
of Palestinian militants, were suspended
after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sha-
ron and Palestinian leader Mahmoud
Abbas declared a truce last week.
In announcing the halt to house
demolitions, the military said in a
statement that Defense Minister Shaul
Mofaz decided to accept the recom-
mendation of army Chief of Staff Lt.
Gen. Moshe Yaalon to "stop exercising
the legal right to demolish terrorists'
houses as a means of deterrence."
A military official said that while the,
practice had a deterrent effect in some
cases, the army "weighed if the deterrent
was strong enough in order to continue
the policy of the demolition of houses,
and the chief of staff ... concluded espe-
cially when there's more quiet, it's not
the time to use this policy."
B'tselem says the Israeli military has
destroyed a total of more than 4,000
Palestinian homes during the current
conflict, most in operations to clear
away buildings used by militants as
cover for attacks or to widen security
roads. Those practices were not includ-
ed in Thursday's decision.
Congress sent President Bush legislation yesterday aimed at discouraging
multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuits by having federal judges take them
away from state courts, a victory for conservatives who hope it will lead to
other lawsuit limits.
The legislation the House passed 279-149 is the first of Bush's 2005 legisla-
tive priorities to win congressional approval. The Senate voted 72-26 for the
bill Feb. 10. The president has described class-action suits as often frivolous,
and businesses complain that state judges and juries have been too generous
"This bill is an important step forward in our efforts to reform the litiga-
tion system and to continue creating jobs and growing our economy," said
Bush, who is expected to sign the bill today.
But Democrats say the legislation is aimed at protecting GOP business
donors and hurting trial lawyers, a traditional part of their base. They also
warn that Republican changes to the legal system will only make it harder for
people to sue over injuries caused by corporations.
China to send envoy to N. Korea to revive talks
China said yesterday it will send a top communist party official to North Korea for
talks with its longtime ally in an effort to break a stalemate over the North's nuclear
program, but Beijing urged patience in its dealing with the volatile country.
U.S. and South Korean envoys visited Beijing to seek help in persuading the iso-
lated North to rejoin six-nation nuclear talks that were suspended in June. Those talks
include the United States, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan.
China, the North's biggest backer and a major source of aid to the impoverished
country, has been wary of openly testing its influence with Pyongyang.
China urged patience with the unpredictable North, which has rejected calls to
return to the six-nation talks, accusing Washington of hostility. Last week, Pyongyang
announced it has produced nuclear weapons.
Iran calls for IslamIc
front to stop threats WASHINGTON
ront o stp tneatsLawmakers question new vision of NASA
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran warned
that any strike on its nuclear facili-
ties would draw a swift and crushing
response and called yestereday for an
expansion of its newly emerging stra-
tegic alliance with Syria to create a
powerful united Islamic front that could
confront Washington and Israel.
Such an expansion appears unlikely
to go far, because many key Arab states
- Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia - are
close Washington allies and have long
been suspicious of Iran's Shiite Muslim
Still, the statements were another
sign of the tense situation, coming a
day after Syria and Iran declared they
would form a united front against any
threats, and a mysterious explosion near
a nuclear facility in southwestern Iran
that initially was reported as a missile
strike but later was attributed to con-
struction work on a dam.
Iran's overtures to other Muslim coun-
tries in the Mideast reflect its concern
about U.S. pressure to drop all its nuclear
ambitions. With Syria under similarly
strong American scrutiny - in its case
for its role in Lebanon and as an alleged
sponsor of terrorism - the two nations
are trying to diminish Washington's
efforts to isolate them.
The Bush administration has so far
applied only diplomatic pressure, but has
talked tough. President Bush has labeled
Iran part of an "axis of evil" with North
Korea and prewar Iraq.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
said Feb. 4 that a military strike against
Iran was "not on the agenda at this point,"
but Bush has said he would not rule out
Bush said yesterday the United States
would support Israel "if her security is
Israel has warned that it may consid-
er a pre-emptive strike against Iranian
nuclear installations along the lines
of its 1981 bombing of an unfinished
Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad. The
United States accuses Iran of having a
secret program to make nuclear weap-
ons; Iran insists its nuclear activities are
for peaceful energy purposes.
Lawmakers cast doubts yesterday about the Bush administration's decision to
steer NASA toward lunar and planetary exploration while cutting back on some
of the space agency's science projects, such as the Hubble telescope.
"Congress has never endorsed, in fact has never discussed, the vision," House
Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, (R-N.Y.), said in reference to
President Bush's January 2004 declaration that the United States would return
humans to the moon in the next 10 to 15 years and ultimately launch manned
flights to Mars and beyond.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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Iranian President Mohammad Khatami gestures during an official meeting
at Saad Abad palace in Tehran, Iran yesterday.
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