Stumping and Bumping

Stumping and Bumping

Stumping and Bumping

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 5 2004 3:17 AM

Stumping and Bumping

The New York Timesleads with the White House saying that Tuesday's antiterrorism arrests in Britain were the result of the intelligence that prompted the heightened threat level. The Los Angeles Timesleads with violence in Iraq.A bomb exploded Thursday morning at a police station just south of Baghdad, killing at least five and wounding about 20. Insurgents attacked police in Mosul Wednesday; at least 22 people were killed in fighting that followed, about half of them civilians. Elsewhere in Iraq, six hostages were freed, including four Jordanians who, one way or another, gained their freedom through local leaders in Fallujah. (The Washington Posthas a detailed dispatch on the murky incident.) Also, two Marines were killed in separate attacks near the Syrian border. And in what seems like a rare disclosure, the papers note that the military reported 16 soldiers wounded yesterday. With the exception of the Post, the other papers stuff Iraq. USA Todayleads with word that the Army is about to pump up cash bonuses and increase recruiting staff because of concerns about meeting its quota next year for new GIs. The Post leads with President Bush and Sen. Kerry giving stump speeches within blocks of each other in Davenport, Iowa.

The terror threat reporting, no doubt like the intelligence itself, is fragmentary and confusing. The Post says above the fold that the British raids nabbed what the paper dubs a "key al Qaeda figure" who had access to the surveillance intelligence that prompted the latest terror alert. A front-page piece in USAT says the recently arrested al-Qaida computer whiz, whose laptop had the now infamous surveillance files, has apparently been in contact with somebody in the U.S. over the past year. And Knight Ridder says the terror alert was at least partially prompted by a British al-Qaida suspect's warning that jihadists are planning to attack New York around the time of the GOP convention.

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The NYT teases on Page One a veiled threat—or a bit of a power play— by the chairman of the 9/11 commission. Republican Thomas Kean said he thinks voters consider whether Bush and Kerry endorse the commission's recommendations. "I think it will be an issue and should be an issue," said Kean. Kerry has given a full thumbs-up to the recommendations. In some key areas, Bush has lent symbolic support but opposed the commission's specific recommendations. (The president has supported the naming of an intelligence czar but so far has opposed giving the position any significant power.)

A piece inside the NYT says Iraqi Christians are fleeing the country in record numbers, mostly to Syria. Four thousand such families have registered as refugees in Damascus. "When we heard that the Americans were going to liberate Iraq, we were so happy, said one refugee. "Yet our suffering has only increased." Like many others, he left after attacks on Christians increased this spring.

The WP notices inside that an Army sergeant who was in charge of a cellblock at Abu Ghraib testified yesterday at Lyndie England's court-martial that he was repeatedly ordered by military intelligence officers to hide some prisoners from the Red Cross.

Everybody fronts the death of Henri Cartier-Bresson, a revolutionary photographer known for capturing "the decisive moment." He was 95. "I adore shooting photographs," he once said. "It's like being a hunter. But some hunters are vegetarians—which is my relationship to photography."

Eric Umansky, previously the "Today's Papers" columnist for Slate, is currently a Gordon Grey Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism.