Murthquake

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Nov. 18 2005 4:04 AM

Murthquake

(Continued from Page 1)

The NYT notices inside—and nobody else covers so far as TP sees—a government report concluding that the military is way below recruiting targets for some of its most important positions, including intel specialists and translators.

The Post and NYT both front the arrest of two U.S. men for allegedly rigging rebuilding contracts in Iraq. But only the NYT picks up on the real shocker: One of the men was a U.S. government comptroller and financial officer in Iraq"despite having served prison time for felony fraud in the 1990's." He oversaw $82 million in contracts.

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The WP also mentions the arrests and says it's the first of "what could be dozens of cases" alleging fraud within the reconstruction effort. "There are more coming," said a spokesman for the government office investigating. (The WSJ's wording is vague, but TP reads that as not necessarily meaning other U.S. officials.)

Everybody mentions that the tentative deal to extend the Patriot Act hit a snag as some Democrats threatened to filibuster. Also, a bipartisan group of six senators said they'll vote against renewing the about-to-expire law unless the civil-liberties protections are strengthened.

The WSJ notices that among those lobbying against the renewed Patriot Act are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business lobbies. Apparently they don't like the idea of the government snooping in company records.

The WP reports across the top that the CIA has created "joint operations centers in more than two dozen countries" where the U.S. and foreign spooks work side-by-side to "track and capture" suspected terrorists. A top CIA official apparently told Congress earlier this year that just about every AQ suspect who's been captured has been taken with the help of a foreign intel service. These centers, says the Post, are distinct from the secret prisons the paper reported on earlier this month.

And you smell like one, too ... The WP notices that the White House's pushback on the prewar intel debate now includes a 5,000-word rebuttal released in response to a NYT editorial. Explaining the length of the retort, a White House statement said, "As parents of young children and dog owners know, it takes longer to clean up a mess than to make one."

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

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