- The Washington Times - Friday, June 4, 2004

Second CIA official to quit top post

A second top CIA official yesterday announced his departure amid mounting calls for reforms to the world’s biggest spy agency after the surprise resignation of its director, George J. Tenet.

Mr. Tenet quit on Thursday amid criticism over intelligence failures on Iraq and the September 11 attacks in 2001.

James Pavitt, deputy director in charge of CIA clandestine operations, is to retire this summer, the Central Intelligence Agency said.

“Pavitt made the decision to retire about a month ago, and his departure is unrelated to Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet’s resignation announcement yesterday,” the agency said.

Mr. Tenet insisted his move was for family reasons.

But with official reports due on the information used to justify the invasion of Iraq and how the United States failed to spot al Qaeda’s plan to attack New York and Washington, the departures have added strength to calls for change.

Several leading dailies, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, yesterday called on President Bush and Congress to enact major reform.

The newspapers listed the failures of U.S. intelligence under Mr. Tenet’s seven-year rule, ranging from underestimating the al Qaeda threat to the analysis on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Lawmakers to roll back drug laws

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York lawmakers are ready to roll back the state’s infamously harsh Rockefeller drug laws if they can agree on how to reform mandatory sentences for less serious drug violations.

This week, members of a legislative conference committee orally agreed to reduce the 15 years-to-life mandatory sentences for the most serious offenses to as little as 3 to 10 years.

Gov. George E. Pataki and most legislators have called it an injustice that a first-time offender could face a life sentence for possessing as little as 4 ounces of a controlled substance or for selling only 2 ounces.

The legislature wants those offenders to get treatment and wants to remove the veto power that district attorneys have over courts’ decisions to send offenders to treatment.

9/11 victims’ families hear plane tapes

NEW YORK — Family members of the passengers and crew of the four planes used in the September 11, 2001 attacks were given the chance yesterday to hear tapes of calls made from the hijacked aircraft.

Among the recordings expected to be aired were the final words of American Airlines flight attendant Amy Sweeney, who calmly called her co-workers on the ground and relayed the seat numbers of the hijackers on Flight 11 before it was flown into the World Trade Center.

Press reports said the Justice Department’s invitation had carried a warning of the audio material’s “graphic nature.”

Activists hope to end child marriages

Women’s rights advocates and family-policy experts outlined strategies yesterday for a global effort to combat child marriage, an age-old practice in many nations with often heartbreaking consequences.

More than 100 million girls younger than 18 are expected to be married worldwide in the next decade, many of them preteens from developing countries wed involuntarily to much older men, according to organizers of an international conference in Washington.

Many young brides die during pregnancy or suffer ruptures during childbirth that can cause lifelong incontinence. They also are at high risk of HIV infection because their older husbands often have more sexual experience, yet rarely use condoms.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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