- The Washington Times - Monday, July 5, 2010


Top figures on witness list

ORLANDO | A criminal-defense attorney for ousted Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer Monday promised to call to the stand some of the most powerful men in Florida politics - Gov. Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum and state Republican chief John Thrasher.

J. Cheney Mason also said he’ll depose prospective Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon and soon-to-be Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, both Republicans. Mr. Greer, his lawyer said, was the victim of right-wing conservatives who turned against Mr. Crist, the man who picked Mr. Greer to head the state party.

Mr. Greer, 48, was indicted in May by a statewide grand jury that charged him with theft, organized fraud and money laundering. Records released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Office of Statewide Prosecution accuse Mr. Greer of funneling $125,000 from the state party into his personal bank accounts.

Mr. Mason denounced state GOP officials and their motives, especially Mr. McCollum, whose Office of Statewide Prosecution handled the grand jury investigation and is trying to convict Mr. Greer. Mr. McCollum is running for governor.


Gates tightens interview rules

The Pentagon’s small press office is about to get a lot busier. Even top military officials now have to get Pentagon clearance for interviews and other contact with reporters.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued the order over the holiday weekend in a brief memo sent to military and civilian personnel worldwide; it was effective immediately.

The order tells officials to make sure they are not going out of bounds or unintentionally releasing information that the Pentagon wants to hold back. It comes after President Obama fired the top general in Afghanistan for embarrassing comments in a magazine article.

The memo, first reported in the New York Times, does not spell out exactly how the new directive will work but appears to require hundreds of thousands of officers to funnel interview requests through a small central office at the Pentagon.


Obama confers with new leadership team

President Obama held a conference call Monday with new Afghanistan commander Gen. David H. Petraeus and Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, as the general took over operational command of the troubled conflict.

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