- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2001

Buried bureaucrats

Today is the curtain for filing federal income taxes, and the average taxpayer this year spent 27 hours preparing the 1040 form and its common schedules.

Tax forms filed by Americans actually account for 82 percent of the federal government's entire paperwork burden, according to the National Taxpayers Union.

Weeping Wall

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial holds its third annual "In Memory Day" at 10 this morning, posthumously honoring 27 Vietnam veterans and one civilian who died because of war-related ailments, yet aren't eligible for inscription on the wall.

More than 500 family members from as far away as Europe will be on hand to hear Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi deliver the keynote.

Bush and Ernie

President Bush is being praised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for not declawing Ernie, the cat he found wandering Austin's streets.

PETA last year slammed first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for "mutilating" Socks, leaving the first feline itching for a scratch.

"Here, again, the example you set with Ernie will have far-reaching benefits for many, many other cats," PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk wrote to Mr. Bush, enclosing a copy of the book "250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You."

Begala marathon

Former Clinton adviser Paul Begala injects politics into everything, including today's Boston Marathon.

"I need your help to beat a Republican in a race even more important than a political campaign," Mr. Begala writes fellow Democrats. "And to add a little partisan edge to this race, I'm challenging former McCain campaign manager and GOP big shot Rick Davis to a little contest to see who can run the fastest and raise the most. The whole enterprise will be worth it just to see a 'McCainiac' participate in a money-chase."

Mr. Begala is running the 26.2-mile race (his record is 20 miles) to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Any final words?

"This time, we won't let 'thief Justice Rehnquist' steal our victory from us."

Starrs' defense

There was quite a reaction to our report that former Attorney General Janet Reno is hitting the lecture circuit, spreading her belief that law students should set the right moral course from the start and serve as prosecutors.

"As a law professor at George Washington University, where Ms. Reno is scheduled to be the commencement speaker this May, I take serious umbrage at your column in which you say that Ms. Reno has 'long argued that newly graduated lawyers should bypass big paychecks and serve the legal system instead as prosecutors,' " writes James E. Starrs, professor of criminal law and forensic sciences.

"I ask you, and Ms. Reno, should the defense bar be shunned by newly minted lawyers? If the defense bar is to be neglected, what then is to be said for the cherished American dream of fairness in the criminal justice system through the inalienable right to legal counsel for all accused persons?

"Or is such a dream only that?"

Beltway spies

The espionage threat to the United States remains so "real" the Defense Intelligence Agency handed participants at a national security symposium outside Washington a list of the more "spectacular" espionage cases of the past 10 years:

1991 Jeffrey Carney, U.S. Air Force, passed secrets to East Germany.

1993 Frederick Hamilton, Defense Intelligence Agency, passed secrets to Ecuador.

1994 Aldrich Ames, Central Intelligence Agency, and his wife, Maria Del Rosario Casas Ames, provided secrets to the Soviet Union and later Russia.

1995 Michael Schwartz, U.S. Navy, passed intelligence to Saudi Arabia.

1996 Kurt Lessenthien, U.S. Navy, offered nuclear submarine technology to Russia.

1996 Philip Seldon, U.S. Army, passed secrets to El Salvador.

1996 Robert Lipka, National Security Agency, was arrested for espionage.

1996 Harold Nicholson, CIA, spied for Russia.

1996 Earl Pitts, FBI agent, spied for Russia.

1996 Robert Kim, U.S. Navy, passed secrets to a foreign country.

1997 Peter H. Lee, U.S. nuclear physicist, passed secrets to a foreign government.

1997 Kelly Therese Warren, U.S. Army, passed secrets to Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

1997 Kurt Stand and his wife, Therese Marie Squillacote, a senior Pentagon lawyer, spied for East Germany and Russia.

1998 David Boone, National Security Agency, sold secrets to the former Soviet Union.

1998 Douglas Groat, CIA, passed secrets to two foreign governments.

2001 Robert Hanssen, FBI agent, was arrested for spying for the Soviet Union and later Russia.

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