- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 18, 2002

FBI: Klansman thought of bombing church

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. A former Ku Klux Klansman accused of killing four black girls in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church denied responsibility for the blast, but hinted he had considered committing the crime, a former FBI agent testified yesterday.

In a fourth day of testimony in the murder trial of accused church bomber Bobby Frank Cherry, retired FBI agent John Downey said Mr. Cherry indicated he had thought about blowing up the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a gathering place for the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Mr. Cherry, 71, is accused of helping a small group of Klansmen plant a bomb that exploded under a stairwell of the church on Sept. 15, 1963, killing 11-year-old Denise McNair, and Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins, all 14. The bombing was one of the most violent acts of the U.S. civil rights struggle.

CIA counterterror pro moves within agency

WASHINGTON A top figure in the CIA's war on terrorism is leaving his job.

Cofer Black, chief of the agency's counterterror center, is taking another senior position at the agency, said CIA spokesman Bill Harlow. Mr. Harlow refused to reveal Mr. Black's new role.

"Cofer has completed an extraordinarily successful three-year tour in the counterterrorism center," Mr. Harlow said. "He is not being moved out in any negative sense. He is held in the highest regard by the director of central intelligence," George J. Tenet.

His replacement, an undercover CIA operative, has been selected, but will not be publicly identified, Mr. Harlow said..

Some Lindh witnesses may get shielded identity

The government wants to protect some of the witnesses who will testify against U.S.-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh by hiding their faces and withholding their names.

Prosecutors also proposed yesterday to "blur or block" images of some government personnel who can be recognized in photographs that will be presented at Lindh's trial, to be held in federal court in Alexandria.

While concealing the face and name of a witness is unusual, it is done sometimes in trials involving U.S. intelligence agencies. In such instances, witnesses typically testify from behind a screen to shield their faces from those in the courtroom.

Skakel classmate offers possible motive

NORWALK, Conn. Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel felt his brother had stolen his girlfriend, a former classmate testified yesterday, offering a possible motive for the 1975 slaying of Mr. Skakel's neighbor, Martha Moxley.

Prosecutors yesterday also read into the record testimony from Gregory Coleman, who died after using heroin last year. Mr. Coleman claimed Mr. Skakel once told him: "I'm gonna get away with murder. I'm a Kennedy."

Mr. Skakel a 41-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel is charged with bludgeoning Miss Moxley to death with a golf club in their wealthy Greenwich neighborhood in 1975. Mr. Skakel and Miss Moxley were 15 at the time.

High court won't aid in N.C. redistricting

WASHINGTON Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist turned down a request yesterday to intervene in North Carolina's fractious legislative-redistricting process, meaning the state will have to draw a new electoral map.

Chief Justice Rehnquist rejected an emergency appeal from state officials, who wanted the high court to preserve the North Carolina legislature's original plan for state House and Senate electoral districts.

The case does not raise the kind of national issues or recurring controversy likely to be worth the Supreme Court's time, and there is no reason for the court to step in now, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote in an unusual solo opinion.

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