- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Bill vs. Hillary?

Bill O’Reilly vs. Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006?

While media speculation thus far has centered on whether New York’s junior senator will run for president, Mrs. Clinton still hasn’t confirmed yet whether she’ll seek a second term in Congress when she faces re-election in 2006.

That said, bona fide New York native Bill O’Reilly, host of the Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” was interviewed yesterday by his own network’s “Fox and Friends” and revealed that “maybe someday down the road” he’ll become a candidate for national office.

How high an office the Harvard-educated TV journalist didn’t say, but he reiterated that he’s a “registered independent.”

The outspoken newsman, who now lives on Long Island (not surprisingly, his official bio says he spent most of his childhood “annoying teachers”), says he is turned off by the large amount of fund raising that accompanies a campaign and these days “you need a lot of money.”

“At this stage,” he says, his popular TV program provides an adequate platform for “terrorizing people in government.”

Lauding Lackawanna

More than 140 Justice Department employees and other law- enforcement authorities, including members of a joint terrorism task force in New York that dismantled an al Qaeda terrorist cell, were honored yesterday at the department’s 51st annual awards ceremony.

Attorney General John Ashcroft presented the department’s highest honor, the “Award for Exceptional Service,” to the 18 investigators and analysts assigned to the Buffalo, N.Y., task force for their role in dismantling a terrorist organization that’s since become known as the “Lackawanna Seven.”

In September, the task force raided Lackawanna, N.Y., a community six miles south of Buffalo, arresting members of a terrorist “sleeper cell,” all U.S. citizens of Yemeni descent. They were accused of being members of a terrorist operation loyal to al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

Indictments handed up in U.S. District Court accused the men of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, adding that as members of an al Qaeda cell they were waiting on orders to attack U.S. targets. The men were accused of traveling to Afghanistan in 2001 — before the September 11 attacks — to attend an al Qaeda training camp.

Six of the men later pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with ongoing government investigations. A seventh fled the country and is considered a fugitive.

“You are the doers. You are the achievers. You are the extraordinary men and women on the ground and in the trenches advancing the mission of the entire Department of Justice,” Mr. Ashcroft praised all the award winners.

The attorney general also presented more than a dozen “Distinguished Service Awards,” including one to the Justice Department team that investigated and prosecuted former Rep. James Traficant Jr., Ohio Democrat, who was convicted last year on charges including bribery, racketeering and fraud.

Traficant was sentenced July 30, 2002, less than a week after being expelled from the House, to eight years in federal prison.

The attorney general’s award for “Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security” was presented to Jeffrey A. Breinholt, a trial lawyer in the department’s counterterrorism section, for what Mr. Ashcroft called “his outstanding work on terrorism prosecutions” in Seattle, Detroit, Buffalo, Houston, San Diego, Portland, Ore., Dallas, Chicago, Syracuse, N.Y., Boise, Idaho, and Tampa, Fla.

Olden days

The announcement that the esteemed Dr. Ken Olden is retiring as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is worthy of mention partly because he was the first black director of an institute at the National Institutes of Health and because he says 12 years in one federal post is enough time to get one’s ideas across.

Appointed by former Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Louis Sullivan during the first Bush administration, Dr. Olden’s life and career spans the great social advances in this country. His great-grandmother was a slave, and his grandmother was born into slavery.

Dr. Olden, who was born into poverty in eastern Tennessee, recalls his grandmother relating vivid accounts of slavery, and says his heritage fueled his own research efforts on health disparities and environmental justice. A cell biologist and biochemist at Harvard University and the National Cancer Institute, he became director of the Howard University Cancer Center in 1985.

“He has helped young, minority scientists and called attention to the excessive health burdens borne by the poor,” says NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. “Under his leadership, the institute’s research portfolio has broadened from primarily basic biology into such human studies as the 50,000-woman ‘the Sister Study’ — the largest study of its type seeking to find both environmental and genetic clues to breast cancer.”

While at NIH, Dr. Olden led a scientific team that declared saccharin safe, and determined the carcinogenicity of dioxin, secondhand smoke and sun lamps. He says he won’t completely retire, rather become more directly involved in his own ongoing cancer research program.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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