- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It’s sad Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston have decided to call it quits after 14 years, which sounds like a lifetime compared to most celebrity hookups. I only hope Mr. Brown didn’t split out of irrational fear that Osama bin Laden might whack him. After all, the final days of their marriage coincide roughly with a report the al Qaeda leader has had a major crush on Miss Houston.

This word comes from the autobiography of Kola Boof, a Sudanese-American feminist poet and novelist who claims to be bin Laden’s former mistress. In excerpts from “Diary of a Lost Girl” in the September Harper’s magazine and on the magazine’s Web site, Miss Boof says she was kept against her will as bin Laden’s mistress for four months in 1996. During that time, she says, he showed a liking for marijuana, Van Halen’s music, American TV shows, Playboy magazine and Miss Houston. Curiously, she says he also expressed disrespect for black women, even though Miss Boof is a dark-skinned African and she describes him as having “very sexy Negrolike facial features, forged by generations of desert sun.”

“He explained to me that to possess Whitney he would be willing to break his color rule and make her one of his wives,” she writes. “I tried to hide my outrage at his racist remarks, but it would come to pass that for the entire time that I would be trapped in his palm, Whitney Houston’s was the one name that would be mentioned constantly. How beautiful she is, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and her husband, Bobby Brown, whom Osama talked about having killed, as if it were normal to have women’s husbands killed.” Like the old song goes, love is strange.

But imagine how Whitney’s husband took this news tidbit. In the tough neighborhood where he grew up in Boston, threats of homicide over a love triangle are not taken lightly. So, now, as the crew said on Tom Joyner’s national radio show after the news of the breakup, Osama may be rolling up to Whitney’s doorsteps any day now. Hey, dealing with the thugs down the street is one thing. But, an international fatwa? Not cool, man.

But, relax, Bobby. There’s probably not much chance you would be lined up in al Qaeda’s bombsights. Miss Boof’s credibility has been challenged by none other then Peter Bergen, a leading bin Laden biographer, who describes her claims as “delusional.”

Nevertheless, the Bush administration is probably taking notice. After all, Miss Boof probably is no less credible than “Curveball,” the code-named Iraqi defector who provided the CIA the bogus information that Saddam Hussein was building mobile biological weapons labs. Or, for that matter, Ahmad Chalabi, once the darling of Vice President Dick Cheney and other neoconservatives, but since fallen out of favor, wanted for bank fraud in Jordan and under investigation by several U.S. government agencies. If federal agents and intelligence experts will believe those guys, why not Miss Boof?

In fact, knowing this administration, the National Security Agency could have a warrantless wiretap or big-ears listening dish aimed at Whitney’s crib even as we speak. After all, as President Bush corrected a reporter at his news conference last Friday, it’s not eavesdropping, it’s “the terrorist surveillance program.”

Court testimony and congressional debate indicate the Bush administration targets for surveillance anyone suspected of being a terrorist or having contact with terrorists, or with someone who has had contact with terrorists.

In the name of “keeping America safe,” this administration is ready to do whatever they and their compliant legal advisers think it takes, then argue about it later before the courts and Congress.

And we know from Ron Suskind’s book, “The One-Percent Doctrine,” the administration’s threshold for action is pretty low. The title comes from Mr. Cheney’s view that possible terrorist threats with even a 1 percent likelihood must be treated as certainties. The result is actions like the Iraq invasion, a deployment of maximum force based on minimum facts.

So it doesn’t take much for the feds to come snooping. How could they pass a possible call to a major American singing star by the world’s public-enemy No. 1?

That’s another possible reason for Mr. Brown, who has a history of drug and alcohol arrests, to want to flee his wife’s company. Maybe he’s worried about his privacy. Some folks just aren’t ready for Mr. Bush’s war on terror.

Clarence Page is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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