- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2008

PENTAGON

U.S. cites collusion in Taliban assault

A deadly attack on a U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan in July was executed with the support of some local police and government leaders as well as villagers there, according to an internal military report.

The report, released Tuesday, recommended the district’s Afghan police chief and governor be replaced, if not arrested and tried for committing crimes against the government. And it said the incident underscores repeated problems in the volatile mountain region with the local population offering “passive and active support” to the enemy, which also has infiltrated the country’s security forces.

Nine U.S. troops were killed in the attack, which was launched just before midnight on July 12 by about 200 insurgents. Another 27 U.S. troops were wounded, and of those, 11 were treated and then returned to duty. Between 21 and 52 enemy fighters were killed, and another 45 wounded, the report said.

The report was completed Aug. 13, but an unclassified version was not released until this week. It confirmed many of the details previously released to the public about the incident, including suspicions that villagers were complicit in the attack.

GAO

Report criticizes use of oil leases

The government isn’t doing enough to expedite drilling in federal waters and on public lands, according to a report issued Tuesday by congressional investigators.

In a review of the 55,000 federal oil and gas leases issued to energy companies by the Interior Department from 1987 to 1996, the Government Accountability Office found that the vast majority expired without being drilled, and an even smaller number actually produced oil and natural gas.

“We do not agree that Interior is pursuing expedited development of oil and gas leases,” the report reads.

Energy companies currently hold leases but are not producing on about 68 million acres of federal land - property that has the potential to double domestic oil production. About a third of the oil produced in the United States in 2007 came from public lands.

House Democrats, as an alternative to opening up more federal property to drilling, have said companies should “use it or lose it” - meaning drill on lands they currently rent or be barred from being awarded new leases.

PENTAGON

First Gitmo inmates get habeas hearing

Six Algerians detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the last seven years are on Thursday to become the first prisoners to challenge their continued imprisonment in a federal court.

Judge Richard Leon, a conservative named by President Bush, is to preside at the hearing.

After years of legal wrangling, the Supreme Court in June granted Guantanamo detainees access to the civil court system and the right to file habeas corpus cases challenging their detention. The case of the Algerians is the first of a series of such cases.

“It is not a trial over these men being guilty or innocent; it is only a trial about whether the president can say legally that based on these facts and this law, ‘I have a basis for holding these men,’ ” defense lawyer Robert Kirsch told Agence France-Presse.

Some 250 prisoners remain in custody at the U.S. military base, and all of them have started habeas corpus challenges. The Algerians were arrested in Bosnia following a request from the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, according to their attorneys.

POLITICS

Yale paper names McCain supporters

The student newspaper at Yale University printed the names and departments of all five professors who donated money to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain.

The article in the Yale Daily News, citing Federal Election Commission records from the past year, noted that faculty members donated $109,590 to Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign, compared with $5,700 to Mr. McCain - an almost 20-to-1 ratio. The Daily News noted that four out of five students it had polled backed Mr. Obama.

The article did not name any of the professors who donated to Mr. Obama, which prompted a major conservative blog to see a double standard.

“This is yet another item to keep in mind the next time you hear campus liberals talk about their cherished values of tolerance and diversity in academia. As someone once said, what is in fact desired is a place where everyone looks different but thinks the same. Presumably the tenure committees of the five McCain donors have been notified,” wrote Noah Pollak at the commentary blog Contentions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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