- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 29, 2010


Clapper clears Senate committee

President Obama’s nominee to be chief of U.S. intelligence, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, was unanimously approved Thursday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Gen. Clapper’s nomination now goes to the full Senate, where his confirmation may face delays from some Republican lawmakers unhappy with House Democrats’ handling of an intelligence authorization bill.

The director of national intelligence oversees the nation’s 16 spy agencies.

Mr. Obama nominated Gen. Clapper to succeed retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair. The nation’s third intelligence chief, Adm. Blair stepped down under pressure after clashing with other intelligence officials.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and the committee’s chair, said she “initially had reservations” about Gen. Clapper, but that her doubts were “overcome by his experience and leadership ability.”


Al Qaeda plants flag, burns bodies

BAGHDAD | Militants flew an al Qaeda flag over a Baghdad neighborhood Thursday after killing 16 security officials and burning some of their bodies in a brazen afternoon attack that served as a grim reminder of continued insurgent strength in Iraq’s capital.

It was the bloodiest attack in a day that included the deaths of 23 Iraqi soldiers, policemen and other security forces across the country who were targeted by shootings and roadside bombs.

The mayhem serves as a stark warning that insurgents are trying to make a comeback three months after their two top leaders were killed in an air strike on their safe house, and as the U.S. military presence decreases day by day.

The complex attack began when militants struck a checkpoint in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah, once a stronghold of insurgents that in recent years has become more peaceful.

Then the militants set it on fire, burning several of the soldiers’ bodies, according to an army officer who was on patrol in the neighborhood. Minutes later, attackers detonated three roadside bombs nearby.


Six monarchies no longer recognized

PRETORIA | President Jacob Zuma announced Thursday that South Africa would stop recognizing half the nation’s traditional kings and queens, dismissing them as artificial creations of the apartheid regime.

The announcement came after a six-year government study into the traditional monarchies, some of which were used by the white-minority apartheid rulers as what Mr. Zuma described as a divide-and-rule strategy to weaken black leaders.

Seven of the 13 kingships were approved. The other six will end when the incumbent ruler dies, Mr. Zuma told reporters.

Traditional leaders have little real political power, but can act as arbitrators in local disputes and remain important cultural figures.


Pentagon warns of leak fallout

The Pentagon’s top officials are warning that the leak of some 91,000 secret war files has put U.S. troops and Afghan informants at risk.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Thursday told reporters that the U.S. had a “moral responsibility” to protect any individuals who might be in danger. He also said the military was reviewing its rules for safeguarding classified information.

Mr. Gates described the leak as a “mountain of raw data” that didn’t shed new light on U.S. policy but could aid the enemy on the battlefield.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen said that WikiLeaks - the organization that published the files - “might already have on their hands the blood of a young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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