A new classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda's early days, because it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat.
The assessment, completed last month and circulated among government agencies, was described in recent days by several Congressional and intelligence officials. The officials said it made clear that the war was likely to produce a dangerous legacy by dispersing to other countries Iraqi and foreign combatants more adept and better organized than they were before the conflict.
[. . .]
They said the assessment had argued that Iraq, since the American invasion of 2003, had in many ways assumed the role played by Afghanistan during the rise of Al Qaeda during the 1980's and 1990's, as a magnet and a proving ground for Islamic extremists from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries.
The above is from Douglas Jehl's "Iraq May Be Prime Place for Training of Militants, C.I.A. Report Concludes" in this morning's New York Times.
Wally e-mails to note another article by Jehl, "Some Republicans Seek Prison Abuse Panel:"
Despite opposition from the White House, some Republicans have begun to join Congressional Democrats in calling for an independent commission to review accusations of abuse of prisoners by American forces in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.
The idea's appeal has grown in recent weeks, with Republican endorsements from, among others, Bob Barr, a former congressman from Georgia who now works for the American Conservative Union, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Air Force lawyer and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Republican leadership in the House succeeded on Tuesday in blocking a vote on an amendment backed by Democrats that would have attached a call for such a panel to the military authorization bill. But Senate Democrats say they intend to seek approval of a similar measure, in which Congress would establish a panel modeled after the Sept. 11 commission, with an independence that critics say has been lacking from the investigations conducted by the Pentagon to date.
Brenda, Joan and Eli all e-mal to highlight Stephen Labaton's "Democrats Call for Firing of Broadcast Chairman:"
Sixteen Democratic senators called on President Bush to remove Kenneth Y. Tomlinson as head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting because of their concerns that he is injecting partisan politics into public radio and television.
"We urge you to immediately replace Mr. Tomlinson with an executive who takes his or her responsibility to the public television system seriously, not one who so seriously undermines the credibility and mission of public television," wrote the senators.
They included Charles E. Schumer of New York, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Jon Corzine and Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California.
If you do check the link, note that whomever wrote the caption knows Clifford the Big Red Dog but has apparently never heard of Maya & Miguel who are also pictured (people dressed up as both). Clifford is singled out in the caption, Maya & Miguel are left out. (For Times caption writers who are unaware Maya & Migule are the leads in the animated PBS series Maya & Miguel.)
In other news Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Richard W. Stevenson report that "Bully Boy stand by Bolton, stamps his feet and screams 'Do over!' to Frist."
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