News Brief

Bush chooses Porter Goss, GOP congressman, tohead troubled CIA
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush chose Porter Goss, a Republicancongressman and onetime spy, on Tuesday to lead the CIA as thetroubled agency struggles to repair its tarnished reputation,confront new terror threats and face the uncertainty of a massiveintelligence reorganization. “He knows the CIA inside and out,”Bush said of Goss, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committeewho served as a clandestine CIA officer during the 1960s in CentralAmerica and Western Europe before making a fortune in Florida realestate and the newspaper business. Twelve weeks before thepresidential election, senior Democrats complained Bush had turnedto a partisan politician to fill what nominally is a nonpoliticalposition. Bush also was accused of trying to change the subject ona day when more than 100 House Democrats urged the president tocall a special session of Congress to deal with intelligencechanges proposed by the independent commission that investigatedthe Sept. 11 attacks.

NYC man admitted supplying al-Qaida withmoney, equipment
NEW YORK (AP) – A New York man admitted meeting with a high-rankingmember of al-Qaida in Pakistan in a scheme to smuggle money,night-vision goggles and other equipment to the terrorist network,according to a court transcript released Tuesday. Mohammed JunaidBabar also acknowledged aiding a foiled bomb plot in London,according to the transcript, which was made public two months afterBabar secretly pleaded guilty to charges of providing materialsupport to a terrorist organization. He agreed to cooperate withauthorities as part of a plea deal.

Bush mocks Kerry on Iraq, rejects troopwithdrawal timetable
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – President Bush mocked rival John Kerry’sstand on the Iraq war Tuesday and rejected the Democrat’s timetablefor withdrawing U.S. troops as the Republican campaigned with Kerrypal and Vietnam War hero Sen. John McCain. Seeking to shore up hissupport in the military rich, GOP-leaning Florida panhandle, Bushassailed Kerry on the dominant issue of the campaign as theincumbent made his 24th trip to the swing state that narrowlyensured his election in 2000. “Now, almost two years after he votedfor the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positionsto declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found anew nuance,” Bush said. “After months of questioning my motives andeven my credibility, Sen. Kerry now agrees with me.” Bush addedsarcastically that Kerry still had time to change his position:”There are still 84 days left in the campaign.”

Western salmon fire retardant
SEATTLE (AP) – Traces of industrial-strength fire retardant haveturned up in wild and farm-raised salmon around the world, a studyreleased Tuesday said. The research, published in the journalEnvironment Science and Technology, was the latest blow to thenutritious reputation of salmon, which is packed with heart-healthyomega-3 fatty acids. On average, wild fish were less contaminatedwith the fire retardant chemicals than farmed salmon, with twoexceptions: Chinook from Oregon and British Columbia, which testedat more than 2 parts per billion and 4 parts per billion,respectively. The toxicity of the chemicals, called polybrominateddiphenyl ethers or PBDEs, isn’t fully understood. But thefish-contamination study concerns health officials andenvironmentalists.

Despite two terror tapes, public not alertedto Vegas threat, memos show
WASHINGTON (AP) – Las Vegas police officials on Tuesday confirmedaccounts in Justice Department documents that some of theirofficers were shown two terrorist surveillance tapes of casinos inthe fall of 2002 and decided not to raise the city’s terror alert.Internal Justice Department documents showed that when it obtainedtwo videos suggesting terrorists had cased Las Vegas casinos, thediscussions didn’t center on public alerts or heightened security.Rather, authorities worried about the effects on tourism and thecasinos’ legal liabilities, internal memos show. One of the tapes,found in Spain in 2002, shows al-Qaida’s European operativessurveying Las Vegas casinos in 1997. The other tape found in aDetroit terror cell’s apartment had eerily similar footage of theMGM Grand, Excalibur and New York, New York casinos. One documentobtained by The Associated Press quotes a federal prosecutor in LasVegas as saying the city’s mayor was concerned about the”deleterious effect on the Las Vegas tourism industry” if theevidence became public. The mayor said Monday he was never told ofthe footage. Another memo states the casinos didn’t want to see thefootage for fear it would make them more likely to be held liablein civil court if an attack occurred.