Putin would die laughing if he read this week's American newspapers. The president, George Bush, declared the Russian invasion of Georgia "disproportionate and unacceptable". This is taken as a put-down to the vice-president, Dick Cheney, who declared the invasion "will not go unanswered", apparently something quite different. Bush says that great powers should not go about "toppling governments in the 21st century", as if he had never done such a thing. Cheney says that the invasion has "damaged Russia's standing in the world", as if Cheney gave a damn.
The New York City Police Department is working on a plan to photograph the license plates of every vehicle entering Manhattan in an effort to guard against a terrorist attack.
The plan, called Operation Sentinel, calls for photographing and scanning the license plates of cars and trucks at all bridges and tunnels, and using sensors to detect the presence of radioactivity, The New York Times reports.
Israel is reported to have reactivated a unit known to send agents posing as Canadian tourists to foreign countries to carry out assassinations.
The Kidon Unit—named for the Hebrew word for bayonet—is part of Israel's overseas intelligence service, the Mossad.
Canadian travel documents have been a favourite of the Mossad for decades, and some in Canada say that practice is likely to resume, no matter what Israel promises.
The last time Mossad agents were caught using Canadian passports was in 1997. Two hit men had tried and failed to inject a lethal poison into the neck of the director of the Hamas press office in Amman, Jordan.
Canada recalled its ambassador in protest. It was the third time Mossad agents had been caught posing as Canadians, and the third time Israel promised to stop.
American Airlines is charging troops for their extra baggage, a practice that forces soldiers heading for a war zone in Iraq to try to get reimbursement from the military. One of the country's largest veterans groups is asking the aviation industry to drop the practice immediately.
The U.S. has about the same number of private contractors in Iraq as uniformed service members, a new congressional report says — a history-making ratio that presents problems in keeping track of all the workers and highlights the difficulties of supporting extended military operations without a larger force.
The presence of private security companies has caused some consternation in military circles because some private guards are earning up to $1,222 a day, compared to $160 to $190 earned in pay and benefits by a midgrade military member with similar skills.
TVNL Comment: War is a racket and this one is a doozie!
Job applicants who were rejected by the Justice Department because of improper political considerations will be urged to apply for open positions, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey told an audience yesterday.
"Two wrongs do not make a right," Mukasey told the American Bar Association yesterday in New York. "The people hired in an improper way did not, themselves, do anything wrong. It therefore would be unfair -- and quite possibly illegal given their civil service protections -- to fire or reassign them without individual cause."
Mukasey explicitly ruled out criminal prosecution of former Justice Department employees who investigators say ran afoul of civil service laws, echoing congressional testimony last month by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.
Also today, The Times came clean on having referred to Senator McCain as a Vietnam-era "fighter pilot" when in fact he was shot down while at the controls of an A-4 Skyhawk - technically an attack aircraft rather than a fighter.
The commander of a Navy air reconnaissance squadron that provides the president and the defense secretary the airborne ability to command the nation's nuclear weapons has been relieved of duty, the Navy said Tuesday.
Cmdr. Shawn Bentley was relieved of duty Monday by the Navy for loss of confidence in his ability to command, only three months after taking the job.
But a source close to the investigation told The Associated Press that Bentley's removal regarded an undisclosed personal matter and was not related to the squadron's missions or duties. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.
TVNL Comment: Could it be that he won't let Bush & Cheney nuke anyone like Iran?
Concerns about foreign spies and terrorists have prompted the Homeland Security Department to set up its own counterintelligence division.
The new directive comes as the federal government increases its counterspy efforts across all agencies and raises the awareness of intelligence vulnerabilities in the private industry as well as in protecting government secrets.
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