Tags: Iran | Threat

Laptop Points to Iran Threat, Hillary Loses Friends, Heston Smeared

By    |   Sunday, 27 April 2008 09:36 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Laptop Info Points to Iran's Nuclear Threat
2. Rep. Clyburn: Hillary Wants McCain to Beat Obama
3. Hillary Losing Support Among 'Friends'
4. Charlton Heston Trashed in L.A. Times Cartoon
5. John Edwards' Supporters Backing Obama
6. We Heard: Katie Couric, Jeb Bush, David Rockefeller

1. Laptop Info Points to Iran's Nuclear Threat

Reports have surfaced that a laptop computer with significant information on Iran's covert nuclear program fell into the hands of U.S. intelligence in 2004.

The date is important, since in November 2007 the National Intelligence Estimate declared that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003.

Olli Heinonen, deputy director of safeguards for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), briefed member states, including Iran, about the information in Vienna in February. Notes from the briefing have now been posted on the Internet by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington, D.C.

"The notes describe the technical basis for the IAEA's outstanding questions about the scope and direction of Iran's alleged nuclear weaponization studies," ISIS states. "Specifically, it describes some of the information contained on a laptop obtained in Iran by an intelligence operation in 2004, as well as additional information provided by IAEA member states to the IAEA more recently.

"The information presented . . . describes several aspects of what could be nuclear weapons development."

That information includes instructions on how to communicate within the Iranian program using only first names, and a reference to the "timing of firing devices leading to an explosion at an altitude of about 600 meters."

Heinonen said at the briefing that "this altitude excludes the hypothesis of conventional explosives as well as chemical or biological charges," according to the ISIS report.

The IAEA's evaluation of Iran's "Tests of High Power Explosives" is "unambiguous," Gabriel Schoenfeld writes in his Connecting the Dots blog for Commentary Magazine:

• "The high-tension firing systems and multiple EBW [Exploding Bridge Wire] detonators fired simultaneously are key components of nuclear weapons."

• "There are a limited number of non-nuclear applications."

• "The elements available to the Agency are not consistent with any application other than the development of a nuclear weapon."

• "The Agency does not have sufficient information at this stage to conclude whether the allegations are groundless or the data fabricated."

Iran did assert that the allegations are "groundless" and called the documents cited "fakes," according to ISIS.

But Schoenfeld concludes: "A consensus has emerged among Western intelligence agencies that [the documents] are in fact authentic.

"The documents do not indicate whether the covert nuclear program actually came to a halt in 2003 as U.S. intelligence has concluded. Nonetheless, the scale and scope of what Iran was doing up until that point is staggering."

Editor's Note:

Special: The Coming War With Iran: 6 Days of Hell

2. Rep. Clyburn: Hillary Wants McCain to Beat Obama

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in the Congress, says blacks believe Hillary Clinton is staying in the presidential race to drag down Barack Obama so John McCain will win the White House — and she can run again in 2012.

"I heard something the first time yesterday, and I heard it on the [House] floor today, which is telling me there are African-Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can't win," Clyburn said. "But they're hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win."

Clyburn told The New York Times there was a near "unanimous" view among African-Americans that the Clintons "are committed to doing everything they possibly can to damage Obama to a point that he could never win."

Clyburn, an undeclared superdelegate from South Carolina, did not call for Hillary to drop out of the race, only "to take the rhetoric down a notch," according to Reuters.

"There's a difference between dropping out and raising all this extraneous scurrilous stuff about the guy [Obama]. You don't have to drop out to be respectful of other people."

Editor's Note:

Hillary Roared When She Saw These

3. Hillary Losing Support Among 'Friends'

Hillary Clinton's double-digit victory in the Pennsylvania primary may have staved off widespread defections among her superdelegates, but Clinton has been suffering a steady erosion of support from backers once considered solidly behind her.

"There is a lot of Clinton fatigue in the party and in the country today, and many people are reacting to that," said former Sen. Tom Daschle, who is backing Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Even some former aides in the Bill Clinton administration have jumped ship to side with Obama. Among them, Greg Craig — who served as special counsel to Clinton during his impeachment ordeal — has not only endorsed Obama, but publicly criticized the Clintons.

He told Newsweek that he wondered "if Hillary's campaign can't control Bill, whether Hillary's White House could."

Bill Clinton's former national security adviser Anthony Lake and his former Labor Secretary Robert Reich have also endorsed Obama, The New York Times reported.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson stunned Hillary's campaign when he broke a promise to back her and instead endorsed Obama. He denies he made that promise, but Hillary backer James Carville still called him a "Judas."

Clinton worked hard to bring Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and John D. Rockefeller of West Virginia into her fold, but all three are now backing Obama.

Clinton has even lost support from several senators for whom she has raised significant amounts of money, according to the Times. These include Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who has said on "Meet the Press" that while Bill Clinton was a great leader, "I don't want my daughter near him."

The loss of support from Democratic Party players Hillary once considered friends has at times created tension in the campaign.

The Times reports that Cameron Kerry, younger brother of Sen. John Kerry, got into a heated exchange with a Clinton fundraiser after the younger Kerry endorsed Obama. The Clinton supporter pointed out that Bill Clinton had campaigned for John Kerry in 2004 even though he had just undergone bypass surgery.

Cameron Kerry retorted that his brother had flown with Bill on Air Force One after the impeachment vote "when no one wanted to be seen with him."

Editor's Note:

High Blood Pressure Kills — Cure It Naturally

4. Charlton Heston Trashed in Los Angeles Times Cartoon

Not everyone in Hollywood is pleased with the Los Angeles Times' treatment of film legend Charlton Heston, who died April 5 at age 84.

Notably, Peter Ford — son of another Hollywood legend, Glenn Ford — points to a number of unflattering items in the newspaper following the former National Rifle Association president's passing.

The L.A. Times carried this letter from a reader: "Charlton Heston was a maniac who couldn't understand that without guns, there wouldn't be gun-related crimes."

Another reader referred to a statement Heston made at the 2000 NRA convention, when he raised a rifle over his head and declared that a potential Al Gore administration would take away his gun only "from my cold, dead hands." The reader wrote: "Guess we can pry the gun out of his hands now."

L.A. Times film critic Carina Chocano wrote that "Heston's star would be somewhat tarnished by his politics late in his life."

But worst of all was a cartoon in the L.A. Times depicting Heston at the gates of heaven wearing an NRA shirt, raising a rifle with one hand and clutching an Oscar in the other as St. Peter tells another soul: "I don't care if the guy says he's Moses! Pry the gun from his cold, dead hands, or he isn't going nowhere."

A sign points to "Victims of Gun Violence," and an angel declares: "We sure have a lot of souls up here who can't wait to have a word with him."

The cartoon appeared on the paper's Opinion page on April 8 and was drawn by Matt Wuerker, editorial cartoonist for Politico.com.

Ford, himself a former actor who now maintains The Glenn Ford Library and Archives, called the cartoon "awful."

Not all of the L.A. Times' coverage was negative, however. Chocano also wrote that Heston "embodied postwar America." And columnist Tina Daunt quoted Roger L. Simon, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter who runs the conservative Web site Pajamas Media: "[Heston] was one of those American Americans when it wasn't considered cool in Hollywood. There's no question he was a really decent man."

Editor's Note:

Charlton Heston's Greatest Movie: Free Offer

5. John Edwards' Supporters Backing Obama

Donors and members of Congress who backed John Edwards for the Democratic presidential nomination are now flocking to Barack Obama — even though Edwards has not yet endorsed a candidate.

Since Edwards dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 30, Obama's campaign has received contributions of $200 or more from 1,089 donors who had supported Edwards, according to Federal Election Commission records, while only 393 have contributed to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Obama has raised nearly $1 million from Edwards donors, compared to $427,000 for Clinton, The Hill newspaper reported.

Obama backers are hoping for an endorsement from Edwards, which could give the candidate a boost among blue-collar white voters who are part of Clinton's base, and help him in November in big states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania that Hillary won in the primaries.

"Edwards has enormous appeal to working-class, white voters," Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, told The Hill.

Butterfield is one of nine congressional Democrats who have endorsed Obama after first supporting Edwards. None of Edwards' backers in Congress has come out in support of Hillary.

Edwards has not yet indicated if he will endorse a candidate before the Democratic convention in August.

Editor's Note:

Special: The Obama Connection You Must Read

6. We Heard . . .

THAT the publishing world is abuzz with speculation that Katie Couric may write her memoir — a book that's likely to fetch millions, according to Keith Kelly's "Media Ink" column in the New York Post.

The "CBS Evening News" anchor has already written several children's books, recently penned an article for Newsweek revealing intimate details of her family life, and has expressed interest in writing a memoir, a source told Kelly.

Couric would have plenty of themes to work with in a memoir, Kelly writes, "from the turmoil of being in the hot seat at a time of great media upheaval to the wrenching personal story of being a single mom with two young daughters."

Another TV news celebrity, Barbara Walters, received $5 million for her memoir, "Audition," which will be published on May 5.

THAT former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he is skeptical that humans are causing global warming.

Addressing several hundred business people in Dallas, Bush said those who urge action to limit climate change are acting out of something akin to religious zeal.

"I don't think our policies should be based on emotion," he told the gathering. "They should be based on sound science."

Bush said the U.S. should focus on "energy security" — reducing America's dependence on oil imported from hostile or politically unstable countries by encouraging alternative fuels, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Bush, who is now on the board of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., also said he "can't imagine" running for national office and is not interested in being John McCain's running mate.

THAT Harvard graduate David Rockefeller is donating $100 million to his alma mater — the largest gift by an alumnus in the university's history.

The donation will support international study programs for undergraduates and Harvard's plans to expand its arts programs, The New York Times reports.

"Harvard has played an important role in my life," said the 92-year-old former chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, who graduated from Harvard in 1936 and is on the university's board of overseers.

"My experiences there shaped who I am."

Harvard will not receive the gift until Rockefeller's death, but he will give the university $2.5 million a year until then.

Editor's Note:

Special: The Coming War With Iran: 6 Days of Hell

Hillary Roared When She Saw These

High Blood Pressure Kills — Cure It Naturally

Charlton Heston's Greatest Movie: Free Offer

Special: The Obama Connection You Must Read

Six Deadly Health Problems You Must Know About

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Laptop Info Points to Iran's Nuclear Threat2. Rep. Clyburn: Hillary Wants McCain to Beat Obama3. Hillary Losing Support Among 'Friends'4. Charlton Heston Trashed in L.A. Times Cartoon5. John Edwards' Supporters Backing Obama6....
Sunday, 27 April 2008 09:36 PM
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