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Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - Page updated at 11:26 A.M.
Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said he and Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., have agreed to the session, which would bar the public and news media, but have not settled on a date.
A Frist aide said the two leaders are "headed in that direction," although critical details have to be worked out.
Other Senate officials said Daschle and Frist have discussed a possible session the week of March 1.
The last time the Senate held a closed session was in February 1999, during President Clinton's impeachment trial. Its most recent private session involving national-security matters was in 1997, focused on the chemical-weapons treaty.
For several weeks Democrats have been pressing for such a session which would allow discussions of classified material to debate the administration's use of intelligence as well as the quality of the intelligence itself. Democrats want to call national-security adviser Condolezza Rice and CIA Director George Tenet to address the Senate. They want Rice to explain how the administration came to make statements that appear to have been exaggerations of the available intelligence, said one top congressional aide. Democrats want Tenet to explain how the CIA apparently got the intelligence wrong.
Phone call on wife's death in Iraq explosion was false
WATERBURY, Conn. A phone call to Eddie Valentin saying that his wife, a U.S. Army Reserve sergeant, had been killed in an explosion in Iraq turned out to be a hoax.
But it took him nearly 24 hours to find out that the report of Sgt. Betsy Valentin's death was false.
"I went crazy. I banged my head against the wall," Eddie Valentin said Thursday.
The caller Wednesday claimed to be a colonel with the U.S. Department of Defense and knew personal information about Betsy Valentin, 37, including her Social Security number, her husband said.
Soldier in vehicle accident is 59th British GI to die
LONDON A British soldier has died of injuries suffered in a vehicle accident in southern Iraq, the Defense Ministry said yesterday.
Cpl. Richard Thomas David Ivell, 29, a mechanic with the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, was fatally injured Thursday in the accident at Shaibah Logistics Base, the ministry said. Ivell, who had three children and came from northeastern England, is the 59th British soldier to die in Iraq since war started there.
U.S. commander says Iraqis must depend less on military
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar Iraqis must depend less on the U.S. military, even if that means a bigger risk of violence in coming months, the war's top commander said yesterday.
"We have to take risk to a certain extent, by taking our hands off the controls," Gen. John Abizaid said a day after escaping injury in a gunbattle at an Iraqi security command post in Fallujah.
During talks this week with American commanders in Baghdad, Fallujah and Balad, Abizaid stressed the importance of weaning the Iraqis from American assistance.
He added that the intention is to maintain a steady momentum toward a normalized country, not to rush transition from occupation to sovereignty in order to ease the burden on the U.S. military.
Ex-weapons inspector wants Bush to say he was wrong
WASHINGTON Former U.S. weapons inspector David Kay is advising President Bush to acknowledge he was wrong about hidden storehouses of weapons in Iraq and move ahead with overhauling the intelligence process.
Kay said the "serious burden of evidence" suggests Saddam Hussein did not have caches of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons at the beginning of the Iraqi war but was seriously engaged in developing missiles.
"You are better off if you acknowledge error and say we have learned from it and move ahead," Kay said. "I'm afraid if you don't acknowledge error, and everybody knows why you are afraid to acknowledge error, your political opponents will seize on it, the press will seize on it, and no one will give you credit."
Gunmen riding in three cars fired on a police station and a government building in Fallujah today, wounding eight people. ... Emad Noures, a brother-in-law of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein who sought asylum in Britain last year, was refused the right to residency, the government said yesterday. Noures' whereabouts were unknown. ... The Netherlands yesterday approved dispatching an additional 108 troops to Iraq, increasing the number of Dutch forces in the region to 1,260.
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