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Jack Kelly

REPORTING PHONY NEWS IN AMERICA, REFUSING TO REPORT REAL NEWS IN IRAQ

Because it dominated the news this past weekend, many Americans are aware of the USA Today story May 11 revealing that the National Security Agency has established a data base containing the records of telephone calls made by tens of millions of Americans.

Not so many Americans are aware that USA Today's "scoop" is recycled news.  The New York Times ran a story on the NSA database last December.  It was treated then with the ho hum response it so richly deserves.

Cynics note the recycling occurred on the eve of Senate hearings on the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden -- who as head of the NSA established the data mining program -- to be director of the CIA.  Could the leakers and the journalists going bananas over the recycled revelation be trying to sidetrack his nomination?

Whatever the reason, the contrast between the ink and air time given the NSA telephone number database rehash and the inattention given a startling al Qaeda document captured in Iraq could not be greater.

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THE PRISON DREAM TEAM

Will Mary McCarthy and Dana Priest end up sharing a jail cell?

The CIA announced Friday it has fired a senior analyst for leaking classified information to the news media.

After she failed a polygraph examination, Mary McCarthy confessed to leaking to Dana Priest of the Washington Post information about secret CIA prisons for al Qaeda bigwigs.  Earlier this month, Ms. Priest was awarded a Pulitzer prize for her reporting on the secret prisons.

Prison is where they both could end up.

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THE GREAT UN-COMMUNICATOR

You've got to hand it to President Bush.  For a pretty decent, straightforward guy, he sure has a knack for making enemies.

The economy is booming.  There has been no successful terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.  Al Qaeda officials acknowledge we're winning the war in Iraq.  Yet in the history of polling, only three presidents have had job approval ratings as low or lower than President Bush does now.

They were Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter just before they left office, and Harry Truman after he had fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  Mr. Bush is about where Mr. Carter was (34 percent), but still has a ways to fall to reach the nadirs of Nixon (24 percent) and Truman (23 percent).  Will he?

The president's popularity problem isn't one problem, but three.

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THE FAT LADY IS WARMING UP FOR AL QAEDA IN IRAQ

Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the al Qaeda chieftain in Iraq (or maybe not, see below) is changing tactics, says London's Sunday Times (4/30).

Mr. Zarqawi "is attempting to set up his own mini-army and move away from individual suicide attacks to a more organized resistance movement," writes Michael Smith.

Col. John Gronski of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard indicated Monday (5/1) why the change in tactics isn't such a good idea.  Col. Gronski is commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Guard's 28th Infantry Division, stationed in Ar Ramadi.

Iraqi troops supported by Col. Gronski's soldiers killed more than 100 insurgents in a battle last week, Col. Gronski told CNN.  Two Iraqi soldiers died in the battle.  No Americans were killed.

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REVOLTING GENERALS

In every army, there are (a few) Grants and (many) McClellans. The key to success in war is to find and promote the Grants. Keep this in mind as you examine what Time magazine calls the "Revolt of the Generals."

Six retired Army and Marine generals have called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  There are about 4,700 retired flag officers. For every general speaking out against Secretary Rumsfeld, there are more than 780 who are not.

The generals speaking out may have reasons other than patriotism for doing so. Gen. Zinni is flogging a book. MajGen. John Riggs was busted a grade and forced to retire because of a procurement scandal. MajGen. Eaton oversaw the rebuilding of the Iraqi army in 2003-2004, when everyone now agrees this was a disaster.

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THE DEMOCRAT’S APRIL FOOLS’ NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

The mood in Washington has been sour lately, so many were grateful when the Democrats in Congress provided a little levity Wednesday, March 29 by issuing their national security strategy.

It would have been more appropriate to delay its release until Saturday, April 1st - April Fools' Day.

On Feb. 3rd, the Defense Department issued its quadrennial report on defense strategy.  It was 92 pages long.  The "Democratic Plan to Protect America and Restore Our Leadership in the World" is six pages long.  Half of these pages are in Spanish, saying what was said in English.  And there is a cover page in each language. 

So the actual "plan" is just two pages long, presented in bullet points in large type, with plenty of white space between them.  It contains 833 words. Party elders must have burned the midnight oil for months to produce this magnum opus.

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