November 5, 2003

USAToday reported this morning that the FBI is "fairly confident" it has identified an al-Qaeda operative who was supposed to be the "20th hijacker" on 9/11, but "had to leave" the US shortly before the attacks. Three law enforcement officials are now denying the report, with one saying "I'm not aware of anyone who has been identified as the 20th hijacker." Hmmm, has this guy heard of Zacarias Moussaoui? FBI Director Mueller might also disagree with that statement, since he himself fingered Ramsi Binalshib was the 20th hijacker.

The final version of the $87 billion spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan is missing provisions the Senate had passed to penalize war profiteers who defraud American taxpayers. Some representatives are making a little bit of noise.

Seymour Hersh: "Last month, the Blade, a mid-sized family-owned newspaper published in Toledo, Ohio, devoted fifteen pages over four days to an exhaustive expose of an elite Army unit, known as the Tiger Force, that spun out of control during the Vietnam War. ... From May through November of 1967 ... the Tiger Force ... murdered hundreds of noncombatant men, women, and children. ... Soldiers collected ears as souvenirs, along with a few scalps and gold teeth. In early 1971, the Blade wrote, these events became known to Army investigators ... But no one was charged, and in 1975 the investigation was quietly shut down. ..."

Where The Wounded Go: Since the combat in Iraq began, the Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, has treated more than 7,700 US personnel, including combat casualties, serious non-combat injuries and disease. Time: "While the Air Force has flown 1,513 battle casualties from the Iraqi theater, 9,341 have been flown out for other health reasons, including mental stress."

Confirmation: The president has not attended the funeral of any American soldiers killed in action, White House officials say."

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