Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller's office says he never offered Middle Eastern countries inside information on U.S. plans to invade Iraq... this after former Education Secretary Bill Bennett and other conservatives took Rockefeller to task for implying just that on FOX News Sunday. The Democratic Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee told Chris Wallace, "I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq, that that was a predetermined set course."
Bennett called for an investigation into exactly what Rockefeller told Syria, calling the senator's actions a "prewar intelligence giveaway."
Breaking the Law?
An inspector general's investigation into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting says former chairman Kenneth Tomlinson may have broken federal law and violated the code of ethics in a campaign to fight liberal bias, a suggestion Tomlinson called "malicious and irresponsible." The report says Tomlinson became heavily involved in funding and programming for the conservative "Journal Editorial Report,” a violation of the Public Broadcasting Act, which prohibits board members from contributing to programming decisions.
Tomlinson says he's proud of his efforts to bring balance to public broadcasting, complaining that the report's "unjustified findings will only help to maintain the status quo."
Former Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer is whining about the paper's decision to fire him last week and blames the conservative media for getting him sacked. The longtime liberal columnist attacked the Times' publisher, calling him a "wise guy accountant, a bean counter from Chicago," whose "golf buddies probably warned him about me — that flaming leftie."
Speaking at a gathering for the liberal political journal The Nation, Scheer added, "Probably the main reason they got rid of me was O'Reilly and Limbaugh made a living out of attacking me and using me as a punching bag." The Times, meanwhile, says it's expanding its editorial page to include more liberal and conservative columnists and that letting Scheer go had nothing to do with ideology.
Alongside glowing obituaries of ballet dancer Fernando Bujones and science fiction author Michael Coney, the U.K.’s Independent published a largely friendly send-off for Azahari bin Husin. So who is he? The so-called brains behind Al Qaeda's Asian arm “Jemaah Islamiyah” and the man responsible for killing 26 British citizens in Bali two years ago.
Husin was gunned down last week by Indonesian police, who discovered detailed plans to bomb Jakarta's schools and churches. In its obituary, the Independent calls Husin a "statistician and bomb-maker" and highlights his "lively classes" as a professor in Malaysia, along with his “fondness for women, sport, and fast cars." In closing, the paper quotes Husin as saying, "I have a greater cause in life. It is to serve God."
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report