Star Witness Stayed Home

And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:

Star Witness Stayed Home

Four and a half years ago Republican Sen. Bob Bennett, the chairman of a special Senate committee investigating cyber terrorism and the alleged Y-2-K bug, opened a hearing by saying that the star witness would not be coming.

The White House, Bennet said, had asserted executive privilege and decided to keep a key Clinton official from briefing the committee. That official was none other than Richard Clarke (search).

According to Bennett, Clarke told him the White House felt appearing before Congress would be -- "inappropriate." That even though Clarke, unlike Condoleezza Rice recently, was not being asked to testify under oath but merely brief the committee on the issue.

Details Disputed

Speaking of Clarke, some of the most dramatic details in his new book -- which accuses President Bush of mishandling the 9/11 aftermath -- are now being disputed by a former White House colleague.

Clarke says in his book that on 9/11 the senior director for defense policy, Franklin Miller, urged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search) to take a helicopter out of the burning Pentagon, to which Rumsfeld said -- "I am too ... old to go to an alternate site."

But Miller says he never talked to Rumsfeld at all that day. In addition, Clarke says an official in the White House Situation Room that day yelled -- "Secret Service Reports a hostile aircraft 10 minutes out." But Miller tells the New York Times he doesn't remember that ever happening.

Public Financing Suspended

Three weeks after granting Al Sharpton's Democratic presidential campaign its first taxpayer matching funds, the Federal Election Commission (search) has now voted to suspend public financing for his campaign altogether.

According to the New York Post, the FEC found that Sharpton gave more than $165,000 dollars to his own campaign -- substantially exceeding the $50,000 limit. Sharpton has 20 days to respond to the FEC, before the suspension goes into effect.

Republicans Must Be Allowed

Officials at Metropolitan State College in Denver have ruled that the new Campus Democrats organization must allow Republicans to join. According to one of the group's founders, quoted by the Denver Post, a ban on Republicans was meant to keep right-wingers from infiltrating and taking over. But school officials decided that's not constitutional because the group will be receiving public money. Republicans, however, can be barred from leadership posts.

FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report