And now the most revealing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.

Fox News' Carl Cameron reports that British intelligence has established what appears to be a clear link between the alleged shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and the Al Qaeda terror network. The evidence is telephone calls intercepted and taped by Britain's MI-5 intelligence service from Reid to Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man yet indicted in connection with the 9/11 atrocities. What's more, Carl reports that Al Qaeda detainees in Afghanistan recognized Reid from photos as a man they had trained with.

The decontamination of the Hart Senate Office building – which re-opened today – has cost nearly $14 million, about 10 percent of the cost of building the building itself. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa has demanded that the Environmental Protection Agency, which was responsible for the cleanup, explain how it managed to spend $150,000 a day through the month of December on decontaminating all of the Congressional offices, with 96 percent of that money going for the Hart building.

A new poll suggests that Americans are not inclined to blame anyone for the recession, but those that do place blame, put more on the Clinton administration than on the Bush administration. Thirty-nine per cent of those surveyed by the firm Andres McKenna Research, said no one in particular was to blame, that recessions are normal. Seventeen percent blamed the Clinton administration, with 12 percent blaming the Bush administration, and the same percent blaming the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The same poll, by the way, found that nearly as many people – 26 percent – thought the American media would be the most significant obstacle to the continuing war on terrorism, as thought the terrorists would.

Robert Altman, the American movie director who gave us such films as Mash, and the current Oscar contender Gosford Park, says, "When I see the American flag, it's a joke." Altman's problem is the Bush administration. He told the London Times, "This present government in America I find just disgusting, the idea that George Bush could run a baseball team successfully – he can't even speak. I just find him an embarrassment." Altman said he would be happy to stay in London for the rest of his life, "There's nothing in America that I would miss at all."