Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The CIA says that Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry and Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar inadvertently identified a CIA officer working undercover at Monday's Senate hearing on John Bolton's nomination to be U.N. ambassador.
During questioning, Bolton used an alias for the officer, saying, "I'll try and call [him] Mr. Smith here." But then Kerry read a transcript of closed-door interviews with State Department officials, which included the officer's full name. Lugar also mentioned the officer's name.
But the CIA says, "it's not the end of the world," since previous CIA work put the officer's name out there, and "we're not talking about someone who's doing deep espionage overseas." The CIA, though, says it hopes the officer's career is not adversely impacted.
Official Hurricane Deaths In Florida
Florida has officially recorded 123 deaths from the hurricanes that battered the state last year. But, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has paid for 315 funerals related to last year's hurricanes... totaling more than $1.2 million. Among those that received funerals: a man who shot himself, and a stroke victim who was hospitalized even before the last storm hit.
FEMA, though, is defending its actions, saying, "FEMA is in Florida to help," and many factors go into determining funeral eligibility.
U.S. Wanted To Punish Pope?
The vice president of the German Parliament — Antje Vollmer — says the U.S. government exposed pedophilia within the Catholic Church to punish Pope John Paul II for his opposition to the war in Iraq.
In an interview with German public television, she said that while the campaign against pedophilia within the church was "totally justified," the U.S. insisted upon getting involved at a time when it was "definitely a tit-for-tat response" for the pope's position on Iraq. What's more, Vollmer says, "Poland was made a top occupying power in Iraq, naturally to weaken the pope's [homeland]."
Terrorist Group Taking Responsibility
For the first time in its history, Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is apologizing for killing someone. According to the Haaretz newspaper, several Hamas gunmen stopped a car in the Gaza Strip last week, hoping to rob the four Palestinians inside. But suddenly and inexplicably, the gunmen opened fire, killing a 20-year-old student at the Islamic University in Gaza.
In a statement issued Monday, Hamas admitted its people were responsible for the killing, but called it "an isolated act by irresponsible people, from which Hamas dissociates itself." Hamas has been asked to expel the gunmen from its ranks.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report