Arab terrorism dominates the front pages. The Washington Post and New York Times lead with the conviction of the chief planner and the bomb van driver in the World Trade Center bombing case. (The Los Angeles Times puts the story on the front, but below the fold.) The USA Today lead about this story emphasizes the concerns of U.S. officials that the verdict could lead to more terrorism against Americans, especially in light of yesterday’s murders in Pakistan. The LAT leads with an exclusive: that a “rogue operation” of officials within the ATF accelerated the approval of import permits for 150,000 modified assault weapons so that the guns could be sold legally, despite the officials’ full awareness of President Clinton’s clear intent to keep such guns out of the country. The paper says that the White House is “livid” about this and that one White House official was so irate “he put his hands around the neck of an ATF agent.” (Given all the reporting of his famous temper, don’t you think that’s Clinton?)
The USAT lead states that the judge in the CIA murders trial has ordered the jury sequestered while it completes the case’s penalty phase. The WP has this in a separate front-page story that includes this added detail: the jurors, after voting to convict in the case, sent the judge a note inquiring about dangers to them, and the judge then ordered the jurors’ names sealed.
The NYT has its first mention of the Pakistan shootings on today’s front. Despite recently instituting later deadlines, the Times couldn’t get the story into yesterday’s paper (unlike USAT and the WP).
The Wall Street Journal runs a front-page feature about how, after years of depending on the American defense umbrella, many Asian nations are now rearming themselves–at nearly double 1990 spending rates. The main reason, says the Journal, is that they aren’t convinced that the 100,000 U.S. troops in the region will stay put and are plenty worried about China’s military build-up. The upshot, says the paper, is that Asia “is likely to become a much more dangerous place.”
The WP editorial page doesn’t think much of the travel sanctions the U.N. passed against Iraq: “No more shopping at Harrods for Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz-that’ll show ‘em.”
In contrast to the quadraphonic media coverage when the FBI launched its investigation of the TWA Flight 800 crash, when the agency announced yesterday that its inquiry was over because there was no crime, the volume was pretty low. The LAT’s is the only major front to carry the news–and on the bottom at that.
Could there be serious security leaks at some of the primo op-ed desks? Today the NYT runs a piece on the discovery of tapes of George Washington, while the WP runs an Art Buchwald effort on the discovery of tapes of Abraham Lincoln.
The WP reports that a small pilot study suggests that an experimental oral contraceptive for men might work. Of course, a question remains for women that no amount of science will ever overcome: “Can you believe the guy when he says he took it?”