Today's Papers

Death in Dahab

The Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox and New York Timeslead with—and everybody fronts—the approximately 30 people killed at the triple bombing in the Egyptian resort of Dahab. It was third bombing in the Sinai in 18 months. The Washington Postleads with a lawyer for fired CIA staffer Mary McCarthy saying his client did not leak classified info and didn’t tell the Post about secret CIA jails in Eastern Europe. A “senior intelligence official confirmed” that the CIA doesn’t think she played a “central role” in the Post’s story. “Intelligence sources” told the WP that McCarthy knew generally about the prisons—as did any interested citizen—but didn’t know the prisons’ locations, which is what was new in the WP’s scoop. USA Todayleads with the airline industry, health experts, and the ACLU all miffed about a government plan to battle an avian flu epidemic by quarantining apparently sick passengers (as judged by the flight crew). The plan would also require airlines to log passengers’ travel plans and give them to the government if requested. “What they’re proposing is nonsensical,” said one researcher. “People are going to be contagious without being symptomatic.”

The Los Angeles Times leads with an official at Guantanamo Bay saying the Pentagon is planning to “release” 141 prisoners from there and bring charges against only about a dozen more. That would leave about 300 prisoners who “face neither imminent freedom nor a day in court.” Reuters has a slightly different take, saying the military has suggested most of those being “released” will be transferred to prisons back in their home country—an issue this TPer raised in the Wash Post last month. Meanwhile, the LAT could have benefited from flagging a few recent studies and reports that strongly suggest, as Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick put it, that ”most of the prisoners are guilty only of bad luck.”

Yesterday was a holiday in Egypt, so Dahab was packed with Egyptians rather than foreigners. The Post says the local hospital in Dahab had only two ambulances. The NYT notes that ambulances “rushed in a procession from Cairo, more than six hours away.”

There were no claims of responsibility and lots of denunciations, including, as the LAT notes, “from the Hamas-led Palestinian government“—that would be the same one that chose to celebrate last week’s attack on a restaurant in Tel Aviv. A bit of background not in the papers: After the first big bombing in the Sinai, Egypt rounded up about 1,000 locals and reportedly tortured many of the prisoners, who were never charged.

Everybody goes inside with seven car bombs yesterday in Baghdad, though only 10 people were killed. The police also discovered the bodies of 32 security-forces recruits.

A piece inside the Post suggests that the tinderbox that is the oil-rich and ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk has just gotten a touch hotter. Hundreds of militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have moved into town. A Sadr rep spoke to a U.S. official who recounted the chat: “His message was essentially that any idea of Kirkuk going to the Kurds will mean a fight. He said that their policy here was different from in other places, that they are not going to attack coalition forces because their only enemy here is the Kurds.” 

The NYT’s off-lead looks at a key oil pipeline in Iraq that was supposed to be rebuilt as part of a Halliburton no-bid contract. The method planned was just a touch short of insane. “No driller in his right mind would have gone ahead,” said one Army geologist who inspected the site. Halliburton didn’t give the government a clear heads-up about the concerns, and the Army didn’t seem to care much anyway. So, project went ahead … and failed.

As the NYT alone fronts, there was celebrating in the streets of Nepal as the king agreed to reconvene parliament, which was abolished four years ago. But the partying might be short-lived. The king didn’t mention another demand of many protesters: that he abdicate the throne.

The WP outs a congressman who’s been quietly holding up a bill to buy land for a memorial to Flight 93. Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., is “a large landowner in the mountains of western Carolina” and doesn’t think the feds should be buying any more land … for anything. Not that he cared to detail his belief: “Neither Taylor nor his press secretary returned phone calls and e-mails yesterday. His chief of staff, Sean Dalton, would not comment.”