Today's Papers

How To Build an Atomic Bomb

The New York Timesleads with word from weapons experts that documents posted on a Web site created by the federal government included a basic guide on how to build an atom bomb. The documents were part of a project to make public the 48,000 boxes of documents apprehended during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Washington Postleads with the final advertising push by Democrats and Republicans, who sent out more than 600 new television ads before network deadlines for the weekend. This will push the total spending on advertising past the $2 billion mark, which is $400 million more than what was spent in the 2004 presidential race.

USA Todayleads with some daunting news for political junkies, as analysts warn that the use of provisional ballots could delay results for tight races by days or even weeks. The Wall Street Journal tops its worldwide newsbox with President Bush campaigning in places traditionally thought as safe Republican strongholds. The paper reports Nielsen figures revealing TV ads are up 31 percent compared with 2002. The Los Angeles Timesleads with officials charging a 36-year-old auto mechanic with setting the fires in Southern California that killed five firefighters. The suspect pleaded not guilty.

The Web site was created at the behest of Republicans in Congress who said intelligence agencies never properly analyzed all the documents. The idea was to put the documents in cyberspace so people could analyze them and try to find answers about Saddam Hussein’s prewar activities. But recently, the site posted approximately a dozen documents with charts, graphs, and instructions on building an atom bomb that go beyond what is publicly available. Apparently, officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed their concerns to the U.S. government last week, but it took an inquiry from the NYT to get the site closed down last night.

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, President Bush kicked off his final six-day, 10-state, campaign swing that will take him to some of the country’s most conservative areas. Yesterday, the president visited Montana, where he tried to rally his base by warning them Democrats would block his judicial nominations, raise taxes, make the country less safe, and give up on Iraq. According to Slate’s Election Scorecard, Montana has now joined Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia as one of the “tossup states” that will determine who controls the Senate.

Contrary to previous midterm elections, the president’s final campaign blitz will not be very ambitious, and he will only travel to carefully chosen places where his party won big in 2004 and Republicans believe his presence could make a difference (Slate’s John Dickerson will be taking a look at these speeches in the coming days to see “what we can learn about the messages the GOP thinks will move their people out the door on Election Day”).

Amid all the talk of negative campaigns this year, USAT goes inside with a dispatch from Vermont, where the race for the state’s only seat on the U.S. House of Representatives is quite friendly.

A few days after the WSJ reminded its readers to take ID with them on Election Day, the WP says the new identification laws in a dozen states has some Democrats worried it could adversely affect their party’s candidates and play a critical role in determining the winners.

The WSJ goes inside with a dispatch from Oregon to try to examine what happens when the minimum wage is increased, which would be one of the top priorities for Democrats if they win control of Congress. Oregon increased the minimum wage in 2002 despite concerns it would cause businesses to leave the state and increase unemployment. Four year laters, none of these fears materialized.

The NYT fronts word of a provision tucked inside a military authorization bill that orders the termination of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Now lawmakers from both parties are saying they did not realize the provision was slipped in and want to reverse the decision.

Everyone mentions that the U.S. military announced the soldier who was kidnapped in Baghdad last week is still alive, and there are currently talks in place to try and obtain his release. A U.S. military spokesman confirmed the kidnapped soldier is 41-year-old reservist Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, who is married to an Iraqi woman.

The LAT goes inside with news that five U.S. troops died in Iraq yesterday.

Violence continued in the Gaza Strip yesterday, where Israeli troops fought against Palestinian militants for a second day. At least 12 militants, five Palestinain civilians, and one Israeli soldier have died in the operation, which was intended to stop Palestinian rocket attacks. But so far, it has not gone as planned, as at least 17 rockets have been fired into Israel in the last two days. 

The Wall Street Journal mentions in the top spot of its worldwide newsbox news that the president of the National Association of Evangelicals resigned yesterday after a male escort said the influential Christian leader paid him for sex. The escort said in interviews he had a three-year sexual relationship with the Rev. Ted Haggard, who denied the allegations.

The WP fronts an investigation into two nonprofits that paid for expensive trips for 12 members of Congress and 31 staffers. It seems they were both fronts for foreign lobby groups.

Everybody fronts or reefers the results of a new study claiming that the world could run out of seafood by 2048 if current trends continue. Fourteen researchers from several countries spent four years analyzing data and concluded that overfishing, coupled with other environmental factors, would cause a “global collapse” of all the currently fished species. Sushi lovers shouldn’t panic just yet, as the authors say the trend can be reversed.  

The NYT reports a federal judge in Virginia upheld an earlier ruling ordering the paper to disclose the identities of three sources used by columnist Nicholas D. Kristof in a series of pieces about the anthrax mailings of 2001.