The Washington Postleads with a look at how an increasing number of “key Republican senators” have called for a change of strategy in Iraq, which the paper sees as a sign of the growing number within the GOP who are breaking ranks with the White House and aren’t willing to wait until the much-anticipated progress report in September to express their views. Meanwhile, Democrats faced some skepticism of their own as some key senators remain undecided on the immigration legislation, even as the Senate voted to bring the bill back to life yesterday, the Los Angeles Timessays in its lead story. The Wall Street Journal alsotops its world-wide newsbox with the comeback of the immigration bill and notes that opposition among Republicans remains strong.
USA Today leads with, and everyone fronts, a look at the hundreds of pages of documents, known as the “family jewels,” the CIA released yesterday that detail the agency’s illegal activities from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Although many portions of the documents were blacked out, they detail how the CIA tried to carry out assassination plots against foreign leaders, illegally spied on Americans, and carried out medical experiments. The New York Timesleads with a new poll that says young Americans are generally more liberal than the rest of the population. The 17-to-29 age group is more likely to identify with the Democratic Party but is also more optimistic about the outcome of the Iraq war. The young are also more likely to favor universal health care, marriage for gays and lesbians, and a more open immigration policy, while their views on abortion are pretty much the same as the general population.
In a speech delivered on Monday night after most lawmakers had already left, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the foreign relations committee, called for a reduction in troops and was openly skeptical about the “surge.” The NYT fronts Lugar’s speech and says it “reverberated through Capitol Hill” yesterday as other Republicans echoed the sentiments. Most significantly, Sen. George Voinovich, also a member of the foreign relations committee, sent a letter to the president where he expressed concern “that we are running out of time.” While other Republicans praised Lugar’s speech, the real test will come next month, when the Senate is scheduled to consider some Iraq-related amendments to the defense funding bill.
Nine Democrats voted against continuing debate on the immigration bill yesterday, including five who used to favor more talk on the legislation. But even some Democrats who voted in favor of resuscitating the bill expressed doubts on whether they will ultimately be able to support it. Opponents remained adamant and promised to pull out all the stops to defeat the legislation, which, as the Post notes, some predict will be dead again by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, the White House found itself in the uncomfortable position of having to say that the president “misspoke” when he said the bill would provide amnesty for illegal immigrants. “You know, I’ve heard all the rhetoric—you’ve heard it too—about how this is amnesty,” Bush said. “Amnesty means that you’ve got to pay a price for having been here illegally, and this bill does that.”
There’s lots of stuff in the “family jewels,” and, although the papers acknowledge that most of it was already known, the documents provide new details on some operations. Highlights: The CIA tried to enlist the help of a Mafia boss to assassinate Fidel Castro; operatives grew their hair long to infiltrate anti-war groups and carried out wiretaps on Americans (including journalists); and the agency tested drugs that could alter behavior, including hallucinogens such as LSD, on “unwitting subjects.”
Although CIA Director Michael Hayden made sure to emphasize the documents “provide a glimpse of a very different era and a very different agency,” all the papers note that some of the documents “seem remarkably relevant today,” as the LAT says. Back then the enemy was communism, and, just like today, the agency often didn’t have good sources for information. The NYT provides a separate analysis inside with the “irresistible” comparisons and mentions how a suspected Soviet spy was illegally detained for three years, and, of course, the warrantless wiretapping. “What’s going on today makes the family jewels pale by comparison,” James Bamford, who writes about intelligence, tells the NYT.
The Post goes inside with some details on a new bipartisan congressional investigation set to be released today on the state of the Iraqi security forces. As could be expected, the Iraqi forces don’t appear to be anywhere near ready to take over control of the nation’s security. But lawmakers appear to be particularly troubled by the lack of information from the Pentagon on the state of the forces, even though it has spent $19 billion to train and equip them. “This report details the complete lack of understanding of who we have trained and what happens to them after we train them,” Rep. Martin Meehan, chairman of the armed services subcommittee, said.
The NYT fronts a look at how the Kurdistan regional government is trying to lure investors to the area, and has even started an advertising campaign in English called “The Other Iraq.” Although there’s a lack of some basic services, there’s a lot of construction going on in the region, including $700,000 houses, a mall, and luxury hotels.
Let the mad scramble begin … People have already started lining up and hatching plans to get their hands on an iPhone on Friday. The LAT even notes that the “nation’s unofficial man-on-the-street” is in line. But is the thing any good? Although they all point out some basic flaws, reviewers for the NYT, WSJ, and USATheap praise on the iPhone and conclude that, as USAT puts it, “this expensive glitzy wunderkind is indeed worth lusting after.”