Actionable? The NYT says a "sharp debate" is brewing within the West Wing walls of the Bush administration over whether Israeli claim that Syria was beginning a nuclear weapons program with the help of North Korea should lead to a change in U.S. policy. The intelligence led to the Israeli airstrike against Syria. Some in the administration agree with Israel's assessment of the threat (Cheney), others need convincing (Condi).
Blackwater Redux. WaPo has the story of private security guards who opened fire on a car in Baghdad, killing two women. The guards work for Unity Resources Group, an Australian company. The car was sprayed with as many as 40 bullets. The incident comes weeks after the Blackwater gunfight, which led WaPo to say the latest shootout "seemed certain to heighten tensions between the Iraqi government and the thousands of private security guards operating in Iraq."
No and yes. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a German citizen who says he was abducted and tortured by the CIA. Earlier, an appeals court sided with the Bush administration's argument that the need to preserve state secrets protects the government from having to address these events in court. Staying with Gitmo, Judge Gladys Kessler of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled the Pentagon can't transfer a Gitmo detainee to Tunisia because of fears that he might be tortured or killed. It’s the first time a U.S. court sided with a Gitmo detainee in this type of case.
Debate debut. Last night there was another Republican debate, but this time Fred Thompson was in attendance – which, as the NYT played it, was about the all you could say: "Romney and Giuliani Spar as New Guy Looks On." And apparently former White House counselor Dan Bartlett also isn’t too impressed with Thompson either. Often referred to as Bush’s alter ego, Bartlett gave a speech where he assessed Republican presidential candidates. He said Mike Huckabee is the "best candidate”; that Mitt Romney is hurt by “flip-flopping on positions"; and that Thompson is the "biggest dud."