Friday, April 07, 2006

Goood Morning to the Mainland!

SLATE tells us:

The New York Times leads with yesterday's devastating suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, which killed more than 70 Iraqis and heightened fears that the country is tumbling into a sectarian civil war. The attack also tops the Wall Street Journal's world-wide newsbox. The Los Angeles Times leads with the White House spokesman's admission that President Bush authorized Lewis "Scooter" Libby to disclose classified information about Iraq's weapons programs in an apparent effort to discredit administration critics. The Washington Post leads with the collapse of a compromise immigration bill as the Senate adjourned for a two-week recess.

The attack targeted a mosque associated with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the powerful Shiite political party. Three bombs exploded as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers. The bombing was apparently well-coordinated: One bomber—possibly a woman or a man disguised in female dress—detonated a bomb at the mosque's entrance, driving departing worshippers back into the confined space of the mosque, where two other attackers blew themselves up. The WP has the best on-the-spot details.

The LAT's story is headlined: "White House Does Not Deny Leak Claims." But Scott McClellan, Bush's perennially embattled press secretary, actually avoided using the L-word to describe what his boss did, arguing that the president couldn't improperly disclose classified information since once he discloses it, it's considered declassified. He drew a distinction between the kind of disclosure Bush authorized—releasing intelligence about Iraq's prewar weapons programs in an attempt to defuse criticism—which McClellan said was "in the public interest," and revelations that "could compromise our national security," such as reports about the existence of a domestic wiretapping program that is probably illegal. Critics questioned whether Bush was confusing the public interest with his political health. McClellan countered by saying that Democrats were "engaging in crass politics."

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