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Security politics

USA Today says that while the NIE paints a picture of a militant Islamic movement that may be spreading too quickly for the United States and its allies to keep up, "it also echoes President Bush's insistence on succeeding in Iraq." 

But, per the New York Times, "nowhere in the assessment is any evidence to support Mr. Bush's confident-sounding assertion this month in Atlanta that 'America is winning the war on terror.'" 

A Los Angeles Times analysis: "The escalating debate over national security reflects the belief among strategists in both parties that the terrorism issue works to their benefit.  The question is how voters will interpret each side's arguments." 

Bloomberg notes, "Some of the conclusions conflict with past statements by members of the administration, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld...  A White House official said the conclusions are consistent with Bush's repeated statements that the war in Iraq is a crucial component of the strategy to defeat terrorism and to make the U.S. less prone to attack." 

The Boston Globe notes that yesterday's "release of portions of the report was reminiscent to some critics of the White House decision two years ago to declassify a 2002 report estimating Iraq's suspected arsenal of weapons of mass destruction."

The Justice Department may probe the NIE leak. 

The Washington Post, taking its turn covering the debate between the Bush and Clinton Administrations over their respective anti-terror efforts, says it "effectively broke a tacit peace between the 42nd and 43rd presidents that has reigned for most of the past two years." 

In an interview with WNDB radio, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the September 11 Commission report made clear that "the Bush Administration did what it knew to do between coming to office and September 11th" and that the report "made very clear... that our country was not organized to fight a war on terror" before September 11.  Rice backed away a bit from her remarks to the New York Post that some of Clinton's claims were "flatly false," instead pointing to the Commission as the authority on this subject.

Look who's meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani later this morning, among others: Sens. John McCain (R), Joe Lieberman (D), Hillary Clinton (D), and George Allen (R), all of whom voted in favor of going to war in Iraq.

The defense spending bill passed the House yesterday; the Senate is expected to OK it before the end of the week.  "In a slap at Bush, the bill would bar the administration from using money from it to construct permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq or to exercise any control over Iraq's oil sector," says the Financial Times

UN Ambassador John Bolton probably won't get his committee vote until after the elections, in a lame-duck session.  His recess-appointed term expires in January.