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Security Politics

— Bush played peacemaker over dinner last night with Presidents Karzai and Musharraf.  The Washington Times says things appeared tense when the three leaders faced the press.  "More than two hours after the dinner was scheduled to end, the White House said the three leaders had shared their views...  But when asked by reporters how long the dinner had lasted, White House spokesman Nicole Guillemart would not say." 

The "cherry-picking" debate continues over the NIE as the White House yesterday refused to release the rest of it, "saying that doing so would jeopardize the lives of agents who gathered the information.  Press secretary Tony Snow said releasing the full report... would also risk the nation's ability to keep secret its U.S. intelligence-gathering methods and 'compromise the independence' of those charged with analyzing intelligence."   

The New York Times says the release of the NIE "has threatened" the White House's plans to seize on national security this week.  "If anything this week, the back-and-forth between the parties - on the intelligence report, on the bills and on the war itself - seemed to produce at best a muddled result, rather than the sharp contrast that the White House had sought." 

A new congressional report says the United States is spending nearly $2 billion a week in Iraq, which is "twice as much as in the first year of the conflict three years ago and 20 percent more than last year," reports the Boston Globe.  Per the report, "a major factor in the growth of war spending is the result of a dramatic rise in 'investment costs,' or spending needed to sustain a long-term deployment of American troops." 

The Washington Post says of the House vote to approve the detainee legislation yesterday, "Republicans hope to campaign on the bill as proof of their party's tough stand against terrorists.  Many congressional Democrats decided to swallow their misgivings and vote for the bill to avoid being portrayed as less than vigilant against suspects captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere." 

The part of the bill that "worries advocates" most is the "one stating that 'no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination,'" writes the Boston Globe.

The Chicago Tribune is the latest to write how former President Clinton's "white-hot, finger-wagging interview" on FOX has thrust him into the midterm elections, "just as the Republicans appeared to be erasing some healthy Democratic advantages.  For some Democrats, that's just what they would like to see...  How far Clinton might be able to carry his party, however, is an open question." 

Sen. John Kerry (D) gives a speech on national security at Johns Hopkins'  School of Advanced International Studies this morning.  Per his office, he'll talk about "the need to redeploy from Iraq, refocus on Afghanistan, and... how central America's moral authority is to winning the war on terror.  Within that context, Kerry will discuss the Senate's debate on torture, arguing that 'there can be no compromise on torture, it is not who we are as a country' and will say that the compromise bill before the Senate does not go far enough when it comes to protecting American troops."

Democrats touted their military veteran House candidates yesterday.  The AP notes that most of them don't have a real shot at winning, while the party counters that all they need is a few.