Former press sec.: Bush, Cheney misled public

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan blames President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for efforts to mislead the public about the role of White House aides in leaking the identity of a CIA operative.

In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby were “not involved” in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

“There was one problem. It was not true,” McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. “I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president’s chief of staff and the president himself.”

Bush’s chief of staff at the time was Andrew Card.


Court to examine whether D.C. can ban guns

The Supreme Court said yesterday it will decide whether the District of Columbia can ban handguns, a case that could produce the most in-depth examination of the constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” in nearly 70 years.

The justices’ decision to hear the case could make the divisive debate over guns an issue in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections.

City officials said the law is designed to reduce gun violence, noting that four out of every five homicides this year was committed with a gun. Opponents of the ban pointed to the level of violence to make their case that Washington residents should be allowed to have guns to protect themselves in their homes.


U.S. to host Middle East conference

The State Department announced yesterday that the U.S. will host a Middle East conference next week as a prelude to talks that President Bush hopes will put the Israeli-Palestinian peace process back on track.

The announcement by spokesman Sean McCormack came after Israel and the Palestinians confirmed having received invitations to the meeting, which is intended to launch their first serious peace negotiations in more than seven years.

McCormack told reporters that 49 countries, institutions and individuals, including select Arab states and other key nations with a stake in the Mideast peace process were invited to the meeting beginning Nov. 27.


Polygamist leader sentenced to jail

A judge sentenced a polygamous-sect leader yesterday to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison for his role in the arranged marriage of teenage cousins.

Warren Jeffs, 51, was convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage of a 14-year-old follower and her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. It will be up to the Utah parole board to decide how long he actually stays behind bars.

As the verdict was read, Jeffs was stoic, as he was throughout the trial. His attorney, Wally Bugden, asked the judge for concurrent sentences but lost the argument.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

U.S. Deaths: 3,783

Number of American service members who have died in the war in Iraq, according to The Associated Press. No new deaths were identified yesterday.

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