Lawmakwers subpoena CIA big; Justice eyes former spy
WASHINGTON - The House Intelligence Committee yesterday issued a subpoena for Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA official who directed that secret interrogation videotapes of two suspected terrorists be destroyed.
The panel ordered Rodriguez to testify at a hearing on Jan. 16. Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said Rodriguez "would like to tell his story, but his counsel has advised us that a subpoena would be necessary."
House Intelligence Committee staff members want to know who authorized the tapes' destruction; who in the CIA, Justice Department and White House knew about it and when, and why Congress was not fully informed.
_ Also, McClatchy Newspapers reported yesterday, the Department of Justice is investigating whether a former intelligence officer illegally disclosed classified information in interviews he gave on how the CIA waterboarded a suspected senior al Qaeda member.
Thieves jack a Picasso from Brazil's modern art museum
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Armed with a crowbar and a car jack, it took thieves just three minutes to steal paintings by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari, worth millions of dollars, from Brazil's premier modern- art museum.
Authorities said they hit the Sao Paulo Museum of Art just before dawn yesterday, when the city's busiest avenue was deserted and the guards inside were going through their shift change.
A few jabs of the crowbar, and they were able to slip a common car jack under the metal security gate. A few more cranks and they squeezed inside.
The alarm never rang, and by 5:12 a.m., they were making their escape.
Picasso painted "Portrait of Suzanne Bloch," in 1904 during his Blue Period. It is among the most valuable pieces in the collection, museum spokesman Eduardo Cosomano said. They also took "O Lavrador de Cafe" by Portinari, a major Brazilian artist.
_ And, in Newark, N.J., a truck driver accused of stealing a Goya painting from an unattended transport truck, then claiming he found it in his basement, pleaded guilty yesterday. Steven Lee Olson, of Carlstadt, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Hamas said to offer truce
on rocket fire into Israel
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israel is examining a Hamas truce proposal delivered by Egypt, defense officials said yesterday, after at least six Palestinians were killed in a day of Israeli air and ground strikes aimed at stopping rocket salvos from Gaza.
The Israeli officials said the Hamas proposal was limited to stopping the rocket fire in exchange for a halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza. They said Hamas gave assurances it could impose the truce on the militant groups that are firing the rockets - Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees.
Despite the tentative contacts, there were more Palestinian rocket barrages yesterday, but no injuries reported.
Panama takes new look
at 1989 U.S. invasion
PANAMA CITY, Panama - The anniversary of the 1989 U.S. invasion was declared a day of "national mourning" by Panama's legislature yesterday, and lawmakers established a commission to determine how many people were killed when U.S. troops stormed the capital.
The measure was unanimously approved as Panama commemorated the 18th anniversary of the day thousands of troops landed to arrest Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega on drug charges.
"This is a recognition of those who fell on Dec. 20 as a result of the cruel and unjust invasion by the most powerful army in the world," said Rep. Cesar Pardo, of the governing Democratic Revolutionary Party, which holds a majority in the legislature.
U.S. officials downplayed the issue.
"We prefer to look to the future," said U.S. Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall. "We are very satisfied to have a friend and partner like Panama, a nation that has managed to develop a mature democracy."
After some meditation,
monks to quit egg business
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. - A monastery will halt its egg-farming business after claims by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that the trappist monks mistreated hens.
The Rev. Stan Gumula, of Mepkin Abbey, said pressure from PETA has made it difficult for the monks to live a quiet life of prayer, work and sacred reading. He said the monks were sad to give up "a hard and honorable work of which they are proud."
The monks admitted no wrongdoing in the statement, and a spokeswoman declined to elaborate.
The egg-farm business will be phased out over the next 18 months, according to the statement.
"We will be looking for a new industry to help us meet our daily expenses," the abbot said.
Gumula told the National Catholic Reporter that the abbey produces about 9 million eggs a year, and that the product is delivered to retailers in the Charleston area. The abbey also has a store that sells the eggs.
eBay talking up opportunity
to buy a 'Knight Rider' car
GREENWICH, Conn. - An original KITT - the talking car that helped David Hasselhoff escape bad guys on the '80s TV series "Knight Rider" - is up for sale on eBay.
The black 1984 Pontiac Trans Am is being sold to satisfy the debts of a slain real-estate developer, whose killing last year is unsolved. Boats, cars and other items owned by car aficionado Andrew Kissel already have been sold after creditors claimed he owed $30 million.
One bid - for the $20,000 minimum - had been posted on eBay as of yesterday. *