Rice balks at House subpoena

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signaled yesterday that she was unlikely to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, arguing she had already answered questions about the administration's knowledge of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Rice said she would be happy to respond in writing to the committee's demand but said she would not agree to appear in person.

Also yesterday, a House panel investigating the firings of eight U.S. attorneys said it would authorize a subpoena for James Comey, a former deputy attorney general, who was at the Justice Department when top aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales began formulating the dismissal plan. A House Judiciary subcommittee plans to formally approve a subpoena Tuesday for Comey's testimony Thursday. - Washington Post

Military pulls off anti-ballistic tests

HONOLULU - The U.S. military destroyed a cruise missile and a short-range ballistic missile during a test yesterday over the Pacific, the first time two test targets were intercepted simultaneously, the Missile Defense Agency said.

The military fired the short-range missile from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. A Navy plane fired the cruise-missile target used in the test. Sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie fired back.

A similar attempt failed in December. The military later determined that the ballistic-missile defense system had been programmed incorrectly.- AP

Pentagon official says shut database

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon's new intelligence undersecretary is recommending that the Defense Department shut down a classified database that has been criticized for improperly collecting information on antiwar groups and citizens.

James R. Clapper Jr. "does not believe they merit continuing the program as currently constituted, particularly in light of its image in the Congress and the media," said Maj. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman.

Clapper forwarded his recommendation to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last week. The TALON database has been under critical review since its existence was disclosed publicly in December 2005. - AP

Elsewhere:

NASA managers decided yesterday to bring U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams home on an earlier shuttle flight than planned so she does not spend more than six months aboard the space station. She is to return on Atlantis, to launch in early June.

David Huckabee, son of GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, was arrested yesterday at Little Rock's airport after an X-ray technician detected a loaded Glock pistol in his carry-on luggage. Huckabee, 26, pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon in a prohibited place and drew a one-year suspended jail sentence, community service, probation and fines.

Jackson, Miss., Mayor Frank Melton was acquitted yesterday of using sledgehammers to batter a duplex that he considered a drug house.