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In the Nation

Cheney backed tough CIA tactics

WASHINGTON - Vice President Cheney said yesterday that he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA, and that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should remain open indefinitely.

Cheney's remarks on Guantanamo appear to put him at odds with President Bush, who has expressed a desire to close the prison, though the decision is expected to be left to Barack Obama's administration.

Cheney's comments mark the first time he has acknowledged playing a central role in clearing the CIA's use of an array of controversial interrogation tactics, including waterboarding. He told ABC News, "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared."

Asked whether he still believed it was appropriate to use waterboarding on terror suspects, Cheney said: "I do."

- Los Angeles Times

Court: FBI needs OK for gag rule

The FBI cannot bar companies or individuals from publicly disclosing its requests for records in national-security investigations unless the agency justifies the gag rule to a judge, a U.S. appeals court ruled yesterday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit threw out a Patriot Act provision that requires judges to defer to government claims that any disclosure of the FBI's request for such information would harm national security. The 2001 act says courts must accept the government's word on the need for secrecy unless proof existed that FBI officials had acted in bad faith.

An Internet service provider identified only as John Doe Inc. challenged the FBI's enforcement of the gag rule. FBI agents issued more than 192,000 national-security letters from 2003 through 2006. The Justice Department said it was reviewing the ruling.

- Bloomberg News

Accelerant used at Palin church

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An accelerant was poured around the exterior of Gov. Sarah Palin's church before fire heavily damaged the building, federal investigators said yesterday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the accelerant was poured at several locations around the Wasilla Bible Church, including entrances. Lab tests will determine the type of substance involved. Possibilities include gas, kerosene, diesel fuel, or even lamp oil, Agent Nick Starcevic said.

The blaze was set Friday night at the church's main entrance while a small group was inside. No one was injured.

Authorities had no immediate suspects or motive

. - AP


Rep. Peter Hoekstra

(R., Mich.), who campaigned on a bicycle when he defeated a Republican incumbent in 1992, says he will not seek reelection in 2010 and is considering a run for governor.

Sen. John Kerry

(D., Mass.) will be the next Foreign Relations Committee chairman, and Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D., W. Va.) will take over the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which will help write the economic-recovery package, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday.