COMMENTS: Elsewhere…

NBC's lead by Jim Miklaszewski covered a commission on the readiness--or "appalling" lack thereof--of the Pentagon's Northern Command to defend against "a catastrophic chemical, biological or nuclear attack here at home." The commission found that 88% of the National Guard is not ready for service…ABC's Martha Raddatz (embargoed link) reported from Camp Torkham in the Afghan Hindu Kush near the Khyber Pass that attacks by Taliban guerrillas have increased by 40% in the last year. "It means the insurgents are losing," Gen Dan McNeil "remarkably" insisted to Raddatz. "We had a wonderful year…we dominated the battlefield"…On the Pakistan side of the border, CBS' David Martin reported, an unmanned drone assassinated abu-Laith al-Libi, the most prominent al-Qaeda leader to be killed by the CIA in two years since hitherto "a lack of intelligence and concerns that strikes only inflame anti-American hatreds had led to a virtual ceasefire"…NBC's Andrea Mitchell followed up on reporting in Newsweek and The New York Times on the uranium deal between President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and Frank Giustra, a Canadian energy tycoon. The deal was inked after Giustra visited Nazarbayev with Bill Clinton. Clinton "praised the country's widely criticized dictator" and hosted Giustra and a Kazakh official at his home in Chappaqua NY. Giustra contributed $131m to the AIDS program of the Clinton Foundation and flew Clinton to Kazakhstan on his own private jet: "All involved deny an quid pro quo." Clinton's aide told Mitchell not to take the former President's effusiveness too seriously: the praise "was only pro forma, being polite."


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