4.10.2006 | The new look of CNN.com

Lookin' sharp

Probably the best change is getting rid of the banner ad at the top. The down side is that a giant ad has been added at the side, making the site left-heavy, and the site is now 1024 pixels wide, where most sites are closer to 800 (which is how wide my browser is, even though I have a bigger scren), meaning I have to scroll sideways to see all the site's content. Still, though, a nice, clean improvement over the old design, which can still be found (for now) at CNN International.


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Watergate redux

The latest dispatches from the Republican culture of corruption...

Phone-Jamming Records Point to White House

WASHINGTON (AP) - Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House and Republican Party as the plan was unfolding, phone records introduced in criminal court show.

The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 — as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.

Repeated hang-up calls that jammed telephone lines at a Democratic get-out-the-vote center occurred in a Senate race in which Republican John Sununu defeated Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, 51 percent to 46 percent, on Nov. 5, 2002.

Virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number, which currently rings inside the political affairs office. In 2002, White House political affairs was led by now-RNC chairman Ken Mehlman. The White House declined to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002.

Bush acknowledges declassifying intelligence

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Monday that he had declassified intelligence documents in 2003 to help explain his administration's reasons for going to war in Iraq.

Court papers released last week said that a former aide to Dick Cheney, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, testified before a grand jury that the vice president told him in 2003 Bush had authorized the release of portions in the National Intelligence Estimate.

Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, is charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to FBI agents investigating the exposure of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame Wilson. Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a critic of the Iraq war.

Patrick Fitzgerald, prosecutor in the Libby case, wrote in the court papers that there was an effort by "multiple" White House officials to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of the Iraq war -- a reference to Wilson.

The court documents do not suggest Bush approved the leaking of the agent's identity.

In 2003, Wilson publicly questioned Bush's assertion in a State of the Union address that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapons program.

The administration later acknowledged that U.S. intelligence did not back up the assertion and that it should not have been included in the president's speech.

Some U.S. intelligence at the time bolstered Wilson's position that the uranium claim was not supported by evidence. But the information that the White House released, selected from the National Intelligence Estimate, supported the administration's stance.

Some Democratic critics have said the president approved leaking sensitive intelligence for political reasons despite repeated public pronouncements that he would punish anyone in his administration found to have leaked classified information.


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