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Letter warned CIA on trashing tapes

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee warned in a 2003 letter that destroying videotapes of terrorist interrogations would put the CIA under a cloud of suspicion, according to a newly declassified copy of the letter.

“Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future,” Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., wrote in a Feb. 10, 2003, letter to then-CIA general counsel Scott Muller. “The fact of destruction would reflect badly on the agency.”

Harman’s office released the declassified letter on Thursday, a day after the Justice Department announced it had opened a criminal investigation into the destruction of the tapes. The letter notes that a copy also went to then-CIA Director George Tenet.

Madison, Wis.

State looking for new ‘brand’

America’s Dairyland wants you to know it’s not just full of cheeseheads – and it’s taking the mission seriously.

State lawmakers and the Department of Tourism are trying to come up with a new “brand” to explain why they think Wisconsin is a good place to visit, live and do business.

“We are the Green Bay Packers. We are a great agricultural state. We are America’s Dairyland,” said Rep. Steve Wieckert, a Republican from Appleton. “But we are more than that.”

Said Linda Gorchels, a marketing expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: “There are certain stereotypes that people have about Wisconsin, and it’s very, very difficult to change those stereotypes. Nothing is going to happen very quickly.”

New York

Family dog bites, kills infant

An 8-month-old boy being cared for by his grandmother was bitten on the head by his family’s dog on Thursday and killed, police said.

Police and Emergency Medical Services were called to the family’s Brooklyn home shortly before 2 p.m. Andrew Stein, an only child, was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, police said.

The Doberman pinscher was tranquilized and taken to an animal care center.

Police were investigating. They said it was too soon to determine what would happen to the dog. Neighbors said the dog was docile and friendly and would allow them to pet it.


Ex-cops conducted fake raids

Three former Chicago police officers were sentenced Thursday to federal prison for staging mock raids to steal cocaine and marijuana from drug dealers and resell it to other dealers.

“You and your merry band essentially raped and plundered entire neighborhoods,” U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman said in sentencing former Officer Broderick Jones, the ring’s admitted leader, to 25 years.

A joint FBI and Chicago police investigation of the ring in 2005 led to charges against five former officers and five alleged gang members. The gang members tipped off Jones to where police could steal drugs and guns, prosecutors said.

Former Officer Darek Haynes was sentenced to 19 years in federal prison. Eural Black, 44, was sentenced to 40 years behind bars because he was found guilty of two additional gun charges.


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Zimbabwe leader calls assassination attempt ‘cowardly act’

UPDATED: 8:14 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s president was unscathed Saturday by an explosion at a campaign rally that state media called an attempt to assassinate him, later visiting his two injured vice presidents and declaring the “cowardly act” will not disrupt next month’s historic elections.