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Nation in brief: Holder: U.S. still targets bin Laden

WASHINGTON – Under fire from Republican critics, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday the U.S. still aims to capture and interrogate Osama bin Laden, but expects the al-Qaida leader won’t be taken alive.

The attorney general was on the defensive from the outset in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, peppered with criticism over his handling of terrorism issues, including the planned shutdown of the Guantanamo Bay detention center and where those suspects should be sent for trial.

He said remarks he made last month that bin Laden wouldn’t face trial stemmed from reports that his security guards are under instructions not to let him be taken alive if cornered by U.S. forces.

Shortly after he made those comments in March, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said it remains the goal of U.S. troops to capture bin Laden alive and bring him to justice, suggesting that military and legal counterterrorism agencies are not on the same page.

“Our plan is to capture him or to kill him. Our hope would be to capture him and to get useful intelligence from him,” the attorney general said.

Palin PAC lags in fundraising

WASHINGTON – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continues to lag behind some other potential 2012 presidential contenders in fundraising for her political action committee, reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show.

However, Palin also plans an aggressive fundraising campaign timed to help candidates she supports in the 2010 midterm elections, according to her political action committee’s treasurer. In fact, her PAC on Wednesday launched a new campaign to raise money, timed to the April 15 federal income tax deadline.

Over the past three months, SarahPAC gave just $9,500 in donations to seven candidates or causes Palin supports, including several veterans whose congressional campaigns she endorsed recently.

The committee raised $398,481 in the first quarter of the year but spent $400,260, largely on consultant fees.


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