Top News

This Week | The Top 5 news stories as measured by coverage in The Washington Post, USA Today, and NBC Nightly News over a one-week period from June 6 to 13

Issue: "NEA: School bully," June 22, 2002
Scoring system: 5 points for news stories appearing on the front page of The Washington Post, 3 for stories on the next two pages of the "A" section, and 1 thereafter. Same formula for USA Today, except the values are doubled to account for its national circulation. Stories carried on NBC Nightly News receive 10 points if they run before the first ad break, 6 between the first and second break, and 2 thereafter. Anchor-read stories earn 2 points early, 1 point late.
Cabinet making
167 points | President Bush responded to continuing media and congressional criticism over intelligence failures prior to 9/11: He delivered a surprise prime-time address to the nation calling for a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security. TeamBush has resisted this since creating the White House homeland security office headed by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. The proposed cabinet agency, which would cobble together a new home for the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the Border Patrol, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and other agencies, would create a department of almost 170,000 employees and an estimated annual budget of $37 billion. The announcement kicked off a months-long process of congressional tinkering with the proposal. Some 80 committees and subcommittees have oversight duties with the agencies that could be shuffled. Congressional leaders were mostly supportive, but many in Washington worry that other legislative initiatives will wither in the face of this big new job. White House officials said they would need another two or three weeks to prepare a bill for Capitol Hill.
Dirty bombs,dirty hands
164 points | FBI agents arrested former Chicago street gang member Abdullah Al Muhajir in a suspected al-Qaeda plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States. The agents arrested Mr. Al Muhajir, formerly known as Jose Padilla, on May 8 on a flight to Chicago. He had been living in Egypt and traveling in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he met with al-Qaeda leader (and now U.S. informant) Abu Zubeydah. The plot to explode a "dirty bomb"-a conventional explosive that spreads radiation-was in its initial stages, officials said, but Mr. Al-Mujahir "indicated some knowledge of the Washington, D.C., area." On the Philippine island of Mindanao, a daring rescue attempt of Kansas missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham, hostages for more than a year, ended sadly with Mr. Burnham being shot and killed (see p. 7). The U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of leaders of the Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who took the hostages.
Arafat's credibility bombed
95 points | A booby-trapped car laden with about 200 pounds of explosives blew up next to a bus's fuel tank in the town of Megiddo in northern Israel. The blast killed 17. Israeli troops again pounded Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, and the White House grew bolder in criticizing the failure of the Palestinian leaders to curb terror. "In the president's eyes, Yasser Arafat has never played a role of someone who can be trusted or who was effective," said Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. President Bush met with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak at Camp David and then with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon at the White House. Despite Mr. Mubarak's urging a timetable for Palestinian autonomy, the president insisted after meeting with Mr. Sharon that "the conditions aren't even there yet ... because no one has confidence in the emerging Palestinian government." Mr. Fleischer said the deadly car-bomb attack would not derail a planned summit meeting at the foreign-ministry level later this summer.
FBI: Feds basically ineffective
62 points | Minneapolis-based FBI agent Coleen Rowley, whose critical memo of the bureau's sluggish pace before Sept. 11 placed her at center stage, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mrs. Rowley said she never anticipated "this kind of impact" when she wrote complaining about the "roadblocks" that kept her office from looking more closely at a laptop computer belonging to alleged 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui. While she generally supported the FBI reorganization plan on the table, she still suggested the new plan's "six to nine levels [of bureaucracy] is ridiculous." FBI director Robert Mueller explained that one of the bureau's top lawyers now believes that Minneapolis would have gotten its search warrant for the laptop if the D.C. headquarters had been aware of the Phoenix memo asserting a potential security threat at flight schools. But the head of the bureau's National Security Law Unit, which refused the entreaties from Minneapolis, believes the Phoenix memo would not have provided sufficient evidence to act.

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Job-seeker friendly

    Southern California churches reach the unemployed through job fairs 


    After a fiery trial

    Intelligent design proponent David Coppedge reflects on his wrongful termination…