John McCaslin

Just how deep into bureaucracy will the Iraqi prisoner abuse probe reach?

That's what a concerned higher-up at the Department of Interior wants to know. The official noted at a recent Interior meeting that the department's National Business Center (NBC) developed the contract for the Pentagon's hiring of interrogators in Iraq.

NBC, a branch within Interior's office of the secretary, provides various services for a fee to other federal agencies.

"The NBC was formed during the Clinton administration as a government business venture," says our source, among other services running a "lucrative" drug-testing program for several federal agencies.

POLITICAL GAMBLE

Which presidential candidate are gamblers putting their money on in November?

Casino Fortune, the world's oldest Internet casino, has launched an online presidential poll among America's gamblers.

After 47,016 votes, John Kerry leads George W. Bush by a narrow margin of 51 percent to 49 percent.

According to industry analysts, 5 million Americans gamble online.

FIELD OF DREAMS

While a member of Princeton's class of 1954, Donald H. Rumsfeld was a star athlete who captured Ivy League and All-Eastern wrestling titles.

Later, when he wasn't piloting Navy fighter jets, Rumsfeld won the All-Navy wrestling championship, catching the attention of the U.S. Olympic team. That much we knew.

Now, we learn that while a young congressman on Capitol Hill during the 1960s, Rumsfeld was a first-rate catcher in a fast-pitch softball league.

"He was (a great) athlete," says Jim Martin, the 68-year-old president of the 60 Plus Association. "He was a crew-cut congressman then. I was the pitcher, he was the catcher. And we're talking fast-pitch." The team's sponsor was Capitol Hill's Roll Call newspaper.

RUNNING SCARED

For the benefit of the increasing number of Americans who've grown weary of war - who insist that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would not be surrendering to terrorism - permit us to revisit the public sentiments of Osama bin Laden since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks:

October 2001: "America has been hit by Allah at its most vulnerable point, destroying its most prestigious buildings. I swear by God that America and those who dream of America won't dream of having security."

December 2001: "We calculated in advance how many of the enemy would be killed based on the position of the (World Trade) tower."

January 2002: "The battle has moved inside America, we will continue this battle until victory or until we meet God."


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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