John McCaslin

Congress this week passed a resolution honoring two Americans for preventing what might otherwise might have been one of the most devastating modern-day terrorist acts ever committed on U.S. soil.

Tim Nelson was the first to pick up the phone and call the FBI on the morning of Aug. 15, 2001. Exactly one hour later, Hugh Sims phoned the FBI. Those pair of calls set into motion the only U.S. criminal prosecution, thus far, stemming from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 - that of French national Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty last month to six counts of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

"I came to the United States of America to be part . . .  of a conspiracy to use (an) airplane as a weapon of mass destruction, a statement of fact to strike the White House, but this conspiracy was a different conspiracy than 9/11," Moussaoui testified.

Nelson and Sims were on the staff of the Minnesota flight school where Moussaoui, despite not having a pilot's license, shelled out $8,300 in cash to learn how to fly a 747 jumbo jet.


Wisconsin Rep. David R. Obey is the only Democratic member of the House to have served on the three major economic committees in Congress: the Budget Committee, the Joint Economic Committee (he was chairman for two terms), and the Appropriations Committee (he's the senior Democrat).

This week, as Congress was weighing the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, Obey all but trashed the department charged with preventing terrorism.

"(We) have an agency which is essentially incompetent and dysfunctional," he observed. "We are trying to protect the nation's security by working through an agency which is gargantuan, which is bureaucratic, to say the least, which is filled with inertia, and filled with people working at cross-purposes. Outside of that, it does a terrific job."


Here's a twist to the hot-button issue of illegal immigration (which really isn't "immigration" if it's illegal, but that's a story for another day).

The Web domain is being auctioned off to the highest eBay bidder on July 4 to help raise money to fight the problem of illegal aliens, who number as many as 11 million in this country.

Adam Christing, a California small-business owner auctioning off the domain, says he will donate 20 percent of the money generated to Americans for Legal Immigration (ALI-PAC), which supports the right of people to legally enter the U.S.

John McCaslin

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

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