Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- Former international weapons inspector David Kay, now seeking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction for the Pentagon, has privately reported successes that are planned to be revealed to the public in mid-September.

Kay has told his superiors he has found substantial evidence of biological weapons in Iraq, plus considerable missile development. He has been less successful in locating chemical weapons, and has not yet begun a substantial effort to locate progress toward nuclear arms.

Senior officials in the Bush administration believe Kay's weapons discoveries should have been revealed as they were made. However, a decision, approved by President Bush, was made to wait until more was discovered and then announce it -- probably in September.

GRILLING THE NSC

The two senior staffers of the National Security Council (NSC), who have been reported responsible for the famous 16 words in President Bush's State of the Union address, were cross-examined privately by congressional interrogators on Aug. 1.

Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was questioned briefly by bipartisan aides of the Senate and House intelligence committees. Robert Joseph, the senior NSC staffer who actually wrote the 16 words reporting alleged Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa, was then grilled for over three hours.

The congressional staffers came downtown to question Hadley and Joseph at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House. The president had refused to permit NSC officials to be interrogated in public or to go to Capitol Hill for the questioning.

LABOR INFIGHTING

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's campaign scored a political victory, with the help of his newly named labor operative, by stopping the AFL-CIO's immediate endorsement of Rep. Richard Gephardt for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Gephardt, backed by 11 unions, pushed hard for the labor federation's endorsement at the AFL-CIO meeting in Chicago this past week. Bob Mullenkamp, Dean's new labor aide, worked to postpone further consideration of the issue until another meeting was called for October.

Mullenkamp was an aide to former Teamsters president Ron Carey and is on poor terms with the union's present leadership headed by James P. Hoffa, a strong supporter of Gephardt. Mullenkamp is married to Karen Ackerman, currently political director of the AFL-CIO.

DASCHLE DISHED

The usually astute Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle committed a rare tactical blunder just before the August recess when he agreed to a procedure opening the way to passage of a Republican-style energy bill.


Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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