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Aug. 25, 2009 at 10:00 PM
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Death findings blacked out of CIA report

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Three detainee deaths and several detainee disappearances were blacked out in the CIA inspector general's report, an ex-official who read the full report says.

ABC reported the unnamed former senior intelligence official said the public version of the report did not contain the inspector general's findings on the three deaths, two of which reportedly occurred in Iraq and the third in Afghanistan.

Findings on a fourth death were included in the report, the U.S. television network said. A CIA contractor was convicted of assault in that case and is serving a prison term.

Findings on several detainee disappearances were also blacked out, the official told ABC.

Of the 109 pages in the report, 39 were "redacted," or blacked out, for security reasons.

The 2004 inspector general's report, which covered CIA interrogations only from Sept. 11, 2001, to 2003, was made public under court order in a Freedom of Information Act suit.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, after Monday's release of the edited report, expanded the mandate of a special counsel to include a preliminary review of some interrogations. Under U.S. Justice Department guidelines, which mirror the lapse independent counsel statute, a preliminary inquiry is necessary before a full-scale investigation is conducted.

GOP group rips CIA inquiry

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Leading congressional Republicans said Tuesday a special counsel's preliminary review of alleged CIA interrogation abuses will hurt the national interest.

The GOP lawmakers denounced Monday's decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to expand the mandate of special counsel John Durham by ordering him to conduct a preliminary review of whether there should be a full-scale investigation of alleged torture under the Bush administration, The Washington Post reported. But some Democrats worry the investigation may not go far enough.

"We are witnessing the beginning of a witch hunt that will decimate both the morale and effectiveness of those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our nation," the head of a House conservative caucus, the Post quoted Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., as saying in a statement.

Eight senior Senate Republicans wrote a letter of protest to the attorney general, saying they fear "the true cost of this endeavor will ultimately be borne by the American people, who rely on the intelligence community, operating without distraction, to protect them from the many threats, known and unknown, that our country faces in this post-9/11 world."

Signers included Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican leader; Christopher "Kit" Bond of Missouri, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee; and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

The Post said Democrats, for the most part, approved the preliminary inquiry, but Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called again for an independent review of all Bush-era policies in the war on terror.

British P.M. wants to work with Libya

LONDON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the Lockerbie bomber's rousing reception in Libya was repulsive but he would still work with Libya against terrorism.

In his first public comment on the matter, Brown Tuesday said he was upset by the celebratory welcome home for Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was released from a Scottish prison last week on humanitarian grounds because he has terminal cancer.

Brown would not speak directly about the Scottish government's decision to free Megrahi because the British government had no direct role in it, The Guardian reported.

"Because it was a quasi-judicial matter, because it was a matter legislated for by the Scottish parliament and not by us, it was a matter over which we could not interfere and had no control over the final outcome," he said.

Brown said Britain still wants to work with "even countries like Libya, who have renounced nuclear weapons now and want to join the international community -- we want to work with them in the fight against terrorism around the world."

The Scottish government said it would release "all relevant information" about the applications to return Megrahi in the next week.

Megrahi was convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people died.

"My first thoughts have been with the families of the victims of Lockerbie bombing and I have to tell you I was both angry and repulsed by the reception that a convicted bomber guilty of a huge terrorist crime met on his return to Libya," The Times of London quoted Brown as saying at the news conference.

S.C. man claims $260M Powerball jackpot

COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A retired South Carolina man won the $259.9 million Powerball jackpot, but said Tuesday it won't go to his head.

Solomon Jackson Jr., one of 12 children and a former assistant supervisor at the state Department of Revenue, refused to give his age or even say whether he would take the money in a reduced immediate payment or spread out in a 30-year annuity during a news conference in Columbia, USA Today reported.

Jackson said he bought the winning ticket at a Murphy USA gas station in front of a Columbia-area Wal-mart Aug. 19. He bought the ticket there because he loves Wal-mart's prices and knew he could save 3 cents on a gallon of gas, the newspaper reported.

Even after he learned early Tuesday he had won the jackpot he said he helped mow a neighbor's grass because her father had recently died, and drove out to a Columbia suburb to get a bargain $35 car alignment.

During his news conference, Jackson thanked God repeatedly and said, "Too many people let this go to their head. ... I vow and promise everybody here ... this won't go to my head."

"I won't do a bunch with it, but somebody's going to be blessed," he said.

"Some winners anticipate a change. But I'll still be Solomon," the newspaper reported.

The jackpot was the largest ever won in the state, USA Today said.

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