Archive for Monday, October 4, 2004

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October 4, 2004

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Washington, D.C.

Goss choice quit CIA in 1982 under fire

Michael Kostiw, chosen by CIA Director Porter Goss to be the agency's new executive director, resigned under pressure from the CIA more than 20 years ago, according to past and current agency officials.

While Kostiw -- a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, longtime lobbyist for ChevronTexaco Corp. and more recently staff director of the terrorism subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence -- has been through the CIA security vetting procedure, final clearance to take the job has not been completed pending review of the allegations.

In late 1981, Kostiw was caught shoplifting in suburban Langley, Va., sources said. During a subsequent CIA polygraph test, Kostiw's responses to questions about the incident led agency officials to place him on administrative leave for several weeks.

While on leave, Kostiw told friends he decided to resign.

California

SpaceShipOne's final launch planned for this morning

SpaceShipOne is one flight away from clinching the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million award for the first privately developed manned rocket to reach space twice within 14 days.

SpaceShipOne, shown above, was scheduled to be launched at 9 a.m. today in the Mojave Desert in an attempt to reach an altitude of at least 328,000 feet, or just over 62 miles, for the second time since Sept. 29.

The choice of pilot for the flight remained a secret on the eve of launch, as it did last week.

That flight and a test flight into space on June 21 were flown by Michael Melvill, who has been awarded the nation's first commercial astronaut wings by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The St. Louis-based Ansari X Prize was founded in 1996 to kickstart private-sector development of rocket ships.

Afghanistan

More than 950 killed in political violence this year

The killing in Afghanistan spirals onward, undermining U.S. claims of success in pacifying the country with less than a week to go before a historic experiment with democracy: direct presidential elections.

The deaths of three Afghan soldiers and two militants over the weekend brought to at least 957 the number of people reported killed in political violence this year, according to an Associated Press review. The toll includes about 30 American soldiers.

With Afghanistan three years removed from the brutality of Taliban rule, President Bush has acclaimed Saturday's presidential vote a beacon of hope for the Islamic world, and a prelude to even more tricky balloting slated for January in violence-plagued Iraq.

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