Senate intel chief splits from Bush on spy court

By wire services
Published February 18, 2006

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Friday that he wanted the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program brought under the authority of a special intelligence court - a move President Bush has argued is not necessary.

The chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said he had some concerns that the court could not issue warrants quickly enough to keep up with the needs of the eavesdropping program. But he said he would like to see those details worked out.

Roberts spoke in an interview a day after announcing that the White House, in a turnabout, had agreed to open discussions about changing federal surveillance law.

High winds scour the Northeast, kill 3

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A fierce storm swept across the Midwest and into the Northeast on Friday, causing temperatures to plummet and generating winds up to 77 mph. Three people were killed by falling trees.

The storm sent temperatures in some parts of western New York plunging from 60 degrees to below freezing within a few hours. High winds knocked out power to more than 300,000 homes and offices and closed schools.

In Michigan, about 100,000 customers were still without power Friday after 60-mph winds blew through the Lower Peninsula. Some homes and businesses were expected to remain blacked out until Monday.

Judge denies bail in Fla. terrorism support trial

MIAMI - A federal judge refused to set bail Friday for accused al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla, calling the former Broward County resident a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Padilla, a 35-year-old U.S. citizen and former Chicago gang member, is charged with being a recruit for a North American terror cell that provided fighters, money and supplies to Islamic extremists around the world.

Federal prosecutor Stephanie Pell said Padilla had a history of arrests and convictions for violent crimes - including murder as a juvenile in 1985 - and had forfeited bail by failing to appear on four other occasions. Padilla had been arrested previously on charges including assault and battery, marijuana possession and illegal weapons, and he served a year in Florida prison for a weapons conviction, records show.

Sheriff stops sexual services for detectives

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. - The sheriff said Friday he will no longer allow detectives to receive sexual services while investigating suspected prostitution after they spent $1,200 at massage parlors last month and sparked an outcry.

Spotsylvania County Sheriff Howard Smith defended the practice as necessary to obtain a conviction but told his department he was suspending it.

Supreme Court ...

WHISTLEBLOWER CASE: The Supreme Court said Friday that it will again hear arguments in the free-speech case of a whistleblower, apparently so that new Justice Samuel Alito can break a tie.

TEXAS REDISTRICTING: The Supreme Court on Friday granted the Bush administration's request to join Texas in defending a Republican-friendly congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay.