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Fact Sheet

Homeland chief offers compromise to Congress



A monthlong dispute between Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Congress may be closer to an end now that Ridge has offered a compromise plan to answer legislators' questions. The lawmakers have questions about White House funding to fortify domestic defense, but Ridge has refused to testify in front of a committee.

Additionally, families of people who died in the September 11 attacks will provide testimony in the death penalty phase of the trial for the only man charged with crimes related to the tragedies. Others will hear tapes from the cockpit voice recorder of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.

Pentagon officials said U.S. troops found a laboratory near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in Afghanistan that could have been used in the production of anthrax.


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    Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has offered to make an informal public appearance before members of Congress within the next month to talk about President Bush's counter-terrorism budget, said a spokesman for Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia.

    But Byrd spokesman Tom Gavin suggested the offer would not be enough to satisfy lawmakers who have sought Ridge to testify before congressional committees about the administration's plans to spend $38 billion on homeland security programs.

    Ridge has been in a dispute with bipartisan members of Congress for more than a month over Byrd's request that the homeland security director testify about the money the president has sought in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks. (Full story)

    The Justice Department has begun interviewing relatives of those killed in the September 11 attacks to assemble stories for possible use in the first criminal trial stemming from attacks. On Tuesday, the families of New York police, fire, and rescue workers who died in the attacks will have an opportunity to be debriefed by federal prosecutors and FBI agents at a hotel in midtown Manhattan. (Full story)

    The families of the passengers and crew of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11 will be able to listen to the tape of the cockpit voice recorder on April 18 in Princeton, New Jersey. (Full story)

    Pentagon officials confirmed Monday that U.S. troops found a laboratory near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar that could have been used in the production of anthrax.

    Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the troops found some but not all of the equipment needed in the production of the potentially deadly bacteria. He said it looked as if someone had tried to destroy some of the equipment. (Full story)


    How much longer will fighting continue in Afghanistan?

    How much progress has al Qaeda made in developing chemical or biological weapons?

    Where is Osama bin Laden?

    WHO'S WHO:

    Dick Cheney: U.S. vice president

    Gen. Pervez Musharraf: Pakistani president

    Gen. Tommy Franks: Commander in chief of U.S. Central Command




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