Report: 9/11 Attacks
Did Not Involve Iraq
* There is no hard evidence that the government of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein worked with the al Qaeda terrorist network to plan attacks on the United States. That is what a panel looking into the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings said yesterday.
Although al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden did approach Iraq for help in providing training or weapons, Hussein did not go along, according to the report.
The Bush administration has long claimed that links existed between Hussein and al Qaeda, and cited them as one reason for last year's invasion of Iraq. Just this week, Vice President Cheney said that the Iraqi dictator "had long-established ties with al Qaeda."
The 9/11 panel also said yesterday that al Qaeda's original plan for attacking the United States was for 10 planes to be hijacked by as many as 26 men, with targets along the West Coast as well as the East. The scaled-back plan that was eventually launched had four planes and 19 hijackers, with targets in New York and Washington.
Now That's a Foul Ball
* When 4-year-old Nick O'Brien and his mom went to the Texas Rangers baseball game Sunday, they had no idea they would emerge as national celebrities. The same was true for Matt Starr, though he's not happy about it.
Here's what happened:
In the third inning of the game with the St. Louis Cardinals, a foul ball was hit into the stands where Nick and his mom were. Starr, a row away, lunged for the ball head-first, pushing Nick out of the way.
Nick's mom swatted Starr with a cardboard fan and called him names. "You trampled a 4-year-old boy to get this ball," Edie O'Brien yelled at him. The crowd then began chanting for Starr, 28, to give Nick the ball. He didn't. Instead, he and a friend left the park early.
Nick wasn't hurt. And the Rangers and Cardinals quickly presented him with souvenir bats and balls, including one signed by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
Yesterday Nick and his parents appeared on national television. Starr, described by friends as a former youth minister, wasn't talking to reporters. But his pastor said, "He's not the bad guy he's been made out to be. He loves kids."