The US "did the right thing" by confronting "a gathering threat in Iraq," President Bush said, as a growing number of administration officials defend last year's war as necessary despite the failure so far to find stockpiles of banned weapons. Earlier Thursday, CIA Director George Tenet said his agency provided "an objective assessment" of a brutal dictator who "had the intent and capability" to produce chemical and biological weapons. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld made similar arguments Wednesday before House and Senate panels. Bush is expected to name an independent commission Friday to investigate prewar intelligence lapses, an idea he'd previously opposed.
In a second rare policy turnaround, Bush agreed to extend the deadline Wednesday for another panel - this one investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - to complete its final report. The commission will release its findings July 26.
Howard Dean declared Wisconsin's Feb. 17 primary a "must win" for his Democratic presidential campaign, telling supporters in an e-mail that "the entire race has come down to this." The former Vermont governor and erstwhile front-runner for the party's nomination hasn't won any primaries or caucuses to date, despite a dedicated online following. Washington, Michigan, and Maine hold contests this weekend.
Authorities were trying to determine a motive fot a 14-year-old's fatal stabbing of a fellow student at Southwood Middle School in Miami. Michael Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder late Tuesday after he admitted killing Jaime Gough in a restroom. Relatives and classmates described the boys as top students and close friends, the Miami Herald reported. The attack "was obviously planned, but it was totally unprovoked," Miami-Dade schools police chief Pete Cuccaro told the newspaper.
A suspect linked to the abduction of a girl in Sarasota, Fla., is in custody but uncooperative, police said. Joseph Smith was detained Tuesday for an unrelated probation violation when a phone tip brought him to the attention of authorities searching for 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, who disappeared Sunday. "We have strong evidence that he is ... the perpetrator," said Capt. Jeff Bell, lead investigator on the case for Sarasota County.
At a festive gala, Time Warner Inc. opened its $1.7 billion headquarters in New York Wed-nesday night. In addition to CNN studios, the twin-tower complex has hundreds of shops and restaurants, a five-star hotel, two theaters, and luxury condominiums.