ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

As Denver's Rocky Mountain News Notes, "a Democratic state lawmaker came up with a novel idea Thursday on how to fix Colorado's fiscal problems: cut taxes." LINK

A backing of a tax on cigarettes by the health industry and builders' support to fight liability measures are just examples of the $1.7 million big money interests pumped into campaigns last month for and against Colorado's ballot measures. LINK

Though welcome-home signs still hang high in Colorado Springs, thousands of soldiers were told they will head back to the Middle East in as little as three months, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports. LINK

With so much misinformation among educators about the No Child Left Behind law, says U.S. Deputy Education Secretary Gene Hickok, officials decided to host workshops around the country for teachers. LINK

During the President's campaign stop in West Virginia on Sunday, he proclaimed that the Fourth of July is about freedom. That's ironic, the Charleston Gazette editorial page claims, considering that "a Texas couple who tried to speak their minds were hauled away in handcuffs." LINK

New Mexico religious leaders joined those from 45 other states Thursday to urge U.S. senators to act with "great moral urgency" on a global-warming bill, reports the Albuquerque Journal. LINK

The politics of national security:

The CIA braces for a bad review. USA Today's John Diamond ledes, "The CIA failed to penetrate Saddam Hussein's regime sufficiently before the war to find out what weapons Iraq possessed, and agency analysts applied faulty logic to the sketchy information they did have to conclude Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, a Senate committee report due out today says." LINK

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank Note during his farewell address and a day before Congress is to released a "searing" report about intelligence failures in Iraq, former CIA Director George Tenet "told CIA employees not to be distracted by the criticism." LINK

In a Washington Post op-ed, Sen. Richard Durbin previews the Roberts-Rockefeller report, writing that "the Senate intelligence committee report scheduled to be released today reveals in stark terms that in many key areas, the prewar intelligence regarding Iraq's threat to the United States was neither reliable nor accurate. And the report tells only half of the story." LINK

The New York Times' David Johnson and David Stout wrap yesterday's Bush Administration briefings saying that "Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenants, operating from hideouts suspected to be along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, are directing a Qaeda effort to launch an attack in the United States sometime this year." LINK

"In discussing the latest threat information, one of the officials said the intelligence was "cryptic," about both timing and location. There is a widespread assumption in the intelligence community that past targets -- New York, Washington, the Los Angeles airport -- all still have symbolic value to Al Qaeda. There is no specific reference to the coming political conventions, the official said, but that remains an immediate focus of concern."

The New York Post's Kuntzman and Weiss report, "Al Qaeda is planning a major attack on the United States to disrupt November's presidential elections, Homeland Security officials said yesterday." LINK

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