Miami-Dade, one of three Florida counties yet to report a final tally in the state's presidential vote, decided to suspend a hand recount of its 700,000 ballots. Elections board officials said the recount would be impossible to complete by the Monday deadline imposed by Florida's Supreme Court. The board offered to tally only about 10,600 votes that could not be read by machine. The court ruling, issued late Tuesday, was offering Vice President Gore perhaps his last opportunity to overtake Republican rival George W. Bush for victory in Florida.
The Bush camp, meanwhile, suggested it may challenge what it called the "unacceptable" ruling by Florida's highest court. Florida lawmakers, most of whom are Republicans, were considering a special session to choose a new method of selecting the state's 25 electors if they are certified for Gore. The most likely way to call such a session would be for the Senate president and House Speaker, both Republicans, to do so jointly. Otherwise, Gov. Jeb Bush (R), the candidate's brother, would have to step in and issue a proclamation.
In another slow tally to determine the winner of a key political race, Maria Cantwell, the Democratic candidate for US Senate in Washington State, pulled ahead of incumbent Slade Gorton (R) by almost 2,000 votes. The nation's only other undecided race with national implications could split the Senate 50-50 if Cantwell wins. About 9,700 ballots remained to be counted Wednesday, the deadline for the state's 39 counties to certify their results. Washington's secretary of state indicated he would order a machine recount Monday, as required when a margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent.
A long-anticipated review of the FBI's Carnivore project by techology experts said the device can gather information from Internet service providers about online messages sent and received by criminal suspects. But the study by the Illinois Institute of Technology Research said Carnivore should be fine-tuned since it posed a risk of unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications if it were incorrectly configured. Critics said the report didn't resolve claims that the system invades Americans' privacy.
Federal officials have decided that last month's attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen appears to have been orchestrated by a group linked to the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in North Africa, The Washington Post reported.
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