USA

The Justice Department launched a criminal investigation late Monday into who leaked a CIA operative's name, and President Bush ordered his staff to cooperate fully, directing that all documents relating to the matter be preserved. The disclosure of the intelligence officer's identity in a syndicated column by Robert Novak came shortly after her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, undermined Bush's claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa. Novak said late Monday that his source, who was not in the White House, told him the CIA operative was actually an analyst who did not work covertly.

From Capitol Hill to the presidential campaign trail, leading Democrats called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the identification leak. "A crime was committed here - a very serious crime," said US Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York Monday. Four of his Senate colleagues urged Attorney General Ashcroft to appoint a person of "unquestionable independence and impartiality." In a letter, they wrote: "We do not believe that this investigation of senior Bush administration officials ... can be conducted by the Justice Department because of the obvious and inherent conflicts of interest involved."

A physician working as a translator at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was arrested in the latest of a series of apprehensions raising security concerns at the center for terrorism suspects. A senior law-enforcement official identified the suspect as Ahmed Mehalba, who was arrested at Boston's Logan International Airport after a flight from Cairo. Agents noticed documents they suspected were classified and that appeared to have come from the prison camp. The FBI was called to interview Mehalba, who denied the documents were his, later charging him with making false statements.

The national do-not-call list is moving forward, and telemarketers could face fines for pestering households as early as Wednesday. As legal battles over the issue continued, Bush signed legislation Monday to ratify the Federal Trade Commission's authority to set up the program, for which an estimated 50 million people have registered. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission stepped in, saying it would enforce the list, since a federal judge's order has prevented the FTC from doing so.

The number of Americans without health insurance swelled by 2.4 million last year, due to rising premium costs and growing unemployment, the Census Bureau reported. It said 43.6 million Americans did not have coverage, a jump of almost 6 percent from 2001. Rates increased in all regions except the West. This marks the second consecutive annual increase in the number of uninsured, the report said.

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