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U.S. MONUMENTS POORLY SECURED, INSPECTOR SAYS

WASHINGTON

Inadequate security has left national icons such as the Washington Monument and the Statue of Liberty vulnerable, a government report on the U.S. Park Police reported Monday. The Interior Department's inspector general accuses the Park Police of an "overall lack of commitment to its icon security responsibilities," citing chronic understaffing along with a lack of coordination and training. "We found that despite having increased security and law enforcement responsibilities since the events of September, 11, 2001, USPP's staffing levels are lower now than they were 6 years ago," the report says. For example, when two protesters dressed as superheroes climbed onto the statue's lap at the Lincoln Memorial and hung a banner in August, Park Police were absent from their post and private guards did nothing to stop them, the report said.

WASHINGTON

Criminal inquiry sought of e-mails

An advocacy group sought a criminal inquiry of the White House on Monday over millions of possibly missing e-mails, saying someone may have deliberately deleted them to conceal involvement in a potential crime. In a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said the White House also may have violated two federal record-keeping laws, including the Federal Records Act, which carries criminal sanctions for unlawful destruction. The group, which is suing the Executive Office of the President, said more than 10-million e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005 are missing. The period coincides with the run-up to the Iraq invasion and the leaking by at least three top White House aides of the CIA identity of Valerie Plame. The White House referred questions on the letter to the Justice Department, which declined to comment. The White House said last month there is no reason to believe that any e-mails or other data are missing.

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