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News Briefs

Congressman Speaks Of Homos in the Military'

Los Angeles Times

In the second disparaging remark made about gays this year by members of Congress, Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-Calif.) in a speech on the House floor referred to Democrats who oppose revamping the Clean Water Act as "the same ones who would put homos in the military."

In a statement issued later, Cunningham said he used the offensive term as "shorthand" for the word "homosexual" because he was "under time pressures to complete my statement within the allotted time."

The utterance by the conservative congressman, a former POW and air combat instructor, set off a war of words that brought lawmakers swooping to the House floor and infuriated gay rights groups.

Cunningham said Democrats who oppose altering the environmental legislation are "the same people who would vote to cut defense $177 billion, the same ones who would put homos in the military."

When Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) leaped to her feet in protest, Cunningham turned and fired: "Sit down you Socialist."

Cunningham then attempted to steer the discussion back to the bill at hand but his opponents pressed on. Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, who is gay, was not present to hear the remark but raced to the floor when informed of it. "The time is over when I will let that kind of gratuitous bigotry go unchallenged," Frank said.

Deutch Says Top Management Of Agency to Be Reassigned

The Washington Post

Former Provost John M. Deutch '61, newly sworn in on Wednesday as director of the CIA, began his first day at the spy agency Thursday by telling its work force that "much of the top management" will be reassigned in coming weeks and months but that the changes he plans to make will not be "revolutionary" or "draconian."

In an effort to calm the nerves of anxious CIA officers and let them see the new boss in person, Deutch spoke for 20 minutes to a standing-room only audience of more than 500 at the CIA auditorium.

He emphasized his respect for the agency's work, which he called "a matter of primary importance" to the nation, and said that "for me, it is not a debatable issue" that the CIA must remain "modern, effective, and highly supported" by top U.S. officials including the president.

Deutch fielded some strikingly candid questions about his avowed plan "to make the CIA more effective and accountable," including why his new management slate appeared to include no women or minorities and whether he plans to hire an outsider as the new head of the CIA's covert action wing. Deutch responded with the mixture of humor and blunt-spokenness that colleagues have said typified his previous work as deputy secretary of defense and as MIT's provost.