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Briefs (right)

CIA’s Clandestine Unit Will Have
Limited Authority In Coordinating

By Douglas Jehl

A new CIA office intended to provide more coordination over U.S. spying operations will wield only limited authority, leaving the Defense Department and the FBI free to carry out an increasing array of human intelligence missions without central operational control, two senior intelligence officials said Thursday.

The director of the new office, as head of a National Clandestine Service, will instead be responsible primarily for setting standards and rules designed to minimize conflicts between the agencies, whose human spying operations in the United States and abroad have been expanding rapidly and are expected to continue to do so, the officials told reporters at a briefing.

In written statements issued on Thursday, both John D. Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence, and Porter J. Goss, the CIA director, said the new arrangements would improve the quality of American human spying. That has been a goal recommended by Congress, the Sept. 11 commission, and others in reviews conducted in the last two years. In response, President Bush pledged last year to increase human spying operations at the Pentagon and the FBI by 50 percent in the next five years.

But Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, described the changes as “a negotiated settlement” between the various agencies. Roberts expressed reservations about what he called “this latest reorganization,” saying he would have preferred that Negroponte, who took over the new post in April under a law enacted last year, exert his authority to “manage human intelligence collection worldwide.”

Rice’s Democracy Message
Elicits Mixed Reactions

By Joel Brinkley

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, carrying the Bush administration’s democracy campaign to the heart of Central Asia, ventured Thursday into highly charged and emotional arguments here and in neighboring Kazakhstan over how far the United States should go to encourage entrenched, corrupt leaders to open their political systems.

At every forum, Rice spoke of the need for “free and fair elections,” but that was not enough for some opposition candidates in a part of the world where speaking out against the government, even during an election campaign, can prompt a beating or jail term.

“She said some very good things,” said Bulat Abilov, campaign manager for the Right Path Party in Kazakhstan. “But her very soft phrases are encouraging our leaders to oppose new leadership.”

Kazakhstan holds presidential elections in December, Tajikistan next year, and in both places the longtime leaders, who live and work in gilded, bespangled palaces they have built for themselves, are harassing and imprisoning opposition candidates who seem to pose even a minor threat.

Hours before Rice arrived in Astana, the Kazakh capital, on Wednesday night, 20 police officers in riot gear stormed into the offices of Tolen Tokhtasynov, an opposition leader and longtime critic of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and arrested him. The authorities released him later that night, after Rice asked Nazarbayev about his case, administration officials said.

Nazarbayev has governed Kazakhstan since the Soviet Union installed him in office in 1989. Asked at a news conference Thursday morning why he should not be considered a dictator by now, he grew defensive and said the questioner had been taken in by “opposition disinformation.”

Rice stood at his side, a taut, unsmiling expression on her face. Asked whether freedom of expression for opposition candidates was a priority for her, she said, “Our position is consistent around the world, and that is the need for the political opposition to be allowed to express themselves, and we expect the same for Kazakhstan.”

Pinter Wins Nobel Prize
In Literature

By Sarah Lyall

Harold Pinter, the British playwright, poet and political campaigner who uses spare and often menacing language to explore themes of powerlessness, domination and the faceless tyranny of the state, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

Pinter “uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms,” the Swedish Academy in Stockholm said in announcing the award, which is worth $1.3 million.

In his versatile and productive career, Pinter, 75, has written plays and screenplays, directed theater productions, acted on screen and stage, and won awards across Europe. So precise and pared down is his prose, so artful his use of pauses and omissions to invoke discomfort, foreboding and miscommunication, that he has his own adjective, Pinteresque, signifying a peculiar kind of atmospheric unease.

In “The Birthday Party,” “No Man’s Land,” “The Homecoming” and other plays, Pinter dispenses with the easy comforts of fluent speech and has his characters speak in non sequiturs and sentence fragments, interrupt one another, fail to listen, fail to understand. He uses language to convey miscommunication and lack of understanding rather than shared comprehension.

He is an overtly political writer, vehemently opposed to the Iraq war, to the British government under Prime Minister Tony Blair and to what he sees as bullying American imperialism in the Middle East and around the world. A recent poem, “The Special Relationship,” refers to the alliance between the United States and Britain but is consumed with bombs exploding, limbs being blown off and the atrocities committed at places like Abu Ghraib.

The Swedish Academy occasionally presents awards with a political edge, and this is the second prize in a week that has gone to an opponent of the Iraq war. On Oct. 7, the peace prize was given to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, who in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq was skeptical of American accusations that Saddam Hussein had rebuilt a nuclear program.