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Leader of Polygamist Sect is Arrested in Nevada

By Kirk Johnson


Warren Jeffs, the polygamist leader of a Mormon-offshoot sect and a symbol of the government’s hardened line against plural marriage in the West, was arrested late Monday after a routine traffic stop near Las Vegas.

Jeffs, 50, who is wanted in Utah and Arizona on charges of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men, had with him an assortment of wigs and $50,000 in cash, but no weapons, police officials said. He was traveling with a wife and a brother, both of whom were questioned and released.

The arrest, four months after Jeffs was put on the FBI’s 10-most-wanted list, brings to a head many of the issues that have been simmering in the deeply isolated polygamist communities of Utah and Arizona where Jeffs’ outlaw stance — and ability to evade arrest — had bolstered his claim to be an untouchable prophet of God.

Law enforcement officials and people close to the polygamist community said that even while Jeffs was on the lam, he continued to lead a group called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The group split from the mainline Mormon church decades ago when it disavowed polygamy. The fundamentalist church has about 10,000 members, mostly in and around Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

“Part of his mystique was that God was protecting him and he couldn’t be taken,” said Mark Shurtleff, the Utah attorney general, who has led the crackdown there. “Our hope is that those who fear him will see he’s not as fearsome as they thought, and maybe they can come forward now and provide evidence to us.”

Ex-State Dept. Aide Said to Admit Leak on CIA

By Neil A. Lewis


Richard L. Armitage, ex-deputy secretary of state, has acknowledged that he was the person whose conversation with a columnist in 2003 prompted a long, politically laden criminal investigation in what became known as the CIA leak case, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday.

Armitage did not return calls for comment. But the lawyer and other associates of Armitage have said he has confirmed that he was the initial and primary source for the columnist, Robert D. Novak, whose column of July 14, 2003, identified Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer.

The identification of Armitage as the original leaker to Novak ends what has been a tantalizing mystery. In recent months, however, Armitage’s role had become clear to many, and it was recently reported by Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post.

In the accounts by the lawyer and associates, Armitage disclosed casually to Novak that Wilson worked for the agency at the end of an interview in his office at the State Department. Armitage knew that, the accounts continue, because he had seen a memorandum written by Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman.

Storm Damage Feared in Homes Not Repaired Since 2005

By Abby Goodnough and Joseph B. Treaster


Betty Smith’s house looked painfully vulnerable as Tropical Storm Ernesto approached, with half of its roof draped in blue plastic, the other half still stripped of shingles after last year’s hurricanes.

“I think it’ll be all right,” Smith, 66, said as the first rain bands from the storm began to batter Miami-Dade County on Tuesday afternoon.

With the slow-moving storm threatening winds of up to 70 miles an hour and 5 to 10 inches of rainfall overnight, others were not as optimistic. Thousands of roofs in Miami-Dade and Broward counties remain damaged from Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, and officials urged the people who live beneath them to seek surer cover.

“We’ve implored people that have blue tarps to contact friends, family, neighbors and to ride out the storm someplace else,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

Forecasters said tropical-storm-force winds of at least 40 mph would probably arrive in Miami late Tuesday and spread through the rest of South Florida overnight, with heavy rains before the storm exited the state Wednesday night near Daytona Beach. Tornadoes were possible, they said.

When Hurricane Irene, a similarly slow storm, plodded across South Florida in 1999, it dumped up to 20 inches of rain in some regions.

Rumsfeld Likens War Critics to Appeasers of Nazis

By David S. Cloud


Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that critics of the war in Iraq and the campaign against terror groups “seem not to have learned history’s lessons” and compared them to those in the 1930s who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany.

In a speech to thousands of veterans at the American Legion’s annual convention here, Rumsfeld sharpened his rebuttal of critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy, some of whom have called for phased withdrawal of U.S. forces or partitioning of the country.

Comparing terrorist groups to a “new type of fascism,” Rumsfeld said, “With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?”

It was the second unusually combative speech by Rumsfeld to a veterans group in two days and appeared to be part of a concerted administration effort to address criticism of the war’s conduct.