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Bush balks at call for Syria info

President Bush is threatening to veto an intelligence bill in part because it would require revelations about an Israeli strike on Syria.

Many of the objections cited by the White House in its statement Tuesday threatening to veto the Intelligence Authorization bill have to do with its mandates for increased oversight and its bans on torture as an interrogation technique. However, Bush also objects to demands for further clarity on the Syria attack

The bill would withhold 70 percent of funding for an unspecified intelligence center until the Bush administration fully briefed the intelligence committees in both houses about the Sept. 6 attack by Israel.

The bill, which allows intelligence programming for 2008, has been approved by conferees from the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives and awaits final passage. Bills rarely undergo changes at this stage.

Israel reportedly attacked Syria to end a nascent nuclear weapons program. Bush administration and Israeli officials have maintained a stringent silence on the attack. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) has led the effort to learn more. Ros-Lehtinen is close to the pro-Israel community and hopes to use the revelation to justify further sanctions on Syria.

The veto threat was first reported by Secrecy News, a publication of the Federation of American Scientists.

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