HARI SREENIVASAN: A former Denver Airport shuttle driver pleaded guilty today to plotting bomb attacks in New York City. Najibullah Zazi told a federal judge he had planned a martyrdom operation. He said he was trained by al-Qaida in Pakistan.
In Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder said the outcome shows the federal courts can handle terror cases.
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. attorney general: We must use every weapon available to us in order to win that war.
In this case, as it has been in so many other ones, the criminal justice system has proved to be an invaluable weapon for disrupting plots and incapacitating terrorists, one that works in concert with our intelligence community and in concert with our military. We will continue to use it to protect the American people from terrorism.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Zazi faces the prospect of life in prison without parole when he is sentenced next June.
Fresh violence across Iraq killed at least 23 people today, less than two weeks before national elections. In one attack, Iraqi gunmen killed eight members of a Shiite family south of Baghdad. Some of the bodies were beheaded.
Meanwhile, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army General Ray Odierno, said he’s prepared to slow the U.S. troop withdrawal if the election triggers chaos.
MAJ. GENERAL RAYMOND ODIERNO, commander, Multi-National Corps-Iraq: We think, so far, it will probably go fairly smoothly. But we will wait to see.
I have contingency plans that I have briefed the chain of command this week that we can execute if we run into problems, if it goes the way we think, or if it just is a little bit different than the way we think.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Ninety-six thousand American troops are currently stationed in Iraq. About half are combat forces scheduled to leave by the end of August. The rest are supposed to withdraw by the end of 2011.
A federal judge in New York has approved a settlement between Bank of America and the Securities and Exchange Commission worth $150 million. The bank was accused of misleading shareholders about losses at Merrill Lynch before it bought the failing brokerage in 2009. The judge said today the settlement is better than a smaller one he rejected last year, but he still called it half-baked justice at best.
For the record, Bank of America is a “NewsHour” underwriter.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost almost 19 points to close at 10383. The Nasdaq fell not quite two points to close at 2242. And the price of oil rose back above $80 a barrel for the first time in more than a month.
A rare copy of the very first “Superman” comic book sold today for the record price of $1 million. The 1938 edition of “Action Comics” number one was sold privately. The original price was 10 cents. Today, only about 100 copies still exist. Last year, a lesser-quality issue sold for $317,000, the previous record price.
Those are some of the day’s main stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the “NewsHour”‘s Web site.