Cameron Defends Coulson Hiring, FBI: Pakistan Illegally Lobbied Over Kashmir

BY News Desk  July 20, 2011 at 8:25 AM EST

British Prime Minister David Cameron, under fire for his hiring of former News of the World employee Andy Coulson as his spokesman, defended himself before Parliament Wednesday, saying, “I regret, and I am extremely sorry, about the furor it has caused.”

“You live and you learn, and believe you me, I have learnt,” Cameron told members of Parliament. He said if Coulson had been involved in the phone hacking incidents, he would face criminal charges.

Ed Miliband, leader of the opposing Labor party, was quick to criticize Cameron’s response, saying “This can’t be put down to gross ignorance. It was a deliberate attempt to hide from the facts on Mr. Coulson.”

Cameron’s statement comes on the heels of testimony by News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, his son James, News International chairman, and former News International executive and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.

News Corp. announced it would stop paying legal fees for Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who police allege was involved in the phone hacking scandal.

Two Arrested Over Kashmir Lobbying, FBI Alleges Pakistani Military Involvement

The FBI said Pakistan’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency were involved in underhanded attempts to influence U.S. policy, spending $4 million dollars in a 20-year period to donate to congressional and presidential candidates in an attempt to influence attitudes toward India’s control of parts of Kashmir.

The FBI has alleged that two men — Syed Fai, a Virginia resident arrested Tueday, and Zaheer Ahmad, who lives in Pakistan — were involved in moving the funds and giving donations to candidates. Both men are U.S. citizens. Fai heads the Kashmiri American Council, an advocacy group prosecutors said was used to channel money from the ISI.

The affidavit said that many who received the donations were unaware that the group was tied to the Pakistani military or ISI. Recipients include the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., Al Gore and Barack Obama.

Pakistan has denied any knowledge or involvement and issued a statement through its embassy in Washington, saying, “Fai is not a Pakistani citizen and the government and embassy of Pakistan have no knowledge of the case involving him.”

Intense Heat Wave Moves Over Eastern United States

On Wednesday the eastern United States will bear the brunt of a brutal heat wave that has walloped much of the Midwest with a blanket of humidity and high temperatures this week, sending heat indices soaring to more than 120 degrees in some places. The National Weather Service has issued a series of warnings for people in affected areas, especially for at-risk groups like the elderly.

In Washington, D.C., the heat index could reach 110-115 degrees between Wednesday and Saturday.