Periscope

What was Neil Bush doing in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, last week? Officially, the president's youngest brother was a keynote speaker at an international business forum. (Among the main backers of the event: the Saudi Binladin Construction Group and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the tycoon whose $10 million offer to help the victims of the World Trade Center attacks was rejected last fall by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.) With an audience filled with Saudi royals, Bush talked about the role of "public opinion" in shaping U.S. Mideast policy.

But Bush's main purpose wasn't public-relations advice. NEWSWEEK has learned the presidential sibling also had another agenda: recruiting Middle East investors for an educational-software firm that, industry sources say, may benefit enormously from the new $26.5 billion education bill signed by President George W. Bush. Neil Bush's Austin-based firm, called Ignite, has raised about $18 million since last year, mostly from foreign investors in Japan, Taiwan and the Middle East, said Ignite exec Kenneth Leonard. The company is exploring joint ventures with computer software firms in Dubai and is seeking contracts with the United Arab Emirates' Ministry of Education and other foreign governments, said Leonard, who has accompanied Bush on three trips to the Mideast since George W became president.

Neil Bush's business career has created problems for his family in the past. In 1990, while his father was president, he was reprimanded by federal regulators for his role as a director of the failed Silverado Savings & Loan. Bush told NEWSWEEK he has avoided contacting U.S. officials during his recent travels and said there was nothing improper about his seeking business from foreign governments. "What am I supposed to do? Nothing in life? Every country has a concern about the education of its children--and I'm happy to cooperate with them. I don't see a conflict." Bush also said he doesn't talk to the White House about Ignite. "I don't get permission from my brother to do business." But some rivals say Bush's role in Ignite could help the firm cash in on a booming new market in "digital learning"--in part due to a fresh infusion of funds for school districts from his brother's education bill. Ignite recently began marketing its first product--an American-history software program--to local school officials. "There's only about four or five [educational-software] firms in a position to take advantage of all this new money, and Neil Bush's company is one of them," said a rival. But competitors acknowledge Bush appears excited about Ignite's potential to boost student performance. "He seems very passionate about it," said Baxter Brings of Advanced Academics.

Bush wasn't the only high-profile figure on the Saudi circuit. Also speaking at the Jidda forum: Bill Clinton, who was paid $300,000. (Clinton earned an additional $475,000 for speeches in Dubai and Cairo.) While accepting the Saudis' money, Clinton was keenly aware of potential fallout for his wife's political career. When he learned bin Laden family members (who have disowned their terrorist brother) were coming to a dinner in his honor, Clinton had them "disinvited," said a Clinton spokeswoman. He also avoided Prince Alwaleed "like the plague," said a source.

CITIES

Lessons of the WTC Recovery

Julie Scelfo

THE SKINNY: AOL'S SUIT

What does AOL want? Billions of dollars in damages, to be sure. But its more ambitious goal is "injunctive relief" that limits Microsoft's actions in the future: allowing a bigger opportunity for AOL itself to dominate in areas like instant-messaging and Web services.

TERRORISM

Catch Me If You Can

After the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, the CIA asked the Germans for information on Mamoun Darkazanli, a Hamburg businessman who U.S. officials believed had contacts with two bin Laden operatives. The Germans found that the Syrian-born trader was already in their files for his ties to Islamic militants. Security officials stepped up their monitoring of Islamists, even picking up hints of possible extremist activity at 54 Marienstrasse, the apartment building where Atta and his cell apparently hatched their plot. But investigators couldn't get enough evidence to wiretap the place. After 9-11, police raided Darkazanli's flat, seizing records and questioning him about his contacts with suspected hijackers; U.S. and European officials ordered his assets frozen. Legal and financial hassles aside, Darkazanli remains free. His lawyer says his client has never knowingly been in contact with Al Qaeda but acknowledges that Darkazanli attended the wedding of Said Bahaji, the Hamburg terrorist cell's computer geek.

German officials say they are now beefing up their corps of intelligence experts and revising laws to make it easier to collect information on terrorist suspects. But some investigators say it will be at least a year before they really know what's going on in Hamburg's Muslim community.

SCIENCE: FAILING TO SHARE

PLAGIARISM

Have You Read This Story Somewhere?

Even their critics couldn't agree on the severity of their infractions. Problem is, as concepts go, plagiarism isn't that old. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson as the first person to use the word plagiary to designate literary theft--and he was making a joke. That was at the beginning of the 17th century, when everyone, including Shakespeare, still borrowed other people's work and remade it. Originality had very little cred before the Romantics inflated it. The increasing prevalence of mass-produced books furthered the problem of plagiarism, too, because then there was something to steal from. The ensuing centuries have left us with no lack of cases, but clear-cut definitions are still hard to come by. "Common sense--always in short supply on this subject--has to settle the issue," says Thomas Mallon, author of the excellent history of plagiarism, "Stolen Words" (from which nearly the entire paragraph above is lifted). "How much material is involved? How many instances?" In Ambrose's case, literary detectives have ferreted out numerous examples of borrowing/lifting/stealing in at least five books published over three decades. Does that make him a plagiarist? Mallon again: "If there are 10 stab wounds, you're dealing with something other than a kitchen accident."

DOWN UNDER

Six Degrees of Guy Pearce

LAW

Lobbying for The Land

MOVIES

What's the Damage?

"Collateral Damage,"¿Hasta la vista?

TRANSITION:TORCH SONG

Robert Nozick, articulate philosopher of libertarianism, died of complications from stomach cancer; he was 63. In his influential book "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" (1974), he espoused a minimal government, defended the property rights of individuals and challenged the view that justice was served by forced redistribution of assets.

Kenneth Auchincloss

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

Special No Enron in Sight Edition

C.W. K. Lay - Kenny Boy finally pushed out. Will the Feds fit him with another sort of pinstripes? Cheney - Says Enron contacts over Energy Plan are "private." Tell it to the Judge. Sugar Land - Houston suburb scene of Enron suicide-- and for conspiracy buffs a new Grassy Knoll. Walker = Good news for the American Taliban: Escapes "Black Hawk Down" for Court TV. Smile! Amazon + Old: Poster child for dot-bombs. New: Posts a profit! Next: Martha Stewart book jackets. Mariah C. - Her record co. pays her $28 million to shut her up. If only they'd done it before "Glitter."