WASHINGTON -- The Senate Rules Committee, responding to a flurry of recent claims that Americans are being held prisoner in Southeast Asia, voted unanimously yesterday to create a select committee to delve into the long-simmering issue of U.S. servicemen missing in action.
Meanwhile, President Bush told reporters that there is still "no hard evidence of prisoners being alive, and for those who are unscrupulously raising the hopes of families by fraud, that should be really condemned."
Some senators argued, however, that the government has failed to pursue vigorously evidence that Americans are still being held.
Separately, in testimony before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, a top Pentagon official cast further doubt on the authenticity of a blurry photograph of three men purported to be U.S. MIAs from the Vietnam War.
Carl W. Ford Jr., deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told the panel that the photograph of the three men was one of five obtained from a single source who is known to have fabricated such information in the past.