CIA Director: Mubarak May Step Down Thursday Night

Embattled President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade authoritarian rule in Egypt could possibly come to an end Thursday night, CIA Director Leon Panetta told the U.S. Congress. “As you can see I got the same information you did which is there is a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening, which would be significant in terms of where the hopefully orderly transition in Egypt takes place,” Panetta said.

Mubarak has agreed to yield power to his vice president, a senior U.S. official told CNN, citing contacts within the Egyptian government.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, tempered his remarks by saying: “We need to see it happen.” But the official said the information came from reliable and ranking officials in the Mubarak regime. Asked when the transfer of power might take place, the official said: “We are told soon is the plan.”

State TV reported Mubarak will address the nation on Thursday from the presidential headquarters in Cairo. The secretary-general of Egypt’s ruling party told CNN Thursday that a transition was underway and he expected Mubarak to address the nation soon. But he said did not have confirmation that Mubarak intended to step down Thursday.

Hossam Badrawi, a prominent doctor who was appointed to the ruling party’s post last Saturday, told CNN he believed Mubarak’s words would “accommodate the protesters.” Badrawi indicated that the transition process had been accelerated but he was unclear exactly when Mubarak might step down. He said certain constitutional reforms have to be implemented before the president can relinquish power. Read more…

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As published in www.cnn.com on February  10, 2011


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