Archives for FUBAR

U.S. ramps up airport security

The United States on Thursday said it would step up airport security measures in response to renewed threats from Al-Qaeda in Yemen, in the wake of a failed Christmas Day bombing.

Passengers traveling to the United States will see more airport security screening and more armed air marshals on flights, Homeland Secretary Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

"We must remain vigilant about the continued threat we face from Al-Qaeda," Napolitano said. "We are taking an additional set of aviation security precautions to protect the American people.

"Some of these measures include enhanced random screening, additional federal air marshals on certain routes and adding individuals of concern to our terrorist watch list system."

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Congress grills terror officials on security lapses

Senior US counter-terrorism officials briefed lawmakers Wednesday on the Christmas bomb plot, amid congressional efforts to toughen aviation security in response to the thwarted attack.

Director for National Intelligence Dennis Blair, National Counter-Terrorism Center chief Mike Leiter, and President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism aide John Brennan held closed-door question and answer sessions at the Capitol.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes said the briefing to his panel aimed to provide "a complete accounting of the intelligence we had prior to the incident, as well as provide more detail on the failures identified in the president's preliminary report" on the incident.

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Like Bush, Obama slow in filling key jobs

President Barack Obama has filled key government jobs about as fast as the Bush administration, but too many top positions — about 40 percent — remain vacant nearly one year after Obama took office, says a report being released Wednesday.

While the study by the Partnership for Public Service praised Obama for a well-organized transition last year, it also knocked the president's team and Congress for filling top posts too slowly. Among them: the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency — two agencies tasked with keeping terrorists off planes, a key area of failure in the attempted Christmas Day airliner attack.

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Obama wants record $708 billion to wage war

President Barack Obama will ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of a record $708 billion for the Defense Department next year, The Associated Press has learned — a request that could be an especially hard sell to some of the administration's Democratic allies.

The extra $33 billion in 2010 would mostly go toward the expansion of the war in Afghanistan. Obama ordered an extra 30,000 troops for that war as part of an overhaul of the war strategy late last year.

Military officials have suggested that the 2011 request would top $700 billion for the first time, but the precise figure has not been made public.

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New book raises old questions about Clintons

A new book is out with a highly critical but unsourced portrait of Hillary Clinton. This familiar occurrence — it’s happened too many times to count over the years — has usually been greeted with an equally familiar response: A fast and furious counterattack from the Clinton inner circle.

What’s notable about the highly publicized release of “Game Change,” however, is the virtual silence from the Clinton camp. The lack of public outrage seems to mark the sputtering end of what was once known as the Clinton political machine and underlines a fact that onetime Clinton loyalists acknowledge: The book’s primary sources about the former candidate and current secretary of state are her own former staffers and intimates.

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Sarah Palin gets Fox commentator gig

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, will return to her broadcast roots and take her conservative message to Fox News as a regular commentator, the cable channel announced Monday.

"I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News," Palin said in a statement posted on the network's Web site. "It's wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news."

Fox said that according to the multiyear deal, Palin will offer political commentary and analysis on the cable channel, as well as Fox's Web site, radio network and business cable channel.

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Palin believed her candidacy was ‘God’s plan’

Sarah Palin believed that Sen. John McCain chose her to be his running mate in 2008 because of "God's plan," according to a top political strategist in the Arizona Republican's campaign.

In an interview with the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes," Steve Schmidt described Palin as "very calm — nonplussed" after McCain met with her at his Arizona ranch just before putting her on the Republican ticket. McCain had planned to name Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., as his vice presidential choice until word leaked, sparking what Schmidt called political blowback over picking the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Schmidt said he asked Palin about her serenity in the face of becoming "one of the most famous people in the world." He quoted her as saying, "It's God's plan."

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