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US State Department tells employees not to read WikiLeaks

Wikipedia home pageThe US State Department has directed its staff around the world not to surf the WikiLeaks website, according to employees. The ban is in response to WikiLeaks' decision to published classified material, including US diplomatic cables. It’s not clear when the policy first began but it joins a similar order by the US Department of Defense put in place since the leaking of Iraq and Afghanistan war documents earlier this year.

Analysts suggest the State Department is temporarily falling back on traditional bureaucratic protocols in the face of a crisis that is emblematic of the shift to an online world. As the dust settles, the WikiLeaks upheaval may push to the fore tensions between new “digital diplomacy” efforts that use Twitter and smart-phone apps, and an older culture of classified cables.

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Ant-covered Jesus video removed from Smithsonian after Catholic League complains

Ant-covered JesusOfficials at the National Portrait Gallery on Tuesday removed a work of video art depicting Christ with ants crawling over him after complaints from a Catholic organization and members of Congress.

The four-minute video, created by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, had been on exhibit since Oct. 30 as part of a show on sexual difference in American portraiture.
The piece was called "hate speech" by Catholic League president William Donohue and a misuse of taxpayer money by a spokesman for Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive incoming House speaker.

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'Historic' civil unions measure passes Illinois House

Historic civil union bill passes Illinois SenateCivil unions would be allowed in Illinois beginning next year for same-sex couples under legislation the House passed today. The 61-52 vote followed spirited debate on whether the action would be tantamount to legalizing gay marriage.

Sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, called on his colleagues to join the arc of history that has gradually eliminated discrimination on social issues ranging from allowing women the right to vote to knocking down numerous social and legal barriers standing in the way of giving rights to people of color.

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Local TSA Agent Speaks Out On Pat-Downs

TSA officers don’t like the new aggressive pat-downs of passengers either.

“I truly feel that it is morally and ethically wrong to do it,” the agent noted. “This does not make flying safer. It’s just taking away American citizens rights.”

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U.S. strips intelligence analyst of security clearance and job but won't say why

The PentagonEighteen months ago, John Dullahan was an intelligence analyst with a long and varied career in both the military and the classified world. Today, he is jobless and blacklisted from the federal workforce, his loyalty to the United States, he says, brought into question. He just isn't sure why.

On St. Patrick's Day 2009, the government stripped the Irish-born Dullahan's security clearance and fired him from his job at the Defense Intelligence Agency in a manner that has no precedent at the Pentagon - invoking a national security clause that states that it would harm the interests of the United States to inform him of the accusations against him.

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Color-coded terror alerts may end

Color coded alerts to endThe Homeland Security Department is proposing to discontinue the color-coded terror alert system that became a symbol of the country's post-9/11 jitters and the butt of late-night talk show jokes.

The 8-year-old system, with its rainbow of five colors - from green, signifying a low threat, to red, meaning severe - became a fixture in airports, government buildings and on newscasts. Over the past four years, millions of travelers have begun and ended their trips to the sound of airport recordings warning that the threat level is orange.

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TSA screeners leave cancer survivor covered in urine

A retired teacher from Lansing, Michigan, says he had to walk through an airport and board a plane covered in urine after TSA agents tore open his urostomy bag during a pat-down.

“One agent watched as the other used his flat hand to go slowly down my chest. I tried to warn him that he would hit the bag and break the seal on my bag, but he ignored me. Sure enough, the seal was broken and urine started dribbling down my shirt and my leg and into my pants.”

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