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ThinkFast: September 17, 2007

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"ThinkFast: September 17, 2007"

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The Iraqi Interior Ministry is pulling the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm, after the company was “allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of civilians during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade.” “We have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory,” Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell “heads to Capitol Hill this week” seeking to extend the government’s surveillance authority. “McConnell is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.”

While Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) predicts that a federal ban on job discrimination against GLBT workers “will win House approval in coming weeks,” he and other gay rights supporters are “less optimistic” about the Senate, “where they would need 60 votes” to overcome stall tactics from conservatives, such as a filibuster.

In a “bluntly worded” cable, Ambassador Ryan Crocker “said the admission of Iraqi refugees to the United States remains bogged down by ‘major bottlenecks’ resulting from security reviews.” “About 2 million Iraqis are displaced inside Iraq, and an estimated 2.2 million more have fled” to neighboring nations.

Joel A. Scanlon has been named director of strategic initiatives, taking over the ‘think tank’ within the White House long led by the departed Peter H. Wehner.” Scanlon “is a former research assistant to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.”

The UK Sunday Telegraph reports that the Pentagon is “taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran,” developing a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in that country.

Today in Iraq, “almost every archaeological site in southern Iraq is under the control of looters.” Many archaeological workers trained under Saddam Hussein are now “using their knowledge to join the looters in digging through the ancient cities.”

And finally: The newest tourist attraction in Minneapolis is the airport bathroom made famous by Sen. Larry Craig’s (R-ID) arrest. “People have been going inside, taking pictures of the stall, taking pictures outside the bathroom door — man, it’s been crazy,” said Royal Zino, who owns a shoeshine shop next to the bathroom.

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