[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/10/art.tsa.gi.jpg caption=" Join the conversation on Jack's blog."]
Here we go again... Five Transportation Security Administration employees are now on "administrative leave" after a sensitive airport security manual was posted on the Internet.
Here's some of what was revealed:
This comes weeks after three Secret Service officers were put on leave while that agency investigates how it allowed those two morons to crash a White House State Dinner.
Government employees who are found compromising national security are placed on "administrative leave." Gee... give me some of that. They sit home and do nothing while they continue to collect their paychecks. That's some "punishment." We have 10-percent unemployment in this country – yet try firing a government employee for anything short of a felony conviction. Can't be done.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/10/art.gatesiraq1210.gi.jpg caption="Defense Secretary Gates met Thursday with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, pictured, but Gates' meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was canceled."]
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki canceled a planned meeting with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday after being summoned by Iraqi lawmakers to discuss a huge bombing in the capital earlier this week.
Gates did not consider the missed meeting a "snub," his spokesman said, but called off a planned press briefing as a result.
"The prime minister has to be accountable to the legislature, especially in wake of this type of attack, and the secretary looks forward to rescheduling the meeting - hopefully tomorrow," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said, according to a pool report.
At least 127 people died in a string of five suicide car bombings in Baghdad Tuesday, and 448 were wounded. A group linked to al Qaeda said it carried out the attacks.
"The bombings are a tragic reminder it's not over yet. There is still work to be done. And this fight has to be carried out on a continuing basis," Gates told Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the presidential council, according to Morrell. Reporters were not allowed into the meeting.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/10/art.hrc1210.gi.jpg caption=" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that recent talks with North Korea were 'quite positive.'"]
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration's first high-level direct talks with North Korea yielded no promise by Pyongyang to return to Six- Party negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear program, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nonetheless Thursday called the meeting "quite positive."
Asked about the three-day visit to North Korea by special envoy Stephen Bosworth, Clinton told reporters, "I think for a preliminary meeting it was quite positive."
Clinton said she agreed with Ambassador Bosworth that the talks were "very useful" and added: "It does remain to be seen whether and when the North Koreans will return to the Six-Party talks but the bottom line is that these were exploratory talks, not negotiations."
Clinton said the talks "were intended to do exactly what they did: reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the Six-Party process, to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and to discuss with the North Koreans their reactions to what we are asking them to do in order to move forward."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/12/10/gop.congress/story.congress.gi.jpg caption="CNN poll: GOP has erased party popularity gap in Congress"]
Washington (CNN) - Eleven months before crucial midterm elections, a national poll indicates that the public is divided over whether the country would be better off with Democrats or Republicans controlling Congress.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday, 40 percent of people questioned say the U.S. would be better off if Democrats ran Congress while 39 percent feel things would be better if Republicans took charge on Capitol Hill. The 1-point margin is a statistical tie.
Support for Democrats is down from a 10-point advantage in August and a 25-point margin in January.
"As the debate over health care continues, the Democrats may have lost the competitive advantage that they enjoyed earlier this year," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Since August, the number who support Democratic control of Congress has fallen farthest in the Northeast and the Pacific Rim - two regions that have been Democratic strongholds for many years."
(CNN) -A New Jersey Senate vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state has been delayed, one of the bill's sponsors said
The Marriage Equality Act's sponsors, Democratic Sens. Loretta Weinberg
and Raymond Lesniak, asked for the delay on Wednesday in hopes that the Assembly would begin considering it, Weinberg said.
She also said the delay would allow the public and lawmakers to study amendments to the bill that she said protect religious institutions.
Senate President Richard Codey agreed to delay to the vote, which was originally scheduled for Thursday.
Washington (CNN) - Lawmakers questioned a high-ranking diplomat and a top military official to Afghanistan on Thursday about the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan in light of a troop surge announced last week.
Legislators on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs inquired how Pakistan played a role in the Afghanistan strategy; the impact of community development in combating the insurgency and measuring progress; and on the practicality of the July 2011 timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops, among other issues.
The hearing was the fourth this week in which top officials testified about President Barack Obama's new plan for the Afghan war, which involves the deployment of another 30,000 U.S. troops and a July 2011 date for the beginning of an American withdrawal.
It was the third hearing for Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and the fourth for U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Iraq on Thursday after ending a two-day trip to Afghanistan.
He was expected to meet with Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani.
Gates also is expected to offer condolences in the Tuesday bombings that killed nearly 130 people, according to Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.
Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama, walked into Oslo City Hall at 1 p.m. to a trumpet fanfare and sustained applause.
"I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility," he said. "It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations - that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.
"And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage."