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WASHINGTON: Sheehan offered Special Ops job

The top Pentagon job overseeing the secret special operations war on terrorist groups has been offered to former U.S. counterterrorism ambassador Michael Sheehan, according to two senior U.S. officials. Sheehan would have one of the most powerful civilian jobs in America's covert war against al-Qaida and its offshoots, helping coordinate clandestine raids against militants operating from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Yemen. CIA veteran Michael Vickers is running the office while awaiting his own confirmation hearing for the Pentagon's top intelligence job, his spokesman said. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is considering naming former Commerce Secretary William Daley, an executive at JPMorgan Chase, to a top White House job, possibly chief of staff, it was disclosed Monday in Honolulu. The Obama administration has been looking to counter the notion that the president is anti-business.


VIRGINIA: Videos embarrass Navy, officer

Raunchy comedy videos made by a high-ranking Navy commander and shown to the crew of an aircraft carrier three or four years ago have suddenly proved an embarrassment to the Pentagon that could blight the officer's career. The videos, released Sunday by the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, feature Capt. Owen Honors using gay slurs, pantomiming masturbation and staging suggestive shower scenes. They were played on the shipwide television system during weekly movie night when Honors was executive officer of the USS Enterprise. Honors has since become commander of the ship. Over the weekend, the Navy at first downplayed the videos as "humorous skits," then called them "not acceptable" and said they are under investigation.


CALIFORNIA: Winter slows returning motorists

Gamblers on the Las Vegas Strip awoke to snow flurries Monday as part of a winter storm that turned the main highway between Southern and Central California into an icy parking lot. Hundreds of motorists returning from the New Year's holiday found themselves stuck after Interstate 5 was closed for a second day over the 4,160-foot-high Tejon Pass, 70 miles north of Los Angeles. California Highway Patrol closed a 30-mile stretch of the freeway Sunday because of blowing snow. Blizzard conditions eased to light flurries but the road remained clogged with snow and ice.

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