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Ratcliffe appoints district director

ROCKWALL — Rep.-elect John Ratcliffe stayed close to home in choosing his inaugural district director. Rockwall native Jason Ross will coordinate operations across the 18-county 4th Congressional District for the freshman representative.

Panel calls for deep changes at the Secret Service

WASHINGTON — An independent panel on Thursday recommended sweeping changes at the Secret Service, saying the elite protective agency is “starved for leadership” and calling for an outsider as director, hundreds of new agents and officers and a higher fence around the White House.

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Cheney leads defense of CIA torture of prisoners

WASHINGTON — Senior Bush administration officials Sunday slammed the Senate study on the CIA’s use of brutal interrogation tactics, and defended the techniques as necessary to get information from senior al-Qaida operatives who had stopped talking to interrogators.