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As NORAD Tracks Santa, critics track NORAD

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DENVER (AP) — The U.S. and Canadian military's beloved Santa Tracker is facing something new this year — public criticism.

A children's advocacy group says an animated video on the NORAD Tracks Santa website injects militarism into Christmas by showing fighter jets escorting Santa's sleigh.

It's a rare swipe at the popular Christmas Eve program that gives second-by-second updates on Santa's global whereabouts.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command defends the video as non-threatening and safe for kids.

The kerfuffle erupted two weeks ago when the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood said the video brings violence and militarism to a beloved tradition. Blogs and Twitter lit up with volleys from both sides.

Coalition officials say it's a "media-manufactured controversy." They say they hadn't even known about the video until reporters called.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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