• Shape of things to come

    Intelligent CCTVs already note weird or unusual behavior and alert security personnel to that fact; the U.S. Army, building on an earlier project which tried to identify unique body odors, wants perspiration detectors to help detect “harmful intent”

  • Nuclear matters

    A 2004 agreement between the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requires the United States to submit to the agency a detailed list of the addresses and specifications of hundreds of U.S. nuclear-weapons-related facilities, laboratories, reactors, and research activities, including the location of fuel for bombs; the Department of Energy (DOE) prepared the report, and Government Printing Office (GPO) printed it so it could be submitted to the IAEA — but the GPO went ahead and, mistakenly, posted 268-page dossier on its Web site

  • Dealers say people more interested in installing CCTVs, night-vision cameras at houses, filling stations, jewelry shops, hotels, restaurants

  • There were 80,000 terrorist attacks around the world from 1970 to 2007; of those attacks, only 1,350 attacks, or 1.6 percent, hit American targets — mostly overseas; this percentage plummets to 0.08 percent when attacks on domestic targets are calculated

  • White House reorganization

    President Obama plans to merge the staffs of the White House National Security Council and Homeland Security Council — while stipulating that John Brennan, his homeland security adviser, will still be reporting directly to the president; tensions rise

  • Hardin, Montana (pop. 4,300) had a problem: it invested $27 million in a 464-bed modern prison facility which is standing empty; the city council offered to use it to house Guantanamo prisoners; Montana’s congressional delegation objects

  • White House reorganization

    President Obama has announced the merging of the White House’s Homeland Security and National Security Council staffs; John Brennan, the president’s homeland security adviser, will still report directly to the president — but the staff merger effectively takes away Brennan’s own staff

  • Virginia-based gas company AES wants to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in eastern Baltimore County; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission placed 169 conditions, mostly related to safety and environment, on its approval of the project; residents in the neighboring communities say the company is far from meeting these conditions

  • President Nicolas Sarkozy today opens the first French military base in the Gulf; France is eying multi-billion dollar deals for nuclear reactors and sophisticated weapons for countries in the region

  • A Parliamentary committee finds that MI5’s operational decisions prior to the 7/7 attacks in London were “understandable and reasonable”; MI5 had to plot leader and some of his followers in its sights, but could not connect the dots for lack of information and resources

  • The food we eat

    Security maven Bruce Schneier says that fears of food-based bioterrorism are exaggerated: The quantities involved for mass poisonings are too great, the nature of the food supply too vast, and the details of any plot too complicated and unpredictable to be a real threat

  • Pakistan update

    The United States offered to give Pakistan a much larger amount of imagery, including real-time video feeds and communications intercepts gleaned by remotely piloted aircraft; information about the UAVs’ operating patterns, blind spots, and takeoff and landing locations is not shared for fear that elements inside the Pakistani intelligence and military would leak it to the insurgents

  • Close Quarters Combat // Tzviel (BK) Blankchtein

    Suicide bombers are a fact of life, so we must learn how to deal with them; there are ways to identify them, and ways to disable them and prevent them from carrying their deadly mission; doing so is not easy or simple, but it can be done

  • Analysis // Pakistan update

    The Obama administration had replaced the old division of labor — the U.S. military fights in Afghanistan; the CIA conducts the operations in Pakistan — with a new division of labor: CIA’s UAV campaign will concentrate on al Qaueda and foreign operatives, while the U.S. military’s UAV campaign will be directed at Taliban forces; the Pakistani military will have a say in the U.S. military’s drone campaign

  • The North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s (NERC) independent Board of Trustees last week approved eight revised cyber security standards; entities found in violation of the standards can be fined up to $1 million per day, per violation in the United States

  • These are not your father’s pirates: Somali pirates benefit from information sent to them by informers planted in key shipping hubs around the world; this information includes vessels’ cargo, layout, and route — and is transmitted early enough to allow the pirates enough time to practice their assault based on the information they received

  • Dr. Tara O'Toole debate

    Dr. Tara O’Toole, new leader at DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate: “There is a possibility, a real possibility, that there could be the equivalent of a bio-Katrina on [Obama’s] watch”

  • There is a debate in the United States over the effectiveness — and cost to civilians — of the U.S. intensifying UAV war over Pakistan; Taliban tactician tells the New York Times that of all the elements of the U.S. war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the only effective weapons are the UAVs

  • Listening in

    Last week Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri entered a plea deal in Illinois in which he admitted to entering the United States on 10 September 2001 in order to form a sleeper cell for future terrorist activities; plea details Al-Qaeda’s communication methods

  • Trend

    The security situation in Iraq improved in 2008, but outside Iraq there were more terrorist incidents and more fatalities as a result of these incidents; Pakistan is rapidly being engulfed by terror: in 2007 there were 890 incidents which killed 1,340 people; in 2008, 1,839 incidents which killed 2,293 people