• The Russia connectionCaught Red Handed: Russian Financing Scheme in Italy Highlights Europe’s Vulnerabilities

    In February 2019, two Italian investigative journalists made an explosive revelation: Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right party La Lega and Italian interior minister, had sought financing from the Kremlin to the tune of millions of euros. That claim has now been given a new lease on life by the release of the audio recording of a meeting in Moscow that corroborates the February story.

  • CybersecurityTackling Emerging Cyber-Social Threats

    DoD has awarded a $2.4 million grant to researchers to support the development of research infrastructure to assess social media and blogs in real time and respond to the growing weaponization of online discourse in influencing peacekeeping, and tactical, operational, and strategic operations.

  • Explosives detectorsAssessing Handheld Explosives Trace Detectors

    Individuals who carry explosives or have been involved in bomb making are likely to be contaminated with trace explosives, microscopic particles invisible to the naked eye. Without the right equipment, detecting trace explosives can be challenging for responders and security personnel. Handheld explosives trace detectors (ETDs) can be used to complement bomb-sniffing canines, which are still the gold standard in trace explosives detection. These detectors can be used to find trace explosives on individuals, hopefully preventing a dangerous incident.

  • The Russia connectionFBI, FTC asked to examine whether FaceApp is a Kremlin’s data-collection tool

    FaceApp is a selfie app designed by a Russian programmer, which uses AI-like techniques to apply various changes to faces, making them look older or younger, adding accessories and even changing their race. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) sent a letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the data-collecting and data-retention mechanisms of the Russia-based app — and whether the “personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government.”

  • Grey zoneGaining Competitive Advantage for the U.S. in the Gray Zone

    The United States is entering a period of intensifying strategic competition with several rivals, most notably Russia and China. U.S. officials expect this competition to be played out primarily below the threshold of armed conflict, in what is sometimes termed the gray zone between peace and war. The United States is ill prepared and poorly organized to compete in this space, but the United States can begin to treat the ongoing gray zone competition as an opportunity more than a risk.

  • PerspectiveCriminal Prosecutions and Illegal Entry: A Deeper Dive

    Since the first Democratic presidential debates at the end of June, candidates, pundits and former government officials have discussed whether provisions of law that turn unauthorized border crossing into the federal crime of “improper entry” – in addition to a civil immigration law violation – should be repealed. Over the last three years, researchers at Human Rights First have conducted extensive research and observed countless entry and re-entry prosecutions in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. These prosecutions, as we have detailed in a series of reports, violate U.S. refugee treaty obligations, impinge on due process, separate children from their parents, waste government funds, and divert prosecutorial resources from serious criminal and security threats.

  • Public healthGerman law would require measles vaccination to attend schools, kindergartens, daycare

    German children will have to prove they have had a measles vaccination before they would be allowed to attend kindergarten or go to school. A new draft law imposes steep fines on parents who refuse to immunize their children.

  • The Russia connectionU.S. Government Agencies Want to Know More about Russian Trolling

    Two Clemson researchers have been compiling and analyzing the tactics and strategy of social media accounts created by a Russian agency whose goal is to interfere in the U.S. electoral process. The Russians’ “troll factory” is housed in St. Petersburg in the now-famous government-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA). “What the IRA is attempting to do through social media channels is create a one-sided agenda through a marketing campaign,” one researcher said. “It’s not espionage, it’s essentially a guerrilla marketing campaign.” DHS, the U.S. Cyber Command, and other U.S. government agencies want to more about the researchers’ findings.

  • Radiation risksHelping first responders deal with dirty bombs

    If a radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” ever explodes in the United States, emergency crews may be better prepared because researchers have developed a new simulator, which show first responders what an optimal response to an RDD would look like.

  • Radiation risksBill Expands Compensation for Victims of Radiation Exposure

    Tens of thousands of individuals, including miners, transporters, and other employees who worked directly in uranium mines, along with communities located near test sites for nuclear weapons, were exposed during the mid-1900s to dangerous radiation that has left communities struggling from cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses.

  • AnthraxFighting anthrax by removing the bacterium’s armor

    Anthrax is a deadly and highly resilient disease, caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Historically, it was a major cause of death in humans and cattle. has shown that removing the armor of the bacterium that causes anthrax slows its growth and negatively affects its ability to cause disease.

  • PerspectiveU.S. Offensive Cyber Operations against Economic Cyber Intrusions: An International Law Analysis

    The United States is likely to struggle to make a convincing argument that economic cyber intrusions carried out against it breach international law. Consequently, in most cases the United States would not be able to resort to countermeasures in response. It must therefore show that its offensive cyber operations do not themselves breach international law.

  • PerspectiveCalifornia’s Wildfires Are 500 Percent Larger Due to Climate Change

    Californians may feel like they’re enduring an epidemic of fire. The past decade has seen half of the state’s 10 largest wildfires and seven of its 10 most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire ever. A new study finds that the state’s fire outbreak is real—and that it’s being driven by climate change. Since 1972, California’s annual burned area has increased more than fivefold, a trend clearly attributable to the warming climate. “Each degree of warming causes way more fire than the previous degree of warming did. And that’s a really big deal,” Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia University and an author of the paper, said. Among the many ways climate change might be messing with the environment, extra heat is among the simplest and most obvious. “Heat is the most clear result of human-caused climate change,” Williams said.

  • TerrorismU.S. Supports Argentina’s Bid to Prosecute Iran’s Agents in 1994 Buenos Aires Attack

    The United States is backing a renewed Argentine effort to prosecute Iranian and Hezbollah agents accused of plotting a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. In Latin America’s deadliest terrorist attack, a suicide car bomber struck the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) center in the Argentine capital, 18 July 1994, killing 85 people.

  • TerrorismPA Doubles Pay-to-Slay Salary of Terrorist Behind Murder of Three Israeli Teens

    After reports earlier this week that the Palestinian Authority (PA) stepped up its support for the “pay-to-slay” policy by which it pays monthly salaries to terrorist prisoners and their families, it now emerged that the PA also doubled the monthly salary it pays to convicted terrorist Hussam Kawasme, who was responsible for the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens.