• Student sues TSA, saying he was detained for five hours over English-Arabic flashcards

    A Pomona College student who takes Arabic classes in school was stopped by TSA and FBI agents at the Philadelphia International Airport because he was carrying English-Arabic flashcards; the student, backed by the ACLU, is suing, charging that he abusively interrogated, handcuffed, and detained for five hours; TSA says the student’s behavior was erratic

  • A nuclear Iran may be good for U.S. defense industry

    A defense expert says that the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran will lead to growth in exports of American weapons systems, training, and advice to U.S. Middle Eastern allies; this would give the American defense industry a needed shot in the arm; Boeing has been making noise about shifting out of the defense industry, which would mean lost American jobs and would also put the United States in a difficult position should it be threatened by a rising military power like China; “a nuclear Iran could forestall such a catastrophe”

  • FBI wants two year retention for ISP data

    Since 1986 U.S. phone companies have been obliged to keep records of who makes calls, who they call, when they call, and how long the call lasts; Now, the Feds want to include Web activity tools; it is not clear is whether the FBI means which Web sites are visited or the specific URLs

  • Free U.S. access to European financial data may end

    In the wake of 9/11, the EU gave the U.S. government free access to European bank and financial data under the SWIFT agreement; the Civil Liberties Committee of European MPs has just recommended that the EU reject renewal of the treaty; for the United States such access is essential to the fight against terrorists and their finances

  • Robust homeland security market in 2010

    The homeland security market has grown by 12 percent in the last year, and the trend will continue in 2010; homeland security budgets in the government and public sectors around the world continue to grow despite economic downturn, budget cuts, and belt tightening; in the United States, the proposed 2011 DHS budget will see an increase of nearly 3 percent, and the homeland security portion of the Department of Defense’s budget will see an increase as well; the 2010 business outlook for homeland security products and services remains strong, buoyed by the increased security threats; organization of mass events like the Olympics and commonwealth games; infrastructure modernization programs in different countries; protection of critical infrastructure; and Border protection

  • Homeland security challenges for the Washington D.C. police, II

    Cathy Lanier, the chief of the Washington, D.C. police, says the one thought that keeps her awake at night is the threat that has not occurred to anyone — the failure of imagination as to what may come next; “What is it that we haven’t thought of that could happen?…That still scares me because I know it is there”

  • U.S. conducts scientific research to find more effective interrogation techniques

    Denis Blair, director of national intelligence, told legislators that the U.S. intelligence community is conducting “scientific research” to find better, more effective research techniques to use on terrorists

  • Terrorists hack gambling Web sites to finance operations

    Terrorists hack gambling Web sites to finance terrorist operations; one group of al Qaeda sympathizers made more than $3.5 million in fraudulent charges using credit card accounts stolen via online phishing scams and the distribution of Trojans; the group conducted 350 transactions at 43 different online gambling sites, using more than 130 compromised credit cards

  • Homeland security challenges for the Washington D.C. police, I

    Protecting the U.S. capital on a local level poses unique challenges, but it also offers advantages; the police department must accommodate both traditional local concerns and diverse needs related to the presence of multiple federal government and military organizations; yet, the department also can tap those myriad government agencies for vital resources and information that help it counter or respond to terrorist threats

  • Google turns to NSA for assistance in thwarting Chinese cyberattacks

    Google has developed a reputation as a company that likes to keep its distance from government agencies; the cyberattacks on Google by the Chinese intelligence services has caused Google to reconsider; it is now finalizing a new deal with the NSA to share data – the company’s first formal agreement with the NSA; the spy agency will help Google develop better defenses against Chinese encroachment

  • Cybersecurity bill urges research, task force

    HR 4061 would provide up to $396 million in research grants over the next four years to develop best practices and standards to protect computer networks; the bill also calls for $94 million to go toward scholarships for students who pursue this field of study; the bill would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish a cybersecurity awareness program and implement standards for managing personal information stored on computer system

  • U.S., Canada link up on Olympic security

    The United States and Canada have established a pilot project to enhance security in the waters of Puget Sound and off the Pacific Coast, in which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the U.S. Coast Guard will cross-train, share resources and utilize each others’ vessels

  • Obama offers strategic redefinition, expansion of DHS mission

    In July 2002, nearly a year before DHS was created under former president George W. Bush, a handful of advisers hastily drafted in private a 90-page national homeland security strategy; that document was later criticized for being partially responsible — by overemphasizing terrorism at the expense of natural disasters — for the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina; in October 2007 the Bush administration updated its homeland security strategy; the Obama administration has now revised and expanded Bush’s 2007 changes; the new strategy states that preventing terrorism remains the cornerstone of homeland security, but it expands the definition of homeland security to include other hazards, among them mass cyberattacks, pandemics, natural disasters, illegal trafficking, and transnational crime

  • Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, soccer World Cup take extra security measures

    The organizers of three big sporting events – the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, and the soccer World Cup – are taking extra security measures to ensure the safety of participants and spectators; The Winter Olympics’ security budget initially projected at $175 million now tops $900 million, and the force for the games will include more than 15,000 people, a surveillance blimp hovering over Vancouver, and more than 900 surveillance cameras monitoring competition venues and crowd-attracting public areas; at the Super Bowl, nearly everyone entering the stadium will be subjected to a pat-down search; exceptions would be a police officer in uniform, a player in uniform, and the president of the United States

  • Obama keeps promise to boost science

    President Obama stressed in his State of the Union address on 27 January that he wanted to freeze “discretionary” government spending for the next three years to rein in the sprawling federal budget deficit – but investment in science not only escapes this freeze: in his 2011 budget proposal, obama is seeking $61.6 billion for research — 5.6 per cent more than this year’s agreed budget