• Top U.S. federal contracts to exceed $180 billion In 2010

    New report says that the top 20 federal contracts, many involving IT purchases, will be worth 50 percent more than last year’s contracts

  • Senate weakens ban on off-shore companies with federal contracts

    The “Buy American” provisions in the $787 billion stimulus package prohibited DHS contracts from going to foreign companies — or from “inverted” companies (that is, companies with phony foreign headquarters); in March the ban was extended to other government agencies — but the ban has now been loosened

  • French may take intrusive measures to prevent inside-the-body bombers

    Security experts are split over whether inside-the-body suicide bomb is a serious threat; the French say they may not take any chances, and warn that security measures at airports may become more intrusive

  • Lockheed Martin show 360-degree IR sensor for better targeting

    The hand-launched Desert Hawk III is designed to operate in extreme temperatures and high altitudes and has provided the British Army with critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in Iraq and Afghanistan; it will now be equipped with an upgraded 360-degree color electro optic (E/O) sensor, providing 10 times continuous zoom capability and aiding in contact identification

  • Radioactive rabbit poo found at plutonium production site

    A clean-up survey at the Hanford site in Washington State, where military-grade plutonium was produced during the early years of the cold war, discovered radioactive jackrabbit droppings around the site; the rabbits burrowed in the area and discovered the tanks in which nuclear waste is stored; they liked the salty taste of the radioactive cesium and strontium salts, so they began drinking and licking them routinely

  • U.S. cannot track foreign visitors who overstay their visas

    Last year, 39 million foreign travelers were admitted into the United States on temporary visas; based on the paper stubs, homeland security officials said, they confirmed the departure of 92.5 percent of them; most of the remaining visitors did depart, officials said, but failed to check out because they did not know how to do so; more than 200,000 of them are believed to have overstayed intentionally

  • TSA allows law enforcement personnel to carry fire-arms on board

    TSA has created a secure registration facility which allows state, local, territorial, and tribal Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) to pre-register with the agency — and then fly armed

  • "Absent individualized suspicion": DHS "search at will" policy violates the Fourth Amendment

    Customs agents can now instruct you to log on to your laptop so they can read your e-mails and personal files and examine which Web sites you have visited; they can make a copy of your hard drive, and of any other storage device, so the government can comb through the contents more leisurely; this contents, without your knowledge, may be shared with any other government agency; it can be kept in perpetuity; the same applies to your BlackBerry, iPhone, and other digital devices; customs agents can do all that, according to DHS policy, “absent individualized suspicion”; a law professor says the government’s substitution of “search at will” for “reasonable suspicion” is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment

  • Victims of food-poisoning on Hill in support of S. 510

    Food safety debate intensifies as food-borne illness victims lobby for stronger food laws; new bill, S. 510s would increase FDA inspections of food processing plants, especially of high-risk facilities, require imports to meet U.S. safety standards, establish science-based minimum safety standards for growing fresh produce, and give the agency mandatory recall authority

  • Congress allocates funds for planning Kansas biolab

    Congress allocates $32 million for planning and design of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas; the money for construction of the 520,000-square-foot lab and the transferring of research equipment from Plum Island, New York — about $915 million — will be released only if security concerns are satisfactorily addressed

  • Trust for America's Health calls on Senate to reform U.S. food safety

    Approximately 76 million Americans — one in 4 — are sickened by food-borne diseases each year. Of these, an estimated 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die. Medical costs and lost productivity due to food-borne illnesses in the United States are estimated to cost $44 billion annually

  • New DARPA director seeks to deepen relations with universities

    Under the Bush administration, the relationship between DARPA, the Pentagon’s research arm, and leading U.S. universities became strained; the new director has embarked on a tour of university campuses to re-energize the government-academia cooperation in defense research

  • Packing heat may backfire

    New study finds that people who carried guns were 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to get killed compared with unarmed citizens; the authors of the study say it is not clear why this is the case, but suggest that it may be the case that guns give a sense of empowerment that causes carriers to overreact in tense situations, or encourages them to visit neighborhoods they probably should not

  • 25 years to Oregon salmonella bioterrorism

    The 1984 Oregon outbreak of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium sickened 751 people and sent 45 to hospitals; the attack was launched by a mystical cult which tried to take over the remote Oregon county

  • Large new dam construction moving ahead in California

    Environmental studies are due out today on a $409 million project to replace Calaveras Dam, a 210-foot-high structure east of Milpitas in the remote, oak-studded hills along the border between Santa Clara and Alameda counties