• Senate bill would require minimum cybersecurity standards for Internet

    Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) has introduced a bill that would require the U.S. government to work with the private sector to propose minimum standards for internet and cybersecurity safety; “Just as automobiles cannot be sold or operated on public highways without meeting certain minimum safety standards, we also need minimum Internet and cybersecurity safety standards for our information superhighway,” Cardin said

  • Aussie intelligence chiefs fear nuclear war between Israel and Iran

    WikiLeaks documents show that Australian intelligence agencies fear that Israel might launch military strikes against Iran and that Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities could draw the United States and Australia into a potential nuclear war in the Middle East; Australia’s top intelligence agency also says that Iran’s nuclear program is intended to deter attack and that it is a mistake to regard Iran as a “‘rogue state”

  • Experts: Stuxnet worm wreaks havoc at Iran's nuclear sites

    Iran’s nuclear program is still in chaos as a result of the Stuxnet attack; the American and European experts say their security Web sites, which deal with the computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Tehran and other places in the Islamic Republic, an indication that the worm continues to infect the computers at Iran’s two nuclear sites; Stuxnet was designed to take over the control systems and evade detection, and it apparently was very successful; last week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after months of denials, admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran’s nuclear sites, but he said it was detected and controlled; the second part of that claim, experts say, does not ring true

  • Wikileaks: North Korea "helps Burma with nuclear sites"

    U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that Burma may be building missile and nuclear sites in remote locations with support from North Korea; the documents cite witnesses who say North Korean workers are helping Burma construct an underground bunker in a remote jungle; one cable reads: ‘The North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, are constructing a concrete-reinforced underground facility that is ‘500 ft from the top of the cave to the top of the hill above’”

  • King: House Homeland Security panel will be vigorous, demanding

    Long Island congressman Peter King will take over as the new chair of the House Homeland Security Committee — New York state’s lone chairman in the new Congress (and even this only until 2012, when he will be term-limited out of the chairman’s chair, unless he gets a waiver from the Republican leadership); he has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration on a number of issues over the last two years, and says he plans for a much more vigorous — and possibly controversial — committee when he re-takes the gavel; King expressed concern about Obama administration officials’ response to what he calls the “incalculable damage” caused by the massive document leak released by WikiLeaks; “Considering how fast they moved [to file a laswsuit] on Arizona’s immigration law and how determined they were to move against our CIA agents—- there is definitely something missing here,” he asserted

  • Gitmo repeat offender rate rises sharply

    The number of Guantanamo Bay detainees returning to the battlefield continues to grow at an extraordinary rate; new report from the director of U.S. national intelligence says that 150 of the 598 detainees who have been transferred out of Guantanamo’s detention camps, about 25 percent, are now confirmed or suspected of returning to the battlefield; of that group, 13 are dead and 54 are again in custody, while 83 remain at large; CIA director Leon Panetta said the biggest concern is ex-detainees who not only return to the battlefield but take up leadership positions within al Qaeda, a reference to the terror group’s branch in Yemen, where at least two leaders are Saudis and former Guantanamo detainees

  • Medical isotopes no longer require weapons-grade uranium

    Highly enriched uranium (HEU) is used in nuclear weapons, but it is also used to make the radioisotopes that are injected in tiny quantities into people to diagnose and treat disease; indeed, making medical isotopes is a time-honored excuse for enriching uranium, if you want to build nuclear weapons but do not want to admit you are doing so (this is the cover Iran is using for its bomb-oriented enrichment program); South Africa’s Pelindaba reactor is now producing medical treatment-oriented molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) made from low-enriched uranium

  • Judge throws out suit aiming the bar U.S. from killing al-Awlaki

    Anwar al Awlaki, the New Mexico-born fire-brand Islamic cleric, from his hideout in Yemen, has been urging Muslims to kill Americans; the Obama administration has placed him on its capture-or-kill hit list, and U.S. special forces and intelligence operatives have been searching for him; the cleric’s father, Nasser al Awlaki of Yemen, sued the U.S. government, arguing that international law and the Constitution prevented the administration from unilaterally targeting his son for death unless he presents a specific imminent threat to life or physical safety and there are no other means to stop him; the suit also tried to force the government to disclose standards for determining whether U.S. citizens like his son can be targeted for death; a federal judge has thrown out the law suit, writing in his opinion: “The serious issues regarding the merits of the alleged authorization of the targeted killing of a U.S. citizen overseas must await another day or another nonjudicial forum”

  • Microsoft partner in China trains hackers, steals 50 MB of U.S. gov't e-mail

    A Chinese security firm called Topsec got access to the Windows source under a 2003 agreement designed to help companies improve the security of the Microsoft operating system; the company, rather than help Microsoft make Windows more secure, worked closely with Chinese intelligence to exploit Windows weaknesses: they helped the Chinese government train hackers — and steal more than 50 MB of secret U.S. government e-mails; Topsec started out in 1995 with funding of just $4,400, and by 2002 had earnings about $440 million; it is now China’s largest provider of information security products and services

  • Al Qaeda seeks to surgically implant bombs into "martyrs'" bodies

    Al Qaeda operatives are looking for ways to defeat the growing number of full-body scanners at airports around the world; they recently tried to deploy a pair of kamikaze canines on a U.S.-bound airplane from Baghdad airport; the bombs were placed inside the dogs’ bodies, but the plot failed because the bombs were so poorly stitched inside the dogs, that the dogs died; Web sites affiliated with al Qaeda are now calling of doctors and scientists sympathetic to the organization to help it devise ways for surgically stitching bombs inside human beings, to usher in what one of the organization’s operatives calls a “new kind of terrorism”

  • Portland reconsiders relations with FBI's terrorism task force

    Five years ago the mayor of Portland, Oregon, decided not to participate in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force because of concerns about civil liberties; the past weekend’s capture of a 19-year old after he attempted to detonate what he thought was a vehicle bomb near a tree-lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse has led the mayor to reconsider his decision

  • Exploding garbage truck in Florida not act of terrorism

    An explosion on an Orlando, Florida garbage truck raise fears that the garbage-truck crew had stumbled on an underground bomb factory which had foolishly thrown some of its products in the rubbish — or that the explosion presaged a fearful terror wave campaign of exploding bins or municipal vehicles; police investigation finds that the explosion was caused by a local resident foolishly disposing of a pressurized container in their garbage

  • Israeli agents kill yet another senior Iranian nuclear scientist

    Israel’s covert campaign to derail Iran’s nuclear weapons program continues unabated; the latest chapter: a senior Iranian nuclear weapons scientists, Majid Shahriari, was killed, and a fellow scientists seriously injured, when two groups of operatives on motorcycles approached their cars on busy Teheran streets and opened fire from automatic weapons; the covert campaign has already claimed more than a dozen leading nuclear scientists and engineers (five of whom killed in Teheran, the others while traveling in Europe), as well as several Revolutionary Guard senior officers associated with the nuclear weapons program; in addition, nuclear weapons-related warehouses and depots, located in Revolutionary Guard military bases, were blown up, and disguised nuclear technology shipments to Iran were seized in ports in Europe, America, and Asia; on 16 November, Iran temporarily shut down its uranium enrichment facilities after the Stuxnet virus, designed by the secretive Unit 8200 of Israel’s Military Intelligence, destroyed hundreds of centrifuges

  • "Whoever needs to know, knows": Israel intensifies covert campaign against Iran

    Israel believes that the best guarantee of its security is the ability to maintain its regional nuclear monopoly; to that end, it used covert means to stop the nuclear weapons programs of Egypt (1960-63) and Iraq (1970s-1980s); it also used less covert means, such as attacking and destroying nuclear reactors in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007); if the past is an indication, Israel will see to it that Iran, too, will find its effort to acquire the bomb to be prohibitively costly, very painful — and, ultimately, futile

  • FedEx loses -- then finds -- radioactive rods

    The shipment of radioactive rods sent from Fargo, North Dakota, to Knoxville, Tennessee, posed little threat, but its misplacement underscores the need to track low-hazard materials that could be used in small-scale terrorist attacks, experts say; as al Qaeda has shifted its tactics from 9/11-scale attacks to smaller attacks which aim to create fear and do economic damage, there is growing concern about low-radiation materials which are widely used in research, medical facilities, and industry; such materials may not be suitable for a nuclear bomb, but could be used to create “dirty bombs,” which cause fewer casualties but can release hazardous materials when they explode