• Lawmakers urge DHS to use profiling to detect terrorists

    Republican lawmakers criticized DHS secretary Janet Napolitano for not focusing more on Islamic extremism and that “political correctness” was hindering her department’s ability to keep the United States safe; at a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Representative Paul Broun (R-Georgia) attacked Napolitano for not acknowledging Islamic extremism as the source of the current terrorist threat and urged DHS to use racial profiling in screening passengers at airports; Napolitano defended DHS efforts by saying threats emanated from more than just the Muslim community; a recent report found that last year twice as many plots to attack the United States were planned by non-Muslims than Muslims; the director of the National Counterterrorism Center said that focusing solely on one group could alienate them and exacerbate the problem

  • The third way in Egypt

    The dilemma the United States is facing in Egypt is often compared with the one encountered by the United States during the Iranian Revolution of 1979; pundits argue that the alternative in Egypt is between a corrupt but pro-Western dictatorship and a repressive religious autocracy; in the United States, worries have been expressed that the post-Mubarak transitional government, led by an intellectual or secular leader such el Baradei, will be vanquished in favor of Islamic autocracy as was the case with Shapur Bakhtiar, the last secular prime minister of Iran; this comparison misstates the history and presents a false choice

  • Yemeni cleric al Awlaki is greatest threat to U.S.

    Michael E. Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the House Homeland Security Committee that the mastermind behind al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was the greatest threat to the United States; Anwar al Awlaki, the head of AQAP, is a dual U.S.—Yemeni citizen and has been linked to several attacks on the United States including the failed Christmas Day 2009 attack, the Fort Hood shootings, and the failed car bomb in Times Square, New York; counter-terrorism officials are particularly worried about al Awlaki because he is one of a few English-speaking radical clerics who can connect to young Muslims in America

  • U.S. communities support surveillance systems

    Despite calls by the ACLU to halt the expansion of the use of CCTVs in public places, towns across the United States are eager to get their hands on the extra sets of eyes; midsized communities across the United States are installing more surveillance video cameras in an effort to cut down on crime, without having to spend more money on additional law enforcement officials

  • U.K. plans new body for the regulation of nuclear power

    The United Kingdom is setting up a new nuclear regulatory body; the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) would be a new independent regulator, formally responsible in law for delivering its regulatory functions and consolidating civil nuclear and radioactive transport safety and security regulation in one entity

  • Mubarak cedes authority to Suleiman, but remains in office

    Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said Thursday he has passed authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman, but will not step down before September elections; the move, announced in a nationally televised address, means he will retain his title of president and ensures the regime will continue to control the reform process; it is not clear whether the anti-government protesters would accept Mubarak’s plan; Suleiman has led the regime’s management of the crisis since he was named to the vice president post soon after protests erupted on 25 January; with his efforts failing to bring an end to protests, he and his foreign minister both warned of the possibility of a coup and imposition of martial law if the protesters do not agree to a government-directed framework of negotiations for reforms

  • Governing post-Mubarak Egypt

    The end of Mubarak’s reign and the likely reforms of Egypt’s political system make for an unpredictable, nervous period; in 2005 the Muslim Brotherhood won 88 seats in parliament, or about 20 percent; the leadership of the MB at the time was more pragmatic and actively sought to be involved in the country’s politics; in January 2010 the leadership of the MB was changed, and a more religiously conservative, but also a more politically aloof, leaders are now at the helm; moreover, the MB historically has been the only movement to take on the regime, and as a result it has enjoyed what analysts regard as an inflated support; the demonstrations of the last two weeks show that there are many movements and groups now willing to participate in the political process; this means that Egypt’s silent majority will have alternatives to the MB at the polls; the trouble: there may be too many alternatives, risking splitting the secular vote, thus allowing the MB to emerge as one of the largest, if not the largest, party in the post-September elections parliament

  • 275,000 visas issued to people from terror-prone countries

    Nearly 275,000 entry visas to the United States have been given through 2009 to individuals from countries like Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Iran, and Syria — defined by the State Department as states which sponsor terrorism or in which terrorists enjoy relative free movement; it is estimated that of the 12 to 15 million undocumented aliens in the United states, between 4 and 5 million are visa overstays; DHS has only 272 agents to look for these 4 or 5 millions who disappeared after entering the United States

  • Arizona to vote on bill denying birthright citizenship

    An Arizona bill that would put a stop to automatic U.S. citizenship for children of illegal immigrants could come to a vote next week; the state’s legislation would define a U.S. citizen as someone who has been naturalized, or someone born in this country who has at least one parent who has no allegiance to a foreign country; a group of state legislators known as the State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) is proposing legislation which would allow a state to issue two kinds of birth certificates — one to babies of people legally in the United States, and a different one to babies of illegal immigrants; SLLI says that lawmakers in as many as fourteen states plan to introduce bills on the matter this year

  • Bus bombing signals tough road ahead for Philippines

    Al Qaeda-linked Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf is continuing its attacks in the Philippines; the latest attack, in Makati City, has killed five; last year, the same terrorist organization claimed responsibility for killing 116 people in a burning ferry in Manila Bay, the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s history; lawmakers propose installing CCTVs on city buses

  • Lt. Col. Cabangbang flushes out Abu Sayyaf leader

    Government forces killed an Abu Sayyaf leader in an encounter at a remote village in Basilan Island, southern Philippines on Tuesday; Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist separatist group founded in the 1990s with links to external terrorist organizations, has about 400 members at present

  • Air Force to deploy supercomputer aboard a superblimp

    The U.S. Air Force is developing a massive blimp to gather and process all intelligence feeds from Afghanistan; the air ship will be longer than a football field and seven times the size of the Goodyear Blimp and will be able to stay afloat for nearly a week at nearly four miles up; the key feature of the ship will be its sophisticated supercomputer which can process 300 terabytes of data an hour; this computer will help limit data overload as surveillance sensors become increasingly complex; it currently takes fourteen analysts to monitor a single feed from a predator and the next generation drones will have ninety-six cameras; the blimp’s first test flight is scheduled for 15 October

  • Japan and U.S. agree on nuclear counterterrorism road map

    Japan and the United States are preparing a “road map” for cooperative efforts to prevent atomic site workers from stealing potential ingredients for an act of nuclear terrorism; the plan would also address the development of “security-by-design concepts” for facilities such as nuclear energy stations and atomic fuel processing sites

  • Oregon’s new budget may kill interoperability system

    The goal of the $600 million Oregon Wireless Interoperability Network (OWIN) project is to design and construct a reliable public safety radio system for emergency responders, comply with the FCC’s 2013 deadline to transition state radios, consolidate four existing independent state radio systems, and create a network that all public safety radio users in Oregon can access; the governor proposes to halt the project for lack of money

  • N.J. county to purchase mobile morgue with DHS grant

    Burlington County, New Jersey officials plan to use this year’s DHS grant of $775,000 to purchase surveillance for the county’s radio communications towers, license plate readers, and a mobile morgue unit capable of transporting eight bodies; the mobile morgue is used to provide morgue support in a mass fatality event