• Ship of fools // By Ben Frankel

    On Monday Israel forcibly stopped a ship heading toward Gaza; since Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization officially committed to the destruction of Israel, Israel insists on inspecting cargo heading to Gaza; al Qaeda operatives are already in Gaza, and Iran is the largest supplier of weapons and munitions to Hamas; the Israeli military operation was clumsy, but it revealed that the supposedly peaceful activists on the ship were anything but: they were equipped with stun grenades, guns, knives, machete, and other weapons, an attacked the Israeli soldiers with intent to kill; since Hamas is likely to try this flotilla approach to public relations again, Israel may want to think of more creative ways to intercept future ships heading toward Gaza

  • New automated tool debugs nuclear weapon simulations

    The United States relies on nuclear weapons in its deterrence strategy; international conventions, however, prohibit the testing of nuclear weapons; U.S. leaders , military and civilians, must thus rely on simulations to have confidence in the operational reliability of these untested weapons; Purdue researchers offer a new methods to debug nuclear weapons simulations

  • Suspicionless customs search constitutional: federal appeals court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that an April 2008 search of the cabin of a crew member of a cargo ship docked in Miami was constitutional; the search of the ship was looking for prohibited agricultural materials, but the searchers found child pornography in the cabin; the court found that the ship was docked at the equivalent of a border, making the act a border search; the court ruled that an individual has a lesser expectation of privacy at a border and the government has a greater interest in searching thus the balance tips more favorably to the government

  • UN: Iran has fuel for two nuclear weapons

    IAEA says Iran has enough nuclear fuel for two nuclear weapons; the toughly worded IAEA report says that Iran has expanded work at one of its nuclear sites; it also describes, step by step, how inspectors have been denied access to a series of facilities, and how Iran has refused to answer inspectors’ questions on a variety of activities, including what the agency called the “possible existence” of “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile”

  • Dutch authorities fear World Cup terrorism threat

    A member of al Qaeda in Iraq said members of the organization ere planning to attack the Dutch and Danish soccer teams — and Dutch and Danish fans — in South Africa during the World Cup; experts are divided over the seriousness of the threats, but Dutch authorities are worried

  • U.K. ID card cancellation to save taxpayers more than £800 million

    Documents accompanying Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech say that the U.K. government will save £86 million and the public will save more than £800 million in fees from the abolition of biometric national identity cards; the Queen outlines several other bills the Tory-Lib/Dem government will push, including adopting the Scottish model for the National DNA Database in England and Wales, further regulating CCTV, and ending the “storage of internet and email records without good reason”

  • Melissa Hathaway highlights nine important cyber bills

    Congress is getting more and more involved in cyber issues; Melissa Hathaway, former White House cybersecurity official, examines the pending legislation and highlights nine bills — out of the 40-odd bills at various stages in the legislative process — which she considers to be the most important ones to watch

  • Louisiana legislator OK bill to strengthen penalties for virtual map crimes

    Louisiana legislators approve a bill to toughen penalties for crimes committed with the aid of Internet-generated “virtual maps,” including acts of terrorism; bill defines a “virtual street-level map” as one that is available on the Internet and can generate the location or picture of a home or building by entering the address of the structure or an individual’s name on a Web site

  • Senate panel rejects Pentagon counter-IED group $400 million emergency funding request

    Senate panel denies Pentagon’s counter-IED group a $400 million emergency request; lawmakers say that counter-IED organization has misused funds allocated to it — among other things, to hire private contractors in Iraq to hunt down insurgents; senators also criticized the group for planning to use emergency funds to fund long term projects such as airships and UAV radar

  • FBI details sharp increase in death threats against lawmakers

    Threats against U.S. lawmakers increase dramatically in 2009; each threat case is different, but the FBI says there are some common characteristics; the suspects are mostly men who own guns, and several had been treated for mental illness; most of the suspects had just undergone some kind of major life stress, such as illness or the loss of a job

  • Growth in U.S. regulatory spending continues

    Since 2000, the U.S. annual budget outlays for regulatory activities increased by more than 75 percent; one example: the fiscal 2011 budget calls for more than $59 billion dollars to be spend on homeland security — this is the largest federal regulatory budget to date

  • Bureaucratic hurdles delay NYC dirty bomb defenses

    NYPD says that since last fall, it has been trying to obtain an $8 million federal grant for a radiation detection system which would instantly read data from 4,500 sensors in cop cars across the region to intercept vehicles carrying explosive devices; NYPD is still waiting

  • Terrorism could be threat to World Cup

    Soccer fans who go to South Africa next month for the World Cup already must be doubly cautious and watchful as they go to a country which is the world’s undisputed leader in most categories of violent crime; those who think of partying after games will be given brochures at their hotels telling them that 1 in 10 South Africans is infected with the HIV virus; security experts are now alarmed over revelations that an al Qaeda cell in Iraq was planning terror attacks on Danish and Dutch supporters and the Danish and Dutch teams

  • U.K. firm investigated over sale of dirty bomb material to Iran

    British company sells cobalt aluminate; the material can be used to produce alloys as well as the lethal radioactive isotope cobalt 60; for this reason its sale to nations like North Korea and Iran is tightly limited; cobalt is considered by nuclear experts as more likely to be used in a dirty bomb than in a nuclear warhead

  • The threat of nuclear terrorism against Israel

    Former Israeli deputy national security adviser writes that the threat of nuclear terrorism Israel faces may be more likely to materialize than an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel — should Iran acquire nuclear weapons; he recommends a staunch and uncompromising deterrence policy, based on “retaliate first, no questions asked” — and a study of potential targets of high value to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations which would be destroyed in a retaliatory attack