• DHS IG identifies weaknesses in airport passenger screening

    DHS IG inspects the operation of advanced passenger scanning technologies in sixteen unnamed U.S. airport, and reports: “We identified vulnerabilities in the screening process at the passenger screening checkpoint at the eight domestic airports we conducted testing”

  • DOE removes from its Web site a guide on nuclear plant air attacks

    Since 2008 the Department of Energy’s Web site offered the public a virtual how-to manual for attacking a nuclear plant with an airplane; The document showed the areas that a plane could hit at a reactor with maximum effect, and it cited buildings or targets that a plane could strike and cause radioactive release; the document has now been removed

  • Australia's Biometrics Institute launches privacy awareness checklist

    Australia’s Biometric Institute will release its Biometrics Institute Privacy Awareness Checklist (PAC) to its member organizations to promote good privacy practices; the Biometrics Institute Privacy Code already is at a higher level than the Australian Privacy Act 1988

  • Taliban suspected in poisonous gas attacks on female Afghan students

    The Taliban is suspected in three separate poisonous gas attacks on girls schools in northern Afghanistan; eighty-eight girls were admitted to hospitals with what doctors describe as symptoms associated with “unknown gasses”; the Taliban banned education for women during its rule from 1996 to 2001, and girls education is still a controversial issue in Afghanistan today

  • Specialty bomb for fighting terrorists in dense urban areas

    The war against terrorists require weapons that can destroy targets in densely populated urban areas — without causing unnecessary damage to the surrounding neighborhood; the U.S. military has developed the new FLM (Focused Lethality Munition) bomb which will use a composite (carbon fiber) casing and replace some of the normal 127.2 kg (280 pounds) of explosives with 93 kg of explosives surrounded by high density filler (fine tungsten powder)

  • Debate over chemical plant security heats up -- again, II

    Some lawmakers want to toughen up the chemical plant safety legislation, due for renewal before it expires this fall; the chemical industry prefers the continuation of the current measure, which was passed in 2007; the key debate is over whether or not DHS should be in a position to impose the use of safer and less volatile chemical on those plants closest to large urban centers; the industry points out that many plants have already made the switch voluntarily

  • Laser decontamination for post-chemical attacks, accident clean-up

    Many building materials — like cement and brick — are extremely porous; getting contaminants off surfaces like these is difficult, since they can inhabit cracks and pores; cleaning up chemical-contaminated structures can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming; what if terrorists attacked an urban center with chemicals? Researchers say the answer is to use laser to decontaminate an area after a terrorist attack or an industrial accident

  • Debate over chemical plant security heats up -- again, I

    The current chemical plant security law was passed in 2006 and expires in October; some lawmakers want to strengthen it, while the chemical industry want the law renewed without changes, saying chemical plants have taken steps to prevent accidental or terrorist-induced releases of dangerous compounds

  • South Africa holds a large aviation security drill in advance of the World Cup

    In advance of the June-July 2010 World Cup tournament, South Africa this weekend is conducting a comprehensive aviation security drill; the exercise will resemble security precautions which will be put in place during the soccer event, which begins 11 June; an expansive security envelope will be established around the stadiums where the games are played, and other air travel restriction will go into place; the drill this weekend will examine how the SA security forces respond to various violations of these security rules

  • Al Qaeda rockets aimed at Israel hit Jordanian port city

    Al Qaeda terrorists fire two Grad rockets from the Egyptian-controlled Sinai peninsula at the Israeli resort town of Eilat, at the northern tip of the Red Sea; the rocket miss Eilat — one hit the neighboring Jordanian port city of Aqaba, the second fell into the sea; in 2005 al Qaeda terrorists used the same area of the Sinai to fire Katyusha rockets at a U.S. warship docked in the port of Aqaba

  • APTA seeks public transportation security funding

    A recent survey of U.S. public transit systems identifies $6.4 billion in security needs; Federal funding provided in FY2010 for public transportation security totaled only $253 million; industry group urges Congress to allocate at least $1.1 billion in the FY2011 budget for ground transportation security

  • How safe are the world's nuclear fuel stockpiles?

    There is a lot of weapon-grade nuclear material in the world — 1,600 tons of HEU and 500 tons of separated plutonium; keeping these stockpiles safe will take more than barbed wire; one method is a seal for HEU fuel rods with a pattern of flaws visible on ultrasound scans that cannot be removed without leaving telltale signs; the seals were installed last year in Romania and Pakistan; scientists work on other detection and safety methods

  • TSA joins NYPD in subway baggage screening

    TSA joins BYPD in a trial for screening passengers’ baggage on New York subways; TSA says it does not know how long the agency would run the program, but that mass transit riders should anticipate a TSA presence underground “for the foreseeable future”

  • U.S. lawmakers increasingly impatient with virtual U.S.-Mexico border fence concept

    U.S. lawmakers grow impatient with U.S.-Mexico border virtual fence scheme; Senator Joseph Lieberman: “By any measure, SBInet, has been a failure. A classic example of a program that was grossly oversold and has badly under-delivered”; Senator John McCain: “The virtual fence has been a complete failure.”

  • Iran's nukes: the state of play

    There are no doubts about two things: Iran is working feverishly to acquire the means and materials to build nuclear weapons, and that Iran’s goal is to minimize the breakout time before making a sprint toward a nuclear weapon; by minimizing the breakout time, Iran would limit the world’s ability to exert pressure and reduce the opportunity to intervene militarily or otherwise to prevent Iran from getting the bomb; the good news is that Iran’s nuclear program is vulnerable to attack and disruption