Intelligence

  • Insider threatIdentifying, thwarting insider threats before they do damage

    Researchers argue that one way to identify and predict potential insider threats even before these individuals begin to do damage like stealing and leaking sensitive information, is by using Big Data to monitor changes in behavior patterns. Researchers at PARC, for example, found that individuals who exhibit sudden decrease in participation in group activity, whether in a game like World of Warcraft or corporate e-mail communications, are likely to withdraw from the organization. A withdrawal represents dissatisfaction with the organization, a common trait of individuals who are likely to engage in insider security breaches.

  • SurveillanceA first: Judge in terrorism case rules defense may examine government secret FISA application

    U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled yesterday (Wednesday) that the U.S. government cannot keep secret its request to conduct clandestine surveillance of an accused would-be terrorist. The ruling gives defense attorneys an unprecedented access to a request made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court for permission to spy on an American citizen. Judge Coleman said her ruling is the first time a defendant’s lawyers will be given access to an application prosecutors submitted to the FISA court. Security experts warned that opening FISA applications to review in a criminal case may set a dangerous precedent.

  • SurveillanceExpert calls for “surveillance minimization” to restore public trust

    Surveillance minimization — where surveillance is the exception, not the rule — could help rebuild public trust following revelations about the collection of personal data, according to an expert on privacy and surveillance. “Surveillance minimization requires surveillance to be targeted rather than universal, controlled and warranted at the point of data gathering rather than of data access, and performed for the minimum necessary time on the minimum necessary people,” he says.

  • SurveillanceJudge denies defense request to see whether NSA surveillance led to terrorism charges

    U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman on Friday ruled that lawyers for Adel Daoud, a 20-year old resident of Hillside, a suburb west of Chicago, who was charged with plotting to set off a powerful bomb outside a crowded Chicago bar, will not be allowed to examine whether the investigators who initiated the sting operation which led to Doud’s arrest relied on information gleaned from NSA surveillance programs. Attorneys for Daoud had asked Judge Coleman to instruct prosecutors to disclose “any and all” surveillance information used in Daoud’s case, including information disclosed to a U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence. In a brief ruling posted late Friday, Coleman denied the motion, writing that the defense had “failed to provide any basis for issuing such an order.” Prosecutors would not confirm whether the FBI had initiated its operation against Doud as a result of a tip from the NSA, but they did say that even if such surveillance did exist, they have no plans of using it at trial and the defense was not entitled to it.

  • SurveillanceDeclassified documents strongly argue for keeping NSA programs secret

    On Saturday, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, declassified a set of ten court documents which show that both the Bush and Obama administrations assert that that some of the more sensitive NSA surveillance programs should be kept secret. The administration declassified the documents following a court order related to two lawsuits filed the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The Bush and Obama administration strenuously reject the EFF’s charge that they were running a “dragnet surveillance.” Both administrations contend that the collection programs with explicit limits and minimization procedures which effectively protected the Constitutional rights of Americans.

  • Secret agentsJames Bond drank too much to perform at the level depicted in books, movies

    A detailed examination of James Bond’s books shows that Bond’s weekly alcohol intake is over four times the recommended limit for an adult male, putting him at high risk of several alcohol related diseases, such as alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, impotence, and alcohol-induced tremor, and an early death. The medical team concluded that it would not be realistic to expect Bond to have the capacity to perform (in all aspects of life) at his high level of alcohol intake.

  • SurveillanceA civilian may be appointed to head the NSA

    The Obama administration is considering appointing a civilian to lead the National Security Agency (NSA). If carried out, the move would install a civilian to lead the agency for the first time since its founding in 1952. Keith Alexander, the current director of the NSA, is a four-star Army general. He plans to retire next spring.

  • Securing the cloudCloud OS for the U.S. intelligence community

    Cloud management specialist Adaptive Computingis partnering with the investment arm of the CIA, In-Q-Tel, to develop a cloud operating system for use by U.S. intelligence agency

  • TerrorismFrance debates its anti-terror approach

    The French are debating their anti-terrorism policies in the wake of the worst terrorist attacks on French soil; the debate centers on whether or not the authorities have the right approach to combating terrorism 

  • TerrorismU.S. Congressman: Hezbollah greater threat than al Qaeda

    Al Qaeda is perceived as the primary terror threat to the United States, but Congressman Peter King (R-New York), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, sounds the alarm that Hezbollah may be the greater threat

  • Rep. Peter King, House Homeland Security CommitteeAl Qaeda "very much alive"; U.S. needs to be "aggressive and preemptive"

    Representative Peter King (R-New York), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, reflects back on the 9/11 attacks, discusses critical lessons learned, and the greatest threats facing the United States over the next decade; “—we have largely learned that we need to be aggressive and preemptive when it comes to our national security. Increasingly, we do not wait for an attack before we respond, but we go after and disrupt the threat before an attack can be launched; Law enforcement at all levels must follow suit, thinking more imaginatively and “outside the box.”

  • Privacy vs. securityCan DHS seize -- and hold for months -- U.S. citizens' laptops?

    On Friday, a federal judge heard arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the government’s right to search laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices at the border and hold them indefinitely; civil liberties groups say the policy violates a travelers’ First Amendment right to free speech and the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable search and seizure; according to the civil liberties groups, more than 6,500 travelers have been subject to such search and seizure of their electronic devices from October 2008 to June 2010

  • ImmigrationPolice chiefs oppose proposed Texas immigration measure

    Texas governor Rick Perry wants the legislature to pass a measure which would prohibit local police agencies from barring their officers from asking people they pull over, or otherwise detain, about their legal status in the United States; police chiefs from Houston and Dallas say the bill would impose additional costs on their already-strained budgets and would end up hampering public safety, because it would force them to divert resources and manpower to dealing with undocumented immigrants rather than criminals

  • Business securityDon't mess with these Orlando mall cops

    Far from being a piecemeal operation, security at The Mall at Millennia, a luxury mall in Orlando, Florida, is a highly sophisticated operation that uses the latest law enforcement tools, techniques, and technology; 50 unarmed security officers maintain a conspicuous presence throughout the 1.2 million square foot mall; the mall also has a comprehensive network of surveillance cameras that are monitored in a twenty-four hour command center; to prepare security personnel for emergency scenarios, the department conducts tabletop exercises with local law enforcement officials every six months; the mall also works closely with local law enforcement officials to catch local thieves and participates in sting operations

  • Odds and endsLawmakers want cars equipped with alcohol detection devices

    A bill sponsored by nine U.S. senators would provide $60 million over five years to speed up research into devices to detect alcohol on a driver’s breath, through touch on the steering wheel or through other methods; car owners could select the option when buying a new vehicle; the device would prevent the car from starting if the driver is impaired