From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: NSA reform bill fails in Senate | ISIS arsenal | 2013 terror numbers
Date: Wed Nov 19 12:05:04 MST 2014
Body:
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DAILY REPORT
Wednesday 19 November 2014 vol. 8 no. 268

In Today's Issue

Surveillance
GOP senators block NSA surveillance reform bill

The USA Freedom Act, a bill introduced last year aiming to curtail some of the NSA’s data collection programs, especially those focusing on U.S. phone data, failed last night to reach the 60-vote threshold required to cut off debate and move to a vote. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the Republican leader, and other leading GOP senators worked hard to defeat the bill. Nearly a year-and-a-half after the Edward Snowden’s revelations, the act was considered the most politically viable effort in four decades to place curbs on NSA activities. Civil libertarians and technology companies supported the bill, as did the White House and the intelligence community – although the latter two did so more out of fear that a failure of the bill would jeopardize the extension of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which expires next June.

ISIS
ISIS has sufficient quantities of arms to carry on fighting for two years: UN

A new report prepared for the United Nations Security Council warns that Islamic State (ISIS) has in its possession sufficient reserves of small arms, ammunition, and vehicles to wage its war for Syria and Iraq for up to two years. The size and diversity the Islamist organization’s arsenal allow the group durable mobility, range, and a limited defense against low-flying aircraft. The report notes that even if the U.S.-led air campaign continues to destroy the group’s vehicles and heavier weapon systems, such a campaign “cannot mitigate the effect of the significant volume of light weapons” Isis possesses.

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Terrorism
Number of deaths caused by terrorism in 2013 increased 61% over 2012

There were almost 10,000 terrorist attacks recorded in 2013 (representing a 44 percent increase over 2012), resulting in nearly 18,000 deaths (representing a 61 percent increase from the previous year). Twenty-four countries experienced more than 50 deaths in 2013, and increase of 60 percent from 15 in 2012. Terrorism in 2013 was dominated by four organizations: ISIS, Boko Haram, al Qaeda, and the Taliban -- collectively responsible for 66 percent of all fatalities from terrorism. More than 80 percent of the deaths from terrorist incidents in 2013 were recorded in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria. Iraq continues to be the country most impacted by terrorism, with the number of fatalities in the country rising 164 percent to 6,362. At least thirteen countries face a greater risk of significant terrorist activity in the coming years: Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Iran, Israel, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Uganda.

Risk analysis
Risk analysis for an increasingly more complex world

The increasing complexity and interconnection of socioeconomic and environmental systems leaves them more vulnerable to seemingly small risks that can spiral out of control, according to the new study. Developing adaptable systems for finance and international relations could help reduce the risk of major systemic collapses such as the 2008 financial crisis, according to the study.

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In the trenches
Transforming planes into flying aircraft carriers

Military air operations typically rely on large, manned, robust aircraft, but such missions put these expensive assets -- and their pilots -- at risk. While small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can reduce or eliminate such risks, they lack the speed, range, and endurance of larger aircraft. These complementary traits suggest potential benefits in a blended approach -- one in which larger aircraft would carry, launch, and recover multiple small UAS. A flying carrier would allow the United States to use of drones in areas where the United States has no access to nearby airfields, but recovering a drone in mid-air remains a daunting technical challenge.

Detection
New acoustic sensor for chemical, biological detection

Testing for ovarian cancer or the presence of a particular chemical could be almost as simple as distinguishing an F sharp from a B flat, thanks to a new microscopic acoustic device that has been dramatically improved by scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory. The device, known as a surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor, detects frequency changes in waves that propagate through its crystalline structure. This makes it ideal for detecting the presence of chemicals or biomarkers present in a liquid or gas.

Also noted

Russia plays big role in cyber spying, hacking | Kansas agents see increased demand for earthquake insurance | Safety board upholds FAA regulation of drones | Florida Gov. Scott facing rising seas, climate change politics | New virtual reality installation reveals how sea-level rise will affect Bay Area shoreline | For Obama, executive order on immigration would be a turnabout | Sheer size of U.S.-Canada border stokes terrorism fears | 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui claims Saudi involvement | Law student found guilty in secret U.K. terrorism trial | Low supplies of road salt lead to higher prices in U.S. | Crucial oversight for Stingray investigations | Judge threatens detective with contempt for declining to reveal cellphone tracking methods | U.S. group CAIR named terrorist organization by United Arab Emirates | Virginia woman arrested in international terrorism investigation

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