From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Week in Review
Date: Sat Jun 21 14:05:03 MDT 2014
Body:
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Saturday 21 June 2014 vol. 8 no. 143

Week in Review

Iraq
Obama orders 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq (updated)

President Barack Obama yesterday announced he had authorized sending up to 300 U.S. troops to Iraq to help the Iraqi military cope with a rapidly advancing attack by Islamist fighters from the fundamentalist group ISIS. “It is in our national security interest not to see an all-out civil war in Iraq,” Obama said. While reiterating that he would not send combat troops to Iraq, the president said the United States would help the Iraqis “take the fight” to the militants, who he said pose a threat to Iraq’s stability and to American interests.

Maliki says he will not step down to facilitate U.S. air strikes against ISIS

A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has said Maliki will not stand down in order to make it politically easier for the United States to launch air strikes against ISIS Sunni militants who have made rapid advances across Iraq, culminating yesterday (Wednesday) with taking control over Iraq’s largest oil refinery, located in Baiji, 130 miles north of Baghdad. The Islamists now control a third of Iraq’s territory. Many U.S. lawmakers, and many analysts of Iraq, consider the failed leadership Maliki -- a Shi’a politician who, at Iran’s urging, has pursued a narrow sectarian policies which has alienated Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds -- as the reason for the willingness of the Sunni population in Iraq to welcome ISIS as a protector of Sunni interests, and the indifference shown so far by the Kurds in the face of ISIS gains.

ISIS insurgents take over Iraq’s largest refinery, continue advance toward Baghdad

Earlier this morning (Wednesday) ISIS Islamic militants took over Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, located near the town of Baiji, 130 miles north of Baghdad. The fall of the refinery is a major blow to the already-reeling government of Nouri al-Maliki. The refinery provides about 40 percent of Iraq’s refined oil needs, and if the supplies dry up, the Iraqi economy would be paralyzed within a few days, and Iraqi citizens would be without power or gas for their cars. As was the case since the ISIS campaign began late last week, the Iraqi military and security forces put up only a token resistance, with most of their units melting away and leaving their arms and equipment behind without even engaging the militants. Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC.

Anthrax
As many as 75 CDC scientists exposed to anthrax after violation of handling procedure

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday (Thursday) that as many as seventy-five scientists working in CDC laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after researchers deviated from established pathogen handling procedures. The exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory located at the CDC's Atlanta campus failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria. They compounded this initial error by moving the samples, which may have included live bacteria, to lower-security CDC labs not equipped to handle live anthrax. Scientists working in the lower security lab do not wear the protective gear necessary when handling live anthrax bacteria.

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Terrorism
Pentagon is capable of tracking the Taliban 5 freed from Guantanamo: experts

Critics of the White House's release of five Taliban prisoners (Taliban 5) from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar are concerned that the group will eventually return to the battlefield in Afghanistan, posing a threat to American forces. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that doing so will open the terrorists to possible drone strikes; but that requires knowledge of their whereabouts. How might intelligence analysts track the Taliban 5 during and after their stay in Qatar? Experts say that the Pentagon is capable of tracking the former detainees using algorithms that predict terrorists' movements based on their personal history and network.

Missile defense
Badly engineered missile defense systems deployed “because there was a rush”

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to build space- and ground-based missile defense systems. The space-based component was abandoned as impractical, and the focus shifted to Ground-based Midcourse Defense systems (GMD). Despite disappointing results and program test failures, Congress and the George W. Bush administration pressed forward with spending billions on acquiring systems of questionable reliability. "We recognize the problems we have had with all the currently fielded interceptors,” Undersecretary of Defense Frank Kendall old an industry gathering in February 2014. “The root cause was a desire to field these things very quickly and very cheaply; we are seeing a lot of bad engineering, frankly, and it was because there was a rush."

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Cybersecurity
A first: San Francisco to feature encrypted Wi-Fi service

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the city of San Francisco has announced that the city will implement a small, free Wi-Fi spot within the city which will offer encrypted service and, it is hoped, usher in a new standard for other urban centers.

Security flaw: Researchers find thousands of secret keys in Android apps

Researchers have discovered a crucial security problem in Google Play, the official Android app store where millions of users of Android, the most popular mobile platform, get their apps. "Google Play has more than one million apps and over 50 billion app downloads, but no one reviews what gets put into Google Play -- anyone can get a $25 account and upload whatever they want. Very little is known about what's there at an aggregate level," says one of the researchers.

Law enforcement
Pentagon’s excess equipment makes local police resemble military units

In the early 1990s, Congress authorized the Pentagon to transfer excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies across the country for use in counter-drug activities. Since the program’s inception, the Pentagon has transferred $4.3 billion worth of military equipment to local and state agencies. In 2013 alone, $449,309,003 worth of military property was transferred to law enforcement. Critics say that more and more police departments now resemble military units, and that military gear is used in cases where it should not – as was the case in a small Florida town in 2010, when officers in SWAT gear drew out their guns on raids on barbershops that mostly led to charges of “barbering without a license.”

Seismic alert
Inexpensive seismic alert device may help Mexico City residents

Mexico City has been experiencing an unusually large number of tremors within the past few months, and though the country has one of the most advanced seismic alert systems in the world, many residents are unable to receive notifications before tremors occur. Mexican regulations limit the sale of government-issued earthquake alert receivers to one private company, but since the receivers cost an average of $310, most families are unable to afford them. Andres Meira, a 39-year-old architect, has designed an earthquake alert receiver, which costs only $54 at retail, which taps into the government's earthquake alert frequency to notify its users of a pending earthquake.

Infrastructure
Number of structurally deficient bridges in U.S. declines

The number of structurally deficient bridges in the United States has declined by 14 percent in the last six years, but despite the improvement, 10 percent of American bridges are in need of maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement. The average age of bridges in the country is forty-three years old, and most bridges were built to last for fifty-years, so eventually all bridges will become structurally deficient unless they are repaired or replaced.

Infrastructure protection
Towns in northeast U.S. develop adaptation strategies for climate change

In many northeastern towns along the coast of the United States, local officials are attempting to identify and predict the effects of climate change which will occur over the next few decades. “You’re going to feel impacts. It’s a global issue with local effects; we don’t know exactly what’s coming, so let’s plan to be adaptable,” says a leader of a regional climate adaptation project.

Chemical plant safety
Texas limits release of information about toxic chemicals storage in the state

Shortly after the 2013 chemical explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services(DSHS) releasedto several media outlets its list of businesses across the state that store or handle large supplies of chemicals, including ammonium nitrate, the chemical which ignited the explosion. More recently, the department has been working to limit the release of its database of chemical inventories from the public.

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Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Law & Public Policy - Master of Science Legal Studies 100% online - CALU Global Online
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State, Political Community and Foreign Relations in Modern and Contemporary Syria
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