From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Week in Review
Date: Sat May 31 14:05:09 MDT 2014
Body:
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WEEK IN REVIEW
Friday 30 May 2014 vol. 8 no. 125

Week in Review

African security
Impasse over abducted girls as Nigeria admits it has no military option

Military and intelligence personnel from France, the United States, Israel, and Britain have been in Abuja and in the field for three weeks now, in an effort to help the Nigerian military develop a plan to deal with the plight of the more than 200 abducted girls. After three weeks in Nigeria, these Western diplomats, and military and intelligence officials, concede that the Nigerian military and government are just not up to the task. “There is a view among diplomats here and with their governments at home that the [Nigerian] military is so poorly trained and armed, and so riddled with corruption, that not only is it incapable of finding the girls, it is also losing the broader fight against Boko Haram,” the New York Times reported. The paper continued: “That the hope of many across the globe [for the safe return of the girls] rests on such a weak reed as the Nigerian military has left diplomats here [in Abuja] in something of a quandary about the way forward. The Nigerian armed forces must be helped, they say, but are those forces so enfeebled that any assistance can only be of limited value?”

Cybersecurity
Debating disclosures of cyber vulnerabilities

Cybersecurity experts are debating whether the NSAand U.S. Cyber Commandshould keep cyber vulnerabilities secret, or disclose and fix them. Not disclosing and fixing cyber vulnerabilities means that, when necessary, such vulnerabilities may be used as weapons in offensive information warfare. Disclosing and fixing such vulnerabilities would diminish the effective of U.S. offensive cyber operations, but the effectiveness of an adversary’s offensive cyber operations would be similarly diminished.

Immigration
U.S. govt. the largest employer of undocumented immigrants

At least 60,000 undocumented immigrants have worked at federal detention centers while waiting for an immigration court to hear their case. While detained, many immigrants work as cooks and janitors at federal and privately-run detention centers, often making less than $1 a day. The cheap labor saves the federal government and private companies at least $40 million a year by making it unnecessary to pay outside contractors the $7.25 federal minimum wage. Since about half of all immigrants in immigration court typically win their case, this means that that tens of thousands of legal immigrants are working for less than a dollar a day in immigration detention facilities.

U.S. recalibrating Secure Communities

The number of municipalities cooperating with Secure Communities has grown from fourteen in 2008 to more than 3,000 today, and about 283,000 immigrants have been deported under the program between 2008 and April of this year. More and more municipalities, however, refuse to hold undocumented immigrants in jail on behalf of Secure Communities.DHS chief Jeh Johnsonsays Secure Communities needs a "fresh start,"and President Barack Obama is planning to limit deportations to undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of violent crimes.

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Airport perimeter security
Airports resist bolstering perimeter security because of cost

Last month's security breach at Mineta San Jose Airport, in which a teenager entered the airfield and hid in the wheel well of a Maui-bound flight, has highlighted concerns about the security of airport perimeters. Perimeter intrusions are common at airports, but airports resist pressures to improve perimeter protection because of the costs involved. Experts note that if we were to string all of the U.S. airport perimeters together, we would approach the length of the U.S. border with Mexico and security expenditures approaching a billion dollars. These experts say that airports are not likely to invest heavily in perimeter security until a serious disaster due to lax perimeter security occurs. "Show me a body count, and we'll build a fence," said one airport administrator.

Bioweapons
Scientists urge U.S. to do more to detect, prevent use of bioweapons

Carefully targeted biological weapons could be as dangerous as nuclear weapons, so the United States should invest more resources in developing technologies to detect them, scientists say. What is especially worrisome is that "The advent of modern molecular genetic technologies is making it increasingly feasible to engineer bioweapons," says one expert. "It's making people with even moderate skills able to create threats they couldn't before." There is another worry: "A high-tech bioweapon could cost only $1 million to build," the expert adds. "That's thousands of times cheaper than going nuclear. Iran's centrifuges alone cost them billions."

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Public health
Experiments with dangerous bird flu stains pose risk of accidental release

Experiments creating dangerous flu strain that are transmissible between mammals pose too great a risk to human life from potential release, according to researchers. Although experiments on these so-called novel potential pandemic pathogens (PPPs) are conducted at high levels of biosecurity, the researchers argue that they pose a substantial risk to human life. They are calling for greater scrutiny of experiments that make virulent influenza strains transmissible, and for future studies on flu transmission to use safer and more effective alternative approaches.

Nuclear waste
U.S., industry grappling with a growing nuclear waste problem

Thirty years ago congress voted to fund the building of centralized nuclear waste repository at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Four years ago to Obama administration pulled to plug on the project, and nuclear wasted has continued to accumulate on the grounds of nuclear plants – active and shuttered – around the United States. As of May 2013, the U.S. nuclear industry had 69,720 tons of toxic nuclear waste to deal with. The administration strategy calls for a short-term centralized storage facility by 2025, and a permanent national geological repository by 2048.

Nuclear facilities
Guard fired for Y-12 breach says he was made a scapegoat for contractor’s failings

Kirk Garland, a security guard at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was fired from his job two weeks after three aging peace activists, led by an 82-year old nun, managed, on 28 July 2012, to breach the facility’s supposedly impregnable perimeter security systems, then loiter, unnoticed, on the grounds of the facility, where bomb grade uranium is stored. The activists had enough time to spray-paint peace messages and Bible verses on walls, slosh the walls with human blood, and wrap one of the buildings with crime-scene tape. In an arbitration hearing, Garland argued that he was made a scapegoat for the larger failings of the then-security contractor,Wackenhut Services.

Toxins
Extreme weather exposes the toxic legacy of an industrial past

The increase in the number and intensity of extreme weather events in the United States carries with it yet another, more insidious danger: it forces to the surface toxic lead from long-shuttered smelters. Lead smelters had mostly closed down in the United States by the 1980s, but they left behind millions of tons of toxic waste. One example: In 2011, Joplin, Missouri suffered a devastating tornado which killed 158 people and flattened much of the city. Decades of lead processing in the Joplin area had created about 150 million tons of toxic wastes, with about 9 million tons still remaining after a federal Superfund cleanup. The 2011 tornado forced some of the buried lead to the surface, forcing Joplin to spend $3.5 million so far on lead clean up. The city now requires builders to test for lead, and clean up any traces, before beginning construction.

Defense planning
DOD officials tell lawmakers that climate change affects national defense decisions

Climate change is among the factors Defense Department officials consider in protect national security around the globe, a senior DOD official told a Senate panel here last week. Daniel Y. Chiu, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, said that while DOD plans for contingencies and unexpected developments to protect the nation’s security, climate change can create sea-level rise, storm surge, shifting climate zones, and more severe weather conditions that can affect operations. While some of those conditions have affected military installations, he said, such changes can also have a negative impact on other DOD concerns.

Food security
Dramatic drop in Central Valley wintertime fog threatens California’s agricultural industry

California’s winter tule fog -- hated by drivers, but needed by fruit and nut trees -- has declined dramatically over the past three decades, raising a red flag for the state’s multibillion dollar agricultural industry, according to researchers at UC Berkeley. Many crops go through a necessary winter dormant period brought on and maintained by colder temperatures. Tule fog, a thick ground fog that descends upon the state’s Central Valley between late fall and early spring, helps contribute to this winter chill. The findings have implications for the entire country since many of these California crops account for 95 percent of U.S. production.

Energy
Algae biofuel can help meet world energy demand

Microalgae-based biofuel not only has the potential to quench a sizable chunk of the world's energy demands, researchers say. Microalgae produces much higher yields of fuel-producing biomass than other traditional fuel feedstocks and it does not compete with food crops. The researchers say that algae yields about 2,500 gallons of biofuel per acre per year. In contrast, soybeans yield approximately forty-eight gallons; corn about eighteen gallons.

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