15 JANUARY 2009

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WORLDWIDE


Cybersecurity: FBI goes global on threats
By Ben Bain

 

Jan 12, 2009 - Federal Computer Week

Law enforcement officials continue to face in the age of global interconnectedness and criminal behavior that operates without regard to national borders. Last May, the Justice Department announced charges against 38 people for their alleged involvement in a computer and credit card fraud scheme that spanned the globe. It was a case the FBI could not have solved without close coordination with officials in Romania, because the international crime ring had a significant base in Bucharest. The defendants were charged with crimes related to phishing, tricking people into revealing personal information and passwords that allowed the criminals to defraud them of millions of dollars. Several of the defendants have pleaded guilty. Romanian authorities, coordinating with the FBI, conducted several searches of homes that uncovered crucial evidence necessary to prosecute the defendants, said Mark Filip, Justice’s deputy attorney general. Indeed, the Romanian authorities’ active cooperation with the FBI now serves a model when U.S. law enforcement officials discuss international cooperation on cyber crime. "The Romania prosecution is a good example of our ability to deal with cyber criminal activity cutting across national borders," Filip said…

 

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Barack Obama's other war on terror
By Philip Sherwell: The Daily Telegraph (London)

 

13 Jan 2009

The note left next to the severed heads of the eight soldiers and state police chief was chillingly direct. "For each of mine that you kill, I will kill 10 soldiers," it read.

It sounds like the sort of gruesome tactic deployed by Islamic terrorists in Iraq. But this horrific scene occurred last month near the main road from Mexico City to the popular tourist destination of Acapulco on the Pacific coast. The soldiers were kidnapped as they left a nearby military barracks and then decapitated in apparent revenge for an army firefight with a narcotics gang in a nearby town that left three drug smugglers dead. Mexico's rapidly escalating drug wars claimed nearly 6,000 lives last year in a country more commonly associated with sun, sand and ancient ruins than narco-terrorism. Much of the bloodshed is concentrated along the US-Mexican border, where the violence is spilling across the 2,000 miles of shared frontier. Beheaded and mutilated corpses and mass graves turn up on a near-daily basis, often in the heart of cities such as Cuidad Juarez and Tijuana, once-thriving border communities that are now the terrifying fiefdoms of the cartels. In a report last month that sent shock waves through Washington, General Barry McCaffrey, US drug tsar under President Bill Clinton, called for the new Barack Obama administration to focus on the security threat along America's southern border…

 

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NATIONAL


Torture Acknowledgment Highlights Detainee Issue
by William Glaberson: New York Times

 

When the senior official for the Pentagon’s military commissions said this week that interrogators tortured a detainee at Guantánamo Bay and that therefore he could not be prosecuted, she highlighted the hard question at the center of the incoming Obama administration’s effort to form a new detention policy.

 

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Casey Signs 7,000 Letters Of Apology To Families Of Fallen
By Jeff Schogol: Stars and Stripes

 

ARLINGTON, Va. — Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey has personally signed letters apologizing to about 7,000 families of fallen soldiers who received letters last month that all began "Dear John Doe."

"There’s some things that you just have to personalize, and that was too personal," Casey said Wednesday.

Printed by a contractor, the letters were intended to inform families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan about private organizations that can help them, but the names of the families did not transfer when the contractor combined the letters with a list of families’ addresses.

The Army announced the mistake and issued an apology on Jan. 6.

Calling the incident a "terrible mistake," Casey said the Army has since suspended all mass mailings and e-mails pending a quality control check.

"We are working on what’s the appropriate action against the contractor right now," Casey told reporters after speaking at an Association of the United States Army event Wednesday.

Casey said he did not know the name of the contractor that printed the "John Doe" letters.

The Army has refused to release the name of the contractor, prompting some Stars and Stripes readers to ask why.

"The decision not to release the contractor’s name is because, ultimately, it’s the Army’s responsibility, sir, not the contractor’s, to maintain quality control," explained Army spokesman Paul Boyce on Monday.

 

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Spokesman: Obama Will Lift Ban On Gays
Washington Times (Pg. 2)

 

January 15, 2009

The incoming White House press secretary reiterated Wednesday in unusually blunt terms his boss' vow to allow openly homosexual persons to serve in the U.S. military.

Robert Gibbs made the statement in a video during which he answered members of the public who sent him questions via YouTube.com.

"Thadeus of Lansing, Mich., asks, 'Is the new administration going to get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy?'" Mr. Gibbs said. "Thadeus, you don't hear a politician give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.'"

President-elect Barack Obama has long opposed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which President Bill Clinton established as a compromise after a public furor in the opening days of his administration led him to back off his campaign promise to repeal outright the military's ban on gays.

The Washington Times reported in November that the Obama team did not expect to move against "don't ask don't tell" for months and, perhaps not until 2010.

 

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Immigration prosecutions surge under Bush's watch
By Dianne Solis: The Dallas Morning News

 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 

Immigration prosecutions in the federal courts more than quadrupled during the eight years of the Bush administration and Texas' two border districts led the nation in the surge, according to a new report by a Syracuse University research center. Even the Dallas-based Northern Judicial District of Texas was part of the increase, though the number of prosecutions – 357 in the 2008 fiscal year – was a fraction of the 25,061 prosecutions in the Southern district of Texas. The report by the Syracuse group known as the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, also showed a decline in certain types of prosecutions such as white-collar crime and narcotics filings. The Justice Department defended its record on Monday and questioned the Syracuse's group analysis of federal data...


REGIONAL


UPDATE: BORDC-Tacoma Opposition to the Northwest Detention Center Expansion

Meanwhile, snow run off and heavy rains caused flooding in the Pacific Northwest quite near where this facility is located. Tacoma came very close to a serious situation this month when water came within inches of topping the decayed levees near the detention center. Still, no emergency plans are known of yet: there is no rehearsed evacuation for over 1,000 people and no identified shelter to take them to. The flooding did flush a host of waste products into the nearby bay. We alerted the City of Tacoma, Dept of Ecology, and EPA to look at this before the flood but little was done.


SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE


Russia's gas war
Ariel Cohen COMMENTARY: Washington Times

 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ariel Cohen is senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security at the Katherine and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at the Heritage Foundation...

 

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The Secret Patents of the Atomic Bomb

 

During WWII the United States attempted to keep create a monopoly on nuclear technologies in the Post-War period.

Here are some of the "secret" patents. Don't build this at home.

 

http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~wellerst/atomic_patents/

 

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SPECIAL CATEGORY (SPECAT)


Vitual Trace Route Tool

 

The visual trace route tool displays the path Internet packets traverse to reach a specified destination. The tool works by identifying the IP addresses of each hop along the way to the destination network address. The estimated geophysical location of each hop is identified using MaxMind's GeoIP database. After all of the hops locations' are identified, the path to the destination is plotted on a Google Map. More about this tool.
 

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