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Archive for December 10th, 2009

Column: Ex-TSA Official Says Document Scandal “Not The Worst Breach of Security Since 9/11″

Ellen Howe served as Assistant Administrator for Strategic Communications & Public Affairs at the Transportation Security Administration from March 2006 until January 2009.

Ellen Howe/security debrief photo

Ellen Howe/security debrief photo

By Ellen Howe
Security DeBrief

Certainly the posting of the Transportation Security Administration’s screening procedures on the Internet was not the agency’s finest hour, but it was not the worst breach of security since 9/11, as I heard last night on CNN.

While some were quick to pounce and ridicule, most of what was in that document can be deciphered by studying procedures at the checkpoint, something terrorists are known to do before they execute an attack.

TSA is a complex organization, and its people and policies should not be underestimated. The agency bases its operations on intelligence, and the document that was revealed does not account for constant updates and tweaks made based on current intelligence.

To Read More

Gotti Jr. Optimistic Feds Won’t Try for 5th Trial; Hopes to Move from NY

John "Junior" Gotti/youtube photo
John “Junior” Gotti/youtube photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Gotti Jr., who walked free after his fourth mistrial on racketeering charges, is “optimistic” the feds won’t try for a fifth trial, the website Gang Land News reports.

The website, written by former New York Daily News mob writer Jerry Capeci, noted that Gotti could get word on the fed’s intentions at a Jan. 22 status conference hearing, if not sooner. A mistrial was declared on Dec. 1 after a New York jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked.

If all goes as planned, Gotti said, he hopes to move out of N.Y. and relocate his family to Florida or the Carolinas.

“I want to move on,” and change the surroundings, Gotti said, according to Gang Land.”To be here, it’s a little awkward at times. I’m not that far from Queens; I’m not that far from New York. You go to dinner in a restaurant with your wife, you tend to bump into old acquaintances.”

5 TSA Employees Placed on Leave in Scandal Involving Published Document

airport-people-walking
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Five Transportation Security Administration employees have been placed on administrative leave in response to news that a 93-page confidential document on airport passenger screening was posted on the Internet, the agency said.

Assistant Homeland Security secretary David Heyman told senators on Capitol Hill Wednesday that a full investigation into the matter was underway, according to the Boston Globe.

The TSA has admitted that the document was posted online on a government procurement site in a redacted form. But people on the Internet were able to make copies without the redactions.

In a statement on Wednesday, the TSA said:

“TSA takes full responsibility for this improper posting and all individuals who may have been involved have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the review.”

Read more »

FBI Dir. Mueller Gets Briefed in Chicago on Terrorism Case Linked to Mumbai

Robert Mueller III in Denver/fbi photo

Robert Mueller III in Denver/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert Mueller III was in Chicago on Wednesday where he was briefed on a terror case involving the 2008 deadly attacks in Mumbai, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Mueller reportedly was told details of the case involving David Coleman Headley, who is charged with plotting to attack a Copenhagen newspaper and scouting targets for the Mumbai attack last year that resulted in about 170 deaths.

Headley has pleaded not guilty and is cooperating with the FBI, the Tribune reported.

Atty. Gen. Holder Visits NY to Check on 9/11 Terror Trial

new york city3 cabsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. showed up in New York on Wednesday, not for a Broadway play, but to inspect how a real live drama will play out in the Big Apple.

The Associated Press reported that Holder arrived unannounced to inspect a jail and a Manhattan courthouse where suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four cronies will stand trial.

The five defendants have been held in Guantanamo Bay. The decision to put them on trial in New York has stirred plenty of controversy.

Some have criticized Holder and the White House, saying the trial will compromise the safety of New York residents. Critics also insist that the group should be tried in a military tribunal.

The AP, attributing information to Justice Department Matthew Miller, said Holder met with the prosecution team on the case.

”We have a robust plan to hold these trials safely and securely and there’s broad agreement that we can do that,” Miller said told the AP.

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