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Counter Terrorism and Defense

The Stupid Reporting on Security Threats

Recent reporting has reached new levels of stupidity, threatening public confidence and understanding and perhaps even the very security of the traveling public. Terrorists will always try to find ways around aviation security, but media headlines continue to report this as breaking news – when it is not.

Who is Supplying Terrorists with US-Made Technologies?

While ISIS is capturing national concern, Iraq is not the only place where terrorist activities are happening this month. Earlier in June, Tarheek-e Taliban attacked the Karachi, Pakistan airport. What is striking is the terrorists were found with a gunshot wound U.S. military technology called XStat, which had only just been approved by the FDA. How did terrorists get this new technology?

Good Idea, Bad Idea – Bioterrorism and UACs

Good Idea, Bad Idea is a weekly recap of the brilliant and stupid things America’s homeland security community does every day, because sarcasm is good for the soul. This week, a cat catches the tongue of OHA’s Dr. Kathy Brinsfield and Sen. Chuck Schumer gets a paper cut.

Deals with the Devil – The Release of Sgt. Bergdahl

The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last American POW in Afghanistan, ends a more than dozen-year American conflict in Afghanistan. The five senior Taliban leaders exchanged for Sgt. Bergdahl, however, will continue to set off debates on the left and right sides of the political aisles.

Welcome Dr. Brothers and General Taylor

This week, the U.S. Senate confirmed, on a voice vote, Dr. Reginald Brothers as the Under Secretary for Science and Technology and General Francis X. Taylor as Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis.

Welcome to the (Internet) Balkans

“Balkanization” is a splitting into many opposed factions closely located in one area. It ain’t good to be Balkanized, but that is what is happening to the Internet, and there is nothing Washington can do about it. The Obama Administration’s move to let go of U.S. government control over the naming rights of Internet sites is being viewed as the latest in a long line of U.S. withdrawals from control of the Internet.

DHS Secretary Johnson’s First Time Before House Homeland Security Committee

The House Homeland Security Committee did something yesterday it has not done in the past several years, for anyone: it came out in full force for DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s maiden appearance before the committee. It was a positive performance by the Secretary, who showed himself adept at answering questions, even as his lawyer’s instincts kept him from falling into political traps.

At Sports Events, Some Security Tactics Drive Cynicism, Risk

Security is high for the Sochi Olympics, but the TSA’s ban on toothpaste and other gels on flights to Russia is not so much a deterrent as it is an insurance policy against blame should something happen. Meanwhile, metal detectors will be in use at Major League Baseball stadiums come 2015. For both Sochi and U.S. baseball, I am worried we are creating bigger problems down the road in terms of public cynicism and policies that actually increase risk.

On Putin, Pot and Public Security in 2014

As 2014 begins, it is tempting to comment on trends and things one hopes will happen, or do not happen. A few things have occurred that have me thinking overtime on the latter – such as hesitancy to attend the Olympics given terrorism fears or TSA looking for marijuana from Colorado.

Top 3 Security Issues to Watch in 2014

Of all the big stories to keep your eye on for 2014, what are three, base-level “working-stiff” issues? They are mobile computing, defense readiness, and the connection between Special Operation Forces and intelligence. If we can get these right, it would take us a long way towards better security.