Afternoon Security Brief: Police Scandal Brews in the U.K., U.S. Sued for Torture, and Union Pacific Upgrades Security

By Teresa Anderson

The Telegraph is reporting that an investigation into police misconduct stemming from the recent phone hacking scandals in the United Kingdom has uncovered widespread abuse of the Police National Computer (PNC). The PNC contains records of crimes, suspects, vehicle identification, and license plate data. In the investigation, more than 200 officers accessed the PNC for unauthorized purposes, including selling that information to criminals.

♦ In Vance v. Rumsfeld, a federal appeals court has ruled that two American citizens who were tortured by the U.S. government can proceed with their lawsuit against the United States and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The two plaintiffs worked for Shield Group Security, an American company that provided contract military services to the U.S. government in Iraq. The men, at the request of the government, became whistleblowers, providing intelligence on employees of Shield Group Security who were potentially involved with illegal arms trading, weapons stockpiling, and bribery. The informants were taken prisoner by Shield Group Security and then turned over to U.S. forces in Iraq where they were held for months and tortured. Eventually they were released. No charges were ever brought against them.

♦ U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced an agreement with Union Pacific railroad to mitigate penalties against the company in exchange for an security enhancements. Penalties against Union Pacific have been on the increase as illegal substances have been discovered on trains coming from Mexico into the United States. CBP agreed to mitigate these penalties if Union Pacific will spend $50 million on supply chain security measures to prevent narcotics trafficking. The security steps will include upgrading security at critical junctures along the Mexico/U.S. lines and partnering with the CBP to form a Rail Fusion Center to identify high-risk shipments.

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