Morning Security Brief: ATF Criticized, Hospital Identity Theft, New Top at Al-Qaeda, and More.
By Carlton Purvis
►The problems with a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' (ATF) program called Gunwalker, were again under the spotlight at a congressional hearing. The program, under which gun traffickers working for Mexican cartels were allowed to continue moving hundreds of guns to the cartels was supposed to help the ATF track their movement, an ATF agent told a House committee on Wednesday (June15). The program put agents and others at risk when agents stopped tracking the guns for months at a time, USA Today reports. The program was ended when two rifles provided by the ATF were found at the scene after the murder of a U.S. border agent.
►A Colorado nurse faces 90 felony charges for stealing the identities of patients he came into contact with at several different hospitals, KUSA-TV reports. The man worked at a medical staffing agency that regularly placed him at different hospitals. He would access patient information during their intake and apply for credit cards from hospital computers. “That’s probably your most vulnerable time. You’ll sign any paperwork, you’ll give any information you can in order to be healthy and feel safe, one victim told KUSA.
►Ayman Al-Zawahiri has been appointed the new leader of al Qaeda, according to a statement released on Jihadist Web sites, CNN reports. Al-Zawahiri served as Osama bin Laden’s deputy. The statement praises Al-Zawahiri, but a former CIA official says he is “poorly respected” by al Qaeda. “He has no sense among the work force in al Qaeda, the kind of prestige that bin Laden had,” former CIA officer Phil Mudd told CNN. Still, the FBI is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture.
►The Alliance For Change, a major Guyanese political party, is calling for a “surgical joint services operation” to investigate security at a Guyanese prison after four “special watch” inmates escaped from the prison, Kaieteur News reports. The prison break occurred just days after a guard escorted another prisoner out of the prison and to the border. AFC says the prison has had security problems since a 2002 prison break that resulted in “an intense crime wave,” Kaieteur News reports. After the 2002 break, a formal report called for installation and monitoring of warning technology and searches of prisoners for weapons.
A bill (H.R. 915) that is designed to improve security along the U.S. border with Mexico has been approved by the House of Representatives. The bill is now pending in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.