Morning Security Brief: Bomb Found Near Dublin on Eve of Queen's Visit, NSA Whistleblower, Officers Killed 2010, & Much More

By Matthew Harwood


♦ The Irish army last night destroyed a bomb found inside a bus not far from Dublin on the eve of the British Queen's historic visit to Ireland's capital city. "The bomb discovery comes after a dissident republican terror alert brought parts of London to a standstill on Monday," reports the Guardian. "Some opposition to the royal visit has been voiced as dissident republican violence rises. But both the British and Irish governments say they hope the official trip will hasten a new and better relationship between the people of Ireland and Britain, built on equality and mutual respect."

The New Yorker's Jane Mayer tells the backstory of the Obama administration's prosecution of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake, who allegedly leaked NSA datamining of American citizens. "When President Barack Obama took office, in 2009, he championed the cause of government transparency, and spoke admiringly of whistle-blowers, whom he described as 'often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government," Mayer writes. "But the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness. Including the Drake case, it has been using the Espionage Act to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national-security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous Administrations combined. The Drake case is one of two that Obama’s Justice Department has carried over from the Bush years."

♦ The FBI releases its statistics for police officers feloniously killed in the line of duty last year. "According to preliminary statistics released today by the FBI, 56 of our nation’s law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty during 2010," according to the press release. "By region, 22 victims were killed in the South, 18 in the West, 10 in the Midwest, three in the Northeast, and three in Puerto Rico. The total number of officers feloniously killed in 2010 was eight more than the 48 officers slain in 2009."

♦ Sandia National Laboratories' national security program is paying off. "Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a super-resolution microscopy technique that is answering long-held questions about exactly how and why a cell’s defenses fail against some invaders, such as plague, while successfully fending off others like E.coli," according to a lab press release. "The approach is revealing never-before-seen detail of the cell membrane, which could open doors to new diagnostic, prevention and treatment techniques." The lab believes the technology could lead to advances in immunology and drug discovery.

♦ Officials from the Department of Homeland Security spend too much of their time answering to too many congressional committees. "The department, cobbled together quickly out of 22 other agencies after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, answers to 108 congressional committees, subcommittees, caucuses and the like, about four times as many as the departments of State and Justice combined," reports the Associated Press. "Officials and staff spent about 66 work years responding to questions from Congress in 2009 alone. That same year, Homeland Security officials say they answered 11,680 letters, gave 2,058 briefings and sent 232 witnesses to 166 hearings. All this at a cost to taxpayers of about $10 million."


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