Morning Security Brief: Chicago Braces for NATO Protests, House of Representatives Burglaries, License Plate Scanners, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►Chicago authorities are on high alert as the city prepares to host the NATO summit, which is expected to being both thousands of dignitaries and thousands of protestors. Police officers from as far as Philadelphia are expected to provide additional support. Downtown offices are encouraging workers to wear causal clothes instead of business attire for fear protestors would target them. Others have upped security on their computer networks. “Local organizers said they plan displays of civil disobedience before the meeting ends — including an attempt to shut down the Boeing headquarters on Monday — but say the city’s preparation for security has been an overreaction, and that they have no intention of marring their broad antiwar message with a violent outbreak,” the New York Times reports. So far only there have only been about 12 arrests, most of them for trespassing.

►U.S. Capitol Police are trying to find a pattern in a series of break-ins over the last month at the offices of several House members and congressional committees. Most of the items stolen had “high street value.” They included iPods, cameras, computer monitors, blazers, alcohol, and autographed baseballs. Some believe the break-ins were an inside job because thieves gained access to locked offices. “Other offices hit—many of which handle information dealing with issues of national security, though nothing of a sensitive nature was reportedly taken—include those of Reps. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Jon Runyan, R-N.J.; the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security; and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee,” the National Journal reports. One lawmaker says he’s reluctant to replace the items without better surveillance of the building.

►The DEA and local sheriffs are asking permission from the Utah Legislature to install stationary license plate scanners along Interstate 15, Utah’s “drug corridor,” to catch drug traffickers. The DEA says the data would be stored for two years. Utah’s Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee worried about who would be able to access that information. "It’s not against the law to drive down I-15 from Utah to Nevada to gamble but there are a lot of Utahns that would be pretty embarrassed by that,” Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups was quoted. “Committee members asked for more information about the scanners and the data storage and agreed to discuss the issue at its June meeting,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Similar scanners are already in place in areas of California and Texas known for drug trafficking activity. The DEA is also considering installation on interstates in Arizona.

►In other news, Italy increases security at 14,000 potential targets after the shooting of a nuclear energy company official and in light of letter bombs sent to tax collectors. ♦ The ATF is examining a rifle dropped by a man who was seen aiming it at a school bus. He fled after being confronted by witnesses and shooting one of them with a second gun. He also dropped a notebook full of school bus numbers. ♦ And the FBI says that the same person who mailed 20 powder-filled envelopes to buildings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last week is responsible for sending hundreds of similar letters worldwide since 2008. It also released a profile of the mailer: male, over 30, “may not demonstrate a mastery of formal English,” and an obsession with topics related to terrorism, intelligence, and conspiracy theories. 



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