Morning Security Brief: Child Soldiers, Global Homicide, Border Security, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►Based on U.S. law, six countries that the State Department says recruit and use child soldiers should be restricted from receiving any kind of financing from the United States. For three of them—Burma, Somalia, and Sudan—that’s the case. For three others—Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Chad— the White House on Tuesday issued waivers to allow continued aid. “Human rights advocates say the presidential waivers, issued for a second year in a row, undermine the intentions of Congress,” ABC news reports. The groups say the law would be effective in these countries if the U.S. would actually enforce it. A White House memorandum cited “national security interests” as the reason for the waivers.

►The United Nations released the 2011 Global Study on Homicide on Thursday. Among the revelations: One in 50 20-year-old males in Central America will be killed before their 31st birthday. The UN says increased competition among drug trafficking groups in Central America has led to a steady increase of homicides in the past five years. “In some countries in the region, the financial crisis may have played a role in the sudden rise. UN researchers are examining the possible link and hope to present their findings soon,” the Telegraph reports.

►A Washington man was arrested for suspicion of theft of government property after trying to sell sensitive government documents to an undercover informant for the Department of Homeland Security, who he thought was a drug trafficker. The man, Leif Rankin, had maps that showed the locations of sensors and cameras along the largely unprotected U.S.-Canada border. Rankin originally said he found the maps at a garage sale. After his arrest he says a friend gave them to him. The friend, who was already in jail on other charges, said the maps were at the bottom of a box of computer parts that were purchased at a yard sale but was arrested before he could do anything with them. The friend told agents that the papers were white, but the ones that Rankin had were pink, so agents believe he made copies of the documents, the Bellingham Herald reports.

►In other news, firefighters in Oregon reported that a mysterious powder on an envelope was the cause for six hospital workers to become ill on Wednesday, but the FBI now says there was no powder on the envelope. The people exhibited symptoms of skin irritation after one employee opened the envelope. The symptoms went away after washing the skin with soap and water. After testing the envelope, the FBI said there were no harmful substances present. ⇒ The FBI says the agency has doubled the number of agents since 2010. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said this shows the agency’s commitment to intelligence gathering and counterterrorism. ⇒ And a New York man was arrested Tuesday after TSA agents at JFK International found four sets of brass knuckles, four stun- gun batons, a dagger, and a sword in his checked luggage before a flight to Paris.


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