Morning Security Brief: 'Credible' 9-11 Threat, 9-11 Commission Documents, Streamlining Forensics, and More

By Carlton Purvis

► Intelligence officials say they have received information about a potential terrorist attack on Sept. 11. Officials called it a "credible, but unconfirmed threat" and said Washington and New York City were the potential targets. News outlets reported last night that the threat had to do with car bombs and that residents in metropolitan areas should expect some vehicle checkpoints and increased bag inspections by public transit security. News reports say the information originated in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

►Despite the 9-11 Commission's order to make the documents public, most of their records are still sealed at the National Archives. The records include thousands of documents from various agencies based on the commission’s investigation into the events leading up to the attacks and the effectiveness of intelligence agencies and the FBI. "Commission items still not public include a 30-page summary of an April 29, 2004 interview by all 10 commissioners with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, conducted in the White House's Oval Office. This was the only time the two were formally questioned about the events surrounding the attacks," Reuters reported. Scholars and historians are especially interested in the information's release to get additional information and understanding about one of the most discussed events in history.

►Police in the UK are testing a program that would help them streamline forensics use in criminal cases. Surprisingly, this program calls for less forensic information. "Instead of courts being presented with extensive forensic reports that cover all the evidence recovered in police investigations, only short reports with the initial and key findings will be submitted," the Guardian reports. Using this system, Metropolitan Police said 80 percent of cases resulted in guilty pleas before trial.

►The data of 20,000 patients at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. was posted online for nearly a year before anyone realized it was gone. Now the hospital is investigating how a detailed spreadsheet containing patient names and diagnosis codes left the hospital and ended up as an example for exercises on a homework Web site for college students.

►In other news, Canadians with a history of mental illness  were denied entry to the United States, documents show. ♦ As hardware and software in cars gets more sophisticated, the more susceptible they will become to malware. Security companies are already preparing for the day that car buyers will opt for an automotive security plan, Information Week reports. ♦ And Homeland Security companies made a killing in revenues after 9-11. U.S. homeland security spending has risen from $16 billion per fiscal year to $69 billion since then.



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