Morning Security Brief: Derailment Investigation, Australia Spied on Citizens, Canadian National Security Arrest, and More

By Teresa Anderson

The Washington Post reports that federal investigators are now on the scene of yesterday’s train derailment in New York City. The Metro-North passenger train lost control in the Bronx as it headed into Manhattan, killing four people and injuring at least 63. A team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived from Washington shortly after noon yesterday. NTSB spokesman Earl Weener spoke at a press conference last night, noting that the team had recovered the train’s data recorder but was otherwise unable to speculate on the cause of the crash. CNN is reporting that, in July, a freight train derailed and damaged 1,500 feet of track at the site of yesterday’s crash. Weener said the team would look into any connections between the two incidents.

► Australia offered to share data it gathered by spying on its citizens, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The Guardian reports that the Australian intelligence agency, known as the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), offered to share bulk material with its major intelligence partners. The documents indicate that Australia felt it could legally provide the information. The documents state that “DSD can share bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata as long as there is no intent to target an Australian national. Unintentional collection is not viewed as a significant issue.”

The New York Times reports that Qing Quentin Huang of Toronto has been arrested for passing Canadian state secrets to China. Huang has been accused of passing data on Canada’s plan to build 23 warships. Huang was able to access the data through is employment at Lloyd’s Register, a subcontractor to one of the companies building the ships. In a statement, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Superintendent Larry Tremblay said: “It’s important to understand that there is more to national security than focusing solely on terrorism. It’s about protecting Canadian interests and taking the steps we need to take to protect our sovereignty.”

► In other news: Houston (Texas) police have arrested several people for possession of khat, a chewable narcotic leaf. Authorities suspect that proceeds from the sale of khat may end up in financing terrorist groups. The United States has offered to destroy some of Syria’s chemical weapons aboard a vessel at sea. Islamic militants attacked an air force base in the outskirts of Maiduguri, Nigeria, this morning. The attack comes after the military bombed Boko Haram hideouts last week.


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