Morning Security Brief: FBI Thwarts Biological Attack, Court Security, Police Response Times, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►Authorities in Georgia on Tuesday arrested four members of a militia group that were planning multiple bombings and a biological attack. Over the course of several meetings that were under surveillance by the FBI, the four men -- Frederick Thomas, 73, Dan Roberts, 67, Ray H. Adams, 65, and Samuel J. Crump, 68, discussed various attacks, including the use of explosives to target federal buildings. The group was also acquiring the means to make ricin, a toxin produced from castor beans that stops cells from making the proteins they need to survive. Ricin can be inhaled, ingested, or injected. The militiamen were looking for a way to disperse the toxin while driving down the highway, the Los Angeles Times reports. "When it comes to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die," said Thomas according to an FBI affidavit.

►In January 2010, a man who had recently been denied a social security claim opened fire at a courthouse in Las Vegas, killing a security officer and injuring a U.S. marshal. Two months later, a bomb was found outside Thomas S. Foley U.S. courthouse in Spokane, Washington. The two incidents prompted the Committee on Homeland Security to ask the Government Accountability Office to take a look how the United States’ 424 federal courthouses are secured. Threats against courthouses have almost doubled since 2004, according to recent Department of Justice statistics. The GAO said challenges like fragmentation in security roles and efforts, limitations in collaborations, and lack of clear expectations for General Services Administration have in the past hindered efforts. The GAO recommended that the memorandum of understanding between the Federal Protective Services and the U.S. Marshals be revised to address these challenges. Read the full report here.

►Costa Rica’s security minister, Mario Zamora, said he wants to see police response times to 911 calls drop to 15 minutes or less. To help accomplish that goal, the National Police have added 710 new employees with a plan to add 1,100 more and 250 police cars by 2012. Currently the entire country only has 276 police cars, the Tico Times reported. Zamora says that within the five-to-15 minute time frame responders can still assist victims while increasing the odds of locating suspects. “After 15 minutes, the chance of detaining the criminal is almost entirely lost…To me, the response times are the most important indicator of our police forces’ shortcomings,” he said.

►In other news, the FBI published a four-page infographic last week to show the changes in the bureau since 9-11. ♦ Fayetteville, North Carolina, police are investigating a case as a negligent homicide after a mentally ill man died after being put in a choke hold by hospital security when he became unruly in the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center emergency room. The family has filed a lawsuit against the hospital.♦ And Kenya’s military spokesman takes to Twitter to warn al-Shabaab controlled towns that they will be “under attack continuously.”


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