Morning Security Brief: Iranian Assassination Plot, NYPD Infiltrates Muslim Student Groups, Cell Phone Searches, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►Iran has denied any involvement in the foiled assassination plot of Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, but Saudi Arabia’s former chief of intelligence services, Turki al-Faisal, said the evidence indicating Iran was behind the plan is overwhelming and that “somebody in Iran would have to pay the price,” Al Arabiya reported Wednesday. The Saudi embassy released a brief statement Wednesday morning thanking the United States and calling the plot a “despicable violation of international norms, standards, and conventions.”

►Looks like at least one agency took the FBI’s anti-Muslim training to heart. New York Police Department investigators have been secretly using undercover agents to infiltrate Muslim college groups and monitoring their online activity, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The AP obtained documents that showed that infiltration was part of a greater NYPD intelligence-gathering program to monitor New York’s Muslim communities. By 2006, police identified 31 Muslim student groups “of concern.” Some of the colleges have since issued statements warning that spying may have violated civil rights laws and have called for investigations.

►California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Sunday that would require law enforcement to get a warrant to search cell phone data, CNN reports. The bill, SB 914, had passed unanimously in the California legislature. The governor said the bill would overturn a California Supreme Court decision that said police can lawfully search the cell phones of people they arrest for photos, contacts, Web-browsing history, data stored in apps, voicemail messages, and any other kind of information contained in a phone. Privacy advocates say to get ready to see more law enforcement “fishing expeditions” involving cell phones.

►In other news, Garda Security Group placed 74 airport screening officers under suspension and will be pursuing legal action against them for causing deliberate delays for passengers going through security at Toronto’s Pearson Airport as part of a labor dispute between Garda and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. ♦ The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has launched a global database of human trafficking cases.♦ And world-renowned arms dealer Viktor Bout’s trial begins.



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