Morning Security Brief: Patriot Movement Explodes, Private Prisons, Cybersecurity Legislation, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►There’s been explosive growth on the radical right and the number of active hate groups in the United States is higher than it’s ever been, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s spring edition of Intelligence Report. The Patriot movement, “armed militias and other conspiracy-minded organizations that see the federal government as their primary enemy,” has seen dramtic growth. “For many extremists, President Obama is the new symbol of all that's wrong with the country - the Kenyan president, the secret Muslim who is causing our country's decline,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC. Patriot groups have increased by 755 percent during the first three years of the Obama administration. The FBI considers the Patriot and “sovereign citizen” movements dangerous enough that it issued a bulletin last September calling them domestic terrorism and noting that sovereigns have murdered six officers since 2000.

►As states look for ways to reduce prison populations and control their budgets, a prison management company has made a controversial offer to buy prisons, but only with a guarantee from the government that it will maintain a 90 percent occupancy rate for 20 years. “The $250 million proposal, circulated by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to prison officials in 48 states, has been blasted by some state officials who suggest such a program could pressure criminal justice officials to seek harsher sentences to maintain the contractually required occupancy rates,” USA Today reports. The Corrections Corporation says it should be an additional option for states to consider. Officials have said that privatizing prisons would be a quick way save money, but not to be tempted by a deal that would apply “subtle pressure” to make sentencing laws more severe.

►The Obama Administration is working to gather support for cybersecurity legislation that would require Internet service providers to better protect their networks. The bill, introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman, would set rules for companies to harden their defenses. Some ISPs oppose the bill, saying they would rather participate in voluntary information sharing. A competing bill introduced by Republicans would “avoid new regulations while promoting information-sharing through incentives such as protection from lawsuits,” Bloomberg News reports. The Lieberman bill is S. 2105 and the GOP bill is S. 2151.

►In other news, a senior official in Libya’s new government says an investigation has uncovered that Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s former dictator, was secretly stashing arms at Libyan embassies around the world for possible assassinations and operations against host countries. ♦ Read an announcment about “Joint Statement of Principles,” pertaining to privacy in the mobile space, put together by the California Attorney General and six leading mobile app developers. ♦ And lawmakers introduce a bill prohibiting indefinite detention of suspected terrorists regardless of citizenship.


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