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Morning Security Brief: Radiation Detection, Full-Body Scanners, Superbug Killers, and Another al Qaeda Video

Sherry Harowitz

 

► The New York City Police Department has been waiting since last November to get the okay to use $8 million in homeland security grant money for a radiation detection system that would allow the department to centrally monitor data from sensors in 4,500 police cars, reports the New York Post. The goal is to get early warning of a dirty bomb terrorists might try to plant. The funds are from the 2008 allocation of a program called "Securing the Cities," which the Post notes the Obama administration has tried to cut funding for in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. But Rep. Peter King, (R-L.I.) "led Congress to restore $20 million for the program this year and is pushing to get $20 million in 2011,"  writes the Post. The story also notes that King is calling for a probe of Homeland Security’s grant process.

► The Los Angeles Times writes that some scientists are asking for the question of full-body-scanning health and safety ramifications to be examined more fully. "The experts...said they fear that the scanners may expose the skin to high doses of X-rays that could increase the risk of cancer and other health problems, particularly among older travelers, pregnant women and people with weak immune systems," writes the L.A. Times.

► Wired.com reports that "a Pentagon-funded research team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, along with small biotech firm PolyMedix, are making rapid strides toward a new line of Iraqibacter treatments." Iraqibacter is the name given to a deadly bacterium that infects wounded soldiers in Iraq and in recent years has become resistent to normal antibiotics. The new treatment offers hope for the soldiers and may also prove useful in fighting other infections.

► Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly had links to the 9-11 terrorists and subsequent jihadists, including the recent would-be Times Square bomber and the Fort Hood shooter, was in an al-Qaeda-issued video over the weekend calling for the killing of U.S. civilians. "And he praised Maj. Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged in the November massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, calling him "one of my students," reports CNN International. He is currently believed to be in hiding in Yemen.

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