Morning Security Brief: Security Spending, U.S. Troops in Libya, Maharashtra Strike, and More

By Carlton Purvis


► In a new book called Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security, economists John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart say that the roughly $1 trillion spent securing the U.S. in the past decade has been done without any assessment of effectiveness. They argue that spending on homeland security goes on relatively unchecked because “it saves lives or improves safety.” Mueller and Stewart feel that these massive expenditures take away from programs that actually do save lives, like education or environmental regulation. “…In light of budget cuts to police forces around the country, it’s easy to see how one kind of spending to protect physical safety (the War on Terror) constrains spending on similar programs that might have a more direct impact on peoples’ lives,” wrote Sam Taxy of Care2 about the book. 

►At the start of the current Libyan conflict, enough lawmakers and their constituents were concerned about the U.S. getting too involved on another front that the White House made repeated assurances that their would be “no boots on the ground” in Libya. A statement that was true, until now. According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, four troops are working in Libya to secure and rebuild the U.S. embassy after it was badly damaged in clashes between Gaddafi and the rebels. Kirby said two of the men are explosive ordnance disposal experts and two were general security. “The troops are only expected to be there for a short while. After the assessment of the embassy is complete, they are expected to leave,” Fox News reported.

►After the family of a girl who died at the hospital attacked a doctor in India on Friday, The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors went on strike, demanding the government provide better security for hospital staff. After almost four days, and a round of negotiations later, the government has agreed to equip public hospitals with CCTV systems in an effort to deter hospital violence. Doctors also submitted a request that two armed police be present at each facility. A committee of doctors over the next seven days will review their hospitals for additional security issues that need to be addressed. One Mumbai official called the strike selfish, saying, “When it comes [to] public utility services, particularly those relating to essential services, there is no justification for a strike,” reported the Hindustan Times.

►A New Jersey man convicted of trying to sell aircraft parts, and an actual jet, to undercover agents was sentenced to 46 months in prison on Monday. Marc Knapp, 36, tried to sell the equipment to men he thought were Iranian Air Force representatives. Knapp said he meant no harm, but was "struggling financially,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

►In other news, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a fact sheet on its efforts in the War on Terror. ⇒ A new system to catch immigrants with expired visas combines multiple databases in one check.⇒ And insurgents launch an assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, using rockets and small arms fire. No embassy personnel were injured in the attack, but recent attacks on Western targets have raised questions about the security of Afghanistan’s capital.



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