Morning Security Brief: States Provide More Mental Health Records, TSA Agents Head to London, and San Francisco Settles Lawsuit

By Teresa Anderson

♦ The number of mental health records made available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by states increased 800 percent from 2004 to 2011, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The report was conducted to gauge the effectiveness of a law, which was passed after the Virginia Tech shootings. The shootings raised questions about how the gunman was able to purchase firearms given his history of mental illness and led to The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. The act provided incentives for states to make more mental health records available for use during firearms background checks. According to the GAO report, the large increase in records availability is due to the efforts of 12 states. The GAO urged the Department of Justice to release the best practices of these states to help other states better share records.
♦ Agents from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be on hand in London to help during the Summer Olympic Games, which are due to start in 11 days. According to an MSNBC article, the TSA agents will be posted at U.K. airports to assist both U.S. and British carriers. The agents were requested after it became clear that there would be a shortage of contract security officers. Security is being ramped up at airports amid fears that the games will provide an attractive target for terrorists.

♦ According to the San Francisco Examiner, a $762,000 settlement has been reached between the city’s Department of Emergency Management and one of the department’s managers. The manager claimed that the department tolerated an environment of misconduct and misuse of city funds. The manager reported incidents varying in seriousness from employees who spent the day chatting and throwing parties to phony stolen vehicle reports and failure to protect sensitive information. When the manager complained about these issues, her supervisors retaliated. The manager’s private e-mail account was accessed and private e-mails disseminated. A jury found that the city retaliated and harassed the manager and that the city violated the Stored Communications Act when it accessed her personal e-mail.


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