Morning Security Brief: Suspicious Activity Reporting, Harassment of Police, Libyan Weapons, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►An investigation by NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting found that Mall of America patrons were having intelligence reports drafted up on them and sometimes distributed to other law enforcement, all without their knowledge. The information came from 125 suspicious activity reports totaling over 1,000 pages that were obtained using open government laws. There is no way for the public to know exactly how many suspicious activity reports from the Mall of America have ended up with local, state, and federal authorities, the report says. Many of the targets learned for the first time from the reporters that their birth dates, race, names of employers were compiled along with surveillance images. Investigators also found that two-thirds of the suspicious activity reports involved African Americans or people of Asian or Arab descent, raising questions of profiling -- an accusation mall officials vehemently deny.

►The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-R), asked the White House on Monday to do more to secure loose weapons in Libya. His main concerns were Libyan anti-aircraft missiles found on the black market. There is already evidence of anti-aircraft missiles from Libya being sold on the black market in areas of Mali where al Qaeda is active. National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor said the U.S. has been actively trying to secure the weapons and monitoring missile and chemical agent storage facilities since the start of this conflict. The U.S. is providing $3 million to two international humanitarian organizations that specialize in removing weapons and munitions. It has also enlisted the aid of specially trained contractors to track down and destroy shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, Bloomberg News reports. 

►DHS has made extraordinary progress, but has yet to reach its full potential, according to a GAO report released on Thursday. DHS has successfully strengthened partnerships, improved information sharing, enhanced risk management all while transitioning to a fully functioning cabinet department in the 10 years since 9-11, the report states. But its shortfalls come in lack of reliable performance information and being slow to adjust programs that aren’t working. The report says that since 9/11, about half of GAO’s 1,500 recommendations to DHS have been addressed. Read the full report here.

►In New Jersey, a police officer is suing former Waterford Township Mayor Maryann Merlino and several other politicians, who he says pushed a resident to create a Web site slamming the local police force. The site targets local officers accusing them of harassment and abusing steroids. Pictures on the site also show the officers out drinking. “Sgt. Joseph McNally, is suing to shut the site down, claiming that it has posted accusations that are both false and damaging to his credibility as a law enforcement official,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Residents are concerned that the site stokes violence toward local police on a force that has a history of misconduct. Two people have been arrested in the last 12 months for stalking McNally.

►In other news, a report from the Homeland Security Policy Institute shows a spike in homegrown terrorism.  ♦ Nearly 1,000 inmates escaped after an attack on a Congo prison to free a militia leader who was on death row. So far only 150 inmates have been recovered.  ♦ And two men with no known links to terrorist groups were arrested in Berlin after stockpiling chemicals used to make bombs.


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