Morning Security Brief: Terror Watch List Standards, Stored Cell Phone Information, Narco Zoos, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►You’re not getting off that easy. Just because a person has been cleared of any terrorism-related offenses doesn’t mean they’re getting taken off the FBI terrorist watch list, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents for the first time detail the legal standard that national security officials must meet in order to add a name to the list. The documents also explain procedures for police officers when they encounter someone on the watch list. “For example, officers are never to tell the suspects that they might be on the watch list, and they must immediately call the federal government for instructions,” the New York Times reports. The documents also show that the FBI is working on a way to alert regional fusion centers when police officers encounter a person on the list. The current list has 420,000 names, including 8,000 American citizens.

►Not only does Verizon keep a list of everyone you’ve exchanged text messages with in the last year, they also hold onto the actual contents of the messages for a few days. This and more are revealed in a Department of Justice document designed for law enforcement agencies looking to get cell phone information for investigations. It also shows how long major cell phone service providers store information on connections to cell phone towers while traveling. The document was unearthed by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina using a Freedom of Information Act request, Wired reports.

►Al-Shabaab claims to have possession of the U.S. drone that crashed in Somalia over the weekend. Militia members drove through the town making announcements over loudspeaker that the drone will be displayed at Freedom Park in Kismayo on Friday, Somali radio station Bar Kulan reported. The militia claims it shot down the drone over the port city of Kismayo, although some witnesses say the drone crashed on its own outside of the city and militia members were told about it later. In August, the Iranian news network Press TV exclusively reported Somali officials said five US drone crashed in Mogadishu a 24-hour period although the U.S. has not confirmed this information.

►In other news, Mexican authorities are trying to figure out what to do with the increasing number of exotic animals they confiscate after raids on ranches run by drug bosses. The animals taken from these “narco zoos” include lions, tigers, parrots, and monkeys. → Police in Philadelphia are investigating how a suspect died after being pepper sprayed by officers. The officers responded to a call about theft at a rail yard and pepper sprayed the suspect in a subsequent scuffle. “A 2003 study by the National Institute for Justice found that the spray is generally safe, but can potentially cause death in those with asthma or other respiratory conditions, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.→ And a growing number of computer security companies are looking to develop similar software to protect mobile phones.




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