Morning Security Brief: UC Davis Chancellor Asked to Resign, License Plate Scanners, Hezbollah Tracks U.S. Spies, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►Students and faculty are calling for the resignation of UC Davis chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi after she authorized police to remove protestors’ tents from campus and the situation escalated to an assault on students with pepper spray by a police lieutenant. The UC Davis Faculty Association on Saturday issued a letter calling for Katehi to step down. In initial media interviews, Katehi avoided speaking about the incident that involved a police officer dousing a group of students sitting on the ground with pepper spray. Later she released a statement. "The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this," Katehi said after reviewing videos of the incident. She said there would be an inquiry into the actions of the police, the L.A. Times reported.

►In Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas, more than 250 cameras are constantly scanning license plates in real time, collecting 1,800 images per minute, and building a database that can track a car’s movement through the area. Police say the tag readers, placed one per square mile, give police “a critical jump on a child abductor, information about when a vehicle left — or entered — a crime scene, and the ability to quickly identify a suspected terrorist’s vehicle as it speeds down the highway, perhaps to an intended target,” the Washington Post reports. The data is stored for three years. The ACLU argues that there is no reason for the government to be tracking and storing license plate information without a warrant.

►Hezbollah says it’s captured an undisclosed number of American spies -- and they did it by tracking cell phones using commercially available software. “Hezbollah examined cellphone data looking for anomalies. The analysis identified cellphones that, for instance, were used rarely or always from specific locations and only for a short period of time,” the Associated Press reports. Using this information, Hezbollah was able to track down operatives who, it says, were working for the United States and Israel.

►In other news, Australian authorities are investigating how a security manual detailing President Barack Obama’s recent Australia trip itinerary ended up in a gutter outside of Parliament. ♦ Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, approved a policy allowing students and staff with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms on campus. ♦ A FEMA offical explains initial reaction to this month's Emergency Alert System test. ♦ And DHS says a cyberattack that took a water pump offline in Springfield, Illinois, earlier this month originated in Russia. Hackers repeatedly turned the pump on and off until it burned out and shut down.


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