Morning Security Brief: Ukraine's Ousted President Urges Calm, GAO Issues New Chemical Facility Report, And More

By Megan Gates

► Ukraine’s ousted president Viktor F. Yanukovych made his first public appearance this morning in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don since fleeing the country. In a prepared statement, he said that he is still the lawfully elected leader of Ukraine and that the country has been “taken over by nationalist thugs, with the assistance of the West, and called for a restoration of the government he once led,” according to The New York Times. Yanukovych appealed for calm in his statement and said that he would not ask Russia for military assistance, or intervention, to return him to power. “I think any military action is unacceptable,” he said. “I have no intention to ask for military support. I think Ukraine should remain one indivisible country.”

► The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new report on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) progress on establishing standards to secure hazardous chemicals facilities through its Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program. DHS was required to adopt these standards and established the program to assess risk at facilities and ensure compliance. According to the report, DHS has identified about 40,000 facilities that store chemicals, but after a chemical explosion in West, Texas, last year, it’s working to identify additional facilities that can be regulated by CFATS. Once these facilities have been identified, DHS will assess the risks of the facilities to determine which ones need to develop site security plans to prevent terrorist attacks.

► A British spy agency collected millions of images while eavesdropping on Yahoo webcam chats of citizens from the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries, Time magazine reports. The report is based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and detail a program called “Optic Nerve” that was designed to test and improve facial recognition software capabilities within the British agency GCHQ. According to the report, GCHQ “snooped on ‘unselected’ Yahoo users,” or people who were spied on regardless of whether they were suspected of wrongdoing, “during webcam chats and took millions of still shots at five-minute intervals.” Yahoo has denied any knowledge of the program and “expressed outrage at the intrusion,” Time said.


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