NEWS

Morning Security Brief: Yemen and al Qaeda, Maritime Piracy, and Border Security

By Sherry Harowitz

 

► Unrest in Yemen is diverting resources from counterterrorism efforts there and giving a freer hand to the al Qaeda affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, according to the New York Times. “The Qaeda group in Yemen is responsible for failed plots to blow up a commercial airliner as it approached Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009, and for planting printer cartridges packed with explosives on cargo planes bound for Chicago last October,” the NYT reminds. Now, the worry is that new attacks will be planned as this group is emboldened. Already, “much of the south was apparently outside government control and jihadists had apparently declared a separate emirate in Abyan,” the article states.

► Wired.com reports that “two companies are offering new solutions to keep pirates at bay: blinding them with pepper spray and incapacitating them by making them hurl.” The first company, Shipboard Defense Systems, has partnered with the makers of Mace to offer an industrial strength version. The second company, company, Maritime Security Company, LLC, offers a package of defensive tools, including something like Mace and an unnamed substance that makes them vomit, reports Wired. These are the latest twists in the range of defenses being mustered to fend off pirates per guidance on best practices for the industry, notes the report.

► As Congress holds yet another hearing on border security, KGO-TV, an ABC affiliate, reports on an analytics tool, developed by Sandia Labs for the Department of Homeland Security, which is supposed to help the department assess the effectiveness of solutions deployed at the border.  Called the Borders High Level Model, it is a tabletop touchscreen that is “part video game and part analytical tool,” according to the station. It took nine months and just under $1million to develop, says the news feature.

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