Morning Security Brief: Syrian No-Fly Zone and Arms to Rebels, Surveillance Testimony, NFL Security Bans, and More.
The United States considers plans to arm Syrian rebels and create a no-fly zone; the FBI director testifies on surveillance program; the NFL bans fanny packs; and a border security amendment to the immigration reform bill is rejected.
►President Barack Obama announced plans yesterday to arm rebels in Syria, after citing Syria's use of chemical weapons, reports The Telegraph. Syria reportedly used nerve gas against rebels trying to overthrow the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, reports Reuters. Reuters reports that the administration is also considering a no-fly zone along the southern border of Syria with Jordan. "Imposing a no-fly zone would require the United States to destroy Syria's air defenses, entering the two-year old civil war with the sort of action that NATO used to help topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya two years ago," says the report.
►FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee yesterday regarding the government's use of surveillance programs that monitor Internet usage and collect ciitzen phone records. USA Today reports that Mueller defended the program and said that contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked the program, had made the country vulnerable to terrorists. Mueller also said that if the country had had the program in place prior to 9-11, they may have gleaned important information leading up to the attacks.
►The National Football League has imposed new security restrictions that will greatly limit the size of bags that can be brought into stadiums this season. Only one clutch bag and one clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC bag no larger than 12 inches by six inches by 12 inches will be allowed, according to the Associated Press. This means coolers and backpacks will not be allowed into the stadiums. Binoculars, cameras, and smartphones are allowed, while items such as fanny packs, seat cushions, camera bags, and computer bags are among the forbidden items. These measures were recommended by the NFL committee on Stadium Security, and they were passed by the league in May.
►A border security plan in the form of an amendment to the immigration bill was defeated in the Senate yesterday. As reported by USA Today, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had proposed an amendment requiring that the Department of Homeland Security prove 'effective control' of the border before the other immigration reform provisions providing a glidepath to citizenship would kick in. The vote was 57-43 and it was part of a look at a new immigration bill pushing a massive immigration overhaul that would increase border security and allow people living here illegally to become citizens. The bill stipulated that the U.S. would have to monitor 100 percent of the southwestern border and turn away 90 percent of those trying to cross illegally. The DHS would have five years to meet those goals before the job would be sent to a border commission.