Morning Security Brief: Leaked Report on Bin Laden Criticizes Pakistan, IRS Exposes Personal Data Online, and More
A leaked report from the Pakistani government reveals there may have been "collaboration" at some levels allowing bin Laden to remain hidden, the IRS mistakenly posts thousands of social security numbers online, President Obama considers a faster pullout in Afghanistan, and more.
► A report by the Pakistani government says the fact that Osama bin Laden hid undetected for nearly a decade in Abbottabad was a “collective failure” of “military authorities, the intelligence authorities, the police and the civilian administration,” reports The Guardian. According to a leaked copy of the report , which had been kept secret by the Pakistani government, the failure to discover the al Qaeda mastermind during his hiding at a compound in the town “may or may not have involved” what the report calls a “grave complicity” at some “undetermined level.” While the repot does not explicitly implicate any one person or groups in allowing bin Laden to stay hidden, the document does say that “connivance, collaboration and cooperation at some levels cannot be entirely discounted.” The 300 page document was compiled from interviews with over 200 witnesses, including members bin Laden’s family and government officials from four Pakistan provinces. The report gives other striking details about bin Laden’s time in Abbottabad, including that he was pulled over for speeding in Swat Valley in 2002, but was able to “quickly settle the matter” with the traffic officer and drive away, according to one of the witness interviews.
► The National Journal is reporting that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “mistakenly exposed thousands of Social Security numbers ” for less than 24 hours on the Internet before realizing its error and taking them down. The social security information was a part of transaction data from nonprofit political groups known as 527s, who are required to file tax forms with the IRS, who then shares some of the information in a public database. The error was discovered by “a recent audit by the independent transparency and public-domain group Public.Resource.org,” according to the article. The IRS has responded with a statement saying that they ask that groups submitting publicly posted forms not include sensitive personal information such as Social Security numbers, and that they are "assessing the situation and exploring available options."
► The Obama administration is considering a quicker pullout in Afghanistan , according to a report by The New York Times, and may even enact a “zero option” that would leave no American troops in the nation after the end of 2014. The report cites Obama’s frustration in recent dealings with Afghan president Hamid Karzai which has led to his considering a quicker withdrawal than the end of 2014 timeline set out by his administration. Just last month when NATO forces officially took over security operations in Afghanistan, president Karzai accused the United States of trying to negotiate peace separately with the Taliban instead of a coalition effort. According to a senior Western official in Kabul quoted in the report, “There’s always been a zero option, but it was not seen as the main option…It is now becoming one of them, and if you listen to some people in Washington, it is maybe now being seen as a realistic path.”
►In other news, jury selection is set to begin in the trial of Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan, and a major Android security issue giving hackers an opportunity to infect the devices has reportedly been fixed according to Google's Android communications manager.