Morning Security Brief: Negotiations Continue on Syria, Legislation Thwarted by Leaks, Cargo Truck Safety Questioned, and More
Secretary of State John Kerry rejects Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s proposed timetable for turning over chemical weapons. Lawmakers say that cybersecurity legislation has been slowed by the Snowden leaks. Incidents involving cargo trucks that leak flammable liquid are not tracked by the government.
► In the second day of negotiations on Syria’s proposed turnover of chemical weapons , Secretary of State John Kerry rejected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s 60-day timetable. According to the New York Times, Assad argued that taking two months was normal procedure because of the time required to declare the types, quantities, and locations of all chemical weapons and chemical weapons facilities. Kerry countered that normal procedures were not applicable in this case because the weapons had already been deployed, making the situation critical. “There is nothing standard about this process because of the way the regime has behaved,” said Kerry. A United Nations spokeswoman, Erin Pelton, agreed saying that “Syria needs to take immediate actions to disclose, surrender, and eliminate its chemical weapons stockpile under international monitoring and verification.” Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that an elite Syrian military unit is scattering the chemical weapons stockpiles to as many as 50 locations to make them harder to find.
► At the Intelligence and National Security Alliance conference in Washington, D.C., yesterday, lawmakers said that the leaking of intelligence documents by Edward Snowden has slowed the passage of cybersecurity legislation . According to an article by FCW, news reports of the National Security Agency programs has “reduced the appetite for new cybersecurity legislation,” and that “legislators on both sides of the aisle are looking for ways to curb the authority of the NSA to collect information.”
► According to a GAO report, the Department of Transportation (DOT) does not note whether accidents involving cargo tanker trucks are caused by flammable liquid spills . Some spills routinely occur when trucks are loaded and unloaded, notes the report, but the extent to which these spills are related to accidents, fires, and even fatalities cannot be ascertained because the spills are not noted on incident reports. By gathering such data, the DOT could determine whether current methods and technologies are sufficient to protect against dangerous incidents, notes the report.
► In other news: A new IT security strategy might have stopped Edward Snowden from obtaining classified data. The Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a wrongful death suit brought by the parents of two students killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting . Massachusetts has launched a cybersecurity competition for anyone in the state to join in an effort to seek out "cybersecurity talent."