Morning Security Brief: Al Qaeda Suspect in Custody, Chemical Program Shut Down, Madoff’s Employees Go on Trial, and More
An al Qaeda operative was captured in Libya yesterday and is now in military custody. The chemical facility review program closed as part of the government shutdown. Five of Bernard Madoff’s employees go on trial for their part in his Ponzi scheme. International peacekeepers began overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons yesterday.
► The FBI and CIA captured al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi in raids carried out in Libya Saturday. According to The New York Times, the suspect is currently in military custody aboard a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea. He is expected to be brought to New York to stand trial. A member of al Qaeda for 20 years, al-Libi is “seen as a potential intelligence gold mine.”
► Democratic lawmaker Bennie Thompson (D-MS) warned that the government shutdown means that chemical facilities are not being inspected as required by federal law and by an executive order issued in August. Nextgov.com reports that the program, known as the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently inactive because of the government shutdown, but it also notes that Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried to cut funding for the program in the past. Chemical companies that were scheduled for inspections this week were notified that site visits are postponed indefinitely. Review of security site plans is also on hold.
► Five employees of Bernard Madoff go on trial tomorrow for their part in the Ponzi scheme that bilked $65 billion from investors. Madoff, who pled guilty in 2009, insisted that he worked alone. However, according to ABC News, prosecutors indicted the five employees in July, telling a grand jury that there is no way Madoff could have committed his crimes without the help of his employees.
► Syria began destroying the country’s chemical weapons yesterday. The process is being overseen by United Nation’s experts. An article by Reuters notes that the Syrian government is actually destroying the weapons while representatives of the United Nations “monitor, observe, verify, and report.”