Morning Security Brief: World Series Security, Terrorist Funding, Jail Time for False Threats, and More
By Ann Longmore-Etheridge
World Series baseball games played in St. Louis, Missouri, will see a major increase in security. Al Shabaab Islamic extremists in Africa are funding the group, in part, through illegal ivory trafficking. A man who falsely reported finding clues to a terrorist attack on a Canadian nuclear plant gets jail time. And DHS needs to do a better job on maritime terrorist threat research.
►This year's World Series baseball games played in St. Louis, Missouri, will take place under tight security conditions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Police Chief Sam Dotson has met with federal and state law enforcement, as well as representatives from the St. Louis Cardinals and the Major Baseball League to draft a comprehensive security plan. "There is no known terrorist threat targeting either city in the best-of-seven World Series between the Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, police and FBI officials said Monday. But Dotson said law enforcement agencies prepare for all hazard," the newspaper states. "When the Series shifts to St. Louis on Saturday, Dotson said fans going to games should give themselves more time to make it through the gates. The stadium is expected to open three hours before game time, the chief said. Bags will be subject to search, and some fans entering Busch Stadium will be subject to random wanding with metal detectors. There also may be specific gates outfitted with walk-through metal detectors. There will be air monitoring for “foreign substances in the air” and radiation detectors, Dotson said. There will be bomb-sniffing dogs. And officers will have video cameras."
►An article by three Los Angeles Times reporters explores the connection between illegal ivory trafficking and terrorist funding . According to the reporters, "The connection between terrorism and wildlife smuggling is clear. An 18-month undercover investigation...found an indisputable financial trail between the illicit trade in ivory and rhino horns and the Shabab." Al Shabaab (the more typical spelling) is the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the massacre at Nairobi, Kenya's Westgate Mall. The reporters write, "Our investigation detailed how the Shabab acts as a middleman, taking orders from agents in Asia or Persian Gulf states and purchasing ivory from small-time brokers to fill those orders. The terrorist group, we found, pays better than many middlemen (about $90 a pound in 2012), making it an attractive buyer. The brokers (often related by clan) who engage the poachers, pay about $23 per pound, which means they make a hefty return in their dealings with the Shabab."
►A man who made a false report of a terrorism plot at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, located on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Pickering, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to a year in jail and two years' probation. The 23-year-old, Lloyd Charest, had worked on computers at the nuclear facility and had told workers there in 2010 that he had uncovered evidence of a terrorist threat after receiving documentation from a hacker. This spawned a large-scale investigation, during which Charest stuck to his story. Mississauga.com reports that "Charest, who declined an opportunity to address the court prior to being sentenced, has not offered an explanation for his actions and insisted throughout the trial on his innocence, [Superior Court Justice Bruce] Glass noted. It may be that Mr. Charest was hoping to gain employment at OPG by creating the false alarm, the judge suggested. 'Mr. Charest is an adept person working with computers. He appears to have used that ability to attract the attention of OPG with the actions leading to these charges,' Justice Glass wrote. 'The only natural conclusion is that he anticipated creating a job opportunity.'"
►Fierce Homeland Security (FHS) reports on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about problems with DHS maritime research efforts. "Coordination of maritime research continues to challenge Homeland Security Department components," writes FHS. The report says that the finding "is in line with other research finding that DHS has challenges with research and development coordination . According to the GAO, "Conducting border and maritime R&D to develop technologies for detecting, preventing, and mitigating terrorist threats is vital to enhancing the security of the nation." Among its recommendations are that "the Secretary of Homeland Security should instruct the Under Secretary for Science and Technology to establish timeframes and milestones for collecting and evaluating feedback from its customers to determine the usefulness and impact of its R&D projects and deliverables, and use it to make better-informed decisions regarding future work."