Morning Security Brief: Proposals to End NSA Collection Program, Landslide Search Continues, Shooting at Naval Base, And More
The President and Congress are both proposing an end to the NSA's bulk phone data collection and storage program; search efforts resume today for victims of a landslide in Washington State; a shooting at the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia leaves two dead; and angry families of the victims of Malaysian Flight 370 clash with police in Beijing.
► President Barack Obama and Congress are putting forth proposals to put an end to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection and storage of phone records. Reuters reports that the president is asking Congress to end the spy agency’s collection program, but continue to “allow the government to access the ‘metadata’ when needed,” the article states, quoting a senior administration official. Rather than keeping a running list of telephone data from Americans, the government would have to ask permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when investigating the length and time of a phone call they suspect may have a connection to terrorism. The House Intelligence Committee is unveiling its own plan today for ending the NSA collection program. It proposes any telephone data searches must be conducted at phone companies, a bipartisan plan that the Wall Street Journal reports is “similar to one floated last month by the NSA’s departing director.”
► Today search crews resumed their efforts to rescue victims of a landslide near the town of Oso in Washington State, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle, the Detroit Free Press reports. The list of missing persons totaled 176 as of Monday night, but officials iterate that these names aren’t all necessarily missing persons, but simply reports, some of which may be duplicates. At least 14 people were killed, a number which is “expected to rise in the coming days,” according to the article. The landslide, which destroyed nearly 50 homes and covers 1-square mile, has made for a perilous search area for rescue crews, who risk the danger of becoming stuck in the mud or caught should the entire hillside move. Several inches of rain have also been predicted in the coming days, which could further hinder search efforts.
► Two people are dead after a shooting at the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia on Monday night. A sailor was fatally shot by a civilian, who was later killed by armed forces. The events took place aboard the guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Mahan at Naval Station Norfolk, which is the world’s largest Naval base. According to TIME.com, “Officials said the suspect was authorized access to the base; however, the spokeswoman said she could not say whether the suspect had permission to be aboard the ship.” After a brief lockdown, the base reopened on Tuesday morning with normal operations, and an investigation is being conducted.
► Angry family members of the victims of doomed Malaysian Flight 370 clashed with police in Beijing today, accusing the country of “delays and deception” throughout the search for the vanished plane. According to Reuters, dozens of relatives were throwing water bottles at the Malaysian embassy and, demanding to meet the ambassador, and attempting to storm the building. Their anger and frustration was incited when the Malaysian government announced on Monday that the flight had, in fact, crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, and that all 239 passengers and crew on board had died. Families were notified via text message. According to the article, “company officials defended the move, saying the text message had only been sent as a ‘last resort’ to ensure that some relatives did not hear the news first from media.” Based on analysis of satellite data from British firm Inmarsat, the Malaysian prime minister said there was no doubt the Boeing 777 had crashed into the ocean.