Morning Security Brief: Lapses at Northern Airports, Blackwater Founder Starts Private Army, and How Poverty Relates to Guns
Drug traffickers are using northern airports to move contraband, Blackwater founder raises a private army on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, and a college grant leads to studies of poverty and gun violence.
♦ With homeland security efforts focused on the southern border, drug dealers are routing their cargo through small airports on the U.S. border with Canada. The Associated Press reports that some of these airports have significant security lapses. For example, no flight plans are required and the airports are unmanned during overnight hours. The article says that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hopes that the United States can gain access to 22 of Canada’s radars to better track activity at these small airports.
♦ Erik Prince, founder of Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater) is assembling a private army comprised of 800 mercenary soldiers for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to an article in The New York Times, the troops include Colombians and South Africans and are being trained by retired U.S., German, and British soldiers. The UAE is a close ally of the United States, but critics express concern that the troops will further destabilize the region. The article notes that it is unclear whether the venture has the blessing of the U.S. government. Legal experts warn that Prince may be breaking federal laws prohibiting American troops from training foreign soldiers without a license from the U.S. State Department.
♦ To better understand the correlation between high rates of poverty and high rates of gun violence, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice awarded grants to seven media outlets in the Midwest to cover gun violence in-depth. The resulting stories cover how illegal guns get into the hands of criminals and whether existing gun restrictions work to stop gun violence.