Morning Security Brief: DNA Collection, WMD Directorate, Radiation Detection, and More
A court rules that taking DNA samples is no different than taking hi-tech fingerprints. DHS scraps a plan for new radiation detectors. A man tries to sell a drone on Ebay. And more.
►A federal court of appeals ruled on Monday that collecting DNA samples doesn’t violate constitutional protections. The court ruled 8 to 6 that DNA information was just a 21st century version of fingerprints, Christian Science Monitor reports. Since 1994, the FBI has been collecting DNA samples as part of a national database called CODIS. DNA found at crime scenes can be cross-referenced against DNA profiles in CODIS. “Given the record in front of us today, we conclude that a DNA profile is used solely as an accurate, unique, identifying marker – in other words, as fingerprints for the 21st century,” wrote Circuit Judge Julio Fuentes in the majority opinion.
► FBI.gov spoke with Dr. Vahid Majidi, head of the WMD Directorate as it turned five years old this week. Majidi says in the last five years since the directorate was established, the nature of the threat hasn’t changed much. Nation states are still seeking weapons for their programs and terrorist groups still have interest in obtaining various forms of WMD. “Certain domestic groups are still trying to acquire materials needed for basic WMD applications—predominately chemical or biological in nature,” he added. In the interview, Majidi also explains the different arms of the WMD Directorate and their specific roles.
►The Department of Homeland Security is scrapping a $1.2 billon plan to add 1,400 cargo scanners at U.S. points of entry Warren Stern, director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, told the House Homeland Security technology subcommittee earlier this week. The machines are designed to detect radiation and the nature of its source, but the system had problems during testing. It was subject to many “false alarms and other significant technical troubles,” Public Intelligence reports. Instead, DHS will use the scanners that have already been purchased to learn what their requirement in the future would be for radiation scanning technology.
►A Filipino man pleads guilty for trying to sell a military drone, or UAV, on Ebay .♦ Hungary says outsourcing intelligence jobs to civilians is a security threat. ♦ And China’s military modernization, including its aircraft carrier program , moves full speed ahead.