Morning Security Brief: Terrorism Report, FBI Informants, Illegal Licenses, Caribbean Crime, and More.
State Department annual terrorism report finds more of the same in terms of the threats and the usual suspects. There are more FBI informants now than ever. DMV employee indicted for issuing illegal licenses. Crime on the rise in the Bahamas. And more.
► "Al-Qa’ida (AQ) remained the preeminent terrorist threat to the United States in 2010," says the State Department in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 . "Though the AQ core in Pakistan has become weaker, it retained the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks...[and] In addition, the affiliates have grown stronger," it says. The report's list of state sponsors of terrorism calls Iran the most active sponsor of terrorism.
►A review of post-9-11 prosecutions by Mother Jones and UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program finds that FBI informants are playing larger roles in investigations and there are more of them – sometimes working as agent provocateurs. According to the report, there are 15,000 informants – three times as many as 25 years ago. Informants are motivated by the prospect of payment in some cases, but in many cases immigration status is something the FBI can leverage, Mother Jones contributor Trevor Aaronson told NPR. "If you are going to recruit an informant and you realize that he has an immigration violation, often times the FBI will be able to use that as a form of leverage to say 'well if you work with us, we'll work with the immigration authorities to make sure you're not deported',” Aaronson said.
►In Fresno, federal authorities on Tuesday arrested more than a dozen people who were part of an operation that issued at least 40 commercial licenses to semi drivers who didn’t pass the required tests. Among those arrested was a Department of Motor Vehicles employee. Forty-nine year old Alfonso Casarez, a senior motor vehicle technician, used his access to the licensing database to change driver’s license records. Also indicted were friends and family who helped recruit people who would then pay Casarez to have their licensing information changed.
►Crime in the Bahamas is up 16 percent in the first half of 2011. The Ministry of National Security released the statistics in response to a headline story from the Nassau Guardian about the police commissioner’s failure to make the information public. “The numbers show that cases of murder, rape, attempted rape, armed robbery, robbery, housebreaking, stealing, stealing from vehicles and stolen vehicles all increased significantly from January 1 to July 31,” the Nassau Guardian reports. Murders were up 57 percent and theft from vehicles, 97 percent. Sexual assaults grew by 26 percent. Officials said the numbers show the severity of the problem of crime in the Bahamas. Attempted murders are down 14 percent since last year, according to the statistics (possibly because more are successful). Shop breaking and burglaries were also on the decline.
►In other news, experts from DK Security said on Wood 8 TV that for businesses, properly backgrounding employees is just as important for employee safety as keeping out intruders . ⇒A former IAEA official warns that uranium and left over nuclear material from a research center in Tripoli could fall into the wrong hands if left unsecured. ⇒The Crime Report has a piece on how the Supreme Court will take up the issue of witness identification in criminal cases. ⇒And the New York Times looks at the results of tens of thousands of FBI investigations into persons who may be potential security risks, concluding that resources diverted from fighting crime after 9-11 don't yield many obvious benefits.