Morning Security Brief: Warrantless GPS Tracking, Soldier Arrested At Airport With C4, Police Get Radiation Detectors, and More
A judge rules that a warrant isn't needed to track a suspect's movement using GPS devices. A soldier is stopped twice in one week carrying explosives at airports. Illinois equips police with radiation detectors. And more.
►A federal judge in Missouri says the FBI did not need a warrant to secretly attach a GPS tracker to a suspect’s car to track his public movements for two months while he was under investigation for lying on timesheets at his job in the city of St. Louis treasurer’s office. David Noce ruled that the GPS device was not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment because the suspect, Fred Robinson, had no reasonable expectation of privacy when he traveled in public places.
►A Ft. Bragg soldier who was stopped at the Fayetteville, N.C. airport on Christmas Eve for having a smoke grenade in his carry-on bag was stopped again after screeners found C4 in his bag on his return flight on New Year’s Eve. When screeners found the smoke grenade it was confiscated and he was allowed to continue his flight to Texas. After the screeners discovered the C4, he was arrested. Trey Scott Atwater says he didn’t know any explosives were in his bag. Atwater has been charged with trying to bring explosives onto an airplane, which carries a maximum 10-year federal prison sentence, the Associated Press reports. Court documents didn’t say how much C4 Atwater was carrying.
►Three sheriff’s department’s in Illinois are installing portable radiation detectors in their squad cars in the first wave of a statewide effort to equip first responders with the devices. The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm system purchased 6,200 of the devices for police and fire units. The Farmer City, Clinton, and DeWitt County Sheriff’s Departments purchased the detectors at $700 per unit using funds from the Department of Homeland Security. Police say the detectors will come in handy when stopping a semi truck carrying radioactive material “or other situations where it wouldn’t hurt to check things out.” The Clinton Power Station, a nuclear plant, is located six miles east of Clinton. “It’s good to know what’s out there so we might know sooner rather than later if we’re talking about a radioactive event,” Clinton Police Chief Mike Reidy told the Pantagraph. The devices could also improve officer safety in the event of a mishap at the nuclear plant, he said.
►In other news, police say the security guards at a Pittsburgh club, where four people were shot, killing one, on New Year’s Eve, may have been paid off to allow patrons to carry guns into the building , WPXI reports. A former club manager said that in the past staff had been paid as much as $25,000 to allow people with guns into the club. ♦ Thousands of beaded bracelets in the UK are being recalled because they were made with the Jequirity bean. The bean contains abrin, a controlled substance under the Terrorism Act that if swallowed can kill in doses as small as 3 micrograms, the Telegraph reports. Abrin, related to the toxin ricin, is much more toxic and can kill in doses 75 times smaller. The 36 retailers who sold the bracelets are urging customers to return them. ♦ TSA has published its top 10 good catches of 2011 , which include land mines, C4, and exotic animals. Invisible space aliens are tacked onto the list as an honorable mention.