Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:45 pm
This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.
Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.
Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 7:27 pm
The CIA "provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media and the American public" about the "brutal" interrogation techniques it used on terrorism suspects, a long-held Senate intelligence committee report finds.
The report provides the most comprehensive public accounting of the interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 6:19 pm
The United States is beefing up security at some federal installations across the country, the Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday.
In a statement, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said it would not detail the changes because they were "law-enforcement sensitive." But, he said, the new measures will enhance Federal Protective Service presence and security at government buildings in D.C. and across the country.
Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 2:28 pm
Until Wednesday, the front door of Canada's main Parliament building, Centre Block, was often left unlocked. Taken as a metaphor for the nation as a whole, many think the attack in Ottawa will change that approach to security.
In the assault, a soldier was killed as he guarded the National War Memorial and a shootout left the gunman dead inside Canada's parliamentary complex.
Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 7:46 am
It turns out the Secret Service isn't too good at protecting the White House, and maybe one reason is that we don't want it to be.
Secret Service agents are famously willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president and his family. They are also trained to take the lives of others in defense of their protectees.
But are they equally prepared to do either of those things for the White House itself? Should it be policy for the armed agents around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to use deadly force whether the president or his family is present or not?
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:06 pm
In an interview with NPR, President Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice says the United States will not be drawn into a ground war in Iraq and Syria, even if local forces are ineffective at holding gains made against the group calling itself the Islamic State.
Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 11:21 am
The FBI says it's working with the Secret Service to investigate reports that Russian hackers breached security at JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions, stealing customers' account information in possible retaliation for U.S. government sanctions on Moscow.
"We are working with the United States Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks against several American financial institutions," FBI spokesman Joshua Campbell said in a statement late Wednesday.
Once upon a time you opened your first email account and picked out a password. You probably don't know what it was now but let's assume you weren't the type of person to pick out "password" or "123456." So, maybe it was the name of a dog or a kid or two dog and kid names mushed together. Easy to remember, right?
Today, you probably have passwords tied to multiple email accounts, a few social media platforms, a few credit cards and banks, and an unclassifiable hodgepodge of other stuff from Dropbox to Airbnb.
Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 12:34 pm
Here's a question with no easy answer: How do you hold the nation's spy agencies accountable — when they control the secrets?
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden apparently thought the answer was to blow the lid off some of the NSA's highly classified programs. He took documents and shared them with journalists.
But what about Congress? It's supposed to oversee the NSA — and other spy agencies. For the committees charged with that task, it hasn't been easy keeping tabs on the secretive world of federal surveillance.
Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 11:35 am
The extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is tightening control of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, attacking the strategic city of Baqouba, less than 40 miles from Baghdad. The U.S. is sending up to 275 military personnel to bolster its embassy in the capital; President Obama is also reportedly weighing airstrikes.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling on the Coast Guard to restrict the number of times it allows a railroad swing bridge over the Norwalk River to rotate open. In a letter to the Coast Guard, Blumenthal says the bridge failed 16 times in 271 openings during 2013. Governor Malloy held a “Crisis Summit” earlier today to discuss the problem.
Health Exchange Worker Comes Forward After Data Breach
Members of the state’s congressional delegation want to see the full details of audits conducted at Veterans Administration medical facilities, including clinics in Danbury, New London, Stamford, Waterbury, Willimantic and Winsted. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Congressman John Larson appeared today with veterans at a VFW Post in East Hartford to discuss a letter they are sending to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson delivered the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 133rd Commencement Exercises today in New London. The Coast Guard Academy is the smallest of the five federal service academies, and has about 875 cadets in its four-year program.
Governor Dannel Malloy has released a plan to protect Connecticut's utilities against cyber attacks. Connecticut's electric, natural gas, major water companies and the regional distribution systems have already been penetrated in the past.
When asked just how many cyber attacks have happened, Arthur House, chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, said he can't go into much detail.
Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am
Senior U.S. officials were warned of imminent Russian military action in Crimea about a week before the troop movements that have sparked a major international crisis over Ukraine, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency tells NPR.
State lawmakers heard public testimony Monday afternoon on a bill concerning drones. Next year, the FAA is expected to widely deregulate drone usage, which is leaving many states scrambling to control the technology.
Each year, 1.4 million of the nation’s eleven- to 17-year-olds enter the juvenile justice system. Of these boys and girls, some 71,000 are sent to incarceration facilities, where they may remain for several months in seclusion from the outside world.
Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 3:01 pm
The credit and debit card data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus compromised more than 70 million American consumers, and analysts say even more of us are at risk. That's because the technology we use to swipe for our purchases — magnetic stripes on the backs of cards — isn't hard for a skilled fraudster to hack.
Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Commission has been told there is no data connecting people with autism to increased violent criminal behavior. A Stony Brook University psychology professor addressed the panel on Friday saying there is nothing that links autism to the type of planned massacre that occurred in in Newtown in 2012. Recently released documents show gunman Adam Lanza had been diagnosed in 2006 with a profound autism disorder.
If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama's NSA reform speech, it was — not surprisingly — that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix.
Whether from strong NSA supporters or agency critics, the reactions sounded similar: Congress intends to do much of the steering in the drive to overhaul the NSA's gathering of certain non-public information, especially consumer phone records, in the nation's counterterrorism efforts.
Even so, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of politics in some of the reaction.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:23 pm
The holiday season data breach at Target that hit more than 70 million consumers was part of a wide and highly skilled international hacking campaign that's "almost certainly" based in Russia. That's according to a report prepared for federal and private investigators by Dallas-based cybersecurity firm iSight Partners.
And the fraudsters are so skilled that sources say at least a handful of other retailers have been compromised.
"The intrusion operators displayed innovation and a high degree of skill," the iSight report says.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:20 pm
LISTEN: President Obama's national security address
(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)
Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.