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Morning Security Brief: Airport Security, Intelligence Concerns, Wikileaks, and More

By Sherry Harowitz

► The House Transportation Security Subcommittee has scheduled an April 11 hearing that will focus on stakeholder perspectives on airport security, but flight attendants are crying foul. “In a letter to subcommittee Chairman Richard Hudson dated April 3, 2013, the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions requested the opportunity to testify on the hearing's witness panel,” according to a statement from the union published in the Sacramento Bee. But the union says that it is not among the scheduled witnesses. The union “questions the validity of an aviation security hearing focused on the 'perspectives of stakeholders' that fails to include the experience of our nation's flight attendants,” says the statement.

► In expressing ongoing concerns about how budget cuts imposed by sequestration could hurt national intelligence, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that the ramifications of cuts would not be obvious until there was an intelligence failure down the road. He spelled out examples of the subtle effects that could be felt sooner, such as how it might impact recruitment of top talent. “When recruiters court a bright college prospect...recruiters also will have to tell prospects to ‘bear in mind your pay is going to be capped, and you’re subject to whimsical furloughs,’” he said, according to a report in The Washington Post. He said that the new focus on budget cuts reminded him of the bad old days before 9-11 and that the long-term effects would be “insidious.”

New government documents have been released by Wikileaks, the bulk of which are said to be what are called the Kissinger Cables--diplomatic and intelligence reports from the 1970s, according to a report from The Australian. This release, which includes about 1.7 million documents, also includes detailed analysis, which the previous releases did not do. 

► Also in the news, Iraq's al Qaeda wing, which has long been funding rebel fighters from Syria's al-Nusra Front (which the U.S. considers a terrorist group), now says that the two groups will operate under the joint title of the Islamic State of Iraw and the Levant, according to a report from Reuters. And EPIC sues the FBI to obtain details of what it believes is a massive biometric ID database.

 

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