Morning Security Brief: Anthrax, Drug Testing, TSA, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►Investigators found that security gaps in the Army lab identified as the source of the anthrax that killed five people in 2001 could have allowed for anthrax spores to be easily smuggled out, according to two government reports obtained by ProPublica. The documents, which have not been released to the public, show the lab's personnel lists were inaccurate, workers were allowed access before background checks were complete, and stocks of pathogens weren’t adequately controlled. Personnel lists included 80 people who didn’t work there and a human resources list had 56 people who had left, including12 who had not worked there, for example.

►Earlier this week, an airline passenger found a notice of inspection from TSA in her checked baggage with a personal note scrawled down the margin. “Get your freak on girl,” it said about a vibrator she had packed in her luggage. TSA announced on its blog on Wednesday that the note-writer was identified, removed from screening, and “appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated.” TSA has zero tolerance for this type of behavior, a spokesperson said.

►In Guam, a policy was put in place in 1995 that requires government employees in health and safety positions get regularly tested for drug use. For the Guam Department of Corrections, regularly meant every 10 years. Three weeks ago officials decided it was time for a drug screen of its employees and one officer tested positive for drugs. Officials wouldn’t say what drugs, but did say the officer has been removed from his regular duties. Now, the Guam Pacific Daily News is working to find out why officers hadn't been screened in 10 years.

►In other news, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is getting a second drone to help patrol the Texas-Mexico border.⇒ Thieves in the UK have turned to stealing military memorial statues to sell for scrap metal.⇒ And, a congressional review of TSA over the last 10 years found that 17 terrorists have passed through screening and more than 25,000 banned items have been missed. The report is scheduled for release this week.


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