Morning Security Brief: Benghazi Report, NSA Surveillance Curbed, Indiana Store Shooting, And More

By Lilly Chapa

The attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented by the U.S. State Department, according to a stinging report by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The report details the breakdown in communication between the State Department and the CIA in the weeks before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack—despite warnings about a growing security crisis around the city, little was done to bolster security at the diplomatic compound. “The committee found the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya—to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets—and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission,” the report stated.

President Obama is expected to limit the National Security Agency phone surveillance program, but will rely on Congress to determine the program’s future. Although Obama concludes that the program is a valuable counterterrorism tool, he must address privacy concerns, according to officials. “Congress has a responsibility to establish limits on government surveillance, so it’s entirely appropriate that Congress weigh in on the phone records program,” said Jeremy Bash, former CIA and Pentagon chief of staff.

A gunman shot and killed two women inside an Indiana grocery store before he was gunned down by police, CNN reports. The incident happened after 10 p.m. Wednesday night. When law enforcement arrived at the store in Elkhart, Indiana, they found an armed man in the store who fired at officers. After fatally shooting the gunman, officials found the bodies of two women—one a customer and one an employee—aisles apart inside the store. It is unclear at this time whether the shooter knew the women.

In other news, the Department of Homeland Security will have to continue waiting for its own headquarters after Congress restricted funding for a new facility in Southeast Washington, D.C. The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that will provide nearly $200 million less than DHS requested for the project as an effort to make “responsible choices to save taxpayer dollars by reducing overhead costs and cutting funding for lower-priority programs,” according to the bill. Cybersecurity experts have called out Starbucks’ mobile payment app, saying a security hole allows hackers to access customers’ geological data and password information. Starbucks said that although the report is “technically accurate…unauthorized access to this information is safeguarded.” And robots are patrolling tunnels beneath the U.S./Mexico border to search for drug cartel activity. Used by Border Patrol, these robots can safely navigate through hundreds of pipes, tunnels, and drainage systems to map out the routes and search for dangerous or suspicious activity while keeping agents out of harm’s way.


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