Morning Security Brief: Hajj Security, Next Generation SRDs, Honduran Police, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►The Saudi government has deployed thousands of security forces in Mecca, Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, and cities within a 10 kilometer radius to ensure security of travelers taking part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Millions of pilgrims arrived in Mecca Wednesday to begin the journey. “A Saudi security chief warned earlier this month that the country would not tolerate any attempt to exploit the Hajj pilgrimage to stage political rallies, as Iranians had in the past, provoking deadly clashes with police,” Al Jazeera reported earlier this week.

►DHS is funding development of next generation radiation detectors that can be mounted to aircraft or boats to distinguish potential threats from naturally occurring radioactive material. These standoff radiation detectors (SRDs) are already in use by law enforcement and first responders, but DHS wants a device that can detect radiation from up to 100 meters away. SRDs can scan traffic along roads or checkpoints, watch over mass gatherings, detect radiation in large ships, and can be stationed on border areas to keep a nuclear device from being smuggled in, DHS says.

►In an effort to tackle corruption in its ranks, the Honduran police force plans to dismiss 99 police officers. Up to 40 percent of police have ties to organized crime and earlier this year The Miami Herald reported that police were actively participating and directing criminal operations. The 99 officers will be relieved of their positions for one year but still receive their full salary. After one year, they can be officially removed from the police force. “The announcement that 99 members are going to be removed from the force suggests the government is combating the issue in earnest to a degree. However, it is puzzling that the removal process is so lengthy if these officers have been found unfit, and that it should still incur a cost on the state for a year,” Insight Crime reports.

►In other news, SC Magazine highlights anti-virtualization malware as its Threat of the Month. ♦ More than a dozen state and local police, federal agents and hazardous material experts were called in after a meth lab explosion in Vermont injured a man. ♦ And hurricane Sandy makes landfall in Cuba.



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