Morning Security Brief: Hearing on Benghazi, Cellphone Ruling, Preparing for the Next Volcanic Eruption, and More

By Sherry Harowitz

► At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, state department officials revealed new details and presented their views, which conflicted with earlier official responses. Foreign Service officer Gregory Hicks told the committee that “the U.S. military could have blunted the attack by scrambling intimidating military aircraft from Italy's Aviano Air Base -- an assertion denied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey when he testified before Congress in February,” according to CNN. “Clinton and her senior aides should have paid more attention to deteriorating security in Libya over the months preceding the attacks, along with requests from the post for additional resources, said Eric Nordstrom, who served as the embassy’s security chief until July,” reports the Washington Post. There were also assertions that the terror connection was clear from the beginning. Popular Mechanics magazine looks at lessons from Benghazi that can be learned separate from the political debate in a piece that discusses the challenges of staging military assets to be ready for emergency responses.

► In a case involving charges of identity theft, "a federal judge denied (PDF) a motion to suppress evidence gathered with the help of a stingray—a device that can create a false cellphone tower signal," which is used to determine a cell phone's precise location, writes ars technica. "Among other reasons for denial, Judge David Campbell said that Rigmaiden had no 'reasonable expectation of privacy' when using a mobile Internet hotspot ("aircard") from Verizon. And ultimately, that's how law enforcement agents tracked him down and arrested him," ars technical explains.

► U.K. airline Easyjet is testing an ash-detection system that could allow planes to keep flying in the event of another volcanic eruption like the Icelandic event that downed planes for days in 2010, reports, reports the Verge. "The company teamed up with Nicarnia Aviation and Airbus last year to test the AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Object Imaging Detector) system, and will use a tonne of volcanic ash collected from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland," when it tests the system in August, according to the article. 

► Also in the news, colleges and universities in and around Boston are tightening security for graduation ceremonies, reports the Washington Post. And a report from a coalition of privacy advocates provides analysis of amendments to draft Data Protection Regulation that critics say threaten civil liberties and privacy rights in the European Union.


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