Morning Security Brief: New Jersey Mall Shooting, Justice Dept. to Review LAX Security, European NSA Spying Concerns, And More

By Holly Gilbert

 ► CNN is reporting that a gunman has been found dead in a New Jersey mall hours after he opened fire at the shopping center; the half a dozen bullets he fired injured no one. Authorities say Richard Shoop’s body was discovered overnight in a back room of Garden State Plaza mall, where he holed himself up and then committed suicide. “We know that his intent was either suicide or to do something that would cause police to shoot him, which we call 'suicide by cop,'" New Jersey prosecutor John Molinelli told CNN, adding that “he had more than enough opportunity to be able to shoot other people” had he wanted to. The gunman began firing in the mall around 9:20 p.m. ET on Monday, just as the shopping center was closing, with a rifle that was “modified to look like an AK-47,” according to the report. A frenzied search for the gunman ensued and lasted until 3:20 a.m. when his body was discovered by police. Many shoppers were still hiding in the early hours of Tuesday morning, not sure whether it was safe to come out. Schoop, who had a “history of drug use and abuse,” acted alone, according to Molinelli.

► The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a review of security at the Los Angeles International (LAX) airport after a gunman shot and killed a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer on Friday. Attorney General Eric Holder also said on Monday that there is a need for a “fuller understanding” of just what led alleged shooter Paul Ciancia to open fire at LAX. The FBI has found a handwritten letter from Ciancia, which reveals that “he made the conscious decision to try to kill multiple TSA officers and ‘instill fear in your traitorous minds.’” The 23 year-old, who was injured in the shooting by airport police, remains in the hospital; according to USA Today, “Ciancia, who faces charges of murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport, could be sentenced to death if convicted.” 

► U.S. secretary of state John Kerry promised European leaders today that the United States will review National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance procedures and strike the “right” balance between privacy and security. Kerry, who met with Poland’s foreign minister and was speaking in Warsaw, said the “legitimate” questions about NSA eavesdropping raised by Europeans will be answered in “private diplomatic talks,” according to CBS News. Kerry emphasized the importance of not letting concerns over NSA spying hamper trade talks about the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership after officials from Southern Europe indicated that the “surveillance issue may have a negative impact on the negotiations.”

► The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) has issued a report evaluating the agency's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, and says it must make changes, especially in how it facilitates information sharing "among five separate federal cyber operations centers.” According to Government Security News, the report outlines seven recommendations for the acting under secretary of DHS for its National Protection and Programs Directorate, including efforts to “boost staffing” and to “develop tools to enhance incident management and analytical capabilities.” The report also says the “DHS must procure cyber tools and technologies to improve its situational awareness efforts.” 


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