Morning Security Brief: Pakistan Consulate Shutdown, E-Mail Encryption Services Shut, Fusion Center Report, and More

By Laura Spadanuta

The U.S. State Department has warned Americans not to travel to Pakistan and has ordered most officials out of the consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, due to specific threats, reports USA Today. The article reports that the measure was unrelated to other recent embassy closures in which 19 U.S. diplomatic outposts in the Middle East and Africa were closed earlier this week due to security concerns. The Lahore embassy is scheduled to be closed through Sunday for Eid, the feast marking the end of Ramadan. No reopening is scheduled.

Two encrypted e-mail services linked to Edward Snowden have closed down, according to the BBC. Texas-based firm Lavabit has shut down, after a reported legal battle with government officials, and Silent Circle has shut down its encrypted email service, reportedly because it cannot guarantee the messages will be kept a secret. It was recently reported that Snowden was using Lavabit while in Moscow and the company released a letter stating it had to either shut down or become "complicit" in crimes against the American people. The article reports that Lavabit founder Lavar Levison wrote: "This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States." Meanwhile, the article states that Silent Circle shut down its service for technical and political reasons.

The Washington Post reports on a cab driver who is awaiting sentencing for sending $8,500 to terrorist group Al-Shabaab. The case is being cited as one example of the results of intelligence gathered by the National Security Agency program that recently has been criticized for collecting information on communications of persons in the United States. According to the article, officials have cited 54 cases of plots or terrorist suspects that the NSA surveillance program has helped discover.

Also in the news: Israel briefly closed the Red Sea Resort Airport over concerns of rocket attacks; Lebanese officials say gunmen have kidnapped Turkish airlines crew members in Beirut; the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis released a final report on U.S. Fusion centers; and the U.S. begins negotiations with the Philippines to increase American troop presence to help deter increasing Chinese aggression.



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