NEWS

Morning Security Brief: Security Transition in Afghanistan, TSA Solicits Public Comments, and More

By Holly Gilbert

► Today Afghan forces officially took over security responsibilities from NATO-led troops, marking an important turning point in the war. According to CNN, Afghan president Hamid Karzai said a government group would be traveling to Qatar to hold talks with the Taliban, the extremist group threatening peace and stability in the region. At the handover ceremony, Karzai told Afghan forces, "You are the sons and guardians of this country, and it is your responsibility to protect it.... I wish a long-term peace in Afghanistan." NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the ceremony, "The main effort of our forces is shifting from combat to support. We will continue to help Afghan troops in operations, if needed, but we will no longer plan, execute or lead these operations," reports CNN. Rasmussen also said that by the end of 2014, NATO's combat mission in Afghanistan would be officially completed.

►Per a court ruling directing it to comply with an earlier congressional mandate, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is soliciting public comments about its full-body imaging scanners used in airports around the nation, which have raised health and privacy concerns. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) successfully challenged the Department of Homeland Security about what it called the TSA's “unlawful deployment of airport body scanners,” according to EPIC’s Web site. The TSA will accept comments until June 24, which can be submitted at Regulations.gov. The TSA recently removed about 250 backscatter x-ray machines from airports around the country that produced nude images of screened passengers, following that same congressional order. Privacy advocates say there isn’t evidence showing body scans produce better intelligence about potential threats than metal detectors or swabs. Millimeter wave scanners remain at airport checkpoints.

►The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has received more authority to deal with cyber issues in the European Union, according to Net-Security.org. According to the article, a new regulation granting the agency an additional seven-year mandate to operate will increase its focus on cybercrime in the EU and will lead it to work more closely with Interpol. It will continue its work with Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in Member States, and "its world-class cybersecurity exercises, such as Cyber Europe 2012, with 600 participants from across Europe.” EINSA will continue to help develop cybersecurity legislation and regulation in the EU, as well as “standards for risk management and the security of electronic products, networks and services.” The regulation also aligns “ENISA more closely to the EU Regulatory process, providing EU countries and Institutions with assistance and advice.” The article adds that the regulation “confirms that the Agency’s seat (its headquarters), will remain in Heraklion, on Crete, with an operational office in Athens.”

►The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has resumed its search for Teamster Jimmy Hoffa in suburban Detroit following a tip from “reputed Mafia captain” Tony Zerilli that his body was buried there in a barn under a concrete slab. The Associated Press reports that on Monday, FBI authorities used excavation equipment to search the Oakland Township property which lies 25 miles north of Detroit. They quit their search around 7 p.m. yesterday, but plan to continue their efforts today. Hoffa was president of Teamsters Union from 1951-1971 and, according to the article “an acquaintance of mobsters and an adversary of federal officials.” In 1975 he disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant. Officials have followed many fruitless tips about the location of Hoffa’s remains over the years.

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