NEWS

Morning Security Brief: U.S. Aviation Security, Military Sexual Assault, And More

By Holly Gilbert Stowell

► The United States will not take part in an aviation security program put on by Interpol called I-Checkit, which is “designed to stop people from even buying a plane ticket if they're using stolen or bogus passports,” ABC News reports. In a television interview with the news outlet, Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said he was surprised that United States officials declined participating in the program, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks. “If [the United States] knew about the option the U.S. is not exercising–they would change it right away,” Noble stated. According to the article, “The new program would supplement U.S. measures…because it would flag problems with American passports for travelers who are not passing through American airports during their trips.” A U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman said the agency could still opt into the program at a later date, and that they are "currently reviewing Interpol's proposed program and has not yet come to a final decision.”

► The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken steps to rectify its disability claims program for victims of military sexual trauma (MST), according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The VA reported in 2012 that one in five female and one in 100 male veterans say they have experienced sexual abuse in the military.” The report states that in 2011, the VA Benefits Administration began “assigning MST-related claims to adjudicators with expertise in complex cases and required them to receive MST-specific training,” recognizing that the previous MST claims may have been denied due to a lack of staff knowledge and examination of evidence. Since that time, approval rates for MST-claims have gone up, although there was a “wide variation in approval rates among regional offices.” The GAO recommends in the report that the VA “improve training, conduct more outreach, and enhance its MST-related quality reviews and analyses. VA concurred with all of GAO's recommendations.”

►In other news, CNN reports that an eyewitness says gunmen who terrorized the Karachi airport in Pakistan on Sunday night were disguised as airport security workers. ⇒ Nigerian-based terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped 20 women from a “remote settlement in northeastern Nigeria,” according to the Los Angeles Times.  ⇒ And insurgents in northern Iraq overran the city of Mosul today, “seizing the provincial government headquarters, the airport, police stations, and prisons as members of the Iraqi army shed their uniforms and fled,” reports the Christian Science Monitor.

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