National Security & Defense

Iran set to test-fire missiles in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday

December 30, 2011

“Tehran said it will test-fire missiles in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, a move likely to stoke tensions with Washington already running high over Iran’s threats to close the strategic oil waterway if sanctions are enforced. “Shorter- and longer-range, ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles will be tested on Saturday,” the ISNA news agency quoted Iran’s navy spokesman, Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi.”

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The Iranian Navy began a ten-day drill in international waters near the strategic oil route through the Strait of Hormuz

December 24, 2011

“Iran’s navy began a 10-day drill Saturday in international waters near the strategic oil route that passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The exercises, dubbed “Velayat 90,” could bring Iranian ships into proximity with U.S. Navy vessels in the area. The war games cover a 1,250-mile (2,000-kilometer) stretch of sea off the Strait of Hormuz, northern parts of the Indian Ocean and into the Gulf of Aden, near the entrance to the Red Sea, state TV reported.”

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U.S. Congress includes in its Defense Spending Bill additional funding to expand Transportation Security Administration checkpoints outside of airports

December 24, 2011

““The TSA’s 25 “viper” teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year,” reports the L.A. Times.”

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The four-day pretrial hearing for Private Bradley Manning begins; Over 110,000 classified cables were found on the alleged Wikileaks source’s computer

December 20, 2011

“Some 110,000 classified cables were found on alleged Wikileaks source Bradley Manning’s computer, day four of his pre-trial hearing has heard. Digital investigator David Shaver acknowledged at the Fort Meade military base court there was little indication any of the files had been circulated.”

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Report: North Korea test fires two short-range missiles on Monday, same day it announced the death of Kim Jong-Il

December 19, 2011

“North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles off its east coast on Monday, the same day it announced the death of leader Kim Jong-Il, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said. The agency quoted an unnamed government official as saying the launches were unrelated to the announcement that Kim had died Saturday of a heart attack.”

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Report: The Federal Bureau of Investigation approached a technology company about its cell phone monitoring software, but was rebuffed

December 19, 2011

“During an oversight hearing Wednesday, Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI “neither sought nor obtained any information from Carrier IQ in any one of our investigations.” Mueller was responding to a question by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., chairman of the committee’s privacy and technology panel, who has said collecting personal information from people’s cellphones could violate federal law.”

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Iran arrests a ‘CIA spy of Iranian origin’ attempting to infiltrate Iran’s intelligence ministry

December 17, 2011

“”Based on the scenario, he was supposed to infiltrate the intelligence ministry … and feed it deceptive information on a large scale and spy on it. The Iranian-origin CIA agent received complex training, had worked as an analyst and also worked with the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the statement [said].”

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Republican members of the House Homeland Security Committee introduce the PrECISE Act that encourages private firms to share information on cyber threats, but stops short of mandating new security standards for sectors deemed ‘critical to national security’

December 16, 2011

“The bill would clearly delineate the cybersecurity functions of the Department of Homeland Security by requiring DHS to evaluate cybersecurity risks for critical infrastructure firms and determine the best way to mitigate them. By authorizing DHS to oversee civilian cybersecurity, the legislation aligns with proposals from both the Senate and the White House, but it is unclear how much authority DHS would have to enforce its security standards.”

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Iraqi Government gives the U.S. military permission to continue spy drone operations in Iraqi airspace

December 16, 2011

“Baghdad has given Washington permission to keep flying Predator drones on surveillance missions over northern Iraq, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Friday. The unmanned airplanes, which operate out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, are being used to look for fighters from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK.”

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U.S. worried Iran will soon begin enriching uranium and producing nuclear technology underground

December 16, 2011

“Iranian nuclear scientists at the Fordo facility appear to be within weeks of producing 20 percent enriched uranium, according to Iran analysts and nuclear specialists in close communication with U.S. officials and atomic inspectors. Enriched uranium is used to fuel power plants and reactors, and may be further processed into atomic weapons material.”

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U.S. to leave Iraqi airspace cleared for a strategic route whereby Israel can attack Iran

December 16, 2011

“The U.S. military’s fast-approaching Dec. 31 exit from Iraq, which has no way to defend its airspace, puts Israel in a better place strategically to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iraq has yet to assemble a force of jet fighters, and since the shortest route for Israeli strike fighters to Iran is through Iraqi airspace, observers conclude that the U.S. exit makes the Jewish state’s mission planning a lot easier.”

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Iranian Engineer: Iran hijacked the U.S. spy drone by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military and directing the drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory

December 16, 2011

“Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off communications links of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, says the engineer, who works for one of many Iranian military and civilian teams currently trying to unravel the drone’s stealth and intelligence secrets, and who could not be named for his safety.”

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U.S. Senate votes 86-13 to pass a $662 billion defense bill Thursday night

December 15, 2011

“The Senate voted 86-13 for the measure and will send it to President Obama for his signature. The bill would authorize money for military personnel, weapons systems, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security programs in the Energy Department for the fiscal year. The legislation is $27 billion less than Obama wanted and $43 billion less than Congress gave the Pentagon this year.”

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U.S. House of Representatives passes legislation to freeze some aid to Pakistan, implement new sanctions against Iran, and endorse the indefinite imprisonment of suspected terrorists

December 15, 2011

“The US House of Representatives has passed legislation to freeze some Pakistan aid, slap harsh new sanctions on Iran, and endorse indefinite imprisonment of suspected terrorists. Acting shortly after the White House dropped a threat to veto the bill, the Republican-led chamber voted 283-136 to approve the $US662 billion ($A670.01 billion) Defence Authorisation bill, which also sets high hurdles for closing Guantanamo Bay.”

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U.S. Officials investigating reports of an alleged cyber attack plot by Iran and Venezuela

December 14, 2011

“Allegations about the cyberplot were aired last week in a documentary on the Spanish-language TV network Univision, which included secretly recorded footage of Iranian and Venezuelan diplomats being briefed on the planned attacks and promising to pass information to their governments.”

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