Thursday, April 4, 2013

Congressional Quarterly - Behind The Lines

Behind the Lines for Thursday, April 4, 2013 — 3 P.M.
By David C. Morrison, Special to Congressional Quarterly

In This Issue: How very dull: DHS explains that it buys ammunition in bulk to “significantly lower costs,” not to wage “a seven-year war against the American people” . . . Kid’s today: California girl who allegedly sought to sow fear by leaving suitcase standing in mall now facing charges . . . Coffee, tea or cutlery: Flight attendants lobby LAX passengers to pressure TSA not to change no-knives-on-board policy. These and other stories lead today’s homeland security coverage.

“There’s no point in asking for logic when it comes to conspiracy notions about the Obama administration,” Megan Carpentier concludes in a Raw Story dissection of the rampant meme that a brutal DHS is amassing sufficient bullets for “a seven-year war against the American people” — as Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald attributesammo shortages afflicting local cops not to inventory-sapping DHS and FBI orders but to hoarding by gun control-fearing citizens. In a letter belatedly released by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., finally, DHS explains that it buys ammunition in bulk to “significantly lower costs,” Cybercast News Service’s Gregory Gwyn-Williams Jr. reports.
Immigration Nation: Immigration reform could spawn huge new investment in DHS thanks to massive programs for guest workers and border securityHomeland Security Today’s Mickey McCarter mentions. A swell in undocumented Central American immigrants “appears to be an unintended consequence of the debateraging in Washington,” Fox News’ William La Jeunesse relates — as New America Media’s Valeria Fern├índez spots an Arizona group calling quixotically for a citizenship path for illegals with criminal records, and The Washington Times’ Cheryl K. Chumley quotes Janet Napolitano saying that the rising immigrant population in Arizona will benefit the Dems. Ex-Gov. Napolitano, John Chiazza assures in The Arizona Republic, meantime, “has done her job at Homeland Security and then some.”
Feds: Flight attendants at LAX lobbied passengers to pressure TSA to retain current boarding policy concerning knives, Miriam Hernandez reports for Los Angeles’KABC 7 News. A 1950 FBI memo concerning three large flying saucers containing alien cosmonauts recovered in New Mexico is a useful reminder “that intelligence reports that seem like smoking guns are usually more smoke than gun,” Danger Room’s Spencer Ackerman chin-strokes. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is pushing State to re-list North Korea as a terror sponsor following its announced restart of a bomb-fueling nuke reactor, The Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune’s Jeremy Wallace relates — as Business Insider’s Geoffrey Ingersoll hears Defense chief Chuck Hagel terming Pyongyang’s provocations “a real and clear danger and threat,” and The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung sees a missile defense system being moved to Guam.
State and local: The scorched-earth campaign waged by the NYPD and Gotham burgomeister Mike Bloomberg to fend off an independent police monitor contrasts oddly with their zeal to monitor area Muslims and protestorsSalon suggests. A federal judge has blocked parts of a 2011 Indiana immigration law authorizing local police to arrest anyone facing a removal order from an immigration court, Fierce Homeland Security relates — as The Lewisville Leader Star spotlights the Texas Department of Public Safety’s latest gang threat assessment. Based on Homeland Security recommendations, the Clinton County (Iowa) Board Of Supervisorswill buy a new X-ray machine and metal detector for the county courthouseWQAD 8 News notes.
Bombs ‘R’ US: A 15-year-old girl who sought to sow terror by leaving a suitcase standing in front of stores at the Sunrise Mall faces charges, The Citrus Heights (Calif.) Patch reports — while The Tahoe (Calif.) Daily News sees a routine traffic stop closing Highway 50 for five hours after a driver told deputies that a wire from the front seat to the trunk was a bomb, and The LaFourche (La.) Daily Comet has a local man who threatened to blow up a Pizza Hut arrested in Las Vegas after failing to appear in court. A Georgia town has passed an ordinance requiring its citizens to own a gun and ammunition, NBC News notes — and see a CRS Report: “Public Mass Shootings in the United States: Selected Implications for Federal Public Health and Safety Policy,” plus check, at Fiscal Times: “10 Weapons You Won’t Believe Are Legal.”
Ivory (Watch) Towers: Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill to provide immunity from civil liability for school security consultants, New Haven’s WTNH 8 News notes. The NRA's National School Shield project, meantime, has released its recommendations, including a program to train and arm school staff, USA Todaytells — and see Vanity Fair: “National Rifle Association’s ‘School Shield Program’ Is Amazing April Fools’ Joke.” Janet Napolitano has tapped Texas A&M prez R. Bowen Loftin for vice chair of the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, The TAMU Times tells — as The Philadelphia Inquirer sees DHS selectingseven universities to participate in a nationwide campus resilience pilot program. “One professor and some students at West Liberty University are working to create a vaccine” against Francisella tularensis, classified as a potential bioterror agentWest Virginia Public Broadcasting reports.
Waterworld: Researchers at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering have unveiled a large robotic jellyfish they say could autonomously patrol oceans for security surveillance and environmental monitoring, United Press International informs. “Low-slung speedboats from Mexico are smuggling millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana along the California coast,” and the Coast Guard and ICE “can’t do a thing about it,” Pacific Standard spotlights. “Now, the notion of a unified port security nerve center is not some whimsical concept dreamed up by an industry association, but rather a near-reality,” a Maritime Executive op-ed applauds — as L.A. Weekly sees an ex-Port of Los Angeles mechanic sentenced to house arrest after admitting to punking his co-workers with a fake bomb.
Courts and rights: A fight in a Brooklyn jail involving two New Jersey men being held after pleading guilty to terror-conspiracy charges may affect their sentencing,The Bergen County Record records. A Montgomery County (Pa.) judge took the unusual measure of barring the media from hearing an ICE agent’s testimony during a pretrial hearing for a double murder trial, The Philadelphia Inquirer, again, recounts. “The recent murders of two Texas prosecutors and a Colorado prison official suggest a stepped-up campaign of violence against U.S. officials by increasingly powerful white supremacist prison gangs,” The Christian Science Monitorspotlights — as The Dallas Morning News sees security concerns prompting a federal prosecutor in Houston to withdraw from a big racketeering case involving theAryan Brotherhood of Texas.
Over there: Four out of five persons accused in terrorism cases are acquitted in Pakistan, Daily News & Analysis sees official figures revealing — as Firstpostspots India’s government “examining” a Muslim community demand for fast-track courts to expedite trial of “innocent” Muslim youth accused of terror acts. A Nigerian advisory group has rejected a recommendation that the federal government should pay compensation to victims of Boko Haram attacksThis Day tells — whileCodewit World News sees the Nigeria Railways Corporation tightening security to forestall terrorist attacks on stations. Regional intel officials “report a growingcross-border alliance between two powerful Islamic extremist groups — al-Qaida in Iraq and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria,” The Associated Press spotlights.
Over here: A federal grand jury has indicted an anti-Muslim bigot on hate crime charges for brutally attacking a Sikh cab driver and ripping out part of his beard — even as hears advocates charging that the FBI doesn’t track assaults on Sikhs, last August’s Wisconsin temple shooting, say, as hate crimes. A federal judge, meanwhile, has rebuked DuPage County’s refusal to allow an Islamic organization to open a worship center, The Naperville (Ill.) Sun says. “Newly released school yearbook photos of two Canadian men linked to a deadly terrorist attack on an Algerian gas field cast new light on their pasts in a small Ontario city,” The National Post leads. Lego has reportedly agreed to retire its mosque-like “Jabba’s Palace” Star Wars toy set in the face of Muslim protest, The Blaze finds ominous — while The Daily Telegraph hears the Danish toy manufacturer denying having done any such thing.
Holy Wars: A judge has tossed out a lawsuit brought by American Atheists seeking to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found in the World Trade Center's rubble, saying the artifact helps tell the story of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, AP reports. “Passengers going through security checks at Edinburgh Airport are being asked what religion they are — sparking an unholy row over the nature of the personal question,” The Scotsman recounts. “New atheist” scientists andphilosophers exhibit “many of the same tendencies toward generalization and ethno-racial condescension” as did their “scientific racist” predecessors, “particularly in their descriptions of Muslims,” an Al Jazeera essays insists. “North Korea is governed by fantasists,” meaning it’s not impossible “that the hermit kingdomsurrenders to the mad logic of Juche and launches an all-out holy war on the West,” a London Sunday Telegraph op-ed observes.
Dressed for Distress: “Reading through news reports trying to find inspiration for a new spring attack can be depressing for a twenty-something Taliban fighter,” TheDuffel Blog leads in a story jointly reported with Al Jazeera. “If you’re like most, you may fall in love with one particular suicide vest considered ‘hot’ for this season, only to find out it cost $1,300 and it’s way out of your price range. With the Spring Offensive already underway, Shahamat insurgent style reporter Zabiullah Mujahid shared his thoughts on the upcoming seasons’ hottest styles and even explained where frugal Talib insurgents can find them. Perhaps the easiest trends to mimic are suicide attacks. Zabiullah expects vests and belts to be signature styles of spring 2013, with shoes being a strong contender. Zabiullah says stripes — maybe brown and tan — are going to be huge this spring. While it may not be necessarily groundbreaking, going shoeless is also expected to be big in 2013. Being clean-shaven is also starting to make a comeback. For those looking for less expensive clothing that doesn’t look like it will catch on fire as soon as you detonate, Zabiullah recommends hitting up the Red Crescent for the absolute best in Saudi and Iranian donations. Several have opened up in Kabul, including one that opened up in a basement alongside a bomb-making factory on Wednesday.”