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Homeland Security News – March 14, 2011

Congress looks at Muslims in America. New FAA anti-terrorism rules could put lives in danger. New high-tech detectors may spot radioactive contraband up to a mile away. These and other stories on the anti-terrorism front in this week’s Homeland Security News.

Congressional Hearings Focus on Muslim-Americans

Peter KingJust-concluded Home Security Committee hearings led by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) attempted to determine the extent to “radicalization” among Muslim-Americans. But by most accounts, the controversial hearings failed to live up to its early hype, with even the most conservative witnesses taking obvious steps to avoid painting the entire Muslim-American community with a broad “terrorist” brush. Many public safety witnesses, including L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, went as far as to emphasize the extent to which many Muslim individuals and organizations have been extremely supportive of Homeland Security efforts.

New FAA Toilet Rule Could Prove Deadly

Airplane Oxygen MasksIn case of sudden aircraft decompression, oxygen masks are designed to drop automatically from compartments above all passenger seats. This is also true for the “seats” in airplane lavatories. Or at least it was true until the FAA recently ordered that masks be removed from airborne restrooms for fear their oxygen generators could be turned into improvised bombs by resourceful terrorists. So what happens now if a plane decompresses while you’re “indisposed” at 35,000 feet? Apparently, you’ll be asked to return to your seat for live-giving oxygen, a somewhat difficult proposition if you’re O-2 starved and have your pants around your ankles. For the record, rapid decompression, while rare, occurs about 40 to 50 times a year through the world, which is far more often than airborne terrorist attacks, of which the number of successful attempts have been exactly two (in Russia) since September 11, 2001.

Freed Al-Qaida Terrorist Still Supports Killing Americans

BarbarFreed after serving just four years in prison, convicted al-Qaida terrorist Mohammed Junaid Barbar “still supports the killing of American military service members on battlefields in Muslin countries ‘occupied’ by the United States,” according to a just-released November 2010 letter to federal judge Victor Marrero. Barbar was released late last year in New York City after cooperating with the FBI. He had faced up to 70 years in prison for participating in terrorist operations in Pakistan and Europe. Officials are not saying where in NYC Barbar currently lives.

New Technology Designed to ‘Sniff Out’ Radioactive Materials Up to a Mile Away

RadioactiveNew detection technology may allow radioactive materials to be spotted from up to a mile away. The U.S. Department of Energy has given the go-ahead for the technology’s developer, Idaho National Laboratory, to begin testing at an 890-square-mile nuclear reservation in Idaho this summer. Public safety and the Department of Homeland Security are eager to get operational versions of these detectors as the fear of smuggled nuclear materials for use either in a small nuclear bomb or as part of a “dirty bomb” that releases radioactive materials into the atmosphere, has long been a “worst case” terrorist scenario.

Jewish Religious Ritual Triggers Airborne Terror Alert

TefillinOn Sunday, March 13, pilots aboard Alaska Airline Flight 241 from Mexico City became alarmed when they received reports of passengers strapping small black boxes to their upper arm. Fearing these were some kind of explosive devices, the pilots immediately locked down the cockpit and alerted authorities at their destination, LAX, where the suspects were taken into custody. Questioning revealed that the “terrorists” were an Orthodox Jews who were performing a daily religious ritual involving “tefillin,” a small box containing Biblical scripture.  They were subsequently released without further incident.

Consider a Career in Homeland Security

Interested in a career in Homeland Security? Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, offers an associate degree in Homeland Security that may allow you to qualify for a variety of entry-level careers in the field, including border patrol agent, Homeland Security officer or private security officer. Designed for working adults or students without convenient access to ground campuses, the Everest University Online associate degree in Homeland Security program can be taken at your own pace and on your own schedule. The degree can be earned in as little as two years.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information on the associate degree in Homeland Security program or other career education and degree programs available from Everest University Online, contact Everest University Online today.

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Tagged with: Criminal Justice, News

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