Monday, July 27, 2009

Guardian: Terrorist Could Use Internet to Set Off Nuclear Attack

Terrorists groups could soon use the internet to help set off a devastating nuclear attack, according to new research.

The claims come in a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), which suggests that under the right circumstances, terrorists could break into computer systems and launch an attack on a nuclear state – triggering a catastrophic chain of events that would have a global impact.

Without better protection of computer and information systems, the paper suggests, governments around the world are leaving open the possibility that a well-coordinated cyberwar could quickly elevate to nuclear levels.

In fact, says the study, "this may be an easier alternative for terrorist groups than building or acquiring a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb themselves".

Though the paper admits that the media and entertainment industries often confuse and exaggerate the risk of cyberterrorism, it also outlines a number of potential threats and situations in which dedicated hackers could use information warfare techniques to make a nuclear attack more likely.

While the possibility of a radical group gaining access to actual launch systems is remote, the study suggests that hackers could focus on feeding in false information further down the chain – or spreading fake information to officials in a carefully orchestrated strike.


C-5 crew had no idea wheels were missing

C-5 crew had no idea wheels were missing: "CHICOPEE, Mass. — The military says the crew of a huge C-5 transport plane did not realize that two wheels had fallen off during a training flight in western Massachusetts until after they were alerted by an air traffic controller.The 150-pound wheels were recovered from a wooded area of Belchertown, about 20 miles from Springfield.The plane landed safely Thursday at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., after the incident.Lt. Col. David Heroux told The Republican of Springfield on Friday that an investigation to determine what caused the wheels to fall off could take up to a month.A spokeswoman for the nation’s largest air reserve base says maintenance policies require that the plane be inspected and serviced by five maintenance workers for about 90 minutes before a flight.Related reading* Tires fall off C-5 landing gear while in flight"

(Via Air Force Times - News.)

Report: Troops almost used in 2002 terror raid

Report: Troops almost used in 2002 terror raid: "WASHINGTON — The Bush administration in 2002 considered sending U.S. troops into a Buffalo, N.Y., suburb to arrest a group of terror suspects in what would have been a nearly unprecedented use of military power within the United States, The New York Times reported.Vice President Dick Cheney and several other Bush advisers at the time strongly urged that the military be used to apprehend men who were suspected of plotting with al-Qaida, who later became known as the Lackawanna Six, The Times reported on its Web site Friday night. It cited former administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.The proposal advanced to at least one-high level administration meeting before President George W. Bush decided against it.The six young Yemeni-American men from Lackawanna, N.Y., were arrested in September 2002 after investigators learned they received military-type training at Osama bin Laden’s al-Farooq training camp in Afghanistan. All pleaded guilty and received sentences between seven and 10 years.Dispatching troops into the streets is virtually unheard of. The U.S. Constitution and various laws restrict the military from being used to conduct domestic raids and seize property.According to The Times, Cheney and other Bush aides said an Oct. 23, 2001, Justice Department memo gave broad presidential authority that allowed Bush to use the domestic use of the military against al-Qaida if it was justified on the grounds of national security, rather than law enforcement.Among those arguing for the military use besides Cheney were his legal adviser, David S. Addington, and some senior Defense Department officials, The Times reported.Opposing the idea were Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser; John B. Bellinger III, the top lawyer at the National Security Council; FBI Director Robert Mueller; and Michael Chertoff, then head of the Justice Department’s criminal division.Bush ultimately nixed the proposal and ordered the FBI to make the arrests in Lackawanna. The men were subsequently arrested and pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges.Scott L. Silliman, a Duke University law professor specializing in national security law, told The Times that a U.S. president had not deployed the active-duty military on domestic soil in a law enforcement capacity, without specific statutory authority, since the Civil War."

(Via Air Force Times - News.)

Mock disasters set for Hill AFB

Mock disasters set for Hill AFB: "LAYTON, Utah — For residents around Hill Air Force Base, it would be hard not to notice sirens, smoke and explosive sounds starting Monday for three days.It's nothing to be worried, about, however.The U.S. Air Force says it's holding an operational readiness exercise for all service members at the base.Airmen will be required at times to don chemical-protection gear and gas masks and to take cover.Hill officials say this kind of training is routine at various times of the year."

(Via Air Force Times - News.)


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