Lead defense attorney in Fort Hood shooting trial replaced
Maj. Nidal Hasan booking photo Photo Courtesy of Bell Co. Sheriff's office
July 20th, 2011
06:52 PM ET

Lead defense attorney in Fort Hood shooting trial replaced

Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan has replaced his lead defense attorney, John Galligan, it was revealed Wednesday.

Galligan, the former Army lawyer who has been the lead attorney for Hasan since nearly the beginning of the case, was not present at Hasan's arraignment Wednesday at Fort Hood.

It is unclear why Galligan was ousted. The judge in the case asked Hasan if he had removed Galligan voluntarily and without outside pressure, and Hasan said, "Yes."

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Homeland Security • Terrorism • Yemen
Yemeni opposition leader eludes assassination try, party says
July 20th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Yemeni opposition leader eludes assassination try, party says

The leader of Yemen's largest opposition party escaped an assassination attempt on Wednesday, the Islah party said.

Bullets were fired at Mohammed Yadoumi, president of the Islah party. The incident comes amid widespread tensions in the country, where anti-government forces have been demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh from his position.

The Joint Meeting Parties, an umbrella group of six opposition parties of which Islah is a member, condemned the assassination attempt, which took place in Sanaa, the capital. The JMP blamed the government and said the act will deepen the country's political crisis.

Hasan Zaid, the secretary general of the Haq party, another opposition movement, also condemned the act and said Yadoumi has been a main pillar in efforts to forge a political solution in Yemen.

Efforts by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to develop a plan that would end the political stalemate between the government and opposition forces have failed.

"Any attack on any senior opposition leader is a direct attack at all the leaders of the JMP," said Zaid, whose group is one of the six entities in the Joint Meeting Parties.

Saleh himself survived an assassination attempt last month and has been in neighboring Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

Along with a countrywide, grass-roots anti-government movement, the Yemeni government has been fighting militant groups, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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Filed under: Yemen
July 20th, 2011
02:27 PM ET

U.S. funds in Afghanistan could be diverted to insurgents

A new report confirms suspicions that U.S. taxpayer money for projects in Afghanistan may be diverted to extremists killing American troops.

The United States still has only "limited visibility" of what happens to billions of dollars, "leaving them vulnerable to fraud or diversion to insurgents," according to report released Wednesday from the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, SIGAR.

The Inspector General says that more than $70 billion has been spent on security and development projects since 2002 in Afghanistan, but lack of oversight, foot-dragging by the Afganistan government and failure to take simple steps like recording cash serial numbers means some of the money is hard to track.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Foreign Policy
July 20th, 2011
11:30 AM ET

TSA enhances privacy of body scanners

The Transportation Security Administration is taking steps beginning today to eliminate the image of an actual passenger who walks through body scanners at airports and replacing it with a generic outline of a person. The upgrade is designed to enhance privacy but maintain security standards. Read a copy of the TSA announcement below:

TSA Takes Next Steps to Further Enhance Passenger Privacy

As part of its ongoing commitment to take smart steps to maintain high level security standards while also improving the passenger experience at checkpoints, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John S. Pistole today announced that TSA will begin installing new software on TSA’s millimeter wave Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines—making upgrades designed to enhance privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images. This new software, also referred to as Automated Target Recognition (ATR), will auto-detect items that could pose a potential threat using a generic outline of a person for all passengers. In the coming months, TSA will install the software upgrade on all currently deployed millimeter wave imaging technology units at U.S. airports nationwide.

By eliminating the image of an actual passenger and replacing it with a generic outline of a person, passengers are able to view the same outline that the TSA officer sees. Further, a separate TSA officer will no longer be required to view the image in a remotely located viewing room. In addition to further enhancing privacy protections, this new software will increase the efficiency of the screening process and expand the throughput capability of AIT.

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Filed under: Airport
July 20th, 2011
09:17 AM ET

Security brief – July 20, 2011

By Tim Lister

Afghanistan: Taliban attack areas where handover imminent; key city in Helmand transferred

Afghanistan: Taliban say website hacked, deny Mullah Omar dead

New study shows closer links between Haqqanis and al Qaeda

Clinton warns Pakistan over "safe-havens"

US citizen accused of funding politicians with cash from Pakistani intelligence

Syria bans US envoy from traveling outside capital

Libya: France suggests Gadhafi can stay

Libya: Heavy casualties in Brega fighting FULL POST

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Filed under: Security Brief