By CNN's Jim Barnett
The United States remains largely unprepared for a large-scale bioterrorism attack or deadly disease outbreak, according to the WMD Terrorism Research Center.
The finding are in a report card released Wednesday, which gave the country 15 failing grades in categories ranging from detection to medical countermeasures.
The report card gave 15 F's,15 D's and no A's in its assessment of current bio-defense capabilities in the United States.
The bipartisan center, headed by former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, and former Sen. Jim Talent, R-Missouri, did find improvements since the 9-11 2001 attacks, but its analysis suggests the nation's readiness to respond to various levels of biological disasters remains a work in progress.
In a news release accompanying the report card, the Center said, "In the past decade the United States government has spent more than $65 billion on bio-defense, and yet it has done so without an end-to-end, strategic assessment of the nation's bio-response capabilities." FULL POST
More than 50 members of a child pornography ring who engaged in what authorities describe as "horrific" and "unspeakable" crimes have been arrested for sexually exploiting children from 12 years old to as young as infants. Top federal law enforcement officials say agents busted the global online pornography ring following an intense international investigation that began in 2009. The ring, based in the United States, reached across five continents and 14 countries. Seventy-two members of the online site called Dreamboard have been charged in the United States. Officials said 52 of them have been arrested in the U.S. and abroad. The identities of the remaining 20 are unknown at this time. An additional 10 individuals were arrested abroad on charges from other countries.
Citing "significant progress," the Department of Homeland Security Thursday released a report looking at how far the U.S. has come in the past seven years to fulfilling specific 9/11 Commission recommendations.
"Over the past decade, we have made great strides to secure our nation against a large attack or disaster, to protect critical infrastructure and cyber networks, and to engage a broader range of Americans in the shared responsibility for security, " said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement released by the department.
The National Counterterrorism Center located in Virginia was created to better integrate and analyze intelligence in hopes of preventing another 9/11. For Michael Leiter, who steps down as NCTC director on Friday after four and a half years at the helm, there has been a very personal aspect to the job.
Relics of the 9/11 attacks are on display in the lobby of the National Counterterrorism Center.