Airport Security Screening, Border Security, 9-11 Trial Setting, Campus Security, & More
By Matthew Harwood
♦ As Thanksgiving fast approaches, pilots and passengers are not happy about TSA’s full body scanners and new security pat downs. And the travel industry is worried, according to Reuters. “We have received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from travelers vowing to stop flying,” Geoff Freeman, an executive vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, which set up the meeting with the Obama administration officials, told the news wire. “You can’t talk on the one hand about creating jobs in this country and getting this economy back on track and on the other hand discourage millions of Americans from flying, which is the gateway to commerce.”
♦ In an interview with the editiorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano reiterated her message that the U.S. border with Mexico is as secure as it has ever been. Asked why the border security conversation in Arizona doesn’t acknowledge the reality on the ground, Napolitano told the editors, “It’s really hard to say. There’s such a disparity and it’s not helpful in any respect.” She continued: “It gives people an unfair sense of panic that something’s out of control. It denigrates the efforts of thousands of men and women who are dedicating their lives to protecting that border. It facilitates very much an anti-immigrant fervor that again is not helpful.”
♦ The Justice Department is close to a decision on where to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other men accused of planning the attacks of 9-11, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters yesterday. “Mr. Holder’s remark to reporters prompted both Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, to repeat their opposition to a 9/11 trial anywhere in New York State,” reports The New York Times‘ Scott Shane. “Most Republicans have said the 9/11 defendants should be tried by a military commission at Guantánamo Bay; Democrats have been divided, with some asserting that a federal criminal trial is the right forum.”
♦ The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is stepping up security measures and allowing unlimited campus police overtime after a recent crime surge. “University spokeswoman Robin Kaler said that in addition to heightening police presence, the campus has also increased student patrols, locked all dormitory outside security doors, installed extra security cameras and added self-defense classes,” according to the Chicago Tribune. “Officials are also promoting the university’s SafeRides and SafeWalks escort programs and working with the local transit authority to gain access to more area security cameras.The campus is also considering hiring an outside security company to patrol campus dorms.”
♦ An elderly South Korean learned that sending a package of fruit to President Obama’s daughter at the G-20 meeting looks suspicious. “Yonhap news agency said staff at a post office in Seoul alerted authorities to the gift addressed to Obama’s younger daughter, Sasha,” according to Reuters. “X-rays showed about 15 round objects that looked like fruit. Still not convinced, the staff called in a SWAT team and a sniffer dog, but the parcel was later found to contain Asian pears, Yonhap said.” The gift was sent back to the 70-something man.
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