Post-9-11 events and analyses
Friday, May 28, 2004
Pace of Securing Nuclear Weapons Material Has Slowed Since 9/11
: "The amount of potential nuclear weapons material secured in the two years immediately following September 11, 2001, was less than the amount secured in the two years immediately prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to official data described in a new report from Harvard University on steps needed to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists and hostile states. To accelerate the pace, sustained Presidential leadership, particularly in the United States and Russia, is urgently needed to sweep aside disputes over access to sensitive sites and other bureaucratic obstacles to progress, according to the report. ..
During fiscal year (FY) 2003, U.S.-funded programs completed comprehensive security and accounting upgrades on enough weapons-usable nuclear material to make more than two thousand nuclear weapons (35 tons of nuclear material), and over 30 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) was permanently destroyed. However, the 35 tons of potential bomb material secured last year is just 6% of the estimated 600 tons of potentially vulnerable nuclear material in Russia alone. By the end of FY2003, comprehensive security and accounting upgrades had been completed for only 22% of this material, and initial “rapid upgrades” – bricking over windows, installing detectors at doors – for only 43%. If progress continues at last year’s rate of 35 tons per year, it will take 13 years to finish the job in just the former Soviet Union. With Presidential action to break through the logjams, the work could be completed in four years." Many recommendations made. Companion website has more info. 11:15:11 AM
52 U.S. agencies examine personal data on Americans: "Numerous federal government agencies are collecting and sifting through massive amounts of personal information, including credit reports, credit-card purchases and other financial data, posing new privacy concerns, according to the General Accounting Office (GAO). The GAO surveyed 128 federal departments and agencies and found that 52 are using, or planning to implement, 199 data-mining programs, with 131 already operational.
The Education, Defense, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, Justice, and Treasury departments are among those that use the contentious new technology to detect criminal or terrorist activity; manage human resources; gauge scientific research; detect fraud, waste and abuse; and monitor tax compliance. The audit released yesterday shows 36 data-mining programs collect and analyze personal information that is purchased from the private sector, including credit reports and credit-card transactions. Additionally, 46 federal agencies share personal information that includes student-loan application data, bank-account numbers, credit-card information and taxpayer-identification numbers.
The Defense Department is the largest user of data-mining technology, followed by the Education Department, which uses private information to track the life of student direct loans and to monitor loan repayments. "Mining government and private databases containing personal information creates a range of privacy concerns," the report said. " 10:39:06 AM