07 Jan 09. Cases have ‘cut UK terror threat’. The terrorist threat to the UK has been reduced after a series of successful prosecutions, MI5’s chief has said. Jonathan Evans said the 86 prosecutions in the last two years had a “chilling effect on the enthusiasm of terror networks” who planned major attacks. But he said al-Qaeda remains determined to carry out attacks in the UK. And he said the worldwide economic downturn could bring new threats to national security – as it would bring a “new alignment” in global affairs. He said there had been 86 successful prosecutions in terror trials since January 2007, and more than half of the accused had pleaded guilty. “That has had a chilling effect. We have probably seen fewer ‘late-stage’ attack plans over the last 18 months,” he said. But he added: “There is enough intelligence to show they [the terror networks] have the intention to mount an attack here. “There is a significant number of individuals in active sympathy. They are doing things like fund-raising, helping people to travel to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.” Speaking on the centenary of the creation of MI5, Mr Evans said the security service would be looking at the global economic crisis. “Where there have been watershed moments, there have often been national security implications from that – a new alignment,” he said. “We have to maintain flexibility and respond to threats. The world will not stay the same.” (Source: BBC)
05 Jan 09. Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Coast Guard exercised contract options valued at $13.25m to install mission systems aboard two additional HC-130J aircraft. Once delivered, these aircraft will complete the Coast Guard’s planned inventory of six missionized HC-130Js. The aircraft’s new mission equipment and sensor packages deliver enhanced search, detection and tracking capabilities in maritime search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security missions. The mission-equipped HC-130J aircraft provide increased mission capability with improved fuel efficiency, higher availability and greater range and endurance. The HC-130J aircraft mission system leverages the technology that was developed for the HC-144A (“Ocean Sentry”) Maritime Patrol Aircraft and its mission system pallet. The aircraft modifications include installation of a belly-mounted surface search radar, which provides superior visibility and 360-degree coverage to assist in search and rescue missions. Modifications also include a nose-mounted Electro-Optical/Infra-Red imaging system, a flight deck mission operator station and a mission integrated communication system. The Lockheed Martin mission system on the HC-130J is integrated into the flight area, which allows for the operators to directly coordinate with the rest of the flight crew when responding to critical missions. And unlike the HC-144A pallet solution, the HC-130J configuration leaves the cargo space fully useable.
05 Jan 09. Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram will discuss with U.S. officials how to model India’s future Homeland Security Agency on the lines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during a Jan. 9-10 visit to Washington, sources in the Indian Home Ministry said. Chidambaram replaced Home Minister Shiv Raj Patel as a fallout of the Nov. 26 Mumbai terrorist attacks. Sources said Chidambaram is scheduled to visit U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and with members of the transition team of President-elect Barack Obama. India plans to set up an intelligence-gathering agency called the National Technical Facilities Organisation that would be similar to the U.S. National Security Agency. The agency will act as a central agency for coordinating technical intelligence details from various assets of the Indian defense forces and other intelligence agencies, including the Research and Analytical Wing and the Central Bureau of Investigation. Sources added that the U.S. and Israel will be major providers