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HOMELAND SECURITY

10 Nov 06. MI5 tracking ’30 UK terror plots’. Eliza Manningham-Buller rarely speaks in public. MI5 knows of 30 terror plots threatening the UK and is keeping 1,600 individuals under surveillance, the security service’s head has said. Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller warned the threat was “serious” and “growing”. She warned future terrorists could mount chemical or nuclear attacks and that many of the plots in question “linked back to al-Qaeda”. A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said Muslims would work with security services to thwart such plots. MI5 has increased in size by nearly 50% since 9/11 and now stands at roughly 2,800 staff. But according to Dame Eliza the concern is that even with this rapid growth it will not be able to investigate nearly enough of the activity that is currently under way in the UK. She said hard choices would have to be made about resources. “I wish life were like Spooks [the TV series] where everything is, a, knowable, and, b, soluble by six people,” she explained. Tomorrow’s threat may – I suggest will – include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology. (Source: BBC)

13 Nov 06. TSA awards explosive detection deal. The Transportation Security Administration has awarded a contract worth $40m to L-3 Communications Inc. for a refresh of the agency’s explosive detection systems. The new order contains software and hardware upgrades that will enable airports to make existing eXaminer 3DX systems comparable to new systems. The eXaminer 3DX uses multi-slice computer tomography imaging technology that provides 3-D imaging to scan entire objects. The system has a graphical user interface and image processing tools that include edge enhancement, monochrome reverse and high-resolution detailing. Additionally, flexible networking technology supports a mix of different eXaminer scanners and configurations on the same network. eXaminer’s hardware upgrades are designed to increase efficiency and make integration with existing baggage handling equipment more convenient. (Source: GCN)

12 Nov 06. Terror ‘priority’ if Brown is PM. Mr Brown dismissed Tory calls for a full-time Cabinet terrorism minister. The fight against terror would be Gordon Brown’s “first priority” if he became prime minister, he has hinted. The chancellor also backed Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair’s call for tougher anti-terror powers. Sir Ian wants phone-tap evidence usable in court and the 28-day maximum period for questioning suspects extended. Mr Brown told the Sunday Times he “completely agreed” with Sir Ian – but he dismissed Tory calls for a full-time Cabinet terrorism minister. Tory leader David Cameron told the newspaper he would appoint a minister responsible solely for combating terrorism to his Cabinet, if he became prime minister. “Action against terrorism deserves a dedicated seat at the top table,” he said. It is the prime minister who must take the lead. But Mr Brown dismissed the idea, saying: “If you are prime minister, you cannot devolve responsibility for protecting the nation. “Every minister and every agency of government must take responsibility for security – each of them must play their part. “But ultimately, because the fight against terrorism must be fought both at home and abroad, it is the prime minister who must take the lead, as Tony Blair has done. “It must always be your first priority.” BBC political correspondent James Hardy said: “Gordon Brown never tempts fate by presuming that he’ll take over from Tony Blair. But he sometimes comes pretty close.” In the newspaper interview, the chancellor had “ranged well beyond his Treasury brief to lay out his thinking on counter-terrorism”, our correspondent said. On Saturday, Sir Ian told the Urban Age summit in Berlin the 28-day limit for holding terror suspects needed to be reviewed in the near future. He also called for phone tap evidence to be used in court, police to be allowed to q

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