Extra Extra : Homeland Security

Reports reveal safety violations at many bioterror labs

Recent glaring safety lapses involving anthrax, smallpox and a dangerous strain of bird flu are the latest violations at a half-dozen laboratories run by federal health agencies, 11 labs run by universities and eight more operated by state, local or private entities, according to government reports stamped "restricted" obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

The reports by the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cited inadequate security procedures, lax inventory records for germs that could be used as bioterror agents and training concerns. Auditors warned in reports issued ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Fatal flaws in Oklahoma’s execution system, absent city council members, teacher misconduct

Fatal Flaws: How Oklahoma’s lethal injection process went wrong | Tulsa World

Nearly 15 years after Stephanie’s murder, Lockett lay dying as her family watched along with a gallery of law enforcement officials, prison administrators and journalists through the window of Oklahoma’s execution chamber.

State officials had promised in court records and interviews that Oklahoma’s new execution protocol would dispatch him swiftly and painlessly. They were so confident in this assurance that Gov. Mary Fallin ordered Lockett to be executed April 29, the same night another convicted killer was set to die.

Lockett’s death didn’t ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Nebraska releases prisoners early; Koch brothers hold secret summit; Missile defense system proves unreliable

$40-billion missile defense system proves unreliable | Los Angeles Times

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, was supposed to protect Americans against a chilling new threat from "rogue states" such as North Korea and Iran. But a decade after it was declared operational, and after $40 billion in spending, the missile shield cannot be relied on, even in carefully scripted tests that are much less challenging than an actual attack would be, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.

The Missile Defense Agency has conducted 16 tests of the system's ability to intercept a mock enemy warhead. It has ...

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Extra Extra Special Edition: Vehicle recalls, police misconduct, U.S. Border Patrol tactics

We took a break from publishing Extra Extra during the 2014 CAR Conference. Here are some of the stories that ran while we were away:

 

Fords with faulty transmissions not recalled | WTAE Pittsburgh

Following the redesign of Ford Fiesta and Focus transmissions in 2011, hundreds around the country said they're concerned about the safety of the vehicles. They have reported difficulty shifting as well as odd crunching and grinding noises as the cars change gears.

Dozens of consumers in Western Pennsylvania filed lawsuits alleging that, despite assurances from dealers, the vehicles do not function properly. The cars have not ...

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Stretch of Nogales, Ariz. a 'flashpoint' of rocking attacks

"A short stretch across the fence from this road, just a few hundred yards long, is perhaps the one spot along the entire U.S.-Mexico border where Border Patrol agents are most likely to be attacked with rocks and to respond with force," the Arizona Republic reported.

"Roughly one in every six incidents along the entire 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border in which agents used force against rock throwers in recent years occurred here, across the fence from three adjacent streets leading to the fence in Nogales, Ariz., an investigation by The Arizona Republic has found."

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Extra Extra Monday: Abuse at private youth prisons, fertilizer plant blast could happen again, little accountability in Southwest Border killings

Gun license numbers don't tell whole story | Daily Herald
State data paints an imperfect picture of gun ownership across the suburbs.

Prisoners of Profit | The Huffington Post
Florida's Lax Oversight Enables Systemic Abuse At Private Youth Prisons.

Broken Bonds | Chicago Tribune
Despite borrowing $10 billion to fund school construction, Chicago still has an overcrowding problem. Millions also went to schools that now stand empty.

Waiting for the 8th |The Washington Post
The months seem a bit longer for a D.C. woman and her family after recent cuts to the food stamps they rely on.

It could happen ...

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Blair administration allowed NSA to spy on UK citizens

"The phone, internet and email records of UK citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing have been analysed and stored by America's National Security Agency under a secret deal that was approved by British intelligence officials, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in a joint investigation by the Guardian and Britain's Channel 4 News."

The NYPD Division of Un-American Activities

After 9/11, the New York Police Department built in effect its own CIA  and its Demographics Unit delved deeper into the lives of citizens than did the NSA. The appointments of David Cohen, a former senior CIA officer, and Larry Sanchez, a CIA analyst, represented a major shift in mind-set at the NYPD. Cohen and Sanchez’s guiding idea was that if the NYPD had its own eyes and ears in the ethnic communities of the five boroughs, maybe things could be different. To catch the few, the NYPD would spy on the many.