News you may have missed #853

NSA's Utah Data CenterBy IAN ALLEN |
►►Meltdowns hobble NSA data center. Electrical surges at the National Security Agency’s massive data center in Utah have delayed the opening of the facility for a year as well as destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars in kit, the Wall Street Journal reports. Ten “meltdowns” in the past 13 months have repeatedly delayed the Herculean effort to get the spy agency’s colossal snooping facility up and running, according to project documents reviewed by the newspaper.
►►Uganda expels Sudan diplomat accused of spying. Sudanese diplomat Jad-el-Seed Mohammed Elhag has been expelled from Uganda on suspicion of espionage, Ugandan foreign ministry officials said Tuesday. “The reasons why he was expelled was that the activities he was involved in were beyond the norms and requirements of his tenure”, Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Tayebwa Katureebe said. “These are issues of diplomacy and of two countries, which are not addressed normally in the press, but basically the main reason was espionage”, he said, declining to go into detail.
►►FBI accused of using no-fly list to recruit informants. A lawsuit in New York alleges that the FBI is violating the law by putting Muslim-Americans on the no-fly list not because of a “reasonable suspicion” of terrorist associations, but as a form of blackmail to coerce them into becoming informants at mosques and in their communities. Is this the beginning of the end for the US federal government’s no-fly list? According to the complaint, New York resident Muhammad Tanvir landed on the no-fly list after refusing an FBI request to work as an informant in his predominantly Muslim community.

News you may have missed #0247

  • US government lowers threshold for inclusion on no-fly lists. According to senior US State Department officials, the government has already lowered the threshold for information deemed important enough to put suspicious individuals on a watch list or no-fly list. CNN reports that suspects will now include citizens of the notorious Islamist country of Cuba….
  • CIA starts sharing data with climate scientists. This blog has kept an eye on the CIA’s Climate Change Center, which was established late last year. It now turns out the Agency had started monitoring climate change in 1992, under project MEDEA (Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis), but the program was shut down in 2001 by the Bush Administration. The Climate Change Center, therefore, represents the re-establishment of an earlier effort.
  • How the KGB tried to recruit an NBC News reporter. FBI files show that the Soviet KGB tried to recruit the late NBC News reporter Irving R. Levine, while he was stationed in Moscow in the 1950s.

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