• United States



by CSO Contributor

Bomb Blast Fallout in Riyadh; Bush Plans to Nominate Mencer to Security Post; Cargo Security Fund May Be Used Elsewhere; Internal Hacker Got Personal Info on Coke Employees

May 14, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Bomb Blast Fallout in Riyadh

According to the lead story in todays New York Times, American and Saudi officials had grown increasingly alarmed, over more than two weeks before the Monday bombings in Saudi Arabia, by intercepted communications that provided “strong indications” that Islamic militants were preparing a terrorist attack against Americans in that country. The precise, well-coordinated suicide attacks killed 29 people including at least eight Americans and nine suicide bombers in the triple-bombing in Riyadh, The Boston Globe reports in its lead story, adding that Saudi and U.S. authorities suspected the strikes were carried out by members of Al Qaeda. The Times quotes a senior American officials similar assessmentthat the number of vehicles and the amount of explosives involved suggested a well-planned operation that might include future targets. After gathering more indications this spring of plans for an attack in the Persian Gulf region, American intelligence agencies by late April had come across “several bits of information that pointed specifically to Saudi Arabia,” as the Times quoted an unnamed U.S. official. That prompted a public warning on May 1 advising Americans to defer travel to Saudi Arabia, and those already there to consider leaving the country. According to the BBC News lead story today, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan said Saudi officials had not responded quickly enough to recent U.S. requests to improve security at the al-Hamra compound, which was struck in the attacks. That story also reports that Western and Saudi officials have warned of the danger of more attacks, and raises the death toll to at least 34 people. The Times story focuses on background and intelligence, the Globe on investigations including links to recent Chechen bombings, and the BBC on reactions and U.S.-Saudi relations.Bush Plans to Nominate Mencer to Security PostRocky Mountain News. If Mencer’s nomination to the newly created position is confirmed, which probably wouldn’t happen until September at the earliest, she would work for Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and would coordinate preparedness efforts nationally and work with state and local emergency responders.

President Bush yesterday announced his intention to nominate C. Suzanne “Sue” Mencer, a former FBI agent and Colorado’s director of public safety, as national director of the Office of Domestic Preparedness, according to a story in todays

Cargo Security Fund May Be Used ElsewhereSeattle Times reports that during a congressional hearing yesterday, a federal transportation official told Washington Senator Patty Murray that $58 million she had secured for cargo security may be used elsewhere. In 2002, Congress voted to give the Transportation Safety Administration $28 million for Operation Safe Commerce, which would track containers entering ports in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York and New Jersey. Earlier this year, Congress poured an additional $30 million into Operation Safe Commerce; language in the supplemental war budget directed that the funds be used for that purpose only. According to the Seattle Times, the TSA hasn’t doled out a dime so far for Operation Safe Commerce, but the ports of Seattle and Tacoma have put in a request for $49 million. Mick Schultz, a Port of Seattle spokesman, said the money would be used to develop technologies and techniques to track containers from foreign ports. Once operational, the system would alert law-enforcement and maritime agencies if someone tried to break into a container. James Loy, administrator of the TSA said budget shortfalls within the agency had officials scrambling.


Internal Hacker Got Personal Info on Coke EmployeesAtlanta Journal Constitution, a recent computer scare at the world’s largest soft-drink maker worried it enough to send an e-mail advising employees to check bank accounts and credit card balances for anything unusual, but not enough to notify police. The Coke case began several weeks ago when the employee copied confidential records of about 450 employees, including salary and Social Security numbers, according to an internal e-mail circulated by Coke officials. The company then launched an internal investigation but did not notify police, according to spokeswoman Lori Billingsley. As for the employee, whom Coke declined to identify, Billingsley would not say if the person had been fired. She would only say that “appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.”

According to a story in todays