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by CSO Contributor

Convicted Spy Led FBI to Hidden Papers; Privacy Bill Backers Threaten Ballot; Suit Fights FBI Over Searches, Secrecy; Iraq War May Help Al-Qaida

Jul 31, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Convicted Spy Led FBI to Hidden Papers

Brian P. Regan, 41, a former Air Force intelligence analyst and father of four, was convicted in February of trying to sell classified documents to Iraq and China. According to a story in todays Washington Post, law enforcement officials said yesterday that they only learned after his trial of the full extent of the documents he admits taking from the super-secret National Reconnaissance Office. The trove of documents, CD-ROMs and videotapes, found in 19 locations by FBI agents after months of digging at state parks in Virginia and Maryland, contained detailed information about U.S. satellites, early warning systems and weapons of mass destruction, officials said. FBI officials said Regan intended for a foreign intelligence service to recover the documents, and one prosecutor described Regan’s activities as possibly “one of the largest espionage schemes of all time.” As sensitive as the documents discovered in the parks were, however, officials acknowledged that Regan never made contact with any handler. Privacy Bill Backers Threaten BallotThe San Francisco Chronicle today, supporters of a tough financial privacy initiative in California said yesterday that they will give California legislators one last chance to pass the privacy bill they killed in the legislature earlier this month. If the legislature does not pass it by Aug. 19, supporters will submit petitions with 550,000 signatures that could force a March 2004 statewide vote on financial privacy, which they predict they would win. The new law would give Californians the most stringent financial privacy protection in the country, compelling banks, insurers, brokerages and other financial institutions to get the permission of customers before sharing information about them with nonaffiliated companies outside the financial arena.

According to

Suit Fights FBI Over Searches, SecrecyThe Detroit Free Press, the suit is believed to be the first constitutional challenge to the Patriot Act, passed by Congress to fight terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The American Civil Liberties Union says that Section 215 of the act is particularly dangerous, for it says FBI agents don’t need a search warrant or even suspicion of a crime to look at personal medical records, website visits, church, mosque or synagogue attendance, political membership and other information. In the suit, the ACLU claims the Patriot Act violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects free speech, and the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable searches.

The ACLU filed suit in Detroit yesterday, challenging the FBI’s power to search homes and rifle through private records without notification. According to

Iraq War May Help Al-QaidaThe Guardian, the House of Commons foreign affairs committee said in a report that the war in Iraq may actually have “impeded” efforts to combat Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terror network, and that it was essential to rebuild relations with allies such as France, following the disagreements over Iraq, in order to tackle terrorism effectively.

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein has not lessened the security threat to Britain from weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism, members of Parliament warned today. According to a story in