• United States



by CSO Contributor

Applicants Rush to Meet Deadline for Sept. 11 Fund; Anthrax Shots for Soldiers Require Consent; California Quake Kills Two; Specialists Rap Warning System

Dec 23, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Applicants Rush to Meet Deadline for Sept. 11 Fund

After a last-minute surge, 95 percent of eligible relatives of Sept. 11 victims had applied to join the government’s ambitious but much-criticized compensation effort as the deadline neared last night, according to the lead story in The New York Times today. Only a month ago, the fund had received applications from about 1,800 families, or only 60 percent of those eligible, on behalf of relatives killed in 2001 at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and aboard the airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania. The fund offers compensation to families for their pain and economic loss and to injured victims as well, while protecting the airlines whose planes were involved in the attacks from potentially ruinous litigation. The fund is expected to cost taxpayers as much as $3 billion, far less than the $5 billion that Kenneth Feinberg, the funds administrator, had originally predicted.

Anthrax Shots for Soldiers Require ConsentAccording to a story in todays Washington Post, a federal judge in Washington yesterday ordered the Pentagon to stop administering an anthrax vaccine to U.S. service members without their consent, ruling that defense officials cannot require troops to “serve as guinea pigs for experimental drugs.” If Pentagon lawyers believe that voluntary vaccination would interfere with military operations, the judge said, federal law gives them the option of obtaining a presidential waiver of service members’ right to informed consent. Hundreds of service members have refused to take the vaccine out of concerns about its safety, the Post reports, and many of them have been court-martialed and forced out of the military.

California Quake Kills TwoThe San Francisco Chronicle today. Paso Robles was hit hardest, but the quake was felt 165 miles north in San Francisco, where buildings swayed gently back and forth. In Los Angeles, about 185 miles away, the activity was reported as a sustained rolling motion that lasted more than 30 seconds.

An earthquake of estimated 6.5 magnitude shook the Central Coast of California yesterday, killing two women in Paso Robles when an unreinforced masonry building dating from the 19th century collapsed, according to

Specialists Rap Warning SystemBoston Globe, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) called Sunday’s announcement “a perfect example of the ambiguity generated by the threat advisory system and said in a statement that “Americans are frustrated because they have not been instructed on how to better protect themselves.” Other critics point to the lack of differentiation in the threat level for different areas of the country. And a study released last week by the defense consulting firm Rand Corp. said the system obliges local governments to cut back on other spending to pay for increased protection everywhere even when the threat is more specific. Some members of Congress from both parties defend the system, but according to the Globe, James Carafano, a homeland security specialist at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said, “It does seem like [the DHS] has lost any appetite to revise the system,” which he described as “stupid” and “really, really useless” because the public does not understand it.

As the nation stepped up security yesterday with extra police on the streets and fighter jets in the sky, a broad range of specialists warned that the color-coded terrorism alert system should be replaced because it frightens people and wastes public resources even in those cities not mentioned as possible targets in intelligence reports. According to a story in todays