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by CSO Contributor

Terrorists Possibly Targeting Texas; Disgruntled Employee Hacks ThruPoints Computer System; Summer Power Outages; Royal Party Crashed

Jun 24, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Terrorists Possibly Targeting Texas

According to a story in The Houston Chronicle today, U.S. intelligence agencies early this month eavesdropped on two suspected al-Qaida operatives discussing potential terrorism in Texas timed for the July Fourth weekend, raising the specter of an attack on energy facilities in the Houston area, officials here said Monday. That information, which did not specify a target, an exact time or a type of attack, was passed along to state officials. With Texas as the target, officials are especially concerned about oil or gas facilities and pipelines because al-Qaida terrorists in the past have talked about attacking the energy sector as a way of damaging America’s economy, the Chronicle reports. Last October, the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center sent out two detailed warnings to private oil companies in the Houston area that “recent statements, apparently by al-Qaida leaders” indicated that terrorists were targeting the U.S. economic backbone, including oil and gas industry facilities. The FBI suggested that private companies increase their security and make security more visible. We are aware of this threat, but beyond that we can’t comment,” the Chronicle quotes Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. “We are going to be checking out different things to see what we can find, but that is all that I can say.” Disgruntled Employee Hacks ThruPoints Computer today, ThruPoint, which partners with Cisco and KPMG spin-off BearingPoint, confirmed it is conducting an investigation after the embarrassing incident. The confidential document contains individual employee names along with management comments.

A disgruntled employee is suspected of hacking a global networking consultancy’s computer systems and then emailing staff with confidential information about forthcoming restructuring plans. According to a story on

Summer Power OutagesNew York Times reports on the state of electrical grid management with the prospect of outages when demand peaks this summer. Most summers, the Times says, power system managers around the country experience moments of helplessness when they just cant get power where its needed. The problem is not so much the amount of power available as it is bottlenecks in the transmission grid. Power generation capacity has increased sharply since the late 1990’s, when there was a wave of construction of large gas-fired plants around the country. But the aging transmission grid prevents much of that power from flowing easily into areas where it is most needed during summer consumption spikes. Plans for new transmission lines, however, invariably lead to debates about whether the federal and state governments would be wiser to give more support to local power generation, new energy technology and conservation. The story looks closely at the case of Connecticut, one of the regions in the country most vulnerable to power disruptions, and at projections about alternative sources of energy.

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Royal Party CrashedBBC News today. Blunkett said a report into the incident—in which would-be comedian Aaron Barschak climbed a tree to get over the castle wall and talked his way past police and other officials at the fancy dress party, himself dressed as Osama bin Laden in a ballgown— would be published in four weeks following an investigation by a senior commander from the City of London Police. Officials seem to have thought he was a drunken guest. The comedian apparently wandered around the grounds for about an hour, and delivered his comedy routine before being apprehended at the bar. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said officers were “devastated” by the security lapse and he pledged that lessons would be learned.

British Home Secretary David Blunkett has expressed “deep regret” at the “serious breach” of security during Prince William’s 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle, according to a story on