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by CSO Contributor

Study Says Federal Websites Content Poses No Risk; Caution and Budget Cuts Seen to Limit CIA; U.S. Training African Forces to Uproot Terrorists; Security Threats Raise Concern over Bluetooth

May 11, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Study Says Federal Websites Content Poses No Risk

Federal officials should consider reopening public access to about three dozen websites withdrawn from the Internet after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a government-financed study by the Rand Corp. says, because the sites pose little or no risk to homeland security. According to an AP story in The Boston Globe today, the report says the overwhelming majority of federal websites that reveal information about airports, power plants, military bases, and other potential terrorist targets need not be censored because similar or better information is easily available elsewhere. The report identified four databases (less than 1 percent of the 629) where restricting access probably would enhance homeland security. None was available to the general public anymore. Those sites included two devoted to pipelines, one to nuclear reactors, and one to dams.Caution and Budget Cuts Seen to Limit CIANew York Times story today, America’s clandestine intelligence service has fewer than 1,100 case officers posted overseas. Thats fewer than the number of F.B.I. agents assigned to the New York City field office alone, government officials say. On Capitol Hill and among former intelligence officers, most experts agree that the clandestine service needs improvement, but there is some debate about whether the agency is addressing the right problems. The size and scope of the clandestine service has always been among the government’s most closely guarded secrets. But, the Tiems says, as the dimensions of the intelligence failures on Iraq and Sept. 11 have come to light in recent months, so too has a picture of American spying operations stretched thin through the 1990s and only now recovering.

According to a

U.S. Training African Forces to Uproot TerroristsNew York Times, the American campaign against terrorism is opening a new front in a region that military officials fear could become the next base for al Qaeda—the largely ungoverned territory stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Western Sahara’s Atlantic coast. The program, called the Pan-Sahel Initiative, was begun with $7 million and focused on Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. It is being expanded to include Senegal and possibly other countries. The European Command, which oversees the area, has asked for $125 million for the region over five years.

According to a story in todays

Security Threats Raise Concern over BluetoothComputerworld story. Cracks in Bluetooth’s security capabilities first came to light in February, when researchers in the U.K. said they had developed a tool that could exploit a flaw in some phones to connect to other devices without going through the normal pairing process. Once the connection was established, the tool could download data such as address books and personal calendars. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), a trade association based in Overland Park, Kan., planned yesterday to address the technology’s vulnerability to the “bluesnarfing” attacks and another hacking technique called “bluejacking.”

Potential security risks posed by the Bluetooth wireless technology are prompting some IT managers to rein in use of Bluetooth-equipped mobile phones and PCs on their networks, according to a