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by CSO Contributor

** UPDATE: Chertoff Sworn in as New Homeland Security Secretary ** CIA Avoids Scrutiny of Detainee Treatment; Cleric Found Guilty in Connection with Bali Bombings; Verdery Leaves DHS.

Mar 03, 20053 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Chertoff Takes Oath as New Security Chief

President Bush called the search for Osama bin Laden ” the greatest challenge of our day” during a ceremony Thursday in which Michael Chertoff, a former federal appeals court judge, was sworn in as the new secretary of homeland security. The New York Times reports that Bush praised Chertoff in his remarks for his work to stem the threat of terrorists. “He understands that as we adapt our defenses, the terrorists will adapt their tactics in response,” the president said. “He understands they continue to pose a grave threat to the American people.”

For more details, read the full article in The New York Times.

CIA Avoids Scrutiny of Detainee Treatment

The Washington Post reports today on how the CIA has avoided scrutiny for its mistreatment of prisoners. Unlike the Pentagon, which has prosecuted those involved in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal and, in fact, has courtmartialed 33 military workers and reprimanded 55 others for mishandling of detainees, the CIA has only charged one contractor with mistreatment of prisoners. The Post points to a CIA case officer who allegedly ordered guards in a secret prison in Kabul to strip a detainee naked, chain him to a concrete floor where he later died of hypthermia as an example of the agency’s lack of discipline when it comes to handling prisoners. “The agency has an aggressive, robust office of the inspector general with the authority to look into any CIA program or operation anywhere,” said a CIA representative who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The inspector general has done so and will continue to do so. We investigate allegations of abuse fully.”

For more details, read the full article in the Washington Post.

Cleric Found Guilty of Conspiring in Bali Nightclub Bombings

Cleric Abubakar Baasyir was sentenced to two and a half years in jail by an Indonesian court Thursday for conspiracy in connection with the bombing of two Bali nighclubs in 2002. The court cleared him of the more serious terrorism charges, the Washington Post reports. The five-judge panel ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that Baasyir ordered the attacks, which killed 202 people. “Neither the defense witnesses nor the prosecutors’ witnesses said the defendant has planned or provoked other people to commit the bombings,” said Judge Mahmud Rochimi, reading the verdict.

For more details, read the full article in the Washington Post.

DHS Losing Point Man on Border, Transportation Security

Stewart Verdery, the DHS assistant secretary for border and transportation security policy and planning, will leave his post to become a lobbyist. IDG News (a sister company to CXO Media) reports that Verdery will join Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc., a Washington lobbying firm, later this month. Verdery helped to create and implement policies on immigration and border security, including the controversial United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology border security program.

For more details, read the full IDG News article in Computerworld.