All posts tagged: National Security

Senate advances aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, TikTok bill

Senate advances aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, TikTok bill

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference after the senate luncheons in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.  Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images The Senate on Tuesday advanced a package to provide billions in aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, sending the legislation on a glide path to become law after a rocky six months of political battles. In a final tally of 80-19, senators passed a crucial procedural vote with wide bipartisan support, signaling that the foreign aid package has the strength to pass a final vote. “The relentless work of six long months has paid off,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor following the vote. Tuesday’s vote also starts the senators’ final debate clock, which will run for up to 30 hours unless they agree to hold the final vote earlier and get back to their regularly scheduled recess. “I ask my colleagues to join together to pass the supplemental today as expeditiously as possible,” Schumer said Tuesday morning …

A National Security Insider Does the Math on the Dangers of AI

A National Security Insider Does the Math on the Dangers of AI

One type of risk you’ve been very interested in for a long time is “biorisk.” What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? Take us through that. I started out in public health before I worked in national security, working on infectious disease control—malaria and tuberculosis. In 2002, the first virus was synthesized from scratch on a Darpa project, and it was sort of an “oh crap” moment for the biosciences and the public health community, realizing biology is going to become an engineering discipline that could be potentially misused. I was working with veterans of the smallpox eradication campaign, and they thought, “Crap, we just spent decades eradicating a disease that now could be synthesized from scratch.” There’s a lot of vulnerability in society. Covid was a demonstration of this. Jason Matheny I then moved to working in biosecurity, trying to figure out, How could we increase the security around biolabs so that they’re less likely to be used? How can we detect biological weapons programs? Which, unfortunately, still exist in significant numbers in …

AUKUS won’t trigger a nuclear arms race in the region

AUKUS won’t trigger a nuclear arms race in the region

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Australia, United Kingdom, United States (AUKUS) Partnership as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia participate at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, California, United States. Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images The trilateral defense and security pact between the Australia, U.K., and U.S. — commonly referred to as AUKUS — is not going to trigger a nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region, said the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. The security framework seeks to strengthen stability and not “create a problem,” Ambassador Bonnie Denise Jenkins said at a media briefing on Tuesday. “There’s some incorrect information out there about the purpose of AUKUS and what we’re trying to do.” The AUKUS alliance was forged in 2021 to address shared regional concerns about China’s rising military power and influence. It involved Australia acquiring nuclear-powered attack submarines, among other items of defense cooperation. China responded at that time, warning of the …

Oracle met with Senate aides on TikTok data housing project

Oracle met with Senate aides on TikTok data housing project

A smartphone with the Tik Tok logo is seen in front of a displayed Oracle logo in this illustration taken, Septemeber 14, 2020. Dado Ruvic | Reuters Oracle’s top lobbyist in Washington met privately with Senate aides about the company’s data housing agreement with TikTok this spring, after a bill that could effectively ban the social media app in the United States passed the House in mid-March. Oracle acts as the data center for U.S. TikTok users. The House legislation would require TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance to divest the social media app, or face an eventual ban in the United States. “We had four meetings, primarily to discuss the technical mitigations” of the data storage project, said Oracle EVP Ken Glueck, who described the previously unreported talks to CNBC on Monday. To set up the meetings, Oracle turned to two lobbying firms: Fierce Government Relations and Polaris Government Relations, according to newly filed disclosure reports. Glueck led discussions with staffers for the Senate Commerce Committee and the Intelligence Committee, he said. Two of the …

The Next US President Will Have Troubling New Surveillance Powers

The Next US President Will Have Troubling New Surveillance Powers

The ability of the United States to intercept and store text messages, calls, and emails of Americans in pursuit of foreign intelligence was not only extended but enhanced over the weekend in ways likely to remain enigmatic to the public for years to come. On Saturday, US president Joe Biden signed a controversial bill extending the life of a warrantless US surveillance program for two years, bringing an end to a months-long fight in Congress over an authority US intelligence agencies acknowledge has been widely abused in the past. At the urging of the agencies and with the help of powerful bipartisan allies on Capitol Hill, the program has also now been extended to cover a wide range of new businesses, including US data centers, according to recent analysis by legal experts and civil liberties organizations that were vocally opposed to its passage. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, allows the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), among others, to eavesdrop on calls, texts, and emails …

Iraq and Turkey to elevate security and economic ties after Erdogan’s visit

Iraq and Turkey to elevate security and economic ties after Erdogan’s visit

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said relations with Iraq were entering a new phase after the neighbours agreed to cooperate against Kurdish militants, boost economic ties via a new trade corridor and consider Iraq’s needs for access to scarce water.  Issued on: 22/04/2024 – 10:48Modified: 22/04/2024 – 18:38 2 min Erdogan was in Iraq on a long-awaited visit, the first by a Turkish leader since 2011, following years of strained relations as Ankara ramped up cross-border operations against PKK militants based in mountainous, mainly Kurdish northern Iraq. “I shared my belief that the PKK’s presence in Iraq will end. We discussed the joint steps we can take against the terrorist organisation PKK and its extensions targeting Turkey,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad. The two countries agreed to a strategic framework agreement overseeing security, trade and energy as well as a 10-year deal on the management of water resources that would take Iraq’s needs into account, Sudani said. Iraq’s polluted rivers threatens daily life, poses serious …

Blinken to warn China over support for Russia’s military during trip

Blinken to warn China over support for Russia’s military during trip

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) and China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang shake hands ahead of a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on June 18, 2023.  Leah Millis | AFP | Getty Images U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will warn China about its support for Russia’s military during his visit to the country this week, according to a senior State Department official. Blinken is expected to convey Washington’s “deep concerns” over China’s aid for Russia’s defense industrial base, during his three-day visit starting Wednesday. “We’re prepared to take steps when we believe necessary against firms that … severely undermine security in both Ukraine and Europe,” the official told reporters ahead of Blinken’s trip.  “And I think we’ve demonstrated our willingness to do so regarding firms from a number of countries, not just China,” he added. “At any rate, again, I think this will be a key issue of discussion while we’re in Beijing.” U.S. allies in Europe are concerned about the implications of Beijing’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine and “what it …

Lawmakers vote to reauthorize US spying law that critics say expands government surveillance

Lawmakers vote to reauthorize US spying law that critics say expands government surveillance

Lawmakers passed legislation early Saturday reauthorizing and expanding a controversial U.S. surveillance law shortly after the powers expired at midnight, rejecting opposition by privacy advocates and lawmakers. The bill, which passed on a 60-34 vote, reauthorizes powers known as Section 702 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the government to collect the communications of foreign individuals by accessing records from tech and phone providers. Critics, including lawmakers who voted against the reauthorization, say FISA also sweeps up the communications of Americans while spying on its foreign targets. White House officials and spy chiefs rallied behind efforts to reauthorize FISA, arguing the law prevents terrorist and cyber attacks and that a lapse in powers would harm the U.S. government’s ability to gather intelligence. The Biden administration claims the majority of the classified information in the president’s daily intelligence briefing derives from the Section 702 program. Privacy advocates and rights groups rejected the reauthorization of FISA, which does not require the FBI or the NSA to obtain a warrant before searching the Section 702 …

AI-Controlled Fighter Jets Are Dogfighting With Human Pilots Now

AI-Controlled Fighter Jets Are Dogfighting With Human Pilots Now

Looking for love? Be careful what you wish for. A loose-knit community of con artists known as Yahoo Boys has begun using real-time face-swap technology to woo victims with romance scams. Using a variety of tools and techniques, the scammers use AI-powered apps to make themselves look like entirely different people on video calls. Just remember: If someone you’ve never met IRL is asking you for money, just say no. Elsewhere in the world of harmful deepfakes, two major websites used for creating fake nude images of people are now blocked in the United Kingdom. The censorship, which appears to be self-imposed, comes just days after the UK proposed legislation that would ban nonconsensual, sexualized AI-generated images. A Russian cybercriminal gang called Cyber Army of Russia Reborn appears to have been created with the help of Sandworm, the notorious Russian military hacking unit that has carried out devastating cyberattacks against Ukraine for years. The difference? Cyber Army of Russia Reborn is even more brazen, taking credit for attacks against critical infrastructure in Europe and the …

Tests expose worrying flaws in France’s anti-drone system for 2024 Olympics

Tests expose worrying flaws in France’s anti-drone system for 2024 Olympics

With less than 100 days to go before Paris hosts the 2024 Olympics, which organisers plan to open with an elaborate waterborne ceremony on the Seine river, concerns are mounting about the efficiency of the anti-drone shield meant to protect the French capital from a potential terror attack. According to several security sources, recent tests have exposed some worrying flaws in the system. The anti-drone system Parade has been especially developed to protect the Parisian skies throughout the July 26-September 8 Olympics and Paralympics. But various French media report that the system performed worse than expected during a March exercise. “On two of the sites where Parade was tested, it didn’t work as well as expected. Put in other words, Parade stopped the drones, but within a much smaller perimeter than expected,” an observer of the “Coubertin LAD 2” exercise told the French weekly Marianne. Satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné said the system had performed even worse than during the first exercise, “Coubertin LAD 1”, that was held to test its efficiency. During that exercise, …