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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Petro, James, and David Relman.Understanding Threats to Scientific OpennessScience, Volume 302, Issue 5652. 1898. December 12, 2003.

  1. ”The scientific community is being confronted by public concerns that freely available scientific information may be exploited by terrorists.” – page 1898
  2. ”The following brief description of some recent findings provides insight into activities of potential exploiters and emphasizes the importance of closer interaction between the scientific and security communities.” – page 1898
  3. ”Documents recovered from an Al Qaida training camp in Afghanistan in 2001 have shed light on procedures and methodologies used by Al Qaida in its efforts to establish a biological warfare (BW) program.” – page 1898
  4. ”Individuals involved in this effort apparently relied on scientific research and information obtained collegially from public and private sources.” – page 1898
  5. ”The site also contained over 20 vintage research articles and medical publications from U.K. journals of the 1950s and ‘60s that provided a method for isolating, culturing, identifying, and producing bacteria, including bacillus anthracis and clostridium botulinum.” – page 1898
  6. ”Identification of a recently constructed laboratory with equipment and supplies that could be used to produce biological agents within a few kilometers of the site where the BW-related documents were found strongly suggests that Al Qaida proceeded beyond simply reviewing ‘dual-use’ literature.” – page 1898
  7. ”With publications from nearly 50 years ago, a marginally skilled terrorist could produce a crude agent for use in a limited bioterror attack. However, using more recently published research findings and procedures, casualty rates associated with such an incident would increase dramatically.” – page 1898
  8. ”The life sciences community should take the lead in partnering with national security professionals to draft guidelines for identifying research of concern and weighing the benefits to national security against the cost to open communication of future life science discovery.” – page 1898

Public Health, Bioterrorism, al-Qaeda, Iraq, Surveillance


Dilanian, Ken, “A key Sept. 11 legacy: more domestic surveillance“, LA Times, August 29, 2011,
last checked august 27, 2012.

  1. ”U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies now collect, store and analyze vast quantities of digital data produced by law-abiding Americans. The data mining receives limited congressional oversight, rare judicial review and almost no public scrutiny.”
  2. ”’We are caught in the middle of a perfect storm in which every thought we communicate, every step we take, every transaction we enter into is captured in digital data and is subject to government collection,’ said Fred H. Cate, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law who has written extensively on privacy and security.”
  3. ”The National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on foreign targets, once had to get a court-approved warrant to monitor a U.S. citizen’s communications over wires that traverse the United States. Now the agency is free to vacuum up communications by Americans and foreigners alike, as long as the target of the surveillance is a foreigner.”
  4. ”Officials from the FBI and NSA say they follow strict rules to avoid abuses. But in 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general found that the FBI had engaged in ‘serious misuse’ of its authority to issue National Security Letters, claiming urgency in cases where when none existed.”
  5. ”Such letters, a kind of administrative subpoena, are key to the increased surveillance.”
  6. ”Courts have ruled that the government doesn’t need a search warrant, which requires a judge’s approval, to obtain records held by ‘third parties,’ such as hotels, banks, phone companies or Internet providers.”
  7. ”So the government has used National Security Letters to get the data, issuing 192,500 of the letters between 2003 and 2006, according to an audit by the Justice Department inspector general. The numbers have dropped sharply since then, but the FBI issued 24,287 National Security Letters last year for data on 14,212 Americans. That’s up from a few thousand letters a year before 2001.”
  8. ”Unlike a search warrant in a criminal case, obtaining a FISA warrant does not require convincing a judge that there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed. Instead, the government must show probable cause that the target is an agent of a foreign power. Because of the different legal standard, information gathered from FISA warrants tended not to be used in criminal cases a decade ago.”
  9. ”’Zazi is a very good example of the melding of intelligence authorities and criminal authorities,’ said a senior law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity. ‘We needed to move quickly, and we never could have done it like that’ before Sept. 11.”
  10. ”The Zazi case revealed another new reality. Earlier this year, the government disclosed it had recorded 43 conversations between Zazi’s codefendant, Adis Medunjanin, and his lawyer, Robert Gottlieb. With rare exceptions, such conversations are off-limits to investigators in criminal cases — unless they obtain a FISA warrant.”
  11. ”A federal judge later ruled in Mayfield’s favor that provisions of the Patriot Act, allowing the FBI to use FISA to conduct ‘surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable-cause requirements of the 4th Amendment,’ were unconstitutional. The ruling was overturned on appeal in 2009.”
  12. ”Bush gave the NSA the authority to eavesdrop on Americans communicating with foreigners abroad without first obtaining a FISA warrant, deeming the process too slow.”
  13. “The law also retroactively legalized other forms of surveillance, former intelligence officials say, including “bulk” monitoring that allows the government to intercept all email traffic between America and a range of suspect email addresses in, say, Pakistan.”
  14. ”The government’s goal is ‘to find the kind of patterns that maybe will lead them to evidence of some kind of terrorist plot, and maybe thereafter they can then zero in on a suspect,’ said Joel Margolis, a regulatory consultant for Subsentio, a Colorado firm that helps telecommunications companies comply with law enforcement requests. ‘It’s just the opposite of what we’ve done in our tradition of law, where you start with a suspect.’”
  15. ”Merrill, the Internet entrepreneur, was so disturbed by the FBI’s demand for his customer’s records that he became an anonymous plaintiff in a legal challenge to the Patriot Act provisions on National Security Letters.  A federal judge in New York ruled parts of the law unconstitutional in 2004 and again in 2007, calling it ‘the legislative equivalent of breaking and entering.’ Last year, Merrill won the right to identify himself as the recipient of a letter, although he is still prohibited from saying much about it. But the FBI withdrew its request for his customer’s data, so higher courts didn’t rule on whether the request itself was constitutional.”

Information Policy, Classified, Law, Surveillance


Stewart, S., “Stratfor: Growing concern over the NYPD’s counterterrorism methods,” Stratfor Global Intelligence, October 13, 2011.

  1. “In response to the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department (NYPD) established its own Counter-Terrorism Bureau and revamped its Intelligence Division.”
  2. “Preventing terrorist attacks requires a much different operational model than arresting individuals responsible for such attacks.”
  3. “Six New York state senators asked the state attorney general to investigate the possibility of “unlawful covert surveillance operations of the Muslim community.””
  4. “When Ray Kelly was appointed police commissioner in 2002… This meant revamping counterterrorism and moving to an intelligence-based model of prevention rather than one based on prosecution.”
  5. “Before 9/11, the NYPD also faced certain restrictions contained in a 1985 court order known as the Handschu guidelines, which required the department to submit “specific information” on criminal activity to a panel for approval to monitor any kind of political activity.”
  6. “Judge Charles Haight modified the Handschu Guidelines twice in 2002 and 2003, and he could very well review them again. His previous modifications allowed the NYPD Intelligence Division to proactively monitor public activity and look for indications of terrorist or criminal activity without waiting for approval from a review panel.”
  7. “The Counter-Terrorism Bureau was founded in 2002 with analytical and collection responsibilities similar to those of the Intelligence Division but involving the training, coordination and response of police units.”
  8. “The NYPD’s focus moved from waiting for an attack to happen and then allowing police and prosecutors to “make the big case” to preventing and disrupting plots long before an attack could occur. This approach often means that operatives plotting attacks are charged with much lower charges than terrorism or homicide, such as document fraud or conspiracy to acquire explosives.”
  9. “the NYPD’s Demographics Unit, which is now apparently called the Zone Assessment Unit, has been carrying out open observation in neighborhoods throughout New York.”
  10. “Rakers (undercover police officers)… According to the AP reports, these rakers, who go to different neighborhoods, observe and interact with residents and look for signs of criminal or terrorist activity, have been primarily targeting Muslim neighborhoods.”
  11. “NYPD officers reportedly are located in 11 cities around the world, and in addition to facilitating a more rapid exchange of intelligence and insight, these overseas operatives are also charged with developing liaison relationships with other police forces.”
  12. “The department has ample incentive to think about what the next threat could be and look for new and less familiar signs of a pending attack. Simple racial profiling will not achieve that goal.”
  13. “The challenge for New York is finding the correct balance between guarding the lives and protecting the rights of its people.”

Law Enforcement, Surveillance


Proto, Antonio, et al.One-year Surveillance of the Chemical and Microbial Quality of Drinking Water Shuttled to the Eolian IslandsWater (Switzerland) Volume 6. 139. January 17, 2014.

  1. ”In the case of small islands where ground water is not only limited, but also does not meet drinking water standards, the removal of all contaminants and minerals would be extremely expensive.” – page 140
  2. ”The presence of contaminants in drinking water can result in both acute and chronic effects. Acute effects occur within a few hours or days of the ingestion of high levels of contaminant and are mostly caused by human pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. When high levels occur, they can cause illness and can be dangerous or deadly for those who are immune-compromised or vulnerable, like children or the elderly.” – page 140
  3. ”The drinking water contaminants that can have chronic effects are chemicals, such as disinfection by-products, solvents and pesticides, and metals, such as arsenic.” – page 140
  4. ”Waterborne-disease outbreaks, associated with drinking water contaminated during shipping, are not easily detected.” – page 140
  5. ”Twenty vessels (twelve aged less than ten years and eight aged more than 30 years) were monitored for a single year before the transport of water.” – page 140
  6. ”Microbiological determinations were conducted each time the vessels left from the port of Naples, where they get water, whereas for physical and chemical parameters, water samples were collected once a month on each vessel, during January and December 2012.” – page 141
  7. ”In total, 111 physico-chemical and 207 microbiological determinations were performed.” – page 141
  8. ”The table shows that the overall quality of the water is acceptable, the physical and chemical parameters being below the regulatory level. All the results obtained over the entire period of monitoring meet the standards, as reported for Legislative Decree 31/2001.’ – page 142
  9. ”Though shipped water meets state standards and is generally safe to drink year-round, the potential threats to safe drinking water increase in the summer season.” – page 146

Chemical, Public Health, Surveillance, Chemical Surveillance, Biosurveillance


Gondeck, B. et al., “Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance in Poland from 1945 to 1989 (selected issues)Progress in Health Sciences Volume 4, Issue 2. 88. December 2014

  1. “Purpose: To summarize the establishment, development and modification of sanitary and epidemiological structures, the introduction of vaccinations as well as other medical means of overcoming infectious diseases, improving people’s living conditions and health situation” – page 88
  2. “After the end of World War II, as a result of infrastructural damages, bad sanitary conditions (devastation of waterworks, sewage systems and wells, among others), chronic undernourishment or even hunger, lack of medicaments and vaccines through the first two decades, the basic epidemiological problems were infectious diseases such as: diphtheria, typhus, typhoid, poliomyelitis, pertussis, measles, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, dysentery and diarrhea.” – page 89
  3. “The National Repatriation Office … aim was to coordinate, organize and supervise post-war migration movements of the population and then to create organizational structures which would control sanitary and epidemiological issues of migrating people by establishing the Department of Health.” – page 90
  4. “The National Repatriation Office was supposed to create an effective system of diagnosing infectious diseases, isolating the sick and forcing them to undergo medical treatment. Thanks to this, it was possible to prevent potential mass infections” – page 90
  5. “Since 1946, migration movements had been gradually decreasing, which led to liquidating the National Repatriation Office on March, 31st, 1951 by the Liquidation Committee … Considering the significant improvement of the country’s epidemic situation, in April 1947 the Chief Emergency Commissariat for Epidemic Control (CEC) was liquidated. After the liquidation of CEC, all cases concerning sanitary and epidemiological actions were taken over by the Sanitary Epidemiological Department of the Dept. of Health” – page 91
  6. “In the 1960s, a system of reporting and registration of illness and demise rates, conducted by sanitary and epidemiological stations, was developed” – page 91
  7. “Data was sent in the form of a report or an overall study to the National Institute of Hygiene. In 1968, the reports concerned 36 disease entities and in 1971 as many as 51 entities. Differences in the sent reports were a result of introducing an infectious diseases act, and the implementation of its amendments” – page 91
  8. “The ongoing epidemiological threat after World War II, connected with the spread of infectious diseases, caused the National Institute of Hygiene to set as their main priority supplying with high quality vaccines and propagating an accurate vaccination policy” – page 91
  9. “At the beginning of the 1960s, the Institute [of Hygiene] began studies in the field of infectious diseases and environmental epidemiology. The end of the 1960s was a time of examining bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics, which later developed into studies concerning hospital infections.” – page 92
  10. “After the liberation of Polish territories from German occupation, mass migrations and disastrous sanitary and hygienic conditions led to outbreaks of huge epidemics of infectious diseases among the Polish population.” – page 92

Public Health, Poland, Surveillance, Vaccination


Morley, JeffersonUnmanned and Uncontrolled: Proliferation of Unmanned Systems and the Need for Improved Arms Export ControlsArms Control Today, Volume 45 Issue 8. Page 7. October 2015.

  1. “The report focuses on the implications of the proliferation of unmanned systems for existing arms export control mechanisms.” – page 7
  2. “They observe that the states currently producing these systems adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Arms Trade Treaty, and the EU Common Position, all of which cover the systems to some extent” – page 7
  3. “Zwijnenburg and van Hoorn predict the booming market in unmanned systems will lead states and nonstate actors to acquire this technology for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting” – page 7
  4. “They recommend action “to limit the access to critical dual-use technologies through strict global export controls that prohibit the export of unmanned systems” to recipients who may use them for human rights violations or acts of “oppression” or terrorism” – page 7

ATT, Export Control, Surveillance