Mali has become an incubator for terrorist activity that demands urgent international attention, world leaders said Wednesday, as the U.S. drew its most explicit link between al Qaeda havens in such places and the recent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Mali–and much of the broader North African region known as the Sahel–has turned the country into a “powder keg” for terrorist activity by al Qaeda’s Saharan front, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Now, with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions,” Clinton said at a scheduled meeting between senior government officials and heads of international groups held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. “And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”
Elements of the U.S. government have been reluctant to admit the deadly attack earlier this month at a U.S. consulate in Libya was “deliberate and organized,” even though that was exactly what the statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded. That revised assessment by the Director of National Intelligence, the office that heads up the various U.S. spy agencies including the Central Intelligence Agency, is the most declarative U.S. statement yet that the Sept. 11 assault on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya—which left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens—was a coordinated terrorist attack. It contrasts with some early administration statements that the siege grew out of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video.
Verizon has been added to Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp.’s lineup in its Cyber Security Alliance. Verizon joins other prominent technology companies in the alliance, which Lockheed formed to bring companies together to collaborate on cyber issues. The addition of Verizon, the 18th business to join the alliance, means the group will gain insights from the company’s annual report on data-breach investigations.
ON SECRECY – OR LACK THEREOF
Reports are that the State Department is setting up an “independent, bipartisan panel” to review the Sept. 11 attack at Benghazi. The Accountability Review Board was created by congress in 1986, with the goal of reviewing security-related incidents. The ARB to investigate the Benghazi attack will be chaired by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering at the request of Secretary Clinton.
Lawfare reviews every special security officers’ worst nightmare.
Qinetiq and Systems Planning and Analysis have landed a contract with the Coast Guard, and L-3 has secured an IDIQ providing screening and scanning systems to the Transportation Security Administration.
Robert Caruso is a veteran of the United States Navy, and has worked for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, Business Transformation Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.