Our picksCan a Kansas Lab Stop the Next Epidemic? | 2020 DHS Memo on Pandemic & Violence | The Search for Covid-19 “Patient Zero”
· When the Next Animal Plague Hits, Can This Lab Stop It?
· Justice IG: Badly Depleted U.S. Prison Chaplain Corps ‘Impairs’ Safety; Terror Inmates Leading Religious Services
· Proposal Would Push VA Leaders to Address Issue of Extremism in the Veterans Community
· Taliban’s Rapid Advance Across Afghanistan Puts Key Cities at Risk of Being Overtaken
· Nigeria: Boko Haram Killed over 40,000 Nigerians in 20 Years, Says Report
· 2020 DHS Memo Revealed Strain from Pandemic Would Possibly “Increase Some to Turn to Violence”
· DHS Eyes Automation for Secure Communications System
· From Wuhan to Paris to Milan, the Search for “Patient Zero”
When the Next Animal Plague Hits, Can This Lab Stop It? (Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley, Wired)
A new federal facility in Kansas will house the deadliest agricultural pathogens in the world—and researchers working tirelessly to contain them.
Justice IG: Badly Depleted U.S. Prison Chaplain Corps ‘Impairs’ Safety; Terror Inmates Leading Religious Services (Kevin Johnson, USA Today)
The chaplain corps serving the vast federal prison system is so badly depleted that officials have allowed inmates convicted of terror-related offenses or with links to terrorist organizations to lead religious services, an internal Justice Department review found. Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report found that the chaplain ranks, with 236 serving more than 150,000 inmates, is down by 30% and represents just eight of 24 faith groups recognized by the federal prison system. “We found that a significant shortage in the number of chaplains and other chaplaincy services staff impairs the BOP’s ability to implement a safe and effective religious services program,” the report concluded, noting that officials relied on alternate inmate-led programs “without ensuring adequate supervision and oversight…” “For example, we found that some institutions permitted inmates with a known nexus to international or domestic terrorism to lead religious services,” according to the report. Justice auditors said prison staffers “consistently” reported that inmate-led services presented “safety and security risks” and the potential for inmates to radicalize others while serving in religious leadership roles.
Proposal Would Push VA Leaders to Address Issue of Extremism in the Veterans Community (Leo Shane III, Military Times)
House lawmakers want Veterans Affairs officials to start talking to veterans about misinformation and extremism online. Included in the House Appropriations Committee’s proposal for more than $270 billion in department funding next fiscal year is language focused on “the unique vulnerabilities that veterans face online,” to include targeting of veterans by extremist organizations and groups focused on sowing division in the military community. “Efforts to spread extremist views and conspiracy theories among the veteran community have had severely damaging effects, such as spreading conspiracies that may have motivated participation in the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6,” a report on the budget proposal states. It also calls for the department to “establish a comprehensive, evidence-based program to educate veterans about malign influences, transition assistance to include specialized counseling services, as well as research into operations and methods to discern against disinformation.” (Cont.)