Quiet Skies Program Scaled Back, Florida Police Covered by “Stand Your Ground,” Dozens Injured in Japanese Explosion, and M

Quiet Skies Program Scaled Back, Florida Police Covered by “Stand Your Ground,” Dozens Injured in Japanese Explosion, and More.
  • ​The Boston Globe reports that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has curtailed its controversial "Quiet Skies" domestic surveillance program, following widespread criticism that federal air marshals were spying on thousands of unwitting fliers who are not suspected of any crime or on any terrorist watch list. Agency officials said that air marshals no longer document the minor movements and behavior of these travelers, such as whether they fidget in the airport, go to the bathroom during the flight, or exhibit certain facial expressions. The agency said it has also stopped following passengers through baggage claim and no longer compiles extensive reports on travelers who failed to rouse suspicions. Quiet Skies is not completely shut down. The agency will continue to monitor some travelers who have not been suspected of any crimes, but will not collect as many details about them. TSA administrator David Pekoske acknowledged in a congressional hearing in September that Quiet Skies has not foiled any terrorist threats or led to any arrests.

  • Florida police officers can justify using deadly force and seek immunity from prosecution through the state's "stand your ground" self-defense law, the Supreme Court of Florida recently ruled. "Stand your ground" lets judges declare someone immune from prosecution if they find certain facts in favor of the killer in pretrial hearings, avoiding trial altogether in a disputed shooting, reports CNN. Police officers already had been able to claim justification through a police-specific self-defense law, but in a disputed killing, those arguments had to be carried to trial. "Law enforcement officers are eligible to assert Stand Your Ground immunity, even when the use of force occurred in the course of making a lawful arrest," the state's high court wrote in its 7-0 decision.

  • Forty-two people were injured when wooden buildings housing a Japanese-style pub, a real estate agency, and a clinic collapsed following an explosion in Sapporo, Japan, reports the Japan Times. The blast occurred Sunday night, causing a fire that burned until it was extinguished early Monday morning. Police believe the explosion was caused by gas leaking from more than 100 deodorizer spray cans, intended for disposal, at a real estate agency. Windows of condominiums and restaurants near the site were shattered and wood debris was thrown throughout the area. 
  • A Chicago Tribune investigation looked into shootings by security guards in the state of Illinois and found that security guards have less direction and oversight than police. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation oversees security guard licensing but has established no guidelines for use of force. Guards must undergo a background check, but the state has discretion to grant anyone a license. Some guards in Illinois don't require any oversight at all, and small forces don't need to be licensed. Training requirements for guards in Illinois are extremely limited. Even barbers must complete more classroom time.

  • In other news, eight security guards were injured Sunday in an attack at a house in the Republic of Ireland following a contentious eviction earlier in the week. The Federal Government of Somalia has converted a maximum security prison into a training facility as part of reforming its national intelligence apparatus. Tuesday morning, SpaceX will attempt to launch the first of a new generation of satellites to modernize the Global Positioning System in its first national secur​​ity mission