It’s time for another installment of stories that made us sit up and take notice this week:
In the wake of four apparent suicides over the weekend, including an apparent murder-suicide, officials at Fort Hood in Texas promised to take steps to identify individuals who may be at risk, the Austin American-Statesman reported. There have been 14 confirmed suicides (and six suspected suicides) at the base in 2010, compared with 11 in 2009 and 14 in 2008. Army suicide rates have doubled since 2005, and more and more soldiers are stationed at the base as a result of troop withdrawals from Iraq.
An alleged global scheme to steal millions of dollars from U.S. bank accounts using computer viruses has resulted in more than 60 people being charged, including 19 people who were arrested in London on Tuesday, according to this account from the Wall Street Journal. So-called “money mules” were supposed to open bank accounts in the U.S., where they would receive wire transfers made possible by a virus that steals a person’s usernames and passwords from his or her computer. The scheme also targeted small and midsized businesses and municipalities, according to the article.
A private intelligence contractor hired by the Pennsylvania State Police produced information that was “often inaccurate and almost always useless,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported as the director of the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified before a Legislative committee. Moreover, the questionable intel distributed by the Institute on Terrorism Research and Response, which included reports “on the activities of citizen groups that posed no obvious threat to public safety, including student protesters and opponents of natural-gas drilling,” were widely disseminated. “I likened it to reading the National Enquirer: Every so often they have something right, but most of the time it’s unsubstantiated gossip,” the director said.