In Brief: Huge Cyber Bust; Missing Army Records; Africa Partnership

Mike O'Brien
Posted: 07/25/2013

FIVE people were charged on Thursday with running an organization that hacked the computer networks of more than a dozen corporations, stealing and selling at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers.

The gang consisted of four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian. Paul Fishman, the United States attorney for the District of New Jersey, said losses ran into the hundreds of millions of dollars and said it was the largest hacking and data breach case in the country.

"The losses in this case are staggering," Mr. Fishman said at a news conference in Newark. "This type of crime is really the cutting edge of financial fraud."

The scheme ran from 2005 to last year. The victims included JC Penney; 7-Eleven; JetBlue; Heartland Payment Systems, one of the world’s largest credit and debit processing companies; and the French retailer Carrefour. A separate case involving one of the defendants and the Nasdaq stock exchange was filed by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.

THE Army has admitted losing a large amount of records documenting battlefield action and other operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army Secretary John McHugh said the service is taking immediate steps to clarify responsibility for wartime record keeping and has launched a global search to recover field records from the wars.

In an order to all commands and a separate letter to leaders of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Army Secretary John McHugh said the service also is taking immediate steps to clarify responsibility for wartime record keeping.

The moves follow a Seattle Times investigation last year that revealed that dozens of Army and National Guard units had lost or failed to keep required field records, reports.

The missing records meant that in some cases veterans were unable to obtain disability benefits.

Mr. McHugh, in a letter to leaders of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said that while the Army kept some of the required records, "we acknowledge that gaps exist."

DEPUTY Defense Secretary Ash Carter has met with senior government and military leaders in Addis Ababa to discuss the U.S.-Ethiopia security partnership and shared interests in East African security challenges,

He is the highest-ranking Defense Department official to visit Ethiopia in more than a decade.

After meeting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Mr. Carter said: "My visit here to Addis represents not only the increasing importance we place on our partnership with Ethiopia, but the importance we place on the role of the African Union also in addressing Africa’s security challenges, be it Somalia, Mali, the troubled Sudans, or the Central African Republic."

Mr. Carter described the U.S.-Ethiopia partnership as an important bilateral relationship and expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister for the critical role Ethiopia has played in addressing regional issues in Somalia and the Sudans.

Mike O'Brien
Posted: 07/25/2013