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Tag: Homeland Security

Bias? Feds Worried Black Activists Would Join ISIS, Other Terrorists

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities became worried in 2014 that black activists who were calling for an end to the police killings of African Americans would join international terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Unsurprisingly, authorities found no evidence to substantiate their baseless concerns, according to documents obtained by the government transparency group Property of the People and shared exclusively with The Intercept.

The records “reveal that officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence exaggerated the significance of isolated social media activity, mostly by foreign accounts, advocating for a connection between the domestic movement against police brutality and foreign terrorism.”

As protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015, DHS officials worried that ISIS may try “to use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool” or call on “Baltimore rioters to join them.”

A year later, as protests spread to other cities, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a cabinet position, issued a memo about a single, foreign pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user who urged “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and “start armed war against the U.S. government.”

This wasn’t the first time federal law enforcement warned of black activists.

In a 2017 threat assessment report, the FBI came up with the label, “Black Identity Extremism,” to warn about potential homegrown violence stemming from anger over police shootings.

No evidence was ever found to tie black activists with terrorism.

“They try to make it more scary, it’s like, ‘If we link Islam to it, and we link Muslims to it, then people will see this as a real threat, because nothing is scarier than Muslims,’” Umar Lee, a well-known St. Louis activist, who is Muslim, told The Intercept. “Nothing is scarier than, ‘Hey, if the Muslims get together with these scary black dudes, then we got a real problem, so we need every resource available to stop this.’”

DHS Secretary Nielsen Resigns Amid Shakeup to Address Immigration

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned Sunday to address the Trump administration’s concern over illegal immigration.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump thanked Nielsen for her service and announced that Kevin McAleenan, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, would become the acting DHS secretary.

 

McAleenan is a longtime border official who has fostered a good relationship with Congress and the Trump administration.

Nielsen met with Trump at the White House on Sunday, unaware she was going to be forced to resign, two people familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
The sources said the move was part of a shakeup over the number of Central American families spilling across the southern border.

In her resignation letter, Nielsen never mentioned a riff with the Trump administration and said she was proud of her service and the employees at DHS.

“It has been my great honor to lead the men and women of the Department as its sixth Secretary,” Nielsen wrote. “I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards.”

Ex-Homeland Security Chief: Trump’s Wall Is a ‘Symbol’ and Waste of Tax Dollars

Michael Chertoff

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called President Trump’s border wall “a symbol” and a waste of tax dollars.

Chertoff, who led the country’s Homeland Security Department from February 2005 to January 2009, told Newsweek that a border wall would “fulfill some sort of visual image” for Trump but would do little to prevent undocumented immigrants from coming to the U.S.

“I think the idea of a wall in and of itself is a symbol. It’s not a real tool,” Chertoff said. “It is not an efficient or effective tool.” 

Chertoff said the better alternative to a wall would be comprehensive reform.

“The right way to do border security is to look at the entire system,” Chertoff said. “And that begins with what is pushing people to leave their countries and come to the U.S. in the first place. In some cases, it’s violence and the rule of law not being in existence.” 

16 Years Ago Today: Department of Homeland Security Began Operations in Response to 9/11

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Today is the 16th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security beginning operations in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The 22-agency department was established by President George W. Bush and was the largest reorganization of the federal government since the Department of Defense was created following World War II.

Bush tapped Tom Ridge, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, to lead an agency whose mission was to coordinate all “homeland security” efforts.

Official operations began on Jan. 24, 2003.

The department absorbed border protection, cybersecurity, immigration, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Secret Service.

The Department of Homeland Security operates with a $40.6 million budget and has 240,000 employees.

Senator Urges FBI to Launch Perjury Investigation into Homeland Security Secretary

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is asking the FBI to investigate whether Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury over border rhetoric.

“I am just sick and tired of this administration lying to the American people, lying to Congress, doing it under oath,” the senator from Oregon told CNN‘s John Berman on “New Day.” 

A draft memo released last week contradicted claims by the Trump administration that it had no policy to separate families apprehended at the border. Just last month, Nielsen doubled down on that claim while testifying before Congress.

“I write to request an investigation to determine whether Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury during her sworn testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary on December 20, 2018,” Merkley wrote in his request to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017.”

Merkley said he hasn’t heard back from the FBI yet, adding, “This is the official, right way to initiate referral to the FBI for pursuit of an investigation regarding perjury.

In a written statement, a DHS spokeswoman told CNN the agency “has never had a blanket policy of separating families in custody.

“What this pre-decisional, pre-deliberative memo – as well as previously leaked pre-decisional, pre-deliberative documents – shows is that the Secretary was provided a menu of options to prevent the humanitarian crisis we predicted at that time and which has manifested itself today,” the statement read. “Secretary Nielsen specifically rejected a policy proposal to separate all family units in DHS custody.”

Trump Expected to Give the Boot to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

By now appointees of President Donald Trump have learned to keep an updated resume within arm’s reach. So, many get fired.

The latest, who appears to be headed for a firing is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the Washington Post reports. The firing could happen in coming weeks or sooner, the paper reports.

Trump is apparently unhappy with her performance on immigration enforcement.

 

Wray: FBI Arrested Hundreds of Terrorism Suspects in Past Year

FBI Director Christopher Wray (file photo)

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating thousands of terrorism cases and arrested hundreds of terrorism suspects in the past year, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate committee on Wednesday.

“Right now as I sit here, we’re currently investigating about 5,000 terrorism cases across America and around the world and about 1,000 of those cases are homegrown violent extremists, and they’re in all 50 states,” Wray said at a hearing about security threats before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“In the last year or so we’ve made hundreds of arrests of terrorism subjects,” Wray added.

Wray is expected to be questioned about the FBI’s controversial investigation of sexual assault claims against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Homeland Security Warns of Weaponized Drones in Hands of Terrorists

Drone via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The potential for weaponized drones has never been greater.

Fearing that terrorists could use drones to attack Americans, Homeland Security is urging Congress for more authority to stop  malicious drones.

Intelligence officials are warning that terrorist organizations like ISIS have mastered the use of weaponized drones.

In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro was almost struck by explosives dropped from drones earlier this year. 

“Any time drones are used for an attack, what appears to have been an assassination attempt, it’s gravely concerning,” DHS’ top intelligence official, David Glawe, told CBS News.

Glawe fears that a weaponized drone could threaten the Super Bowl or White House, for example.

But no law enforcement agency has the authority to jam or shoot down drones, Glawe said.

“I think we want the opportunity to have all tools in the toolbox for our law enforcement officers. To identify good from bad is a key component,” Glawe said.

DHS has asked Congress to give the agency power to “redirect, disable, disrupt control of, seize, or confiscate, without prior consent” a drone that “poses a threat.” But after a Senate committee approved the legislation last summer, the bill stalled over concerns from civil liberties groups.

“It’s a problem because it means that DHS can shoot a drone out of the air or seize it and they can do so without ever having a judge look at their actions and determine if they were right,” said Neema Singh Giuliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Glawe said there is no time to debate the issue.

“This threat is upon us today. I wake up in the morning and night just hoping we don’t have an attack,” Glawe said.