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Tag: Homeland Security

Homeland Security Deputy Secretary to Step Down to Join Private Sector

Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Alejandro Mayorkas is stepping down as deputy secretary of Homeland Security after accepting a job in the private sector.

Mayorkas served as the No. 2 at Home Security for the past there years and will step down on Oct. 28, Federal News Radio reports. 

He will join Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

“I began my government service as a federal prosecutor, a position I held for nearly twelve years, and I have been a member of our department for nearly seven years,” Mayorkas said in a staff email. “I have cherished every moment of public service. Thank you for making it so.”

In a press release, Secretary Jeh Johnson said Mayorkas was an effective leader.

“Over the last 34 months, Ali has spearheaded much of our Unity of Effort campaign and employee engagement initiatives, and has taken a leading role on issues ranging from immigration to cybersecurity,” said Johnson in the statement. “His legacy as deputy secretary will be the number of things we did to improve how this department functions, and the significant increase in employee satisfaction we saw this year as a result. We are all grateful for Ali’s many contributions.”

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security: Hackers Targeted Election Systems in 20+ States

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The voter registration systems of more than 20 states have been targeted by hackers in recent months, a Homeland Security official said.

The discovery comes as election officials are worried about foreign hackers compromising the elections. But federal officials said hackers likely would not be able to alter the outcome of an election because the systems are generally not connected to the Internet, the Associated Press reports. 

It’s still not clear where the hackers are from and what their motives are.

The FBI has warned state officials about election security in the wake of the suspected hacking attempts.

FBI Director James Comey said last week that the bureau is investigating whether Russian hackers are trying to disrupt the election.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson encouraged state election officials to secure their election systems by implementing existing technical recommendations.

Creepy Clown Hysteria Prompts Sheriff to Ask for Help from FBI, Homeland Security

Creepy clown, via Wikipedia

Creepy clown, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A clown hysteria has swept across social media and is now prompting law enforcement to take some drastic – and potentially unconstitutional – measures.

The panic appeared to start in August in Greenville, S.C., where clowns were reportedly luring children into the woods.

“From there, it ballooned into reports of people in clown costumes lurking in parks, assaulting people, chasing people and even threatening to kill people,” reports Network World, which chronicled law enforcement actions in light of the hysteria. 

A sheriff in Kentucky has asked the FBI and Homeland Security to help investigate a “creepy clown” threat. The sheriff in Gallatin County even warned that “clown threats” may face charges of “inducing panic and terroristic threatening.”

This week, Gallatin County Kentucky Schools said it received a “vague threat of violence” from two “clowns” who threaten to shoot high school students. As a result, school attendance plummeted 48%.

Network World wrote that most of the clown reports are rumors or pranks.

Gallatin County Sheriff Josh Neale told people to forward threatening messages from clowns to the police, who were “aggressively looking into each and every message.” Neale said he was consulting with the FBI and Homeland Security over the clown threats. He added, “The person or people making the ‘clown threats’ could face local charges of inducing panic and terroristic threatening.”

Other police have also addressed the clown threat after it was going viral in social media. Wearing a “full clown costume” in public got one man arrested in Kentucky. He was charged with “wearing a mask in a public place and disorderly conduct.” He’s notthe only “clown” who has been arrested.

Kentucky’s Barbourville Police warned that dressing like a clown “can create a dangerous situation.” While “approaching people in a threatening manner” is illegal, so too is “assaulting, shooting, attacking or otherwise injuring someone simple because they are wearing a costume.”

U.S. Must Combat Terrorism Inspired by Internet, Homeland Security Chairman Says

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As domestic terrorism cases continue to rise, the U.S. must take on extremism on the Internet, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Tuesday.

McCaul said terrorism is spreading because of the Internet, creating a “global jihadist movement,” The Dallas Morning News reports. 

“Now we have a new generation of terrorists that are very savvy on the internet. They know how to exploit it, both how to recruit and train, and to radicalize from within,” he said, later adding: “Through the power of the internet, you don’t have to travel to Syria. You can get radicalized here.”
McCaul is calling for a nonpartisan proposal that will be pitched to the presidential candidates.

McCaul was speaking at the American Enterprise Institute.

Homeland Security Adviser: Hackers Largely Incapable of Compromising Election Systems

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Amid concerns about suspected Russian cyberattacks targeting Democrats, President Obama’s homeland security adviser said it would be very difficult to alter an election outcome by hacking America’s voting systems.

That’s because election systems, for the most part, aren’t connected to the Internet, said the adviser, Lisa Monaco, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

“That makes it extremely disparate, extremely diffuse and, as a consequence, extremely difficult to have an effect across the board that would result in a change in results,” Monaco said during a question-and-answer session.

To combat concerns about election tampering, the federal government is helping local election officials detect vulnerabilities and encrypt voter registration data.

“The efforts of malicious actors to intrude upon voter registration databases and other elements of our critical infrastructure, as well as our voting infrastructure” remain of concern, she said.

FBI, Homeland Security: Growing Threat to Civilian Venues by Homegrown Terrorists

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security have warned law enforcement nationwide of possible attacks carried out by homegrown extremists and ISIS-inspired terrorists.

The federal agencies sent out the bulletin on Aug. 31, CBS News reported Wednesday. 

According to the bulletin, extremists are shifting their focus to civilian venues, such as restaurants, churches, sports arenas and theaters.

An analysis by the federal agencies found that 75% of homegrown terrorists have targeted civilians in the past year.

Homeland Security Director to Deliver Speech at Duke University for 9/11 Anniversary

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson will discuss counterterrorism and new threats to the U.S. at Duke University’s Stanford School of Public Policy on Sept. 8, just three days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Duke Today reports the event is free and open to the public.

Johnson, who took the helm at Homeland Security in 2013, will bring a lot of experience on the issues to the speech.

“Jeh Johnson has had a seat at the table in the key decisions about U.S. security policy over the past seven and a half years,” said David Schanzer, a Sanford School professor and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

“Secretary Johnson is a thoughtful leader and a man of integrity and is uniquely positioned to share his insights on national security,” added Gen. Martin Dempsey, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current Rubenstein Fellow at Duke.

The speech is the fifth annual event to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.

Homeland Security Fears Hackers Could Compromise Election

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As more voting machines use wireless technology, the Obama administration is trying to crack down on possible hackers.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson expressed concern Wednesday that the nation’s electoral system is vulnerable to hackers, BuzzFeed reports. 

“We are actively thinking about election cybersecurity … [and] whether our election system,” he said, “is critical infrastructure … like the electric grid.”

Speaking to reporters at the Monitor Breakfast in Washington D.C., Johnson said there needs to be new cybersecurity investments.

Trouble is, elections are handled by more than 9,000 jurisdictions with control over voting.

To get over that hurdle, Johnson said Homeland Security has to coordinate with “states, cities, counties, who all have their own way of doing business, down to the nature of the ballots, the nature of how votes are collected and tabulated.”