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Tag: Homeland Security

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.”

Authorities Made Alarming Finding at Home of Homeland Security Analyst

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The case against a Homeland Security analyst continues to get more alarming.

After Jonathan Wienke tried to walk into a Homeland Security building with a gun, knife, infrared camera, handcuffs and pepper spray in his backpack, authorities have found more weapons at his West Virginia home, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

Investigators found sawed-off plastic pipes, glue, walkie-talkies with extra wiring, tools and 10 boxes of magnesium shavings, oxidizers and thermite in the 45-year-old’s house.

The ATF said the weapons could be used to make explosives but not in their current form.

Wienke, who faces up to 10 years in prison on the original charges, pleaded not guilty to firearms charges last month.

Homeland Security Grants Temporary Amnesty to 8,000+ Syrians in U.S.

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than 8,000 Syrians living in the U.S. were granted temporary amnesty Thursday.

The Washington Times reports that Homeland Security is allowing Syrian to remain in the U.S. for up to 18 more months.

Secretary Jeh Johnson issued “temporary protected status” to Syrians, saying they may seek work permits and other way to live in the U.S.

“Syria’s lengthy civil conflict has resulted in high levels of food insecurity, limited access to water and medical care, and massive destruction of Syria’s infrastructure. Attacks against civilians, the use of chemical weapons and irregular warfare tactics, as well as forced conscription and use of child soldiers have intensified the humanitarian crisis,” Johnson said.

Homeland Security Director Warns Against Divisive, Political Rhetoric about Muslims

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson warned against political rhetoric that “vilifies Muslims,” saying the federal government depends on relationship of trust form Muslim Americans.

Johnson was speaking at the annual Aspen Security Forum and did not mention Donald Trump by name, but said the anti-Muslim rhetoric “is a setback to our homeland security efforts,” the Gazette reports. 

“Overheated rhetoric that fans the flames of fear and prejudice has consequences,” he said.

Democrats have accused Trump of inflammatory rhetoric that is making it more difficult for Muslims to trust federal law enforcement.

“In our world good news is no news and nobody seems to be interested in the good news and the good work of Homeland Security employees every day,” Johnson said.

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Employee Charged After Bringing Weapons to Headquarters

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 45-year-old Homeland Security employee in Pennsylvania was arrested after authorities say he walked into the agency’s headquarters with a gun, knife, pepper spray, handcuffs and an infrared camera in June.

Leigh Wienke, who is a federal government analyst, was charged with illegally building a silencer on an unregistered pistol, along with six other counts. He faces up to 10 years in prison, NBC Washington reports. 

Security officers found Wienke with the weapons at the headquarters on Nebraska Avenue in northwest D.C.

Agents said in the court filing that there was “probable cause to believe Jonathan Wienke was conspiring with another to commit workplace violence, and more particularly may have been conspiring or planning to commit violence against the senior DHS officials in the building.”

Feds Express Concern about Potential Violence at RNC in Cleveland

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The nation’s top law enforcement officials are warning of potential violence at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.

ABC News reports that officials were worried about radical activists.

“I am concerned about the prospect of demonstrations getting out of hand, and concerned about the possibility of violence,” Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told the House Homeland Security Committee Thursday. “We have to be concerned about things getting out of hand, definitely.”

FBI Director James Comey agreed.

“It’s a threat we’re watching very, very carefully,” adding that the concern is over “a spectrum of radical groups.”

Earlier this week, local law enforcement and the Secret Service said they are prepared for thousands of protesters.

Ex-Homeland Security Head: Trump’s Plan to Build Wall Will Hurt GOP

Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is warning Republicans that it’s a mistake to embrace Donald Trump plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ridge, the first head of the department formed after the Sept. 11 attack, said the wall will hurt the GOP

“It’s a bad idea,” he said Wednesday on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” “It’s a bad idea short-term, and it’s a bad idea long-term. I just can’t believe my party has basically drawn a wall between us and our ability to attract Hispanic voters.”

He added: “This whole proposition of a wall: I say shame on us, we’ve lost our way. I prefer presidents who tear down walls, not build them.”

Most impacted will be Hispanic voters, he aid.

“There was a time when our party was very attractive to Hispanic family members, and then because of some loud and incriminating accusations towards Mexicans and Hispanics generally, we’ve kind of lost it,” he said.

“If then, on top of that, you start building a wall, you’re not going to win, nor are you going to sustain a nationwide support for the Republican Party, pure and simple. In presidential elections, you have to build by addition, not subtraction. I can’t believe it’s happening to the GOP.”

Second Homeland Security Employee Arrest in Month for Possessing Gun

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Homeland Security employees have been arrested in the past month for taking a handgun inside the secured grounds of the department’s headquarters.

Security officers arrested Thomas Pressley for allegedly possessing a 9-millimeter handgun in a leather handbag while inside the complex, News4 reports. 

Pressley, who has been jailed, is a contractor for information technology. He is charged with carrying a pistol without a license.

“The weapon appeared to be fully functional, capable of being fired by a single hand, and designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive,” according to a police report.

About a month ago, another Homeland Security was accused of carrying a loaded .22-caliber handgun with five hollow point bullets.