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Tag: Homeland Security

Washington Post Editorial: GOP Flirts with Disaster by Threatening Homeland Security Funding

By Washington Post
Editorial Board

How far will Republicans in Congress take their reckless flirtation with undermining government this time?

Will they, as seems increasingly likely, fail to pass a bill that the president can sign ensuring adequate funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 280,000 employees before the agency’s support expires Feb. 27? Are they ready to let funding lapse, secure in the knowledge that Border Patrol officers, Secret Service agents, airport security personnel and other so-called essential employees would still have to report to work — even though they would not be drawing paychecks?

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers clearly believe that denying funding to the nation’s premier organ of domestic security is no big deal, as long as the move expresses the GOP’s anger about President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

As Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) put it to Politico: Letting the department’s funding lapse would not be “the end of the world.”

Mr. Diaz-Balart’s complacency may come as news to Americans concerned about the risk of terrorism in the wake of attacks in Paris, Ottawa, Sydney and elsewhere. It certainly came as news to Homeland Security SecretaryJeh C. Johnson, as well as his three predecessors — Democrat Janet Napolitano and Republicans Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge — all of whom have warned GOP lawmakers not to conflate essential funding for the department with the political fight over immigration.

 

House Republicans were deaf to such appeals. Last month, they passed a bill furnishing the department with $40 billion in funding through September, the end of the current budget year. But they attached provisions to that bill, certain to draw a presidential veto, that would kill the administration’s plan to temporarily protect several million undocumented immigrants from deportation and repeal a program, in force since 2012, that offers a similar shield to people brought here illegally as children.

There is room for legitimate debate over the president’s most recent unilateral moves on immigration, which we happen to agree represent executive overreach. If congressional Republicans want to attack those actions responsibly, with discrete legislation, they are free to try — though they are unlikely to muster the votes to override a presidential veto.

However, it is another thing to wield their frustration over immigration as a cudgel, holding hostage an entire department of government that is critical to the nation’s security. That is as irresponsible as it is politically ill advised.

To read more click here.

Democrats Hope to Block Republican Measure to Defund President’s Immigration Plan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s a big week for Homeland Security.

Funding is on the line as Senate Democrats prepare to block a House-approved measure driven by Republicans to defund President Obama’s executive action on delaying deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, The Hill reports.

The Senate needs 60 votes to advance the DHS bill. The first procedural vote is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

If Democrats are able to block the bill, Republicans will be forced to craft an alternative plan.

Feds Investigate Homeland Security Agent for Firing Weapon at Man in Parking Garage

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Feds are investigating the actions of a Homeland Security special agent who fired his agency-issued gun after he said he believed he was being carjacked in a parking garage in Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia CBS reports.

The suspected carjacker fled and was later detained.

Wilmington police said there’s not enough evidence to show the 32-year-old intended to carjack anyone.

ICE is handling the internal investigation.

Other Stories of Interest


Feds Will Be Out in Full Force for Sunday’s Super Bowl

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds will be out in full force Sunday for Super Bowl game in Arizona.

TMZ reports that the agencies involved in security, which is always very intense, include:

— Department of Homeland Security

— Immigration and Customs Enforcement

— FBI

— United States Secret Service

— Phoenix PD

— Glendale PD

 

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Republicans Mull Alternatives to Shutting Off Funding to Homeland Security

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The GOP is considering alternative ways to disrupt President Obama’s immigration than cutting off funding to the Homeland Security Department at a time when the nation is on high alert for terrorists, Politico reports.

Republicans are exploring several options, including suing to overturn the president’s executive decision to prevent millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported. Another option is approving a short-term budget for DHS while considering other options.

“Either way, Republican leaders hope to reach a deal that would allow Homeland Security funding to continue past Feb. 27, without making it appear to their right flank that they are caving to the White House,” Pollitico wrote.

Still, some Republicans aren’t balking and want to take a hard line against the president.

“How Republicans resolve the fight will help answer a lingering question for their new congressional majority: Will they use their new power to go toe-to-toe with the White House or pick and choose their political battles even if that risks riling up their right flank?” Politico added.

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Chief Condemns Republicans for Defunding Immigration Plans

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson sharply criticized Republican efforts to defund President Obama’s new immigration plan, saying an agency that protects the country from terrorists “cannot become a political volleyball,” the Washington Post reports.

The criticism follows last week’s decision by House Republicans to approve DHS’ fiscal year 2015 budget, which removes funding for two of the president’s most controversial immigration policies.

The vote was 236-191.

“Recent world events — the terrorist attacks in Paris, Ottawa, Sydney, and elsewhere, along with the public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on Western objectives — call for increased vigilance in homeland security,’’ Johnson said. “In these times, the budget of the Department of Homeland Security cannot become a political volleyball.’’

Washington Post Columnist: Homeland Security Fails to Protect Buildings from Cyber Attacks

By Josh Hicks
Washington Post

Federal buildings are unprepared for potential cyber attacks on their security systems, elevators, heating and cooling networks and other critical operations because the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t have a handle on the risks.

At stake are thousands of vulnerable facilities, including the offices of federal employees and structures that house high-risk items such as drugs and weapons.

Those are the findings from a Government Accountability Office report this week that said DHS lacks a strategy for protecting government buildings from hackers, terrorists, corrupt employees and criminal groups who might want to breach their networks.

Auditors determined that the increased digital connectivity with federal facilities “heightens their vulnerability to cyber attacks, which could compromise security measures, hamper agencies’ ability to carry out their mission, or cause physical harm.”

GAO released its findings on Monday, the same day President Obama gave a speech about national cybersecurity efforts and hackers took control of two social media accounts operated by the U.S. military’s Central Command, posting threatening messages and Islamist propaganda videos.

The watchdog report said the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for protecting federal buildings, has failed to formulate a plan for dealing with the vulnerability of government facilities.

“No one within DHS is assessing or addressing cyber risk to building and access control systems … in part, because cyber threats involving these systems are an emerging issue” the report said.

To read more click here.

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Homeland Security Beefs Up Security After Terrorist Attacks in Paris

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The terrorist attacks in Paris have prompted Homeland Security officials to ramp up security at federal buildings and airports, the USA Today reports

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the move was “precautionary.”

“We have no specific, credible intelligence of an attack of the kind in Paris last week being planned by terrorist organizations in this country,” he said in a statement.

Johnson declined to provide specifics and said that the Federal Protective Service would “enhance its presence and security at various U.S. Government buildings.”

Security also tightened after a shooting at the Canadian Parliament building.