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Tag: Homeland Security

Dept. of Homeland Security to Kill Controversial Spy Satellite Program

Some say we’re losing a tool in the war on terrorism. Civil liberty groups say it was a violation of our privacy. Apparently the latter won out.

homeland-security-logo

By SIOBHAN GORMAN
The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to kill a controversial Bush administration spy satellite program at the Department of Homeland Security, according to officials familiar with the decision.

The program came under fire from its inception two years ago. Democratic lawmakers said it would lead to domestic spying.

The program would have provided federal, state and local officials with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery – but no eavesdropping capabilities- to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to terrorism.

For Full Story

Homeland Security Launches Tests at 2 Airports to Verify Travel of Foreigners

Jet

The good news is that Homeland Security is continuing to work on airport security. The question is how effective this will be and how long will it take to carry this effort out nationwide? And so far the airlines have refused to participate in this.

By Chris Strohm
CongressDaily
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department launched test programs at two airports today in an attempt to verify when foreigners and legal permanent residents leave the country, but federal officials remain at odds with the airline industry over the effort.

The objective is to develop a system in which fingerprints are collected at every airport from non-U.S. citizens departing the United States. The fingerprints would be used to verify that visitors have not overstayed the time they are allowed to remain in the country.

Congress has been demanding the implementation of such a visa-enforcement process since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The test programs began today at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and will last for 35 days. The testing will compare the process of collecting fingerprints at checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration to having Customs and Border Protection collect fingerprints at gates.

But what is missing is a test to determine the feasibility of having the airlines, as opposed to the government, collect the fingerprints. Congress asked for such a test in its report accompanying the FY09 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

For Full Story

A Number of Women Landing Top Spots at Homeland Security

Dep. Sec. Jane Holl Lute

Dep. Sec. Jane Holl Lute

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Though law enforcement is still often considered a “boys club”, women are landing a number of top spots at the Department of Homeland Security.

Rich Cooper, a columnist for Security DeBrief, has compiled an impressive list of woman holding top spots besides Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“While I’ve not gone through the other Cabinet Departments to compare how many women are in some of their most senior leadership positions, at DHS the facts speak for themselves,” Cooper writes.

Here’s the list he compiled:
Janet Napolitano, Secretary, DHS
Janet Lute, Deputy Secretary, DHS
Jan Lesher, Chief of Staff for Operations
Elaine Duke, Under Secretary for Management
Vice Admiral Vivien S. Crea, Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
Dr. Tara O’Toole, Under Secretary for Science & Technology, DHS (nominee)
Juliette Kayyem Assistant Secretary, Office of Intergovernmental Programs
Gale Rossides, (Acting) Administrator, Transportation Security Administration
Chani W. Wiggins, Assistant Secretary, Legislative Affairs
Sue Ramanathan, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Legislative Affairs
Connie Patrick, Director, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
Mary Ellen Callahan, Chief Privacy Officer
Dora Schriro, Special Advisor on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Detention & Removal

A Dead Fish, a Sinking Career and Legal Action at Homeland Security

PerchMaureen McCarthy still thinks something fishy went on and as a result, her career was derailed. Can she reel in her sinking career again?

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — Saying she still has no idea who sent her a box of dead fish, former top homeland security bioweapons official Maureen McCarthy says she has resigned from the department and begun legal action to clear her name.

Occasionally breaking into tears during a 45-minute telephone interview, McCarthy called her resignation “involuntary” and said she had suffered severe financial distress since being suspended without pay in February over the incident.

“I resigned against my will,” she said. “I had no income, and I couldn’t use my accrued annual leave” for cash. “By resigning I got that back,” she said, and could begin to take steps to rebuild her shattered career, starting with retrieving her security clearance, yanked by DHS in March.

For Full Story

Homeland Security Warns of Rise in “Rightwing Extremist Activity”

Bad times are usually good times for hate groups, which feed on folks’ economic and emotional insecurity. The Department of Homeland Security is paying attention to the current climate, which should be commended.

 

neo-nazi
By Audrey Hudson and Eli Lake
Washington Times
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned.”

The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the United States on April 7 under the headline, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

 For Full Story

Homeland Chief Janet Napolitano Tours Southern Calif. Bustling Ports and Biggest Airport

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

The western U.S. has more than its fair share of needs when it comes to security. Newly minted Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will have her hands full prioritizing and distributing money in the western states to make the country safer. 

By Teresa Watanabe
Los Angles Times
The nation’s top domestic security official toured Southern California’s bustling ports and biggest airport Monday as local officials plied her with requests for financial help to upgrade potentially vulnerable facilities.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took a flyover of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and surveyed recent security improvements at Los Angeles International Airport, including better fencing, systems to screen passenger vehicles and concrete barriers to prevent vehicles from crashing into airline terminals.
“It would be hard to identify a more critical area of the country in terms of the impact on infrastructure and on commerce than this area of Southern California,” Napolitano said in a news conference at the U.S. Coast Guard station on Terminal Island.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who accompanied Napolitano on the tour, said she and other local officials outlined other critical security upgrades in need of federal financial aid, including $60 million to complete the airport’s border fence. Harman said officials urged Napolitano to waive federal rules requiring local governments to kick in 25% of project financing.

 

For Full Story

Ex-Homeland Chief Michael Chertoff Joins Covington & Burling Law Firm in D.C.

Michael Chertoff

Michael Chertoff

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The AmLaw Daily is reporting that ex-Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff has joined the law firm Covington & Burling’s white-collar defense and investigations practice.

The website said Chertoff is senior of counsel in the Washington office. He started earlier this week.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back as a working lawyer, not just as a rainmaker,” Chertoff told AmLaw. “And while it’s been a bit of a transition [this week], I’m happy to be doing real legal work as I genuinely love being a lawyer.”

BIO: Homeland Sec. Napolitano Rose to Prominence As Anita Hill’s Lawyer

Janet Napolitano/gov photo

Janet Napolitano/gov photo

Read the stats on the new Secretary of Homeland Security and it comes as  no surprise she’s risen to top.

By AllGov
Janet Napolitano does not shy away from tough fights, having first risen to prominence as Anita Hill’s attorney during the Clarence Thomas controversy, and later as a Democratic governor of a very Republican state.

Napolitano was born on November 19, 1957, in New York City to Jane Marie Winer and Leonard Michael Napolitano, an anatomy professor who was the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

She was raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and Albuquerque, NM, and she enjoyed her time so much as a Girl Scout that she became a lifetime member. She graduated from Sandia High School in 1975 and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”

Napolitano attended college in California, earning a Truman Scholarship and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Santa Clara University in 1979.

She was valedictorian of her graduating class, the first female to earn the honor in the school’s history. Napolitano then received her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1983.

For Full Story