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Tag: Homeland Security

Administration Gives Mixed Signals on Immigration Policy

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief

WASHINGTON — By federal government standards, there has been a veritable frenzy of activity related to immigration at the Department of Homeland Security.

With three high-profile appointments in the last couple of weeks, the Administration has sent mixed signals about the direction it intends to take on immigration policy from a public perspective, as well as how it intends to manage the effort from an internal perspective. Oddly, the mainstream media (other than AP’s Eileen Sullivan) seems to have missed or ignored these developments.

This series of appointments began with the frankly bizarrely titled “Special Adviser for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Detention and Removal” – which is a little like announcing a “Special Adviser for Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol.” Or a “Special Adviser for Transportation Security Administration and Federal Air Marshals.” Or a “Special Adviser for the Secret Service.” Or a “Special Adviser for the Coast Guard.”

Aren’t these the roles of the heads of agencies in question? Shouldn’t the special adviser on immigration and customs enforcement be, say, the Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

Read more »

Homeland Sec. Napolitano Says Helping Mexico Fight Drug Cartels Demands “Utmost Attention”

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano recognizes the threat of violence from the Mexican drug war poses for the U.S., particularly for border states like Texas and Arizona.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Aiding the Mexican government’s fight against drug cartels is a top priority that demands the “utmost attention” of U.S. security officials, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said yesterday, announcing new steps aimed at preventing the spillover of violence into the United States.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s sweeping crackdown on narco-traffickers has triggered a desperate backlash of violence “of a different degree and level than we’ve ever seen before,” Napolitano said in her first appearance before the House Homeland Security Committee. “It is something that deserves our utmost attention right now,” she said.

Napolitano said she has reached out to national security adviser James L. Jones, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and local and state law enforcement officials to review ways to assist Mexican law enforcement; stop the flow of guns, assault rifles and cash from the United States into Mexico; and identify areas in which more resources might be needed.

For Full Story

Sleeping With the Fishes? Dead Fish Shows Up At D.C. Homeland Security Office

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — It was like a scene out of the Godfather.
A letter containing a dead fish showed up Friday at a downtown office of the Department of Homeland Security.
The letter, which also contained white powder, was addressed to an employee.
The Associated Press reported that FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman Katherine Schweit said the letter was been sent to a lab for examination and people were screened who came in contact with it.

Sec. Napolitano Exudes Confidence By Keeping Old Hands at Homeland Security

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief

WASHINGTON–Secretary Napolitano has decided to keep a number of DHS non-career employees on board at the Department through an extended transition phase. It’s a wise move, and one that highlights the confidence the former Arizona Governor brings to her role. As Washington Post writer Spencer Hsu points out, Napolitano’s decision runs contrary to typical approaches.
The attempt at continuity is unusual in presidential transitions between parties, which typically lead to wholesale purging of politically appointed personnel. At the Justice Department, for example, almost no Bush holdovers remain beyond Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip, who is acting as attorney general pending confirmation of Obama nominee Eric H. Holder Jr., and Filip’s two top aides.
By contrast, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has retained the department’s second-ranking official, Deputy Secretary Paul A. Schneider, and its top border security official, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham, as well as its operations director and the assistant secretaries responsible for policy and private sector coordination. The heads of the Coast Guard and Secret Service, who are not political appointees, and DHS Undersecretary for Management Elaine C. Duke, whose tenure is set by law, also remain.

Read more »

Terrorists Get It: The Government Should too When it Comes to Using the “New Media”

The terrorists get it. The U.S. government should too. The author insists the government needs to take advantage of the New Media for “emergency response, open-source intelligence gathering and the ideological struggle for hearts and minds”.

By Chris Battle
Foreign Policy Journal
WASHINGTON — Talk to some in the national and homeland security environment, and they will tell you — perhaps a bit defensively but usually with a false sense of authority — that they cannot leverage the powerful tools of New Media because to do so might threaten their internal security.
Others simply give you a puzzled look, as if you are asking them whether they go online and share pictures of their families with anonymous college kids. Meanwhile, the world of communications and intelligence — not to mention history’s most deadly generation of terrorists — is passing them by.
Al Qaeda’s propaganda and recruiting capability has obtained an almost mythical status. The group communicates worldwide via the Internet with a miniscule budget and deprived of the complex IT infrastructure available to the United States.

For Full Story

Dems Consider Up to $2 Billion in Economic Stimulus For Homeland Security

A billion here. A billion there. It makes you wonder where it all ends.

By Chris Strohm
CongressDaily
WASHINGTON — The economic stimulus package under consideration by key Democrats could include funding for the Homeland Security Department — possibly as much as $2 billion, congressional and industry sources said on Thursday.
Talk has surfaced about the inclusion of hundreds of millions of dollars for Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard, sources said. Funding could be sought to help states comply with the so-called Real ID law, which requires them to issue secure driver’s licenses to their citizens.
The push for the funding appeared to be coming from both lawmakers and the homeland security industry.
“Everything’s in play,” one source said.

For Full Story

Report Says Inauguaration Attractive Target For Terrorists but Authorities Know of No Specific Threats

The internal intelligence assessment offers no surprises. We all know the inauguration or any gathering of that magnitude — or for that matter any big sporting event like the Super Bowl or the Olympics — is an attractive target for terrorists.   As NBC’s Chris Matthews would say: Tell me something I don’t know.

By EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – The upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama is an attractive target for international and domestic terrorists, but U.S. intelligence officials have no information about specific threats to the Jan. 20 event.
An internal intelligence assessment, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, says the high visibility of the event, the presence of dignitaries and the significance of swearing in the country’s first black president make the inauguration vulnerable to attacks.
What concerns analysts most, the report says, is the potential use of improvised explosive devices, a hostage situation or suicide bombers.
While security will be tight around the U.S. Capitol, the joint FBI and Homeland Security assessment says nearby hotels, public gatherings, restaurants and roads could be vulnerable to some kind of attack.
For Full Story

Homeland Security Forecast For Five Years: More Scary Threats

DHS Sec. Chertoff/official photo

DHS Sec. Chertoff/official photo

The assessment of the terrorist threats offers no shocking revelations. The forecast comes down to this: Possible scary threats coupled by more scary threats.

By EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The terrorism threat to the United States over the next five years will be driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa, persistent challenges to border security and increasing Internet savvy, says a new intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press.
Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats that could be carried out against the U.S. But those threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaida and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots, according to the internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013.
The al-Qaida terrorist network continues to focus on U.S. attack targets vulnerable to massive economic losses, casualties and political “turmoil,” the assessment said.
Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction remains “the highest priority at the federal level.” Speaking to reporters on Dec. 3, Chertoff explained that more people, such as terrorists, will learn how to make dirty bombs, biological and chemical weapons. “The other side is going to continue to learn more about doing things,” he said.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

CIA Using Viagra in War on Terrorism (Washington Post)