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Tag: Homeland Security

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.

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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.

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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.
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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)

Homeland Security May Search the Internet for Terrorist Threats

The Internet has become the wild wild west and Homeland Security wants to be the sheriff. Can the agency pull that off? Is the universe small enough to police?

By Thomas Frank
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security Department may soon start scouring the Internet to find blogs and message boards that terrorists use to plan attacks in the USA.
The effort comes as researchers are seeing terrorists increasingly use the Internet to plan bombings, recruit members and spread propaganda. “Blogging and message boards have played a substantial role in allowing communication among those who would do the United States harm,” the department said in a recent notice.
Homeland Security officials are looking for companies to search the Internet for postings “in near to real-time which precede” an attack, particularly a bombing. Bombings are “of great concern” because terrorists can easily get materials and make an improvised-explosive device (IED), the department said.
“There is a lot of IED information generated by terrorists everywhere – websites, forums, people telling you where to buy fertilizer and how to plant IEDs,” said Hsinchun Chen, director of the University of Arizona’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Chen’s “Dark Web” research project has found 500,000,000 terrorist pages and postings, including tens of thousands that discuss IEDs.
For Full Story

ABC to Launch New Reality Show Called ‘Homeland Security USA’

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — In the never-ending world of good-guy, bad-guy reality tv comes the latest: an ABC series “Homeland Security USA.”
Starting in January, ABC said it will launch the first of 13, one-hour episodes on Tuesdays from 8 -9 p.m. featuring the men and woman of the Department of Homeland Security, who patrol more than 100,000 miles of America’s borders.
“Now viewers will get an unprecedented look at the work of these men and women while they use the newest technology to safeguard our country and enforce the laws,” the network‘s press release says in the usual hyped-fashion.
The premiere episode is called “This Is Your Car On Drugs”, which will take viewers inside the busiest entry points in the U.S., the network said.
ABC says the episode will include a “voluptuous 20 year old woman” from Switzerland who arrives at Los Angeles International Airport with “no working papers but a suitcase full of titillating surprises”.
” ‘Homeland Security USA’ was given unprecedented access to the agencies of the Department of Homeland Security,” ABC said.
Other STORIES OF INTEREST

Sec. Chertoff Advises Not to Change Homeland Security Immediately

Michael Chertoff

Michael Chertoff

Many critics are calling for major changes in the Department of Homeland Security.  But Sec. Michael Chertoff’s Advice is : Don’t — at least not right away.

By GREGG CARLSTROM
Federal Times
WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has some advice for his successor: Don’t tinker with the Homeland Security Department. At least not right away.
“I would stop reorganizing,” he said in an interview last week. “Every time there’s a reorganization, it sets you back a year. People don’t know where they’re going to go, what their future is, what their job description is going to be.”
Last week, President-elect Barack Obama named Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as his choice to head the Homeland Security Department.
Chertoff applauded the choice; he said he would encourage her to wait two years and then decide on any organizational changes.
“If she then decides she wants to tweak things, you know, that’s fine, but she needs to have the experience,” he said.
For Full Story

Read ticklethewire columnist James G. Huse Jr.’s column on Changing Homeland Security

Suggestions For Other Top Posts in Homeland Security

Now that President-elect Obama has picked Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to head Homeland Security, the administration can start filling other key spots in the department. Rich Cooper of Security DeBrief throws in his two cents as to who should get those spots.

By Rich Cooper
Security DeBrief

With the nomination of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as the next DHS Secretary now official, I decided to put together another posting about prospective candidates for the ‘other tough jobs’ at DHS and who might be good choices to fill them.
While the Secretary may lead the Department of 200,000+ on a daily basis and be the voice and face for leading and communicating major events and threats whenever and wherever they occur, they can not do the job alone.

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