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Tag: Homeland Security

Homeland Security Discovers Long Tunnel Used to Smuggle Drugs in Nogales

Tunnel entrance, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Investigations special agents found an 82-foot-long tunnel that has been used for a few months to smuggle drugs near Nogales, Ariz.

Agents on the Border Enforcement Security Task Force were executing a search warrant when they discovered the tunnel, according to KOUN9-TV.

The tunnel, which was 8-feet-deep and had a ventilation system, led from a house in Nogales to a wastewater pipeline in Rio Rico, Ariz.

The tunnel appeared to have been used by Mexican nationals, two of whom were arrested on charges of possession and conspiracy to distribute hard narcotics.

Agents seized 200 pounds of meth, more than 6.5 pounds of fentanyl, nearly two pounds of heroin, and nearly three pounds of cocaine.

 

Homeland Security Ranked As Worst Federal Agency to Work – Again

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security ranks as the worst federal agency to work – again.

Of the 17 large federal agency, Homeland Security ranked lowest, according to a poll by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for public Service and global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, HSToday reports.

Homeland Security has been without a permanent leader, and its engagement score of 52.3 out of 100 represents a 0.8-point drop over 2018. Ratings dropped most dramatically for pay, employee sills and mission match. But there were improved scores for teamwork training, innovation and effective leadership.

The overall scores across all agencies increased modestly, despite a lengthy government shut down that affected 40% of 2 million federal employees.

Amid Fierce Criticism, Homeland Security Abandons Plans to Photograph American Travelers at Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Facing a firestorm of criticism, Homeland Security is abandoning plans to expand the federal government’s facial recognition system by requiring all travelers, including Americans, to be photographed if they are leaving or entering the country.

Homeland Security was expected to propose the regulation change in July, igniting privacy concerns and trepidation about the accuracy of facial recognition technology.

Homeland Security officials responded by saying it no longer plans to move forward with the plan.

“There are no current plans to require U.S. citizens to provide photographs upon entry and exit from the United States. CBP intends to have the planned regulatory action regarding U.S. citizens removed from the unified agenda next time it is published,” the agency said in a news release.

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who was among the toughest critics, had pledged to introduce legislation to stop the proposal.

Facial recognition technology has come under intense criticism from local, state and federal lawmakers because of its lack of accuracy, especially when applied to people of color.

Homeland Security Wants to Photograph Americans at Airports for Expanded Facial Recognition System

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are mulling a plan to expand the U.S. government’s facial recognition system by requiring all travelers, including Americans, to be photographed as they are departing or entering the country.

Homeland Security is expected to officially propose the new requirements in July, the Associated Press reports.

The proposal comes as several airlines are testing facial recognition technology at U.S. airports.

The plan has already come under criticism by federal lawmakers, including Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who pledged to introduce legislation to stop the proposal.

Facial recognition technology has come under intense criticism from local, state and federal lawmakers because of its lack of accuracy, especially when applied to people of color.

“This new notice suggests that the government is reneging on what was already an insufficient promise,” Jay Stanley, a policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. “Travelers, including U.S. citizens, should not have to submit to invasive biometric scans simply as a condition of exercising their constitutional right to travel.”

Homeland Security Department Struggles Under Trump, Inspector General Warns

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security under President Trump is struggling to execute its mission to keep the nation safe because it lacks a permanent leader, a cohesive plan and sufficient staffing, the agency’s inspector general warned in a new report.

Last week, Chad Wolf became the fifth leader of the federal government’s third-largest agency. It’s not a permanent job because he’s been named as acting secretary.

In fact, nearly one-third of the senior leadership positions are filled by “acting” officials, according to the report, which was released Monday.

“Unfortunately, many of these senior leadership positions continue to suffer from a lack of permanent, presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed officials,” Inspector General Joseph Cuffari wrote.

The agency also has a work environment “marked by high attrition, changing mandates and difficulties implementing permanent plans, procedures and programs,” the report states.

The agency’s failure to hire an adequate amount of employees has been “exacerbated” since Trump became president.

“Since its inception, DHS has had difficulties ensuring it can expeditiously hire and retain highly qualified workers,” the report states. “This situation is exacerbated by changes and vacancies in senior leadership, which are often beyond DHS’ control.”

Trump has struggled to retain rank-and-file employees and leadership because of his intense focus on immigration. Homeland Security was created, in large part, to combat terrorism after 9/11.

Chad Wolf Becomes 5th Homeland Security Leader under President Trump

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security has its fifth leader under President Trump with the appointment of Chad Wolf as acting secretary.

After Wolf was sworn in Thursday, he named immigration hard-liner and acting head of ICE Ken Cuccinelli as his deputy.

Wolf replaces acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who resigned earlier this month after leading the agency for about six months.

Wolf served as chief of staff under former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.

Chad Wolf Moves Closer to Becoming Trump’s Fifth Homeland Security Secretary

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Chad Wolf is closer to becoming President Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary.

The Senate voted primarily along party lines to move forward on Wolf’s nomination as Homeland Security policy undersecretary.

Today, the Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation.

Once he is confirmed, Trump can appoint Wolf as acting Homeland Security secretary. For Wolf to become the leader of the agency, he must hold a Senate-confirmed role under federal law.

Wolf will replace Kevin McAleenan, who resigned in October.

Still, Republicans and Democrats expressed concern about the lack of an acting director for the nation’s third largest department. Homeland Security hasn’t had a permanent secretary since Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April.

Wolf was Nielsen’s chief of staff.

Senate May Vote on Chad Wolf’s Nomination to Lead Homeland Security by Tuesday

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Senate may vote as early as Tuesday on President Trump’s pick of Chad Wolf as acting Homeland Security secretary.

If approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, Wolf would be Trump’s fifth leader of Homeland Security, a department that has been shaken up by its focus on immigration.

A closure vote today would open the door for a full floor vote next week, CBS News reports.

Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan would resign if Wolf’s nomination is approved.

It’s unclear whether Trump plans to tap Wolf for the permanent secretary position.