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Tag: Janet Napolitano

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano to Stay for President Obama’s Second Term

Janet Napolitano

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano plans to hold her position for President Obama’s second term, Fox News reports.

Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona, is expected to play a key role in helping Obama craft a plan for sweeping reforms on illegal immigration laws, Fox News wrote.

Napolitano was expected to maintain the post.

“The Department of Homeland Security faces many challenges in maintaining its ability to protect the American people,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas. “From the threat of cyber attacks to securing our border and transportation systems, DHS plays a critical role in developing and executing domestic policy.”

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Experts: Reductions to Border Patrol Budget Could Weaken Border from Drug Smugglers


Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Officials worry that cuts to the Border Patrol budget will weaken protection from drug smugglers and human traffickers, the Kansas City Star reports.

The cuts will go into effect unless President Obama and Congress can reach a compromise soon to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, the Star wrote.

Some experts said the cuts would have little impact on an agency that has grown wildly over the past two decades.

“The notion that a small cut in the budget of ICE or CBP will result in a flood of unauthorized immigration is ludicrous, said Alex Nowrasteh, the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a libertarian research center in Washington.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano disagrees and said the money is needed for strong border protection.

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Homeland Security Has Spent $430 Million on Radios Its Employees Don’t Know How to Use

 
By Theodoric Meyer
ProPublica

Getting the agencies responsible for national security to communicate better was one of the main reasons the Department of Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But according to a recent report from the department’s inspector general, one aspect of this mission remains far from accomplished.

DHS has spent $430 million over the past nine years to provide radios tuned to a common, secure channel to 123,000 employees across the country. Problem is, no one seems to know how to use them.

Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed by the inspector general’s office was actually able to use the common channel, according to the report. Most of those surveyed — 72 percent — didn’t even know the common channel existed. Another 25 percent knew the channel existed but weren’t able to find it; 3 percent were able to find an older common channel, but not the current one.

The investigators also found that more than half of the radios did not have the settings for the common channel programmed into them. Only 20 percent of radios tested had all the correct settings.

The radios are supposed to help employees of Customs and Border Patrol, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Secret Service, and other agencies with DHS communicate during crises, as well as normal operations.

DHS officials did not immediately respond to questions from ProPublica about what effect the radio problems could have on how the agency handles an emergency.

The $430 million paid for radio infrastructure and maintenance as well as the actual radios.

In a response letter to the report, Jim H. Crumpacker, the Department of Homeland Security’s liaison between the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general, wrote that DHS had made “significant strides” in improving emergency communications since 2003. But he acknowledged that DHS “has had some challenges in achieving Department-wide interoperable communications goals.”

The recent inspector general’s report is the latest in a string of critical assessments DHS has received on its efforts to improve communication between federal, state and local agencies. The Government Accountability Office reported in 2007 that the Department of Homeland Security had “generally not achieved” this goal.

DHS has assigned a blizzard of offices and committees to oversee its radio effort since 2003, which the inspector general’s report claimed had “hindered DHS’ ability to provide effective oversight.”

Also, none of the entities “had the authority to implement and enforce their recommendations,” the report concluded. Tanya Callender, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, said the current office overseeing the effort hadn’t been given the authority to force agencies to use the common channel or even to provide instructions for programming the radios.

The inspector general recommended DHS standardize its policies regarding radios, which DHS agreed to do. But it rejected a second recommendation that it overhaul the office overseeing the radios to give it more authority.

“DHS believes that it has already established a structure with the necessary authority to ensure” that its various agencies can communicate, Crumpacker wrote in his response letter.

ProPublica is a non-profit investigative journalism website.

Money Pours into Manpower, Technology for Border Protection

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Persistent budget cuts haven’t stopped the flow of money spent  on technology and manpower to try and stop the flow of drug smugglers and illegal immigrants, NPR reports.

Over the past 25 years, the government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars building fences and detention centers and pursuing suspects with Blackhawk helicopters, according to NPR.

The industrial complex that has emerged on the border also is spreading farther into the U.S.

“It is safe to say that there has been more money, manpower, infrastructure, technology, invested in the border-protection mission in the last three years than ever before,” says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Three ICE Agents Accuse Administrator of Sexual Misconduct

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three employees at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have made sexual harassment complaints against a longtime aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, new court records show, according to the Associated Press.

The employees accuse Suzanne Barr, the agency’s chief of staff, of sexually harassing male subordinates.

The complaints range from offering to have sex with two subordinates in separate cases to inappropriate comments about a worker’s penis.

These are the first sex-related complaints against Barr, the AP reported.

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Lawsuit Causes Turmoil, Uncertainty at ICE Offices

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A gender discrimination lawsuit has caused a sense of unrest and turmoil at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the New York Times reports.

The lawsuit, which accuses the agency of retaliation and choosing female employees over male employees, also says the agency’s chief of staff, Suzanne Barr, created a hostile, sexualized environment at work.

The defendant, Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, which is on paid leave pending the outcome of an internal probe.

The suit was filed by James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of investigations for the agency’s New York office.

Herman Cain Asked for Secret Service Protection, Washington Post Reports

Cain with his wife Gloria/ cain campaign photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

We’re getting a little more insight as to why presidential candidate Herman Cain was granted Secret Service protection — the first candidate to get protection in this campaign season.

Apparently Cain asked for it, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and congressional leaders approved it Thursday,  reports the Washington Post.

The Secret Service has requested $113.4 million to guard the Republican primary winner in the general election — $4 million more than in 2008 and about two-thirds more than 2004.

The Secret Service has a long history of protecting those seeking the highest office in the land.

Barack Obama was the earliest candidate to receive Secret Service protection when agents began tailing the then-senator eight months before the first primary contest, in May 2007.

Campaign trail security began in 1968 with Congressional authorization to protect major presidential candidates after Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in California.

While Obama received protection earliest, having agents at his side for 629 days. But Ronald Reagan holds the record for the most “protection days:” Over the course of three campaigns, the Secret Service protected Reagan for 791 days.

To read more click here.

Grassley Fires Off Letter to Homeland Sec. Napolitano: Concerned About Reduced Searches for Illegals on Northern Border

By Danny Fenster

Sen. Grassley/official photo

ticklethewire.com

A letter from Senator Charles Grassley representing a group of 14 Senators is asking  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to reconsider a policy to end routine traffic checks of buses, trains and other vehicles for illegal aliens along the United State’s northern border.

“News of the lessened security will only entice potential terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants to attempt to enter the country through the northern border,” read the letter issued Friday.  “The American people must be reassured that our borders remain secure and routine searches will continue.”

Grassley learned of the new policy from media reports, another point of contention he had with DHS.

“The nature in which we learned of the orders sent to the north border field offices is quite troubling considering you appeared before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees over the past two weeks and neglected to inform of this change in policy.”

Grassley asked for copies of any memos or directives sent to the field.

The letter also pointed out specific instances of terrorists crossing or being stopped at the Canadian border, attempting to enter the United States to commit harm.

To read the letter click here.