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Tag: Janet Napolitano

Homeland Security Pulls Plug on Border Fence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s certainly not the first government boondoggle and it certainly won’t be the last. Nonetheless, it appears it was waste of time and money.

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday decided to cut off the ambitious, problem-plagued billion-dollar program SBInet to build a high-tech fence along the Arizona border to battle the nagging problem of illegal immigration, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The project had been plagued by continuous delays, cost overruns and technology glitches.

The Journal reported that Homeland Security will turn to “a mix of proven, existing technology it says will help agents patrol a much bigger chunk of the Southwest border at a lower cost.”

“SBInet cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border-security technology solution,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a written statement.

The Journal reported that she said the new solution will include mobile surveillance systems, unmanned aircraft and thermal-imaging devices. Up until now, only 53 miles of the border have been protected with the technology.

To read more click here.

Homeland’s Napolitano Plans to Add More Agency Agents to Afghanistan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced over the weekend that her agency plans to add up to 54 agents in the coming year to Afghanistan to compliment the current lot of 25, the Washington Post reported.

The announcement came during Napolitano’s two-day visit to Afghanistan. The added agents will help to border control and train Afghan officials in anti-smuggling techniques, the Post reported.

The country has been hurt by the smuggling of cash, drugs, gems, historic artifacts and timber out of Afghanistan, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

Napolitano’s Trip to Afghanistan

Homeland Chief Napolitano Defends Intel Chief Not Knowing About UK Terrorist Bust

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Shot and Killed at Arizona-Mexico Border

istock file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot and killed Tuesday night at the Arizona-Mexico border and at least four people were in custody, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“Last night, Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was shot and killed after he encountered several suspects near Rio Rico, Ariz.,” the agency said. “At least four suspects are in custody while one is still being pursued. Agent Terry’s murder is a tragic reminder of the ever-present dangers U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, Air & Marine and Border Patrol agents face as they protect our nation’s borders.”

The Customs and Border Protection Commissioner  Alan Bersin said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family for their tragic loss. Our commitment to Agent Terry and his family is that we will do everything possible to bring to justice those responsible for this despicable act.”

The Arizona Republic reported that Terry, 40, a Michigan native, was killed at about 11 p.m. near Peck Canyon, about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border west of Rio Rico on the Interstate 19. He was a member of BORTAC, the border patrol’s special response team, assigned to the Naco station, the paper reported.

“We believe he was killed by illegal alien ‘bandits’ north of Nogales during a shootout,” said The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing agents, the paper reported.

Janet Napolitano

Meanwhile, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a statement on Wednesday:

“The fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry last night is an unconscionable act of violence against the men and women of the Border Patrol and all those who serve and defend our country.”

“We are working with other federal, state and local authorities to ensure those responsible for this horrendous act are held responsible. We will leave no stone unturned as we seek justice for the perpetrators.”

TSA Now Checking All Passengers Against Terror Watch List

tsa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary  Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that 100 percent of passengers on flights within or bound for the U.S. are now being checked against government watchlists, fulfilling a key 9/11 Commission recommendation a month ahead of schedule.

A Homeland Security press release said that Transportation Security Administration reached 100 percent watch list matching for all domestic airlines on June 22.

Under the program called “Secure Flight”, the TSA now prescreens a passenger name, date of birth and gender against terrorist watchlists before passengers receive their boarding passes. Previously, airlines did the screening.

Authorities said the program also helps prevent passengers from being mistaken for those on the watchlist who have similar names.

“Secure Flight makes air travel safer for everyone by screening every passenger against the latest intelligence before a boarding pass is issued,” Napolitano said.

“The threats we face in the aviation sector are real and evolving, and we must confront them with strong and dynamic security measures,” added TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “Secure Flight bolsters our efforts to be more intelligence-driven and risk-based in our approach to aviation security.”

Critics Still Skeptical of “War on Toner” Involving Terrorism

By Zack Cohen
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —  It’s being satirically dubbed the“war on toner,” a phrase that reflects experts’ skepticism about the U.S. response to al Qaeda’s failed bid to blow up U.S. bound planes with explosive-packed ink cartridges.

In other words, the response is  hardly sufficient, some experts insist.

“In typical TSA fashion [the measures] are reactionary,” said Kevin McCarthy, a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Institute. “We already know what we can find and what we cannot find and we are not very good at it,” he said. We need to “look for the intelligence, the trigger, the other parts of the equation.”

Specifically, the U.S. has banned all ground cargo from Yemen and Somalia and  adapted new rules for inbound cargo  to reflect the latest intelligence. No high-risk cargo will be allowed on passenger aircrafts and toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces are banned from checked and carry on luggage from domestic and international flights bound for the U.S.

There are plenty skeptics who scoff at the idea that limiting the size of an ink cartridge will do much good when it comes to fending off a terrorist attack.

And  implementing more intensive measures along those lines will only create a false sense of security, according to Chris Battle, a former deputy for the Department of Homeland Security.

For one, he said, the perception that the government is catching everything could result in  focusing too much on technology and not enough on intelligence gathering and risk assessment.

“The U.S. Congress seems to be the only entity in the world that thinks you can adequately screen 100 percent of all cargo coming into and leaving the country,” Battle said. “It should be remembered that the explosives were not detected by technology but through intelligence.”

Read more »

Column: Ex-FBI Agent Says TSA Continues to Prove It is “An Inept Agency”

Douglas B. Wolfe was an FBI agent who also worked for Department of Defense and retired as Senior Special Agent, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture. He runs Fidelity Investigations & Consulting in Maryland and recently launched a blog  WorldFamousPrivateEye’s Blog.

Doug Wolfe

By Douglas B. Wolfe

It’s the week before the busiest holiday travel season, and the TSA continues to prove it is an inept agency in search of a mission. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano justifies intrusive policies with simple-minded platitudes, “It’s all about security,” and “everybody recognizing their role.” When did it become the role of a TSA employee to don gloves and grope passengers?

I doubt most TSA screeners envisioned this part of their job description, and MOST don’t want to be the groper. What do I and most airline customers want? We just want to visit Mom for Thanksgiving and not be hassled.

But the TSA must be doing a great job since there have been no hijackings since 9-11, right? Wrong. The whole paradigm of how to act if your plane is hijacked has changed. The “system” taught us for decades to just comply with a hijacker’s instructions and the plane will land safely in Cuba. Now, no self-respecting planeload (read cattlecar) of travellers will ever let a terrorist, a ne’er-do-well, or anybody else take over a plane again. Not without a fight anyway. Bad guys know it, I know it, you know it, but Napolitano and TSA chief John Pistole are determined to give you and me a choice between the high-tech scanner (think of the ads for xray glasses that accompanied the mini comic strip inside the Bazooka bubble gum wrapper), or the low-tech molestation.

Billions of our dollars have been flushed down the drain called “security.” It’s a brilliant strategy by the Bin Ladens of the world if you think about it. They can’t win by force, but they can watch and wave as the United States spends itself into more economic woe.

In the weeks following the 9-11 attacks President Bush boldly re-drew the lines on government organization charts, creating DHS by simply renaming the people already on the job, adding more layers of bureaucracy, and more political positions. Some of the realignments make sense. But it was never essential. The government’s default strategy for problem solving is to reorganize. But it won’t address the real problem

Secretary Napolitano and Mr. Pistole, your first duty is to respect the Constitution and the dignity of both the traveling public AND TSA employees. Do the best you can within reason, to deter evil-doers.

But please, stop hassling us.

Column by Janet Napolitano: New Airport Screening Devices “Safe, Efficient and Protect Passenger Privacy”

Janet Napolitano

By Janet Napolitano
USA Today

WASHINGTON — Nearly a year after a thwarted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner last Christmas Day, the recent attempt by terrorists to conceal and ship explosive devices aboard aircraft bound for the United States reminds us that al-Qaeda and those inspired by its ideology are determined to strike our global aviation system and are constantly adapting their tactics for doing so.

Our best defense against such threats remains a risk-based, layered security approach that utilizes a range of measures, both seen and unseen, including law enforcement, advanced technology, intelligence, watch-list checks and international collaboration.

This layered approach to aviation security is only as strong as the partnerships upon which it is built.

In addition to the more than 50,000 trained transportation security officers, transportation security inspectors, behavior detection officers and canine teams who are on the front lines guarding against threats to the system, we rely on law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the federal government.

We require airlines and cargo carriers to carry out specific tasks such as the screening of cargo and passengers overseas. We work closely with local law enforcement officers in airports throughout the country.

And we ask the American people to play an important part of our layered defense. We ask for cooperation, patience and a commitment to vigilance in the face of a determined enemy.

As part of our layered approach, we have expedited the deployment of new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units to help detect concealed metallic and non-metallic threats on passengers. These machines are now in use at airports nationwide, and the vast majority of travelers say they prefer this technology to alternative screening measures.

AIT machines are safe, efficient, and protect passenger privacy.

To read more click here.