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Tag: Department of Homeland Security

Feds Delay Plan to Blanket Mexican Border with High-Tech Sensors

 

Border fence along Juarez-El Paso border/istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Technology glitches have delayed the federal government’s plan to place sensors along the Mexican border, Wired reports.

The plan by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection was to saturate the border with a new generation of unattended ground sensors, or UGS.

Now the feds are backing down from spending the money, saying now there are no plans “release a solicitation for this specific requirement in the near future.”

The problems are related to frequency and bandwidth, Wired reported

We’ve determined that we need to resolve issues with saturated radio frequencies, limited bandwidth and system integration with the existing CBP infrastructure,” Jenny Burke, a public affairs officer with CBP, told Wired.

U.S. Border Patrol Rescues Injured Boy in Mountains of New Mexico

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The U.S. Border Patrol rescued a child who injured his leg on a hunting trip in the mountains of New Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

A Border Patrol crew from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Air and Marine in El Paso rushed to save the child in mountains near Deming.

The AP reported that the agency loaded the boy onto a helicopter.

He is recovering from non-life threatening injuries, the AP reported.

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.

FBI and Homeland Security Warn That Terrorists Could Use Small Planes

  
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds worry that terrorist aren’t just looking at the big planes as a weapon to kill.

ABC News reports that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a warning Friday about small planes, saying:

“Violent extremists with knowledge of general aviation and access to small planes pose a significant potential threat to the homeland.”

ABC reports there are 228,000 general aviation planes at 4,000 airports across the nation.

Intelligence experts say al Qaeda is no longer determined to pursue only massive 9/11-style attacks.

“They have sort of taken on this view of death by a thousand cuts, that if they try a lot of smaller attacks they are just as effective as the fear factor, so they really get more bang for their buck to do smaller attacks,” said ABC News consultant and former FBI investigator Brad Garrett.

 

Could Dept. of Homeland Security Be Buying $300 Mil in Worthless Radiation Detectors?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a case where the intent may be good, but the execution could be costly and worthless.

According to the The Washington Post, an unreleased Government Accountability Office report shows that the Department of Homeland Security plans to spend more than $300 million over the next four years on radiation-detection equipment that hasn’t been fully tested and may not work.

The Post reported that in January the National Academy of Sciences reported that it wasn’t possible to know whether the machines,ASPs, worked.

To read the full story click here.

FBI Says 40 Names on Terrorist “Hit List”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s being described as a wish list for terrorists.

ABC reports that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have sent a bulletin to law enforcement agencies alerting them of a terrorist “hit list” posted on a jihadi web site that names 40 prominent figures from government, the U.S. military and the media. It includes members of Congress and execs from an American company that produces drones.

“In response to the original posting,” says the U.S. government’s intelligence bulletin, according to ABC, “other forum members posted the names of over 40 heads of government, industry and media as potential targets.”

“Though there has been an increase in postings on extremist web forums since [Osama bin Laden’s] death on 2 May 2011, these examples are the most target specific threat postings in the forum since that date,” says the bulletin. The depth and breadth of the list provided . . . represent a familiarity with defense and intelligence contractors and private sector support.”

ABC reported that an FBI official who reviewed the notice called the list a “wish list” and aspirational.

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.

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 »