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Tag: Homeland Security

Homeland Security Warned of Possible Terror Attack Days Before NYC Bombing

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just five days before a bungled New York City subway bombing, Homeland Security warned of the potential for an ISIS terrorist attack, possibly by a lone wolf.

“We assess there is currently an elevated threat of [homegrown] lone offender attacks by ISIS sympathizers, which is especially concerning because mobilized lone offenders present law enforcement with limited opportunities to detect and disrupt their plots,” according to Robin Taylor, acting deputy under secretary for intelligence operations at Homeland Security, the Washington Examiner reports

The warning, issued during a Senate hearing last week, followed evidence that ISIS and al Qaeda continue to have a strong presence on social media, where so-called lone wolfs are recruited in the U.S.

“We continue to monitor the evolving threat posed by ISIS. ISIS fighters’ battlefield experience in Syria and Iraq have armed it with advanced capabilities that most terrorist groups do not have,” Taylor told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. “Even as the so-called ‘caliphate’ collapses, ISIS fighters retain their toxic ideology and a will to fight. We remain concerned that foreign fighters from the U.S. or elsewhere who have traveled to Syria and Iraq and radicalized to violence will ultimately return to the U.S. or their home country to conduct attacks.”

Homeland Security to Create Office to Prevent Large-Scale Terrorist Attacks in U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced the creation of an office to combat large-scale terrorist attacks.

The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) is tasked with protecting the U.S. from terrorists who intend to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reports

Newly confirmed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the idea is to “elevate and streamline DHS efforts to prevent terrorists and other national security threat actors from using harmful agents, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material and devices to harm Americans and U.S. interests.”

The leader of the new office is James F. McDonnell, whom President Trump appointed last year to head Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.

“The United States faces rising danger from terrorist groups and rogue nation states,” Nielsen said. 

“That’s why DHS is moving towards a more integrated approach,” she added. “As terrorism evolves, we must stay ahead of the enemy and the establishment of this office is an important part of our efforts to do so.”

Most of Homeland Security’s Uniforms Are Bought Outside U.S., Including South of Border

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

So much for Made in America.

A report by the Government Accountability Office found that Homeland Security bought 46% of its uniforms from Mexico and Central America, compared to just 42% in the U.S., the Washington Times reports

Homeland Security spent nearly $75 million over the past three years on department uniforms from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras.

Under Homeland Security rules, the agency is supposed to buy uniforms that originated in the U.S.

The GAO said Homeland Security was aware of the requirements but ignored them.

“As of June 2017, under the current uniforms contract, 58 percent of the value of ordered uniform items by DHS came from foreign sources,” the investigation found.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump’s Nominee for Homeland Security Has Conflict of Interest

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, has found herself in a tough position following the discovery that she was guided through the confirmation process by a private consultant with a conflict of interest.

The consultant and cofounder of Command Group, Thad Bingel, represents companies seeking millions in DHS contracts, the Washington Post reports, citing government-ethics watchdog groups and current and former national security experts. 

Bingel’s firm offers “full spectrum solutions related to safety, security, and intelligence” to clients “on six continents.”

Nielsen was jointed by Bingel as she made rounds on Capitol Hill ahead of the Senate Homeland Security committee’s nomination vote.

“He was introduced to our staff as Nielsen’s aide,” said one Senate staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley denied the relationship amounted to a conflict of interest.

“There’s nothing inappropriate or new about an individual volunteering their time to help prepare a nominee for the Senate confirmation process,” said Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, in a statement.

The Post wrote:

In copies of recent emails viewed by The Washington Post, Bingel was included in internal communications between DHS officials and White House staffers working to advance Nielsen’s nomination. The messages involved nearly a dozen officials, and Bingel was the only person who wasn’t a government staffer.

The exchanges show Bingel, a private contractor, leading briefings to DHS officials. Bingel, whose role in Nielsen’s nomination was first reported by Cyberscoop, did not respond to interview requests.

Senate Panel Approves Trump’s Nominee to Lead Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was approved Tuesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, setting the state for a full Senate vote.

The committee approved the nomination with a vote of 11-4, the Hill reports. 

Plans to confirm the nominee last week were delayed because of nearly 200 follow-up questions from lawmakers.

Nielsen, the White House deputy chief of staff. is expected to proceed to a full Senate confirmation in the coming weeks.

If confirmed, she will lead an agency responsible for protecting America’s borders from terrorists and cybersecurity threats and heading up disaster relief efforts.

The department has been without a permanent leader since John Kelly vacated the position to move to the White House as Trump’s chief of staff at the end of July.

“Our nation is facing constantly-evolving threats, making it all the more important for strong, permanent leadership at DHS. Ms. Nielsen’s prior experience at the department, background in cybersecurity, and tenure with General Kelly will serve her well in this challenging position,” committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement Tuesday evening. “I hope the Senate will take up Ms. Nielsen’s nomination as quickly as possible.

Nominee to Lead Homeland Security Faces Senate Panel Vote Today

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, could be closer to confirmation.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the appointment, but Democrats have indicated they want additional hearings, the Washington Post reports.

Democrats have more questions following a Washington Post report that revealed White House officials were pressuring acting DHS Secretary, Elaine Duke, over an immigration decision. The Democrats wrote a letter to the panel’s chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson, outlining their concerns. 

Johnson has not indicated responded to the letter, but it appears the panel’s Republican majority is ready to approve the nomination of Nielsen, the White House deputy chief of staff. 

If approved, Nielsen would proceed to a full Senate confirmation in the coming weeks.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Picks Top White House Aide to run Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House announced Wednesday that President Trump plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, a top White House aide, to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Nielsen, 45, a cyber security expert with an extensive background in homeland security, has a close working relationship with Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly. When Kelly served as Homeland Security secretary until recently, Nielsen was his top aide. When Kelly moved to the White House in July, Nielsen joined him as his principal deputy chief of staff.

Nielsen worked on homeland security issues during stings with the TSA and on the White House Homeland Security Council under George W. Bush.

Also considered for the job was House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas.

Immigration Officer Gets 4 Years in prison for Requesting Sex for Silence on Citizenship

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration officer was sentenced to four years in prison for demanding sexual favors from a woman accused of getting married just to gain citizenship.

Officer Jovany Perez told the woman he could help her avoid trouble in exchange for sexual favors, the Miami Herald reports

After giving in during the first meeting, the woman declined a second sexual advance and alerted Homeland Security, which set up a sting to catch the 34-year-old making ultimatums on audio and video surveillance.

Perez was convicted on July 26 of receiving a bribe from a public official.