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Tag: Homeland Security

President Trump’s Third Homeland Security And Counter-Terrorism Adviser Leaves Job

Rear Admiral Peter Brown, via Coast Guard.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s third homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser, Rear Admiral Peter Brown, appears to be on his way out after about six months on the job, Bloomberg reports.

Brown took over for Doug Fears, who left the job in July and returned to the Coast Guard, where Brown had previously served.

Brown was considered one of the president’s most loyal supporters, defending the president when he was mocked for claiming Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, contradicting the National Weather Service.

With Brown gone, it’s unclear whether anyone will fill the homeland security adviser position, which Bloomberg says “seems to have narrowed, with counterterrorism, cybersecurity and biodefense playing a less prominent role.”

According to Bloomberg, Brown departed the White House’s West Wing a couple weeks ago and is expected to begin overseeing Puerto Rico recovery following hurricane and earthquake damage.

Trump’s original homeland security adviser was Thomas Bossert, who served in the role from January 2017 to April 2018.

Facebook Mistakingly Removed 26 Homeland Security Recruitment Ads

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Facebook removed recruitment ads run by the Department of Homeland Security because the social media giant mistook them for political ads.

The ads, posted from July 2018 to August 2019, were quickly removed by Facebook because they did not contain disclaimers designed for political ads.

The Daily Beast inquired about the take-downs, and a Facebook spokesperson admitted the ads were removed by mistake and did not require a disclaimer.

A total of 26 recruitment ads were removed by Facebook.

Homeland Security didn’t return Daily Beast requests for comment.

Homeland Security Agents Reportedly Paid for Sex Acts by Trafficking Victims

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Two Homeland Security agents investigating a transnational network of illegal massage parlors engaged in sex acts with the alleged victims in two Arizona cities, according to reports uncovered by Today’s News-Herald.

The reports indicate two agents participated in sex acts at massage parlors at least 10 times with Asian immigrants who were forced into sex slavery.

The two-year trafficking investigation began in 2016, when police were tipped off about several massage parlors in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City in Arizona. When local police departments found evidence that some of the employees may have been victims of human trafficking, they called in the Department of Homeland Security.

According to investigative reports, the agents negotiated prices for hand jobs and other sex acts.

In September 2018, police arrested eight people on charges of sex trafficking, money laundering, and operating a house of prostitution.

But charges against two of the suspects were dismissed last week because the two federal agents refused to testify.

Homeland Security officials did not respond to questions about why the agents didn’t show up.

One of the women arrested in the case filed a lawsuit 0n Sept. 30 in an attempt to get more information from Homeland Security, including the disclosure of the agents’ identifies and all reports generated during the probe.

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.