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Tag: Homeland Security

Russians Prime Suspects in Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Nuclear Plants

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, via the U.S Tennessee Valley Authority.

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, via the U.S Tennessee Valley Authority.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security have warned that Russia is the chief suspect behind recent computer network breaches at U.S. nuclear power plants and other energy facilities.

Federal authorities said hackers have been targeting the computer networks of companies that operate the energy plants in what security specialists worry could be a search for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid, Bloomberg reports. 

Among the targets was the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, which runs a nuclear power plant on a lake shore near Burlington, Kan.

A joint report from both intelligence agencies did not indicate whether the cyberattacks were intended to cause destruction or access industrial secrets.

But officials were worried enough to issue an urgent amber alert, the second-highest rating for a potential threat.

The possibility that Russia is involved has alarmed U.S. intelligence agencies because Russian hacker managed to disable parts of Ukraine’s electrical grid and are believed to be testing advance technology to disrupt power supplies.

Homeland Security Secretary Meets with Mexican President over Drug Cartels

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Wednesday to discuss ways the countries can jointly combat drug cartels.

The high-level talks come ahead of a planned meeting between President Trump and Nieto on Friday at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

In the first of three days of meetings, Nieto “emphasized the importance that both countries’ authorities continue working jointly to fight transnational organized crime, based on the shared responsibility that both nations have recognized,” said a statement from the Mexican president’s office, according to ABS-CBN

Nieto expressed concerns about the high demand for drugs and illegal weapons in the U.S., which helps fuel the cartels. 

Homeland Security Officer Charged with Kicking Cuffed Suspect in Head

Surveillance of incident.

Surveillance of incident.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Homeland Security officer has been indicted on charges of kicking a handcuffed man in the head outside of a federal building in Pomona, Calif.

Jason Rouswell, 45, is accused of violating the civil rights of the handcuffed suspect during an October 2016 incident, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. 

Rouswell, who is an inspector with the Federal Protective Services, is accused of kicking a man who was lying face down in the street after he was detained and shackled outside the Social Security Administration building.

According to a video of the assault, the suspect appeared to be cooperating with authorities.

Rouswell is expected to turn himself in on Wednesday. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Ex-Homeland Security Director Says Politics Prevented Disclosure of Russian Meddling

Former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.

Former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In what has become typical fashion, President Trump blamed the Obama administration for failing to “stop”  Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during Obama Admin. Why didn’t they stop them?” Trump tweeted at 9:22 a.m. Thursday.

Truth is, the FBI and other intelligence agencies were trying to stop Russia and had found evidence in August that Kremlin-backed hackers targeted electoral systems in 21 states, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson said the Obama administration didn’t immediately reveal Russia’s interference to avoid an appearance of partisanship.

“We were very concerned that we would not be perceived as taking sides in the election, injecting ourselves into a very heated campaign,” Johnson told the committee.

When asked what took the Obama administration so long to disclose the allegations of Russian interference, Johnson cited the need to protect intelligence sources and methods.

Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson said the Obama administration didn’t immediately reveal Russia’s interference to avoid an appearance of partisanship. The public disclosure finally came Oct. 7, when Johnson and James R. Clapper the then-director of national intelligence, said in a joint statement that Russia was involved in cyber “threats and disclosures … intended to interfere with the U.S. Election process.” They also said a Russian company attempted to break in to state voter registration databases, The L.A. Times reported. 

Johnson said the Oct. 7 statement “did not get the attention it deserved” because it was morphed in media coverage later that day by the leak of Trump making crude comments about women on a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape.

Homeland Security on High Alert After London Attacks But No Credible Threats

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in London, Homeland Security said Sunday there’s no evidence of “a specific, credible terror threat in the United States.”

Still, the federal agency is remaining vigilant and monitoring the situation, the USA Today reports. 

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was on high alert, and critical response units have been placed in “particularly prominent” locations throughout the city.

“That means New Yorkers today will see a heavier presence at key locations around the city,” he said Sunday while speaking to reporters. “You will see a stronger police presence, including our counter-terror forces, which are heavily armed and heavily geared.”

Still, he said, this “is not a cause for alarm – that is a cause for comfort, to see the NYPD out in strength to protect u against any situation,” the mayor said.

So far this year, there have been 500 terror attacks that lead to 3,500 deaths “and many more physically and mentally wounded” said Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Homeland Security has cautioned U.S. citizens in London to “maintain security awareness.”

Homeland Security Chief: Many Immigrants Living Legally in U.S. May Be Forced to Leave U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Immigrants who fled their countries because of dangerous conditions and have been legally living in the U.S. are now in danger of being sent back to their homes, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Thursday.

Kelly told the Associated Press that immigrants with “temporary protected status” should not believe they have a permanent right to live in the U.S.

That could impact tens of thousands of people from Central America and Haiti.

“The point is not that there be a complete recovery of all ills in the country,” Kelly said. “The point is, whatever the event is that caused TPS to be granted — that event is over, and they can return.”

The vast majority of immigrations with temporary protected status are from El Salvador (263,000) and Honduras (86,000). Immigrants fled those countries because of natural disasters.

Kelly said the immigrants were not intended to stay in the U.S. permanently.

“The point is not that there be a complete recovery of all ills in the country,” Kelly said. “The point is, whatever the event is that caused TPS to be granted — that event is over, and they can return.”

Democratic Lawmakers Urge Against Homeland Security Appointment of Sheriff David Clarke

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., via Twitter

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

There are few law enforcement officials as controversial and divisive as Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke.

That’s why Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee urged Homeland Security Director David Clark to not appoint Clarke to a post within the agency, The Hill reports. 

“We understand that the Department [of Homeland Security] has yet to make an announcement about this position and strongly urge you not to consider Sheriff Clarke as candidate for this important office or any other within DHS,” they wrote in a letter to Kelly.

Among Clarke’s “troubling record” are allegations of plagiarism and “multiple inmate deaths” under his watch.

“Taken together, they warrant not only his immediate disqualification from consideration, but an unequivocal response from the department stating that neither Sheriff Clarke nor anyone with a similar record would be considered for a secretarial appointment within DHS.”

On Saturday, CNN reported that Clarke plagiarized parts of his master’s thesis on Homeland Security. 

Homeland Security Head Slams Senator’s Tweetstorm over Woman’s Deportation

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly fired back Thursday at Sen. Bob Casey Jr.’s “outrageous” tweets about a recent deportation.

The Democrat from Pennsylvania rallied against the deportation of a Honduran mother and her 5-year-old son.

“Twitter: it’s urgent,” Casey tweeted. “I just found that a young child & mother who came to U.S. seeking refugee will be sent back to Honduras today.”

Casey added: “What I won’t do: stand by silently as a vulnerable child and his mother are sent to their possible death.”

Kelly was not happy, McClatchy reports.

“You can’t pick and choose the laws you follow,” Kelly said Thursday. “I can’t pick and choose the laws I enforce.” 

Kelly added that multiple courts, including the Supreme Court, denied the woman’s stay in the U.S.