Morning Roundup for July 15th, 2009 - Featured News and Public Events
From the Washington Post, on PASS ID:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is promoting a new program to make driver's licenses more secure that would cost less than the plan pushed by the Bush administration.
On Wednesday, she was to testify before a Senate committee considering legislation that would replace the former administration's Real ID card plan with something called a Pass ID. Those who support the new program say it would not gut the security requirements in current law. But others say the new ID would relax rules enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Bush's Real ID plan has been stalled well short of nationwide implementation by opposition in the states. Twelve states have voted not to participate, and others have raised complaints.
The National Governors Association helped write the new proposal. As Arizona governor, Napolitano said the Bush administration did not collaborate enough with governors in the development of its plan for implementing the congressionally mandated program.
The governors group said the current law would cost states $4 billion while the new plan could cut the costs to between $1.3 billion and $2 billion.
From the Associated Press, on the HSAS review:
The Obama administration has begun a review that could spell the end of the color-coded terrorism advisories, long derided by late night TV comics and portrayed by some Democrats as a tool for Bush administration political manipulation.
It's not likely the review will plunge an alert system into the dark all together, but short of that, everything is on the table for consideration, according to one administration official familiar with the plans. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about potential outcomes.
The alert system assigns five different colors to terror risk levels. Green at the bottom signals a low danger of attack and red at the top warns of a severe threat. It was put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was designed to help emergency responders get prepared.
But it's been the butt of late-night television comics' jokes and criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for being too vague to deliver enough useful information.
From the San Diego Union-Tribune, on a huge haul for CBP this year:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reporting record drug seizures for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30.
According to the agency, which includes the Border Patrol, customs officers and air and marine operations, more than 3.3 million pounds of drugs were intercepted at and in between ports of entry along both the southern and northern borders. This is an increase of 64.3 percent compared to the same period the previous year.
The largest marijuana seizure occurred in late March, when agency officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry intercepted a commercial tractor-trailer loaded with 10,764 pounds of marijuana.
Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Jacqueline Dizdul credited a larger presence of border security personnel, among other things.
10 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will testify before the Senate Committee on
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about PASS ID
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
12 PM PDT
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) Policy Advisor Debbie
Fulmer will deliver remarks on preparedness efforts for special needs populations at the 2009 Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)
San Diego Convention Center
111 W Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Calif.
2 PM EDT
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Assistant
Administrator John Sammon will testify before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection about general aviation security risks
311 Cannon House Office Building