A 24-year-old Canadian woman is facing a federal charge after she was allegedly arrested near the border in Whatcom County with 577 pounds of marijuana.
A U.S. Border Patrol unit stopped Brandine Phillips in a pickup truck as she was about to turn onto Highway 542 near Maple Falls early Tuesday morning. Charging papers say the marijuana was packed in 12 hockey bags.
According to the documents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had been tailing Phillips for days, and watched her drive from the Nooksack River Casino up a remote, one-lane, dead-end road toward the Canadian border. The ICE agents began following her again at a distance after she drove back down the road, and that's when the Border Patrol unit intervened and pulled her over.
From the Washington Post, on more funding for anti-terror teams for the Washington, D.C. Metro system:
The federal government will pay almost $10 million for the Metro Transit Police to put 20 officers on five anti-terrorism teams, Metro officials announced Wednesday.
The department has a Special Response Team, said spokeswoman Cathy Asato, but the force has not had specific teams focused on counterterrorism. A Department of Homeland Security transit grant program will provide the money to create them.
"They're going to recruit from within to form these anti-terror teams," Asato said, "then we'll recruit 20 new officers to fill their spots."
The 420-member force will increase by almost 5 percent as a result of the hires. Metro said that the four-person units will increase law enforcement visibility in stations and that the teams would increase random patrols of Metro facilities and vehicles, respond more quickly to suspicious packages and gather intelligence that might be shared with federal law enforcement officials.
11:30 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano and Senator Landrieu will participate in a media availability
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 428A
11:00 AM EDT
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton will announce major reforms to ICE’s immigration detention system during a media teleconference
Potomac Center North
500 12th St. SW
1:00 PM EDT
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Vice Commandant Admiral Vivean Crea will participate in a panel discussion on women in military service and the legacy of WWII Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARs)
Coast Guard Headquarters
2100 2nd Street SW
1:30 PM EDT
DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) Chief Veterinarian Thomas McGinn will deliver remarks about agriculture and veterinary preparedness at the Foreign Animal and Emerging Disease training course
The University of Tennessee
600 Henley Street
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The Homeland Security Department has reorganized how it oversees cybersecurity.
Department Secretary Janet Napolitano says as DHS grew up over the past six years, cybersecurity was spread throughout the agency. She says this was a common issue across the government not just within DHS.
But now under Phil Reitinger, the deputy undersecretary of the National Protections Program Directorate, DHS's structure has improved.
"If the question is who at DHS do you call, it's going to be Phil or someone who works for him," says Napolitano Tuesday during a cybersecurity conference sponsored by the Secret Service and DHS in Washington.
"One thing we have done is to take cyber and elevate its prominence within the department and concentrate all key personnel decisions and the like about cyber under one person, Phil, who reports to an undersecretary, who reports directly to me. So you have a command and control structure that elevates cyber within all of the many threats DHS has to deal with."
From the Associated Press, on a new intelligence center at Selfridge:
The federal government is building an intelligence gathering center designed to help detect smuggling, terrorism and other crime across the long and liquid Great Lakes border between the U.S. and Canada, authorities said Tuesday.
The $30 million Operational Integration Center at Selfridge Air National Guard Base is the first center of its kind on the northern border and is expected to open next May. It will analyze and act on aircraft video, border camera images and other information from several federal, state and local agencies.
Officials say the center eventually should incorporate data from satellites, unmanned aircraft and other sources, and provide real-time information from across the entire Great Lakes border.
The base is in Macomb County's Harrison Township, 20 miles northeast of Detroit.
The Department of Homeland Security has several centers that gather and share law enforcement resources along the U.S.-Mexico border. But officials said Tuesday that the Michigan operation will be a big boost for the northern border, which is nearly twice as long as its southern counterpart and historically has received fewer resources despite threats such as the smuggling of drugs, people and weapons.
10 AM CDT
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Rivera will participate in a media availability about human trafficking and child pornography hosted by the Children at Risk Organization
1001 East Elizabeth Street
2:30 PM EDT
Under Secretary for Management Elaine Duke will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia on strengthening the federal acquisition workforce
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
From the Washington Post, on a new FEMA working group focused on the needs of children during a disaster:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to plan more broadly for children and their needs as the government prepares for disasters.
"Children are not small adults," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said Monday.
Most disaster plans are crafted around adult populations, and people with specific needs - such as children - are often an afterthought, Fugate said in an interview with The Associated Press.
A new FEMA working group will work with the congressionally mandated National Commission on Children and Disasters, created in 2007. The FEMA group will focus on specific guidance for evacuating, sheltering and relocating children; helping childcare centers, schools and child welfare programs prepare for disasters; and making disaster preparation part of the Homeland Security Department's grant programs.
The working group's findings could mean changes to the country's blueprint for disaster response, known as the National Response Framework, Fugate said.
From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, on some new equipment at the Greater Rochester International Airport:
The federal Transportation Security Administration has started using advanced imaging technology to scan passengers at the Greater Rochester International Airport.
The new machine, a backscatter X-ray scanner, is expected to remain in Rochester for a 60-day test period, said John McCaffrey, federal security director of the Greater Rochester International Airport. When using the machine, security officials can quickly and unobtrusively screen passengers without any physical contact. The machine is being used in one of the airport's six security lanes, in place of a metal detector.
"We're very excited to have this equipment in Rochester," McCaffrey said Monday. "This is an additional layer of security that gives our officers the tools to detect threats and has privacy protections built in for the traveling public."McCaffrey said the machine reduces the need for pat-down searches for passengers with joint replacements or other medical conditions, because the machine scans for metal and nonmetal objects in a person. Use of the machine is safe for all passengers, he said.
From the Associated Press, on a terrorism drill in New York City today:
Law enforcers on boats are holding a terrorism drill south of the Verrazano Bridge.
The goal is protect the area from a potential "dirty bomb" or nuclear device.
Participants on about 17 vessels will practice checking for radioactive material.
The exercise is being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.
It's part of an NYPD-led initiative called Securing the Cities. The funding comes from the federal Department of Homeland Security.
8:45 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks at the U.S. Secret Service Global Cyber Security Conference
JW Marriott Hotel
1331 Pennsylvania Ave.
10:30 AM EDT
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery about the needs of children in disasters
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Say what you will, but if the government does one thing well, it’s acronyms. Here are two new ones for you: PMF and PHF. Rather than try to explain…
PHF Haroon stood up a DHS Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul; PMF Marianna analyzed the 5-year funding strategy for the Department’s HQ facilities consolidation project. PHF Zac led a team to ensure interoperable communications at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, while PMF Evan served as the scientific lead for a risk assessment study group.
They represent the Department to local, state and international governments, first responders and community organizations. They manage projects and people, draft key recommendations and reports, brief the Secretary on key initiatives. They possess graduate degrees from the nation’s top colleges and universities and will soon join the ranks of civil service at DHS, leading America’s effort to protect ourselves against all shared risks.
They are part of the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) and Policy Honors Fellowship (PHF) – two programs designed to cultivate a next generation of homeland security professionals. Last week these young leaders met with senior DHS officials to discuss the Department’s future, and learned a thing or two about their bosses in the process.
“You all are leaders – you are the future of this Department,” Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute told the Fellows. She gave the Fellows some career advice, and discussed the five keys to running a successful organization:
Alice Hill, University of Virginia law school classmate and now senior counselor to the Secretary, said she wouldn’t have pegged her former study partner as a politician, but said Napolitano immediately distinguished herself by her raw intellect, photographic memory and excellent judgment.
During the two-hour discussion, Fellows also had the opportunity to hear from Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate Rand Beers, and Law Enforcement Advisor to the Secretary Chuck Marino.
Jamie Corbett is a Presidential Management Fellow in the Directorate for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security.
We're joined now by the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano. Madam Secretary, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks for being with us.
NAPOLITANO: Thank you.
ROBERTS: So, this new counterterrorism strategy, you want to involve the public to a greater degree than ever before -- how do you get the public involved in protecting this nation against the threat of terrorism?
NAPOLITANO: Well, one way is being on shows like this one and just saying, "Look, we want to make the country safe, keep the country safe, every individual has a role." Cities, counties, towns, they all have a role -- all of the federal government, of course, is involved, and then, even our international partners. So, it's a multilayer strategy for how to get at this problem.
ROBERTS: You know, if you ride the subway here in New York City, and I do quite often, you see signs all over the place that say, "See something, say something," you know, everybody has to participate. But many people might wonder, you know, will this become a case of, you know, neighbors reporting on neighbors, spying on neighbors? And how do you prevent, you know, an increase of suspicion, particularly across ethnic and religious lines?
NAPOLITANO: Well, I think you're right to point out that there's a balance to be struck. But what we're asking people to do is when they see something unusual, a package left unattended on a subway platform -- we've had incidents even during my short tenure as secretary where an individual seeing a gun being passed in an airport that had been screened that would have gotten onboard but for that passenger sounding the alert. Those are the kinds of things that individuals can help us with.
1:30 PM EDT
Assistant Secretary David Heyman will participate in a blogger roundtable at the NAC to discuss the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review
Nebraska Avenue Complex
3801 Massachusetts Ave NW
3 PM EDT
Management Directorate Acting Chief Procurement Officer Rick Gunderson will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security about eliminating wasteful contractor bonuses
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged Americans on Wednesday to join a "collective fight against terrorism" that combines the efforts of individuals, companies and local, state and foreign governments.
Answering critics who have accused the Obama administration of downplaying the risk of terrorist attacks, Napolitano said the threat has not abated and outlined an approach that emphasizes burden-sharing as federal spending and political support for post-Sept. 11 security measures wane.
"I am sometimes asked if I think complacency is a threat. I believe the short answer is 'yes,' " Napolitano said, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York before visiting the World Trade Center site destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"But I think a better question is this: Has the U.S. government done everything it can to educate and engage the American people? The answer is 'no,' " she said.
In what aides called a major counter-terrorism policy address, Napolitano noted that American hotels were targeted in bombings this month in Jakarta, six Americans were among 164 people killed in a commando-style assault in Mumbai in November and three Americans were among 54 killed in a Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September.
To confront a terrorism threat that "is even more decentralized, more networked and more adaptive," she said, counter-terrorism efforts also need to exploit the values of "networks." For example, the nation needs better technology, training and linkages to share information with 780,000 local law enforcement agents, Napolitano said, promising to strengthen 70 state-run intelligence "fusion centers" that began under the Bush administration.
And from the New York Times:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called Wednesday for closer collaboration with foreign partners, more intensive cooperation between the federal government and local law enforcement officials, and greater involvement by civilians in watching for and responding to terrorist threats.
"For too long, we've treated the public as a liability to be protected rather than as an asset in our nation's collective security," Ms. Napolitano said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "This approach, unfortunately, has allowed confusion, anxiety and fear to linger."
Ms. Napolitano, whose visit to New York included her first trip to ground zero, seemed intent in her speech on a shift of tone from that of the Bush administration, which critics say too often appeared to exaggerate threats and sow fear. But she unveiled no specific new initiatives in this regard.
She did say she had traveled 30,000 miles in just the last few weeks - "from Islamabad to Seattle" - while brokering international security agreements.
And she emphasized the importance of facilities, called intelligence fusion centers, that have been set up nationwide to improve communications between the local officials most likely to see the first signs of suspicious activity - like a flight school student showing interest in learning to take off but not to land a plane - and state and federal officials.
8 AM EDT
CS&C Division Director Brenda Oldfield will speak at the 2009 Society for Science and the Public Fellows Institute.
St. Regis Hotel
923 16th and K Streets, NW
10 AM CDT
CBP Office of Air and Marine will accept its first UH-60M helicopter and mark the occasion in a ceremony with the Army.
Redstone Army Airfield
Gate 8 Visitor Entrance, near intersection of Goss and Patton Road
10 AM EDT
TSA Public Affairs Manager Jon Allen will participate in a media availability announcing a 60-day test of next generation imaging technology equipment at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
12 PM EDT
NPPD Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger will deliver a keynote address on the importance of cyber security for states at the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) Annual Meeting.
InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel
550 Light Street
1 PM EDT
CS&C Director of Software Assurance Joe Jarzombek will speak at the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB)
The George Washington University
Cafritz Conference Center
800 21st St NW
2:30 PM EDT
DHS Office of Management (MGMT) Under Secretary Elaine Duke will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
342 Dirksen Office Building
3:30 PM PDT
CS&C Director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) Mischel Kwon will participate in a panel discussion at the Black Hat conference.
3570 Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
The Secretary has a full schedule for the rest of the day, with a visit scheduled to Ground Zero, a transportation security announcement at Grand Central Terminal, stops at New York City police and fire stations to meet first responders, and meetings with counterterrorism experts, first responders and law enforcement leaders to discuss homeland security issues related to New York’s state and local agencies.
"I will therefore speak candidly about the urgent need to refocus our counter-terror approach to make it a shared endeavor . . . to make it more layered, networked and resilient . . . to make it smarter, and more adaptive.
And to get to a point where we are in a constant state of preparedness, not a
constant state of fear.
The challenge is not just using federal power to protect the country, but also enlisting a much broader societal response to the threat that terrorism poses.
A wise approach to keeping America secure should be rooted in the values that define our nation, values like resilience, shared responsibility, and standing up for what’s right.
These are values that led us to fight and win two world wars, and that were on display in the dark days after the September 11th attacks. We must embrace them again now.
So, how do we secure our homeland and stay true to our values?
With four levels of collective response.
It starts with the American people. From there it extends to local law enforcement, and from there up to the federal government, and then, finally, out beyond our shores, where America’s international allies can serve as partners in our collective fight against terrorism.
In the last four weeks alone, I have traveled nearly 30,000 miles—from Islamabad, Pakistan, to Seattle, Washington, engaging partners at each of those levels.
We’ve brokered international agreements, launched new partnerships, and challenged our citizens to play their part in our common security.
We do face a common threat – and it requires a collective response.
And we must face that threat, and coordinate that response, in an evolving and highly networked world.
This networked world takes on many forms.
The cyber network that runs our power grids, fires our critical infrastructure, and facilitates commerce is now itself a target, and is vulnerable to attack.
This networked climate forces us to rethink how best to protect our values and our security in a world where the tools for creating violence and chaos are as easy to find as the tools for buying music online or re-stocking an inventory.
We also live in a mobile world, with complex networks of people and information.
We can’t forget that the 9/11 attackers conceived of their plans in the Philippines, planned in Malaysia and Germany, recruited from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and carried them out in the United States.
That’s why our homeland security network must be built to leverage “force multipliers”:
- the cooperation of international allies;
- the full powers of the United States federal government;
- the vigilance of police on the beat; and
- the untapped resourcefulness of millions of our own American citizens.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to outline Wednesday the Obama administration's domestic approach to preventing terrorist attacks -- a strategy that will rely in large measure on refining and expanding initiatives launched under President George W. Bush.
How to keep the U.S. safe and foil terrorists are charged issues that took a central role in last year's presidential campaign, when then-Sen. Barack Obama criticized the Bush administration's tactics. But Ms. Napolitano, in an interview this week, signaled that the Obama administration isn't contemplating a wholesale revision of the agencies or programs created under Mr. Bush to further antiterrorism efforts.
One element of Ms. Napolitano's approach, for example, will be the expansion of a pilot program started during the Bush administration to train police to report such suspicious behavior as the theft of keys from a facility that keeps radiological waste.
It is part of a much broader effort to significantly increase cooperation between her agency and state and local governments across the nation. Her aides say this is one area where her efforts will significantly exceed those of her predecessors in the Bush administration.
From Federal News Radio, on the department's new CIO:
The Homeland Security Department is bringing back a familiar face to be its chief information officer.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano today announces the appointment of Richard Spires to be CIO.
Spires is the former CIO and deputy commissioner for operations support at the IRS. He left government in July 2008.
Since Sept. 2008, Spires has owned his own consulting practice, according to his Linked In profile.
"Richard has an impressive record of managing large-scale IT programs and I look forward to working with him to find more efficient and innovative ways to help the department meet its strategic and information resource management goals," Napolitano says in a release.
Spires replaces Richard Mangogna, who left in March 2009. Margie Graves has been acting CIO since Mangonga left.
Spires will be responsible for managing and directing information management support processes, combining the functions of information technology and telecommunications to provide coordinated support strategies for meeting DHS-mission related information needs, DHS says in the release.
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks about homeland security and DHS’ approach to preventing terrorist attacks
Council on Foreign Relations
58 East 68th Street
New York, N.Y.
12 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability following her meeting with counterterrorism experts, first responders and law enforcement leaders
Staten Island Ferry Terminal
4 South Street
New York, N.Y.
1 PM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will make a transportation security announcement
Grand Central Terminal
New York, N.Y.
2 PM EDT
Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security on “Beyond Readiness: An Examination of the Current Status and Future Outlook of the National Response to Pandemic Influenza.”
311 Cannon House Office Building
10:30 AM CDT
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) Senior Equal Employment Opportunity Manager Junish Arora will deliver remarks at the Examining Conflicts in Employment Law (EXCEL) conference
New Orleans Marriott Hotel
614 Canal Street
New Orleans, La.
10:45 AM CDT
Terry Adirim, M.D., Senior Advisor in the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), will deliver remarks during a special meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Novel Influenza A (H1N1).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Building 19, Room 232
1600 Clifton Road, NE
1 PM PDT
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf will lead the Elliot Bay Parade of Ships to start the Seattle SeaFair’s Fleet Week
Bell Harbor Pier 66