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June 30, 2009
7:27 pm
From Madrid:

The last few days have been productive...and exhausting. We left the hotel in Shannon yesterday at 7:30 AM for a flight to Dublin, where the Secretary had back-to-back meetings. She met with Irish Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to talk about implementation of our aviation preclearance agreement. I think it was clear in the meeting that both sides want this agreement in place. It will improve security for international flights coming to the U.S., and it will do so while making connecting in the U.S. easier. Just imagine: you land in the U.S. after a long flight from Europe, and instead of making stops at baggage claim, customs, baggage checking, and security, you can simply walk from one gate to the next. Before leaving Ireland, the Secretary also met with the Minister of Justice, Equality, and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, to talk about a possible agreement to share information on transnational law enforcement, similar to the one she signed today with Portugal.

Then it was off to London. We landed at Stansted Airport just before 2 PM and headed to the office of the new Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, and then the office of the Transport Minister, Lord Adonis. These meetings covered a range of topics, including cybersecurity, air travel security, and combating violent extremism. These are all issues that are salient to both countries, and our close relationship is invaluable as we address these global threats. As we walked around the block from one minister's office to the next, I thought about the fact that each of these ministers has only been in office for a few weeks. Secretary Napolitano wanted to meet with her counterparts early in their tenure, to continue the US/UK discussion on these issues with the new team. Then there was the reception at the ambassador's residence, a home in a style befitting the emissary to "Her Majesty's Government."

Today, the Secretary had a series of media interviews in the morning before leaving London and flying to Portugal. There, the Secretary met with the Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and the Interior. They all made a point of mentioning that Secretary Napolitano was the first member of President Obama's cabinet to visit Lisbon. The Portuguese and U.S. negotiators, lawyers, and translators were putting the finishing touches on the agreement only an hour before it was signed.

I noticed the folks back home already posted on the information sharing agreement. I'll give it one more plug. We look forward to cooperating with as many nations as possible in combating transnational criminals and terrorists. The Secretary has repeatedly said that these threats don’t respect borders, and that we have to work with our international partners to ensure safety for all our citizens. Check out the earlier post for more on this.

After the signing, it was another media availability and then straight to the airport for a 6PM flight to Spain.

It's settling on 12 AM here in beautiful Madrid. We have another full day tomorrow. The good news is that the agreement that the Secretary is to sign, on cooperating with securing aviation, is already agreed to - 12 hours before she signs it.

I'll try to send in a post on the day's activities tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in.

Mark

Mark Koumans is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 30, 2009
12:49 pm



Secretary Napolitano was just in Lisbon to sign an agreement with the Portuguese government that will allow the U.S. and Portugal to share biometric and biographic data to prevent and combat crime and terrorism. Ok, what in the world does that mean? Here are some basics.

If Portugal is holding a person suspected of a crime, they can share that suspect's fingerprints with the U.S., allowing the U.S. to run a comparison against all known or wanted persons for any criminal or terrorist act. This, along with other provisions in the agreement, provides our two nations greater abilities to cooperate on international law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts. It also includes extensive provisions designed to protect privacy, so that no one can just "browse" for information.

The Secretary wrapped up the signing ceremony and is now on her way to Madrid.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 30, 2009
9:21 am
Tuesday, June 30th Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public Events

From The Belfast Telegraph, on aviation preclearance:

A deal has been agreed to allow air passengers travelling from Shannon to the US to pass through all the necessary security inspections in this country.

Until now, immigration clearance has only been given on arrival in America.

The final touches were agreed between the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey and the US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today.

When the legislation is enacted, Ireland will be the first country in Europe granted a pre-clearance deal from the US.

From The Wall Street Journal, on a new Secret Service task force:

The U.S. Secret Service plans to unveil Tuesday plans for a pan-European task force charged with preventing identity theft, computer hacking and other computer-based crime.

The unit will be based in Rome, teaming up with an Italian anti-cyber-crime police unit and the Italian post office Poste Italiane SpA, which has developed software that can track electronic payments as it moves beyond traditional mail delivery. The European Electronic Crime Task Force's main job will group together the cyber-crime efforts of the European Union nations and the U.S., bolstering defenses against computer attacks on embassies and other government sites that host sensitive computer systems such as air-traffic control. It will also monitor computer networks for threats, as well as deal with attacks once they happen.

"The transnational nature of cyber attacks requires international collaboration and expertise, as exemplified by this joint professional partnership," said Robert Gombar, a special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Rome field office, which coordinates its activities in southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Under the terms of the agreement, the new task force will monitor computer networks across Europe using software designed by Poste Italiane. The software could comb through money transfers performed over the Internet for suspicious signs, such as an account being opened by the same person in several different places, according to Poste Italiane Chief Executive Massimo Sarmi.


Leadership Events
5:10 Local
Secretary Napolitano will participate in a media availability
MFA
Press Room
Necessida das Palace
Largo das Palace
Lisbon, Portugal

Public Events
8:40 AM EDT
NPPD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection James Snyder will deliver the keynote address at the 2009 Chemical Sector Security Summit
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
700 Aliceanna Street
Baltimore, Md.

10 AM EDT
Assistant Commissioner Dan Baldwin will participate in a fireworks safety news event with the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Washington Mall at 3rd Street
Washington, D.C.

8 AM MDT
ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson will sign an agreement formalizing a partnership to combat firearms trafficking at the Violent Crime and Firearms Trafficking Summit
Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown Hotel
2600 Louisiana Blvd, NE
Albuquerque, N.M. 87110

12:30 PM PST
Los Angeles Assistant Special Agent in Charge Debra Parker will participate in a news conference with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office on the results of Operation Falling Sun.
4075 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92502
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 30, 2009
9:02 am


Monday, June 30th Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public Events


From The Belfast Telegraph, on aviation preclearance:



A deal has been agreed to allow air passengers travelling from Shannon to the US to pass through all the necessary security inspections in this country.


Until now, immigration clearance has only been given on arrival in America.


The final touches were agreed between the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey and the US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today.


When the legislation is enacted, Ireland will be the first country in Europe granted a pre-clearance deal from the US.


From the Financial Times:



The Obama administration has junked the term "global war on terror" because it does not describe properly the nature of the terrorist threat to the US, according to Janet Napolitano, secretary for homeland security.


"One of the reasons the nomenclature is not used is that 'war' carries with it a
relationship to nation states in conflict with each other and of course terrorism is not necessarily derived from the nation state relationship," she told the Financial Times. "In some respects 'war' is too limiting."


Ms Napolitano's comments were the clearest acknowledgement by an Obama official of a widely observed change in language. In March, the White House denied reports that an internal memo had been issued banning the term. But Mr Obama has studiously avoided the phrase, which officials see as legally troublesome and politically counterproductive.



From The Wall Street Journal, on a new Secret Service task force:



The U.S. Secret Service plans to unveil Tuesday plans for a pan-European task force charged with preventing identity theft, computer hacking and other computer-based crime.


The unit will be based in Rome, teaming up with an Italian anti-cyber-crime police unit and the Italian post office Poste Italiane SpA, which has developed software that can track electronic payments as it moves beyond traditional mail delivery.


The European Electronic Crime Task Force's main job will group together the cyber-crime efforts of the European Union nations and the U.S., bolstering defenses against computer attacks on embassies and other government sites that host sensitive computer systems such as air-traffic control. It will also monitor computer networks for threats, as well as deal with attacks once they happen.


"The transnational nature of cyber
attacks requires international collaboration and expertise, as exemplified by
this joint professional partnership," said Robert Gombar, a special agent in
charge of the Secret Service's Rome field office, which coordinates its
activities in southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Under the terms of the
agreement, the new task force will monitor computer networks across Europe using
software designed by Poste Italiane. The software could comb through money
transfers performed over the Internet for suspicious signs, such as an account
being opened by the same person in several different places, according to Poste
Italiane Chief Executive Massimo Sarmi.


Public Events

June 29, 2009
9:26 am
Secretary Napolitano met this morning with Irish Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey and discussed implementation of a Preclearance Agreement signed between the United States and Ireland. The agreement, signed last November, allows the Customs and Border Patrol to conduct full preclearance of commercial and private passenger flights to the U.S. So, what does this mean for travelers? Two main things:

First, the original agreement gave CBP the ability to conduct immigration inspections only. The new agreement gives CBP the authority to inspect based on customs, immigration, and agricultural laws, making a stop in Ireland on the way to the U.S. even more worthwhile for passengers and airlines alike – it’s all of the inspections in one fell swoop. CBP will also be able to screen aircraft for radiological and nuclear threats.

The benefit to the average traveler is more efficient baggage processing: passengers flying from Ireland to the U.S. can have their luggage transferred from their international flight to domestic flights without having to claim it first. Anyone who has ever flown into the U.S. and then had to make a connection – after collecting their bags, rechecking them, and going back through security – understands this one.

More on the Secretary's trip as it happens.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 29, 2009
9:19 am
Monday, June 29th Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public Events

From Homeland Security Today, on the Secretary's European trip:

The focal point of the trip, Napolitano explained, will be to extend collaborative relationships with a variety of nations on counter-terror initiatives.

Napolitano stressed a need to “keep focus on the counter-terrorism aspect” of the Department.

Napolitano said that while in Ireland she plans to evaluate aviation preclearance operations. Shortly afterward in the UK she plans to meet with the new home secretary Allen Johnson and the new transportation secretary Lord Andrew Adonis on a number of issues, including cyber security, violent extremism and civil aviation security.


Public Events

11 AM EDT
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Admiral Robert Papp will attend the District 5 change of command ceremony
431 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, Va.


3 PM EDT
National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Director of the Office of Infrastructure Protection’s Infrastructure Security Compliance Division Sue Armstrong will present an overview of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program at the 2009 Chemical Sector Security Summit
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
700 Aliceanna StreetBaltimore, Md.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 29, 2009
8:51 am
Monday, June 29th Morning Roundup - Featured News and Public Events




From Homeland Security Today, on the Secretary's European trip:



The focal point of the trip, Napolitano explained, will be to extend collaborative relationships with a variety of nations on counter-terror initiatives.


Napolitano stressed a need to “keep focus on the counter-terrorism aspect” of the Department.


Napolitano said that while in Ireland she plans to evaluate aviation preclearance operations. Shortly afterward in the UK she plans to meet with the new home secretary Allen Johnson and the new transportation secretary Lord Andrew Adonis on a number of issues, including cyber security, violent extremism and civil aviation security.


From the San Diego Union-Tribune, on a ICE gang sweep:



Dozens of violent gang members, including several criminal aliens, were arrested this week in a countywide sweep targeting street gangs largely made up of foreign-born members, authorities announced Friday.


The weeklong law enforcement effort, dubbed "Operation Community Shield," resulted in 65 arrests in San Marcos, Vista, Escondido, Poway and San Diego, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.


Agents took into custody street gang members and associates belonging to 19 local street gangs and one member of a Los Angeles gang.


Several of those arrested had previous convictions on weapons and domestic violence charges, some will be prosecuted on new charges including drug offenses and violations of gang injunctions, and several others will face criminal prosecution on federal felony charges, including re-entry after deportation, officials said.


Public Events


10 AM EDT



June 28, 2009
12:56 pm

Secretary Napolitano paid a visit to a Customs and Border Patrol facility in Shannon, Ireland today. She thanked them for their service and pledged to do all she could on this trip to make sure that the aviation preclearance agreements between Ireland and the US are in place and implemented by the end of July. Stay tuned over the next few days for frequent updates on her trip.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 27, 2009
5:30 pm

As you can see Secretary Napolitano touched down moments ago in Shannon, Ireland, kicking off her European trip. She has several meetings scheduled over the next few days in Ireland, mainly focused on aviation preclearance operations. We'll keep you updated. Don't forget to check out some of the Secretary's thoughts on what she hopes to accomplish on this trip.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2009
5:03 pm
So it's been almost two weeks since we launched "The Blog @ Homeland Security." We've been posting some regular content, like the Morning Roundup, some highlights of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary’s travel, and of course, a lot of our statements and press releases. We've also started to get down to the purpose of the blog: transparency.

We've seen a lot of supportive comments roll in, and, naturally, we've seen some criticism as well. It's true, official blogging isn't easy. Look at this as an evolving discussion, a work in progress.

Secretary Napolitano just posted some thoughts on the Leadership Journal about her upcoming trip to Europe and Kuwait. We encourage you to check it out, and keep checking the blog while she's traveling. We'll be dedicating most of our posts next week to tracking her trip. We'll have some guests talking about how her trip, stop by stop, is connected to our efforts here at home.

Thanks for your interest. We're doing this because the President issued a call for transparency when he assumed the office, and Secretary Napolitano wants to answer it. And keep leaving comments – we're listening.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.

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