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February 18, 2010
10:39 am
Plane in sky against sunset
One of the most important realities highlighted by the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack is that in this day and age, aviation security is a responsibility shared among nations. The attempted terrorist had an itinerary that spanned three countries, and citizens of 17 countries were traveling on board that flight.

In light of this attack, we are working with our international partners to bolster global security measures and standards for aviation security. Part of this effort is sharing the kind of information needed to keep terrorists off airplanes. We have a good template for future information-sharing accords in the agreements we already have, which maintain high privacy standards while sharing important security information.

For example, DHS has an agreement with the European Union to allow air carriers to share Passenger Name Record (PNR) data with DHS so we can determine whether people traveling to and from the United States have ties to terrorism. This data protects not only U.S. citizens, but any person traveling to the United States –so the continued partnership of our European allies on this program is vital. Earlier this week, as part of a regular review process, expert representatives of the European Union conducted a review of the effectiveness and privacy protections of this agreement, and even saw the system in action at Dulles International Airport near Washington.

This kind of information sharing is critical to securing the international aviation system. Last month I went to Spain to meet with my European colleagues on how we can improve aviation security, and this week I’m traveling to Mexico to discuss how countries in this hemisphere can work collaboratively toward this goal.

Because the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not conduct screening at foreign airports, I am committed to strengthening coordination with international partners to implement stronger and more effective measures to protect air travel while continuing to protect privacy.

Our efforts will follow the lead of our past actions to improve security, where we have created effective systems, set high standards, and met them.

Janet Napolitano
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
February 16, 2010
2:29 pm
Starting in February, DHS began hosting monthly support workshops for transitioning service members, retired or separated veterans, and their spouses in the Washington, D.C. area. Participants can get valuable knowledge on how to apply for federal jobs, federal resume tips, DHS job opportunities and special veteran hiring authorities. Click here for a flyer with information on upcoming workshops.

This program, developed by the DHS Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, is one of several new programs aimed at helping veterans transition into employment opportunities at DHS. These workshops are meant to complement Military Transition Center activities.

For more information on the transition support workshops, visit

Link to flyer removed because it is no longer current and has been archived.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
February 16, 2010
9:29 am

From USA Today, on Trusted Traveler:

The U.S. government trusts Ricardo Castro as a customer. And it wants more like him.

Castro, an oil industry executive who travels internationally and lives in Houston and Singapore, signed up as a member of Global Entry, a so-called trusted traveler program launched two years ago by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Designed for international travelers who are "trusted" or considered low terrorism risks, it promises quicker U.S. Customs clearance at automated kiosks.

Consider Castro a happy customer. No longer having to stand in line with large crowds, Castro says he clears customs usually in about a minute and has never seen a line at the kiosks.

As international arrival passengers rush to fill up lines at customs, "I smile and keep on walking," says Castro, who uses Global Entry about twice a month, mostly at Houston, Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Trusted traveler programs have grown steadily in recent years despite skeptics who worry about surrendering personal information for machine-dependent processes run by the government. The initiative has three components for the public: Global Entry for international arrivals; Nexus for USA-Canada border crossing; and Sentri for USA-Mexico borders.

From The Washington Post, on temporary protected status for Haitian immigrants living in the United States:

More than 12,000 Haitians have applied for the chance to stay and work legally in the U.S. while their country struggles to recover from last month's earthquake.

The applications have rolled in, even though the July 20 application deadline is months away, said Bill Wright, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Homeland Security Department.

The chance to work is critical for many of the immigrants who are hoping to help families trying to overcome the magnitude-7 earthquake that leveled parts of Haiti.

Because it is unsafe to return the illegal immigrants to Haiti, DHS said it would grant eligible immigrants temporary protected status. Successful applicants can remain and work for 18 months without fear of deportation or detention.

From Federal Computer Week, on Caryn Wagner, the newly confirmed DHS Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis:

The Homeland Security Department has a new intelligence chief to lead the department's program to use information technology to share homeland security-related information with state and local officials.

The Senate confirmed Caryn Wagner to be DHS' undersecretary for intelligence and analysis by unanimous consent Feb. 11. Wagner's first day as head of DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) is today.

DHS is the lead federal agency for state and local intelligence fusion centers that are owned and operated by states and municipalities and serve as a central node for the federal government's efforts for sharing terrorism-related information with state and local officials.

Wagner has served on the senior faculty at the Intelligence Security Academy, an organization that provides training and consulting services related to national security, according to DHS. She has also held a variety of senior government intelligence jobs.

There are no public events scheduled for today.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
February 9, 2010
12:15 pm
Share your idea.
In recent days, the Department of Homeland Security has taken a major step toward its priority to create a more open, transparent, efficient, and effective government. As part of President Obama's Open Government Directive, we have now launched the DHS Open Government Initiative.

The Administration has set four goals for its Open Government effort, calling them the "cornerstone of an open government." The goals DHS will seek are:
  1. improving transparency by providing more information and data about the Department's activities in a timely and accessible manner;
  2. increasing participation by utilizing new tools and strategies to encourage input and feedback from the public;
  3. expanding collaboration with our many partners, both inside and outside government; and
  4. encouraging innovation to find new ways to make the government more open and efficient and save taxpayers money.
The Department of Homeland Security wants your input on our Open Government Plan. How should we increase our transparency to the public? What is the best way to foster a culture of participation? Do you have ideas to help increase collaboration? We want to hear your thoughts and ideas.

The online participation tool will be available until March 19, 2010. You can contribute your own ideas and rate idea others have submitted.

Chris Cummiskey
Chief of Staff, Management Directorate
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
February 4, 2010
5:29 pm
In November 2009, DHS launched a redesigned page to make it easier for veterans to get information about opportunities with the Department. Veterans make up one quarter of the DHS workforce, so we’re committed to making sure they have all the information they need to interact with and conduct business with the department. The website now provides veterans and veteran service organizations a one-stop shop for information about employment, contracting, and volunteer opportunities in the Department.

We updated this page again today to highlight additional exceptional veterans that currently work with the Department, so stop by our veterans profile page and see why our employee veterans find DHS a good fit.

Last year, Secretary Napolitano committed to employing 50,000 veterans by 2012 – during fiscal year 2009, we hired 5,142 veterans. Today, we boast more than 46,000 total veterans among our ranks.

Recruitment and hiring goals are one way we are engaging the veteran community. We are also creating greater opportunities for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses to work with DHS. In 2009, veteran-owned small businesses competed for an won more than $931 million in contracts from DHS.

The nation benefits from the service of our veterans in the work that we do at the Department; they bring proven experience and dedication to the job and we welcome veterans to join DHS and continue their service to the nation.

Visit for more information.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
February 3, 2010
12:01 pm

From the Washington Post, a video interview with Craig Fugate:

From the Associated Press, on a big haul for CBP:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have seized nearly a ton of marijuana hidden in a banana shipment at a cargo facility near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Officials say a drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to the stash Monday when the Mexican truck driver applied to cross into the U.S. at the Otay Mesa cargo facility.
Officers say they opened the boxes in the truck and found 235 packages of pot worth an estimated $1.1 million.

Leadership Events
10:30 AM EST
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks during an open session meeting of the Homeland Security Advisory Council
Grand Hyatt Hotel, Empire Ballroom
109 East 42nd Street
New York, N.Y.

Public Events
11:30 AM CDT
ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton will participate in a media availability to announce the results of an alien smuggling operation in the Houston area
ICE Building
Mineral’s Management Conference Room
4141 Sam Houston Parkway East
Houston, Texas

Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Response and Recovery Associate Administrator William Carwile will testify about FEMA’s urban search and rescue program in Haiti before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

S&T Deputy Under Secretary Bradley Buswell will testify about the Department’s efforts to develop the next generation of screening technologies before the House Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation
2318 Rayburn House Office Buildings
Washington, D.C.

4:30 PM CDT
ICE Deputy Assistant Secretary Alonzo Pena is hosting a media availability with the South Texas media to discuss results from a cross border summit.
University of Texas-Brownsville
UT Business Building, 2nd Floor
Salon Casi
Brownsville, Texas

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
February 1, 2010
12:15 pm
Cross-posted from the Coast Guard Compass.

Click on the image to watch the video on YouTube. (U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler)

In this Coast Guard video recently released out of Haiti, you can hear first person accounts from several responders as they talk about their roles and experiences while responding to Haiti after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the capitol of Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010.

This comprehensive video summary highlights response personnel and assets from participating agencies with action b-roll and field video interviews.

In the video, you will hear from:
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Marcel Leroy, Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami
  • LCDR Mark Shepard, Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team in Mobile, Ala., and currently assigned to the MTSRU
  • Lieutenant Commander Maarten Veenstra, Commanding Officer of the Dutch Navy Ship Pelikaan
  • Lieutenant Lyle Serber, Operations Officer of Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South in Miami, Fla.
  • Marshal Few, the Security Manager/FSO with the Department of the Army
    Petty Officer 3rd Class Alvin Abraham, Coast Guard Sector Miami currently onboard the CGC Oak
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Edwards, Maritime Safety and Security Team New Orleans
Watch the video on CGVI or on YouTube.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
February 1, 2010
9:21 am
From Parade Magazine, on the Coast Guard's efforts to thwart trafficking in the Eastern Pacific:

Every day, a high-stakes battle affecting the security and well-being of millions of Americans is played out far off our shores. The conflict occurs across more than 6 million square miles of ocean--an area larger than the size of the contiguous United States--where smugglers transport cocaine and other illegal drugs from South America. Their cargo is ultimately intended for sale in our cities and towns---but not if the U.S. Coast Guard stops it first.

"Cocaine trafficking is the leading drug threat to the U.S.," said Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center. Half the police departments surveyed in the country identify cocaine as the drug most contributing to violent crimes, according to Walther. After marijuana, cocaine is the second-most-used illegal drug in our country--more than 36 million people have tried it at least once. Its sales help support the activities of criminal gangs throughout the Americas; Mexican drug cartels; and terrorist organizations like FARC, a revolutionary group in Colombia.

From the Bellingham Herald, on border security around the Olympics:

While construction workers won't put the finishing touches on the new Peace Arch port of entry on Interstate 5 until December, federal officials say they have taken steps to make sure that nothing disrupts the flow of traffic during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

"We hope the Olympics is a story about peaceful international competition, not about the border," said Tom Schreiber, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman.

To minimize the chance of problems, the border agency is poised to keep 10 lanes open and staffed during the Olympics' February run. That means adding four temporary booths to the six normally available now.

While construction workers are still busy inside a new 30,000-square-foot building for border services, the most disruptive parts of the $107 million megaproject are complete, Schreiber said. The northbound overpass is up and running, and the eventual demolition of the old 1976 building won't get under way until the Olympics are over.

"They are freezing their activities that would be in the way," Schreiber said.

The construction project is under the authority of the U.S. General Services Administration. GSA spokesman Ross Buffington confirmed that the construction job will be taking a back seat to traffic flow while the Olympics are in progress.

From USA Today, on Super Bowl security:

The vast security operation protecting the Super Bowl and surrounding events ranges from Air Force F-16s patrolling the skies above Miami on game day to a buffer zone extending at least 100 yards out from the stadium.

No one without a credential or ticket can get past that barrier — and everyone is subjected to meticulous screening by law enforcement personnel. Also among the security tools: 100 magnetometers, bomb-sniffing dogs, and devices used to detect chemical or biological threats.

"We have no viable threat to the Super Bowl at this point," John Gill (FSY)ies, special agent in charge of the FBI's Miami field office, said in an interview.

In the run-up to next Sunday's game between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, the FBI is running the Joint Operations Center, which houses in one place more than 200 representatives from about 68 federal, state and local agencies that are responsible for security and responding to any threats.

Public Events
Secretary Napolitano will participate in the Super Bowl XLIV Security press conference featuring members of national and local law enforcement and NFL security
Broward County Convention Center
1950 Eisenhower Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
January 29, 2010
8:54 am
A real eye-opener from CNN:

From KGO-AM San Francisco, an interview with Secretary Napolitano following the President's State of the Union address:

According to a New York Times breakdown, President Obama used the word "jobs"29 times during Wednesday's State of the Union address and spent only nine minutes on national security. "Jobs are part of security too, economic security is part of security," says Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano who talks with KGO's Ed and Jen on the Liveline about the speech.
From the Wall Street Journal, on a USCIS officer's work in Haiti:

Dozens of times a day, Pius Bannis helps decide the fate of a Haitian orphan.

An immigration officer at the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Mr. Bannis is charged with determining whether orphans had been matched to U.S. families before Haiti's devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. If so, he clears them to leave for the United States.

Hundreds of Haitian children have been brought to him since the quake, some only a few months old, others in their teens. With many of the country's orphanages damaged or destroyed, Mr. Bannis often pieces together cases assembled from records extracted from the rubble.

Even before the earthquake, Haiti was home to 380,000 orphans. Americans adopted 330 of them in the fiscal year that ended last September, making Haiti the 8th-most popular country for adoption by U.S. families. After the quake, the U.S. announced a humanitarian parole policy to expedite the processing of orphans already assigned to U.S. families.

Some 500 Haitian orphans have been cleared since then. Several hundred are already in the U.S., after passing through Mr. Bannis.

It is too early to say how the immigration officer's decisions will play out in the lives of hundreds of children who will stay or leave Haiti based upon his determinations.

But the impact could be great. Inundated by cases from newly overcrowded orphanages, Mr. Bannis must stay on guard against fraud.

From Homeland Security Today, on the effects of the President's proposed spending freeze:

With the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and homeland security functions exempted from a three-year freeze on most federal spending beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2011, funding for homeland security purposes should remain strong and active.

President Barack Obama unveiled the freeze proposal in his State of the Union address last night. However, details of the freeze were revealed to the media by Rob Nabors, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Jan. 26. In that press conference, Nabors stated that the freeze would not affect the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs or State.

The official details of the freeze won't be known until Monday when the full federalbudget for FY 2011 is unveiled.

Public Events
10:30 AM EST
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will participate in a media availability about counterdrug operations in the United States and the ongoing, multiagency efforts to interdict and prosecute criminals involved in these operations
Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater
14850 Roosevelt BoulevardClearwater, Fla.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
January 28, 2010
3:56 pm
Cross-posted from The TSA Blog.

What’s wrong with this picture? Put quite simply, it’s a fake. The picture (minus the black boxes) has been gaining popularity ever since it was used on several popular web pages and blogs.

The TSA Office of Information Technology (OIT) was able to determine that the original images used to make these pictures were taken from a stock photo website and doctored to mimic Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) images. The doctored images are nothing more than full frontal photos (hence the black boxes) with the colors inverted. The image of the gun and belt were superimposed. This can be done with any basic image editing software.

It’s obvious that the woman shown on the left is not the woman in the doctored photos on the right. Notice that the bracelet on the right wrist in the clothed image does not appear in the doctored images. Her arms and legs are also in different positions in the clothed photo. It can be argued that maybe the photo was taken before she entered an AIT machine. Even so, just like X-ray images, hair does not show up in authentic AIT images and faces are blurred with a privacy algorithm.

Please take a look at this blog post to see larger versions of the images below and video of what AIT images actually look like.

Thanks, Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.


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