From the Boston Globe, about the appointment of the deputy administrator of FEMA:
Richard Serino, the longtime chief of Boston Emergency Medical Services, was officially sworn in yesterday as deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the agency's number two post.
Serino, 55, was nominated to the position in July by President Obama and will serve during a critical time for the country's homeland security operations. In his new role, he will help design emergency response plans for major cities across the country and manage responses to disasters, ranging from hurricanes to terrorist attacks.
From the Miami Herald, about the first doses of the H1N1 vaccine in Florida:
Eight-year-old Bryan Lechuga was unimpressed when the nurse pushed the syringe up his nose to deliver one of South Florida's first doses of vaccine against H1N1 swine flu on Monday.
Did the dose, delivered as a mist,
Did it tickle?`
Does he know what swine flu is?'
His mom knew, however, as did the moms of more than 50 students who showed up at Broadmoor Elementary in Miami-Dade County and at six public schools in Broward on Monday for the first day of vaccinations of the newly arrived H1N1 vaccine.
School-age children will get most of the first shipment of vaccines in South Florida, and remaining doses will go to private physicians and federal and county health clinics for those who are most at risk: pregnant women; caretakers of infants under 5 months of age; young people 2 to 24; people 25 to 64 who have chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes; and healthcare workers, emergency personnel and other first responders.
11 AM EDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver a special Web-only address about cybersecurity via live streaming video at www.dhs.gov
2 PM EDT
FEMA National Preparedness Directorate Deputy Administrator Timothy Manning will testify about caring for the elderly, children and individuals with special needs before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
Tune in tomorrow to dhs.gov at 11:00 AM EDT for an exclusive live address from Secretary Napolitano on cybersecurity. We will broadcast her remarks at dhs.gov, and you can submit a question for the Secretary to answer during her address.
The Secretary will talk about our shared responsibility for staying safe online, and the department's leadership role in cybersecurity.
Check it out tomorrow at 11:00 AM EDT.
U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Americans to help guard against cyberattacks in a first-of-its-kind video published on the White House Web site.
"Our digital networks are critical to our national security, our military superiority and public safety. But that dependence also makes us vulnerable to cyberattack from those who would do us harm," Obama said in the video.
He called the threat of cyberattacks one of the most serious economic and national security challenges faced by the U.S., and urged businesses and individuals to take greater care online.
Obama said he will "soon" appoint a cybersecurity coordinator to lead a new government office responsible for making sure that defending the country's networks becomes a national security priority.
From the Long Beach Press-Telegram, on a big marijuana seizure in Mission Viejo:
More than $500,000 worth of marijuana was seized on Interstate 5 in Mission Viejo and a driver from Mexico was arrested, the U.S. Border Patrol announced today.
The 839.52 pounds of marijuana affected the way the 2002 Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicle was handling, drawing the attention of Border Patrol agents, an agency official said.
Agents first spotted the vehicle northbound on the freeway near San Clemente, the official said.
The agents stopped the vehicle about 2 p.m. in Mission Viejo near the Oso Parkway exit. The agents could see large bundles of marijuana as they approached the car, the official said.
From the Associated Press, on a new cyber-crime task force in Missouri:
The Secret Service launched a new task force Friday aimed at bolstering efforts to stop cyber-crime in St. Louis and eastern Missouri.
More than 100 people, mostly law enforcement officials, attended a meeting to launch the Gateway Electronic Crimes Task Force.
The Secret Service office in St. Louis will oversee the task force, one of nearly 30 around the country.
John Large of the Secret Service Criminal Investigative Division said cyber-crime has grown far beyond the days when teenage hackers would break into a system just to see if they could do it. Today, organized criminal groups are breaking into financial systems. And many of the criminals are based overseas.
10:30 AM EDT
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate will swear in Richard Serino as FEMA Deputy Administrator
The Great Hall
2nd Floor, Faneuil Hall
Congress Street at North Street
11:00 AM CDT
Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Bart R. Johnson will participate in a panel discussion about information and intelligence sharing at the GEOINT 2009 Symposium
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
200 East Market Street
San Antonio, Texas
3:30 PM CDT
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will participate in a public meeting of the Ocean Policy Task Force
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas & Entergy IMAX Theater
1 Canal Street
New Orleans, La.
Today, Secretary Janet Napolitano applauded FEMA’s redesigned Spanish-language website. Located at http://www.fema.gov/espanol, the newly redesigned site helps fulfill Secretary Napolitano’s commitment to openness and accessibility in our efforts to build a culture of readiness and resilience across the nation.
The redesigned site provides easier access to and expanded information about current disasters, preparedness, and a Spanish-language version of FEMA’s National Emergency Family Registry and Locator systems at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/es – a site to help family members locate each other during a crisis.
We spent September talking about what to do before something happens. Now we need to ask the question, “¿Estan Preparados?”
Check out the new site, and tell your friends and loved ones.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano got a firsthand look Tuesday at how her agency, which defends the nation's physical borders, also guards a volatile virtual frontier: cyberspace.
Napolitano visited the Cyber Crimes Center, which is operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a discreet office building in suburban Virginia. Known as C3, the 12-year-old unit has a staff of 35 who use their computer expertise to assist investigations of complex international crimes, especially those that victimize children.
"Cyber can be awfully abstract, but the Internet has become the new medium by which crimes are committed -- child pornography, sex tourism, exploitation," Napolitano said.
The visit was part of Napolitano's effort to promote her department's designation of October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The Homeland Security Department has been working to boost resources and expertise in response to a surge in Internet crime.
From the Brownsville Herald, on Customs and Border Protection on a CBP seizure at the border:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a man and a woman from Matamoros after they tried to drive a car with more than $400,000 in cocaine hidden inside, officials said.
Jesus Antonio Orozco, 22, and Gabriela Nazareth Montalvo, 18, were arrested Monday afternoon at B&M International Bridge, said A CBP press release.
On Tuesday morning, Orozco and Montalvo went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio, who ordered they be held without bond and remanded them to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The arrests took place after a white 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Orozco was sent to a secondary inspection area, records show.
CBP officers noted discrepancies on the walls of the vehicle and five packages containing 13 pounds of cocaine were hidden inside, the release said.
10 AM EDT
Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute will join FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Transportation Security Administration Acting Assistant Secretary Gale Rossides, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Chief David Aguilar and U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan to testify about diversity at DHS before the House Committee on Homeland Security
311 Cannon House Office Building
10 AM EDT
NPPD Director for Software Assurance Joe Jarzombek will deliver remarks about secure coding at the SC World Congress and Expo
Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers
811 7th Avenue
New York, N.Y.
10 AM CDT
CBP Associate Chief Alan Langford, Sector Chief Randy Hill and Patrol Agent in Charge David Lamascus will participate in a media availability to officially unveil Uvalde Border Patrol Station’s new all-weather checkpoint
U.S. Highway 90, 9 miles west of Uvalde
9 AM PDT
NPPD Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Gregory Schaffer will deliver remarks highlighting National Cybersecurity Awareness Month at the “Cyber Security West: Our Shared Responsibility” conference
Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel1230 J StreetCamellia/Gardenia RoomSacramento, Calif.
"This is a bad flu, and it's a very safe vaccine, so under any analysis, you should go ahead and get the vaccine."
Cross-posted from the White House Blog
In my last blog post, I linked to President Obama’s proclamation announcing the start of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This week, I would like to discuss in more detail the cyber threats that we are facing as a Nation and as individuals. A key theme for this month is that cybersecurity is "our shared responsibility." Each one of us must take the time to increase our awareness of the cyber risks that are present every time we turn on our computers.
Just the other day, the media was breaking a story about the latest generation of malicious software designed to steal money from bank accounts. This "bank Trojan," called URLzone provides a sophisticated interface for managing theft from numerous accounts and deceives the account owner with false statements.
For years, research institutions have noted a steady increase in number of malicious programs that are being used to exploit the vulnerabilities of our computers. A vast percentage of all e-mail is spam, which tries to lure us into downloading software, visiting an infected website or social networking account, or even making a phone call in order to get us to reveal information useful for identity theft or to steal money. Many of these malicious actors are now sending out fake emails from the Internal Revenue Service.
Sophisticated cyber criminals are bypassing individual computer users and are attacking financial institutions. To them, the motivation is simple. Why steal one bank account record when you can steal millions? Fortunately, our law enforcement agencies have had some remarkable successes against key groups responsible for cyber attacks. Just last week, nearly 100 people were arrested in the United States and Egypt on charges of computer fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identify theft. Last month the U.S. Government convicted the individual responsible for the theft and sale of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers from numerous U.S. retailers with losses of more than $21 billion. You can learn more about federal law enforcement efforts in combating cyber crime here, here, and here.
And then there are the botnets, which are large numbers of compromised computers that are controlled remotely by criminals or other malicious actors. Some computer experts have estimated that one quarter of all personal computers are part of a botnet. The Conficker worm has been around for about a year and has managed to spread into millions of machines through network connections and portable media such as thumb drives. These botnets appear to be used primarily for supporting criminal activities such as spam, but we worry that such large botnets could be used to launch unprecedented denial-of-service attacks against banking, government, or other important websites.
As you can see, the cyber threat is quite real. Every day dozens of Federal departments and agencies work with their industry partners to help mitigate these threats. And while we have made great strides thwarting the efforts of cyber criminals, more needs to be done. Next week, I will write more about the basic cybersecurity tips that every computer user should know and adopt.
John Brennan is Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
"This is a bad flu, and it's a very safe vaccine, so under any analysis, you
should go ahead and get the vaccine."
The way this country detains illegal immigrants is about to change dramatically - at least if the Obama administration follows through on a proposed overhaul unveiled this week. The man responsible for making it happen: John Morton, the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security. He tells host Guy Raz that the system has exploded in size and become too dependent on private contractors.
GUY RAZ, host: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz. This hour, stories of immigrants and the debate over how those who come in illegally are treated when they're caught.
This week, the Obama administration announced its intention to overhaul the way illegal immigrants are detained in our nation's prison system. About 400,000 people are detained each year for violating immigration law; many of them nonviolent offenders. The Department of Homeland Security released a report this week that describes a costly and wasteful penal system filled with people who pose little or no risk to the general population.
Well, the man charged with fixing that system is John Morton. He is assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security.
Secretary Morton, welcome.
From the Los Angeles Times, on a visit to the Transportation Security Laboratory:
Eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the front line in America's war on terrorism runs through a little-known federal laboratory where engineer Nelson
Carey holds what appears to be a bratwurst in a bun.
"This is a Semtex sausage," said Carey, as he pinched the pink plastic explosive long favored by terrorist groups.
On his table lies a green Teletubby doll stuffed with C-4 military explosives, a leather sandal with a high-explosive shoe insert, an Entenmann's cake covered in an explosive compound that looks like white frosting, and other deadly devices Carey and his colleagues have built. None have detonators, so they are safe.
"We let our imaginations go wild," Carey said. "The types of improvised explosive devices are endless."So are possible solutions, at least in theory. That's where the Transportation Security Laboratory comes in. Scientists here dream up ways an enemy might slip a weapon or a bomb onto a plane, and then try to build defenses to detect or counter the danger.
The work is part cutting-edge science, part Maxwell Smart.
Staffers have experimented by exploding more than 200 bombs on junked jetliners. They also have filled a warehouse with nearly 10,000 lost or abandoned suitcases and other packed luggage.
From the Los Angeles Times, on the challenges faced by the Coast Guard in the arctic:
Most days in Nome, you're not likely to run into anybody you didn't see at the Breakers Bar on Friday night. More than 500 roadless miles from Anchorage, rugged tundra and frigid Bering Sea waters have a way of discouraging visitors.
So it was a big deal when the World, a 644-foot residential cruise ship with condos costing several million dollars apiece, dropped anchor during the summer for a two-day look-see.
"We never had a ship anywhere near this size before," Chamber of Commerce director Mitch Erickson said. "My guess is they've probably been everywhere else in the world, and now they're going to the places most people haven't seen yet."
That's about to change.
The record shrinking of the polar ice cap is turning the forbidding waters at the top of the world into important new shipping routes.
Four other cruise ships also docked in Nome recently. The Coast Guard deployed its first small Arctic patrol vessels last year. Fleets of research vessels steamed north all summer, while ships surveying the vast oil and gas deposits under the Arctic seabed have talked of using Nome as a base.
1:30 PM EDT
National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) National Communications System Regional Communications Coordinator Stephen Weinert will deliver remarks at the Michigan Emergency Management Conference
100 Grand Traverse Village Boulevard
From the Seattle Post Intelligencer, on a drug seizure at the Seattle-Tacoma airport:
The age group most likely to become infected with swine flu - students from elementary and high school - is the group that did the worst in having seasonal flu shots last year, according to data released Thursday by federal health
Only about 21 percent of children ages 5 to 17 received flu shots last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared with 41 percent of infants, 32 percent of adults at risk of complications and 67 percent of the elderly.
Authorities at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport seized 24 pounds of cocaine and arrested three suspects late last week, according to the Port of Seattle, which called the bust the airport's largest drug seizure ever.
In a statement, a port spokesman said Transportation Security Administration workers found an 11-pound bag of cocaine in the checked luggage of a passenger bound for Alaska. After finding the bag's owner at a departure gate, port police determined that he was traveling with two companions and, assisted by police canine Lilly, found two other checked bags with more cocaine, the port said.
12:15 PM CDT
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas will participate in a media availability about his vision for the agency and current initiatives
USCIS District Office
2424 Edenborn Ave.