• Terrorist recruitment in the United States

    In a report submitted to House Homeland Security Committee hearings yesterday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says that since the 9/11 attacks, a growing number of American citizens and residents motivated by radical interpretations of Islam have been involved in plots and conspiracies against American interests at home and abroad

  • Cybersecurity legislation passes House Committee

    Last week new cybersecurity legislation cleared its first obstacle passing through the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee; the bill would authorize the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish standards across federal agencies as well as research and education

  • The TSA-Chaffetz skirmish: The latest round

    In the past ten days we have witnessed an intense legal-political skirmish between DHS and two of its staunchest critics on the Hill — Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Darrell Issa (R-California); at issue is information that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had given the subcommittee headed by Chaffetz ahead of hearings the subcommittee was to hold on airport security; Chaffetz released the information in some of these documents to the press a day before the hearings, then repeated the information in his open-to-the-public opening statement; DHS angrily charged that in revealing the information, Chaffetz had violated the law

  • DHS chastises Chaffetz for disclosing sensitive information

    Last week, DHS officials chastised Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) for disclosing sensitive security information to the press; in a letter, Joseph Maher, DHS’s deputy counsel, scolded Chaffetz, the chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations, for openly discussing “sensitive security information” provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); the letter comes in response to Chaffetz’s comments last week that revealed that there have been more than 25,000 security breaches at U.S. airports since November 2001

  • Mica says TSA needs more independence from DHS

    According to Representative John Mica (R-Florida), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needs more independence from DHS so that it may operate more efficiently; in an interview with Bloomberg, Mica, the chairman of the House Transportation committee said, TSA should be given “the authority to whack and hack some of the bad out”

  • Mica cuts 40 percent from House transportation spending

    Last Thursday, Representative John Mica (R-Florida) unveiled the House Transportation Reauthorization bill which would allocate $230 billion to infrastructure projects over the next six years; the bill has generated fierce criticism as it would cut transportation spending for America’s roadways by nearly 40 percent

  • Lawmakers introduce raft of border security bills

    Border security continues to be a hot political issue, and lawmakers of both houses and both parties introduce a raft of new border security-related bills; the bills range from a measure to establish health care services along the U.S.-Mexico border to a proposal to educate border patrol agents about child trafficking to a bill calling for compensation to border counties for high level of undocumented aliens relying on county services

  • House introduces new biological weapons legislation

    Last Thursday lawmakers from the House Homeland Security Committee unveiled new legislation designed to help bolster federal efforts to prevent bioterror attacks and the use of other weapons of mass destruction.; under the proposed bill, a new special assistant to the president for biodefense would be created; the bill is called the “WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2011” and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) says he plans to introduce a similar piece of legislation in the Senate soon

  • Unions rally against proposed TSA cuts

    The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) is rallying against two proposed amendments that would cut the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) budget and limit its employees’ collective bargaining rights; the union is urging the Senate to reject the two amendments in the 2012 DHS budget that the House passed; the amendment to cut $300 million from TSA’s budget comes as part of a broader turf war between two House Republican chairmen

  • Fate of chemical security bill uncertain

    Late last month the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation to extend federal regulations designed to keep chemical plants safe from terrorist attacks, but the bill’s ultimate passage is far from guaranteed; the bill that was recently passed is one of two competing House proposal — the proposals each envisions a different congressional panel monitoring chemical plant safety — and it is unclear which will make it to the floor for debate; in addition, many Democrats and some northeastern Republicans want the extension of the bill to be tied to toughening its language; further to examine what DHS is doing to secure the U.S. chemical facilities from terrorist attack, ASIS is hosting a panel on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) at ASIS annual conference in Orlando, Florida

  • U.S. lawmakers want reconsideration of massive aid to Pakistan

    U.S. lawmakers and policy makers are expressing growing exasperation with Pakistan over its attitude toward Islamic terrorism; Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) plans to introduce legislation this week to freeze U.S. aid to Pakistan “unless the State Department can certify to Congress that Pakistan was not harboring America’s number one enemy”; Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) similarly called for more information on what Pakistan knew before they can receive the $3 billion in foreign aid requested for Pakistan in 2012, and potentially more in additional military funding; John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, said it is “inconceivable” to think bin Laden did not have a support system

  • Senate holds Muslim civil rights hearings

    Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) recently presided over a Senate hearing exploring Muslim civil rights; Durbin said that the goal of the hearings was to show that most Muslim Americans “are patriotic, law abiding people who simply want to live their life as we do”; witnesses said that anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise; from 2008 to 2009 25 percent of all complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were Muslim bias-based; Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) said he was perplexed by the need to hold specific hearings on Muslim civil rights citing the fact that most religious hate crimes in the United states are committed against Jewish people

  • Senate holds Muslim civil rights hearings

    Senator Dick Durbin (D - Illinois) recently presided over a Senate hearing exploring Muslim civil rights; Durbin said that the goal of the hearings was to show that most Muslim Americans “are patriotic, law abiding people who simply want to live their life as we do”; witnesses said that anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise; from 2008 to 2009 25 percent of all complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were Muslim bias-based; Senator Jon Kyl (R - Arizona) said he was perplexed by the need to hold specific hearings on Muslim civil rights citing the fact that most religious hate crimes in the United states are committed against Jewish people

  • Senate proposes new $10 billion "infrastructure bank"

    Several U.S. Senators are pushing for the creation of a $10 billion “infrastructure bank” to spur investment in new infrastructure and to repair America’s rapidly aging roads, power grids, and bridges; the bill could attract as much as $640 billion in private investment over the next ten years; the Obama administration has proposed a similar plan; the bank would be self-sustaining as it is not allowed to finance more than 50 percent of a project’s costs; this bill faces an uncertain future given the current Congressional budget climate

  • Lawmakers want cars equipped with alcohol detection devices

    A bill sponsored by nine U.S. senators would provide $60 million over five years to speed up research into devices to detect alcohol on a driver’s breath, through touch on the steering wheel or through other methods; car owners could select the option when buying a new vehicle; the device would prevent the car from starting if the driver is impaired