• Freshman lawmakers receive terrorism briefing

    Last week new members of the U.S. House of Representatives were briefed on the current state of terrorism; their briefing warned that while al Qaeda had been disrupted it was still a dangerous organization; al Qaeda is increasingly turning to radicalization of American Muslims to carry out small scale attacks; the briefing also covered the delicate balance between expanded policing powers and civil liberties as Americans want security, yet are highly suspicious of the federal government; in moving forward the briefing urged lawmakers to candidly reassess costly security measures in light of growing fiscal concerns

  • Proposals to enhance lawmakers' security questioned

    Lawmakers have offered many new measures to protect members of Congress from attempts on their lives; some call for better protection of politicians by local law enforcement; Representative Peter King (R-New York) would make it illegal to carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of a federal official; another proposal is to erect a blast shield around the gallery in the House of Representatives and the Senate; critics of these proposals say that at end of the day, none is going to deter a determined assassin bent on killing a public official

  • Lawmakers looking to cash-strapped local police for extra security

    For members of Congress worried about their safety in the wake of the Arizona mass shooting, relying on local law enforcement may not be an option as cutbacks hit cash-strapped police forces; Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illinois) this week proposed additional congressional spending for security at district offices; Rep. Peter King (R-New York) proposed barring people from bringing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a government official; Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) suggested allowing lawmakers to carry weapons inside the Capitol; already, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Heath Shuler (D-North Carolina) announced they are going to step up the frequency with which they carry concealed weapons to district events

  • Move to strengthen Capitol security in wake of Arizona shooting

    Representative Dan Burton (R-Indiana) intends to introduce legislation similar to a measure he presented in 2007 to enclose the House Chamber in a “transparent and substantial material” to prevent people from tossing explosives or shooting onto the floor; since the 1 March 1954 attack on Congress — four Puerto Rican nationalists entered the House visitors’ gallery and fired nineteen shots at members and staff during a vote — and several others involving firearms and explosives, the Capitol has strengthened its security apparatus; it now screens all visitors at an underground security checkpoint located in the Capitol Visitor Center. People who want to watch House and Senate floor proceedings from a visitors’ gallery have to go through an additional set of metal detectors before entering the chamber

  • Rep. Clyburn calls for increased spending on lawmakers' safety

    After the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Representative James Clyburn called for increases in spending to protect lawmakers; the House voted last week to reduce its operating budget by 5 percent; Congressional security officials are currently reviewing security measures and briefing members and their staffers on security

  • Shaken lawmakers weigh additional security measures

    Following the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), more than 800 participants — members of Congress, their spouses, and staffs — take part in a conference call Sunday; the FBI, House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood, and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phil Morse detailed security measures lawmakers and their family members should take both in Washington, D.C. and in their home districts; another security briefing for lawmakers is scheduled for Wednesday; the last time a member of Congress was shot and killed was in 1978, when Representative Leo Ryan (D-California) tried to leave Jonestown, Guyana, with members of Jim Jones’s cult; six members of Congress have been murdered as well as two senators — Huey Long in 1935 and Robert Kennedy in 1968; five members of Congress were injured when Puerto Rican nationalists shot up the House chamber on 21 March 1954

  • Suspected Arizona gunman passed FBI background check

    The alleged shooter of Representative Giffords and eighteen other people in Arizona purchased a firearm legally — and after passing an FBI background check — from Sportsman’s Warehouse’s Tucson store in November; Loughner did not present a concealed weapons permit so he was required to pass an FBI background check, which he did “immediately and without incident,” the company which owns the store says; a DHS memo ties Loughner to the extremist group American Renaissance, which DHS describes as “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic”; the group leader says Loughner had no connection with his group

  • Representative Peter King, incoming Homeland Security Committee chairman

    Representative Peter King (R-New York), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, was interviewed by Homeland Security NewsWire’s editor-in-chief, Ben Frankel; King’s top three priorities as chairman: examine radicalization in the U.S. Muslim community; air cargo security; and measures to prevent the detonation of dirty bombs in American cities

  • King announces 112th Congress' Homeland Security subcommittees, chairmen

    Representative Peter T. King (R-New York), chairman-elect of the House Committee on Homeland Security, announced Monday the homeland security subcommittees for the 112th Congress and his appointments of subcommittee chairmen

  • Congressional cybersecurity leadership after the elections

    If Republicans win both houses of Congress next Tuesday, there will be many changes at the relevant committees regarding the handling of cybersecurity matters; in the Senate, though, changes may be less noticeable — with bills heretofore informally dubbed Lieberman-Collins and Rockefeller-Snowe remaining the same, but with the names reversed

  • House Cybersecurity Caucus launches new Web site

    Billions of dollars are spent on cybersecurity; the House cybersecurity caucus has launched a new Web site, and observers say it could provide a valuable public service if it helps aggregate disparate activities and acts as a Federal cybersecurity information hub

  • Chemical industry spends millions shaping chemical facilities security legislation

    Fourteen parent companies own chemical plants which endanger a large number of people in the United States in the event of an accident or attack on one of their chemical facilities; these 14 parent companies own 163 facilities in 37 different states and Puerto Rico; the facilities owned by The Clorox Company, Kuehne Chemical, and JCI Jones Chemical each put more than 12 million people at risk; these fourteen companies and their affiliated trade associations spent $69,286,198 lobbying the committees with jurisdiction over chemical security legislation in 2008 and 2009; the political action committees (PACs) of these fourteen companies and the PACs of their affiliated trade associations gave $2,187,868 in the 2008 election cycle and the 2010 cycle to date directly to the campaigns of members of the committees of jurisdiction over chemical security legislation

  • All earmarks in 2011 homeland security spending bill go to Democrats -- save one

    There are nearly $70 million worth of earmarks in the proposed $43.9 billion Homeland Security spending bill for 2011; all the earmarks went to Democrats — save one (won by Republican Rep. Joseph Coe of Louisiana); both the number of homeland security earmarks and their total value in dollars are down in the 2011 budget compared to the 2010 budget

  • GSA scraps proposed anti-terrorism training site on Maryland's Eastern Shore

    The administration planned to invest $70 million in building one of the U.S. largest anti-terrorism training center near the town of Ruthsburg on Maryland’s East Shore; stiff opposition from local residents, environmentalists, and Republican in Congress convinced the General Services Administration to scrap the plan

  • Lawmakers to combine cybersecurity bills

    Reforming the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and defining the role of the White House and other agencies are common themes in the many cybersecurity bills now circulating on the Hill