• Two politicians insisting on more congressional oversight of DHS

    The lawmakers who support the proposed DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act, authored by Representative Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina), are doing exactly what they were sent to Washington to do: they are attempting to provide fiscal oversight over one of our largest federal agencies. Hopefully, politicians on both sides of the aisle will join Representatives Duncan and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in passing legislation forcing DHS to use tax payer money in the most efficient ways possible, including demanding contractors meet the terms of their contracts, not rewarding contractors who have a record of poor performance, and completing their security-related projects in a timely manner.

  • Identifying, thwarting insider threats before they do damage

    Researchers argue that one way to identify and predict potential insider threats even before these individuals begin to do damage like stealing and leaking sensitive information, is by using Big Data to monitor changes in behavior patterns. Researchers at PARC, for example, found that individuals who exhibit sudden decrease in participation in group activity, whether in a game like World of Warcraft or corporate e-mail communications, are likely to withdraw from the organization. A withdrawal represents dissatisfaction with the organization, a common trait of individuals who are likely to engage in insider security breaches.

  • John Sandweg, acting ICE director, leaves post after five months

    John Sandweg, the acting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on Friday informed agency employees hat he was leaving his post, to which he was appointed by Janet Napolitano last August. Sandweg, an Arizona criminal defense attorney who knew Napolitano from her days in Arizona politics, came to Washington with her when she was became DHS secretary. His appointment to head ICE, the country’s second-largest law enforcement agency, was received with some surprise because his lack of law enforcement experience.

  • Federal, state chemical safety agencies increasingly hampered by budget cuts

    The budgets of state and federal agencies tasked with responding to the Elk River chemical spill have recently been cut, and these cuts have limited these agencies’ ability to prevent or respond to disasters such as the water crisis in West Virginia. “We do less,” said a CDC financial official, when asked the results of cuts. “What [the CDC director] has often been quoted as saying is that threats are not going down and so it is concerning to not be able to grow with the public health threats.”

  • CBP flew its drones on behalf of other agencies

    The U.S. Customs and Border Protection(CBP) operates the largest drone fleet in the United States. The Defense Departmenthas a much larger fleet, but it is prohibited from operating its drones in the United States for law enforcement missions. The FAA is working on opening U.S. skies for public and commercial drone traffic, but for now CBP is the only agency permitted to operate drones on a daily basis within the nation’s borders. Released documents show that agencies not allowed to operate drones borrowed them from CBP.

  • House bill cuts $200 million from DHS headquarters project

    The House yesterday (Wednesday) approved a spending measure which would reduce funding for a new DHS headquarters in Southeast Washington by about $200 relative to the funds requested by the agencies overseeing that project for 2014. DHS, created in 2003, is the third largest government department, and it operates out of fifty different facilities located in Washington, D.C. and neighboring states. In 2008 Congress approved the establishment of a single DHS campus on the grounds of St. Elizabeth’s, a former government-run mental hospital in Anacostia. The project has been hobbled by delays and cost overruns.

  • NY DHS chief uses handgun’s laser sighting device as laser pointer during presentation

    On 24 October, Jerome Hauer, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s director of homeland security, made a presentation to Swedish emergency officials about New York State’s preparations for man-made and natural disasters. At some point during the presentation, Hauer wanted to use a laser pointer to highlight an item on a map of New York displayed on the wall behind him, but could not find the pointer. Instead, he pulled a loaded 9-millimeter Glock, which he always carries with him, and used the handgun’s laser sighting device to highlight the item.

  • Acting DHS IG, under investigation, steps down

    Charles K. Edwards, the embattled DHS acting inspector general, yesterday stepped down from his position and took another job in the department. Edwards was under investigation after allegations emerged that he misused his office and softened reports to keep from embarrassing the Obama administration. Late last month, the White House nominated John Roth, a criminal investigator at the Food and Drug Administration, to become the permanent inspector general.

  • Senate confirms Jeh Johnson as new DHS secretary

    Democrats yesterday (Monday) used the newly established lower threshold for ending filibusters to assure Senate confirmation of Jeh Johnson, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be DHS secretary. The Democrats, on a 57-37 vote, ended GOP procedural efforts to block Johnson before the Senate, minutes later, confirmed him on a 78-16 vote.

  • DHS fires Black supremacist employee

    DHS has fired Ayo Kimathi, the militant Black supremacist employee, after placing him on paid leave four months ago in order to conduct an administrative review of his conduct. Kimathi, who used to work in the procurement specialist at ICE, runs a Web site in which, among other racist rants, he calls for the mass killing of White people, describes President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and other successful African Americans as “black-skinned Uncle Tom race traitors,” and says that a woman’s primary role in life should be to “keep a strong Black man happy.”

  • Obama chooses John Roth for DHS IG

    The DHS Inspector General post has been vacant since early 2011, when Richard Skinner retired. Lawmakers say they welcome President Obama’s nomination of John Roth for the position. Roth has held different positions at the Department of Justice, and since last year has served as the head of the Food and Drug Administration’s office of criminal investigations. The inspector general’s office is currently headed by Charles Edwards, who has been under investigation for alleged improprieties, including complaints that he violated anti-nepotism rules by employing his wife as a supervisory auditor and changed audit findings in response to political pressure. Lawmakers have called on him to resign.

  • Government agencies recognized for engagement with industry

    The Washington Homeland Security Roundtable (WHSR) established the Industry Engagement Awards to recognize exceptional efforts by government agencies to collaborate, engage, and partner with industry. Last year, WHSR recognized both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Border Patrol for their engagement and programs with industry through WHSR. At their upcoming 4 December holiday reception, WHSR will again recognize various government leaders of DHS component agencies for their contributions to partnering and engaging with industry.

  • DHS employee calling for mass killing of White people still on DHS payroll

    Ayo Kimathi, a black-nationalist who works as a procurement officer for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE), is calling for “ethnic cleansing” of “black-skinned Uncle Tom race traitors,” and says that “in order for Black people to survive the 21st century, we are going to have to kill a lot of whites — more than our Christian hearts can possibly count.” He was placed on administrative leave three months ago, but still receives his DHS paycheck. “DHS should be tracking Kimathi, not employing him,” Josh Glasstetter of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says. “This isn’t a mundane human resources matter or a tricky First Amendment question. DHS should have investigated and fired Kimathi months, or even years, ago.”

  • DHS: conspiracy theories about DHS purchases unequivocally false

    Conspiracy theorists have pointed to several DHS solicitations for gear and ammunition as “proof” that the department is in the process of creating, training, and equipping a secret force, the purpose of which would be to suppress public dissent – or worse: one blogger wrote that “Another possible conclusion [regarding DHS’s ammo purchases] is that the bullets are intended to coerce and, if need be, kill us.” DHS flatly rejects these conspiratorial assertions as unequivocally false, saying that each and every purchase is in line with past purchases and in support of on-going, legitimate, and transparent departmental operations.

  • Unjustified overtime pay routinely used by DHS employees

    A report by the Federal Office of Special Counsel (OSC) offers details of what it calls a “gross waste of government funds” and a “profound and entrenched problem”: illegally claimed overtime by DHS employees. The practice, which may add up to 25 percent to an employee’s paycheck, has become so routine that it is often promoted as a perk when managers try to recruit new employees.