Law Enforcement

  • Female DNA found on Boston bomb fragments

    FBI investigators found female DNA on fragments from the bombs used in the Marathon attack. The finding was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. Mikhail Allakhrdov, a man who some of Tsarnaev’s family members and friends described as the mysterious “Misha” who radicalized Tamerlan, said that he had not been in contact with Tsarnaev for several years, and that he never encouraged him to take up violence. Allakhrdov, a Ukrainian Christian who converted to Islam, admitted that a few years ago he was Tsarnaev’s “spiritual tutor.”

  • Assessing security at schools, houses of worship

    The Office of Infrastructure Protection of DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate will be conducting a virtual roundtable on the topic of “Conducting Security Assessments: A Guide for Schools and Houses of Worship.”

  • California considering lead ammo ban

    Health and environmental advocates are trying to make California the first state to enforce a statewide ban on the use of lead bullets for hunting. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that there are 400,000 pieces of lead shot per acre in wild game territory which can be eaten or washed into rivers and waterways. The USGS also says that 60,000 metric tons of lead fired off last year is the second largest use of lead in the United States behind batteries. The CDC reports that lead is so abundant in meat harvested through hunting, that pregnant woman and children should never eat it. The NRA opposes the ban, saying it could possibly the end of hunting in California.

  • FBI looking for a “person of interest” who may have helped the Tsanaev brothers

    Lawmakers with knowledge of the investigation into the Boston marathon bombing said over the weekend that law enforcement agencies are looking for a “person of interest” who may have been involved with the Tsarnaev brothers in preparing the attack. The lawmakers highlighted the fact that law enforcement agencies are not convinced that the brothers acted alone, without any help of one or two more people.

  • Lawmakers renew effort to reach bipartisan gun control compromise

    Lawmakers have quietly begun discussions over gun control measures, with a bi-partisan group of senators trying to come up with a compromise to solve the differences that led to the failure two weeks ago of a comprehensive overhaul effort.

  • Jewish Security Summit discusses communal safety

    Leaders from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and other Jewish organizations gathered last week at the first Jewish Communal Security Summit in New York to strategize with top experts in the field how best to keep the community safe.Security providers from around the country had a chance to learn about best practices in threat assessment and response in the current climate.

  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name was on U.S. terror watchlist since 2011

    In March 2011, after being contacted by the Russian security services, the CIA added the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. government’s terror watchlist. DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said that Tamerlan’s travel to Dagestan, and his arrival back in the United States, were “pinged” by the department. Leading lawmakers have raised questions about whether the U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement agencies have dropped the ball on the Tsarnaev brothers.

  • Critics say drones make little contribution to border security

    A new report says that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) drones are a wasteful giveaway to defense contractors and a threat to civil liberties. The report cites CBP own figures, the contribution drones make to border security is minimal. According to CBP calculations, drones have played a role in only 0.003 percent in drug seizure and 0.001 percent in illegal border crossing apprehensions.

  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had no firearms, explosives with him when captured

    More details have emerged to shed light on the last few hours before 19-year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding on a boat in Watertown, Massachusetts. Tsarnaev had no weapons or explosives with him in the boat where he was hiding. Boston police officers say that the heavy fire directed at the boat was probably the result of chaos of the moment. In a tense and charged atmosphere, one accidental shot could have caused what police call “contagious fire.” Tsarnaev sustained severe injuries, some of them to his neck and lower jaw, preventing him from talking. This led to rumors in the press that he tried to take his own life, but failed. We now know that he could not have tried to take his life because he had no firearms with him on the boat.

  • Deportations go on while immigration reform debate continues

    The Obama administration has continued to deport illegal immigrants even as the fight over immigration reform goes on. President Obama has said his administration will not stop deportation orders until immigration reform has been passed, but immigration reform advocates say the administration should stop deporting immigrants who would be eligible for the path to citizenship under the terms of the Gang of Eight immigration overhaul bill.

  • Akron University professor teaches students on how to spot terrorist plots

    Professor David Licate, a professor at the University of Akron, wants his students to be aware of those who may be buying bomb-making materials. In his class last Friday, Licate stressed to his homeland security course students that the community needs to look out for warning signs or suspicious behavior in an effort to prevent future tragedies.

  • Lawmakers want to learn more about the 2011 FBI investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

    Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Representative Peter King (R-New York), the former chairman of the committee, sent a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking answers about the Tamerlan Tsarnaev investigation by the FBI.In 2011, Russian security authorities requested that the FBI question Tsarnaev on suspicion that he was affiliated with Islamic Chechen insurgents, but after interviewing Tsarnaev and doing a background check, the FBI concluded there was not enough to justify continuing tracking of cTamerlan.

  • FBI releases images of bombing suspects

    See video

    The FBI yesterday released videos and photographs of two young men, saying both are suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. The agency warned that the two suspects should be regarded as armed and dangerous. The FBI was also analyzing cellphone tower records to identify positive hits for signs of calls which may have been placed to trigger both explosions remotely. Investigators are also interested in a battery believed to be used in one of the bombs. The battery was likely purchased with a remote control toy and then extracted so it could be used in the bomb. That could potentially make it easier to zero in on a suspect.

  • DHS cuts funds for programs aiming to prevent a McVeigh-like fertilizer bombing attacks

    Timothy McVeigh used two tons of fertilizer and $3,000 of racing fuel to detonate a bomb outside the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The blast killed 168 people. The Obama administration is currently not allocating money or resources to preventing fertilizer bombing attacks like the one McVeigh used, according to a former DHS official with direct knowledge of the department’s budgeting and operations.

  • Wife of former judge accuses husband of Texas prosecutor killings

    The investigation into the murders of two prosecutors in Texas has taken a strange twist. The wife of a former justice of the peace has come forward, admitting she was involved in the murders of Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia McLelland, and Mark Hasse, who worked in McLelland’s office.