• 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

  • DHS seizes ancient Egyptian relics in smuggling bust

    Last Thursday DHS officials made an announcement that seemed more fitting for a Hollywood movie — agents had broken up an antiques smuggling ring that had illegally shipped ancient Egyptian artifacts to the United States; among the confiscated goods was a sarcophagus that dated back to the seventh century B.C.

  • Airport explosive detection machines not up to regulation

    A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reveals that airports around the United States have failed to meet federal requirements for explosives detection systems and government regulators have done little to enforce them

  • Animal kingdom's alternatives to full-body scanners

    A typical full-body scanner costs upward of $150,000, and critics maintain that for this high price-tag we get a detection system which is not fool-proof and which may be risky for our health; they point out that experience in IED diction in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that dogs are superior to scanners in detecting explosives — and that they are much cheaper ($8,500 for a dog plus training) and do not pose any health risk; some researchers say that mice and bees are even better bomb sniffers than dogs

  • 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”

  • TSA could begin searching for explosives hidden inside you

    Government intelligence officials are now warning airlines that terrorists could be using surgically implanted explosives to bypass security measures; there is no information regarding a specific plot or threat, but airlines could begin to implement additional screening procedures as the current body scanners cannot effectively detect bombs hidden inside an individual; last year, al Qaeda operatives in Iraq implanted two dogs with explosives, but the dogs died before they could loaded onto a U.S.-bound plane

  • Lapses in airport security spark concern

    Representative Pete King (R-New York), the House Homeland Security Committee chair, is blasting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for two recent lapses in screening procedures at airports; a Nigerian man flew across the country using an expired boarding pass without TSA agents noticing; in a separate incident, a passenger boarded a flight without having their boarding pass checked; Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) is pushing for TSA to adopt technology that would allow security officials to scan ID documents to minimize fraud

  • Stopping terrorists from using fake IDs at airports

    Steve Williams, the CEO of Intellicheck Mobilisa, a technology company that develops wireless identity systems, was recently interviewed by Homeland Security NewsWire’s executive editor Eugene Chow; Williams discusses the ease with which criminals and terrorists use false documents to travel, how pervasive the problem is, and solutions to help stop it

  • New airport scanner can detect liquid explosives

    Passengers boarding airplanes could soon be walking through security checkpoints carrying liquids once more thanks to a high tech scanner capable of detecting liquid explosives; the device, developed by U.K. based Kromek, is capable of identifying dangerous liquids within seconds and does not require the container to be opened

  • FAA studies general aviation airports

    There are 368 primary airports in the United States — and 2,950 nonprimary, or general aviation, airports; the FAA is now studying the roles and functions of these general aviation airports; general aviation airports provide a variety of functions, ranging from access for emergency medical services, disaster relief, aerial firefighting, law enforcement, and border control to agricultural functions, flight training, charter passenger and time-sensitive air cargo services, among others

  • Bomb-proof bag for planes' luggage compartment developed

    The blast-absorbing bag, named the Fly-Bag, features multiple layers of novel fabrics, composites, and coatings and is designed to be filled with passenger luggage and then placed in the hold of a plane; if one of the pieces of luggage inside the Fly-Bag had a bomb in it and the bomb exploded during the flight, the resulting blast would be absorbed by the bag owing to its complex fabric structure, preventing damage to the plane; fundamental to the design of the bag is the internal elastomeric coating and impregnation of fabric with Shear Thickening Fluids (STF); STFs work by increasing in viscosity in response to impact

  • Documents reveal TSA ignored dangers of body scanners

    The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) says that is has official documents that reveal the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) deliberately ignored warnings that airport body scanners pose a health risk; the internal documents and email exchanges show that TSA officials brushed aside concerns that employees raised after noticing that a large number of workers had cancer, strokes, and heart disease after working near the body scanners

  • Elderly woman forced to fly without adult diaper

    A 95-year old woman dying of leukemia was planning on flying from Florida to her native Michigan so she could spend the last months of her life closer to her family cemetery plot; she was subjected to a 45-minute security examination at a Florida airport; two female agents discovered that the wheel-chair bound woman was wearing a Depend adult diaper, and insisted that unless the diaper was removed, the woman would not be allowed to fly

  • TSA hopes to limit child patdowns

    On Wednesday the head of Transportation security Administration (TSA) said the agency was working to make security screening procedures less intrusive for small children; airport screeners will be instructed to make repeated attempts to screen children using electronic methods; the agency hopes that this will limit, but not eliminate, the number of children receiving pat downs

  • EU lawyers say U.S. – EU plans air passenger database illegal

    A British newspaper has obtained a confidential government document that reveals a legal opinion stating that the U.S.-EU air passenger database plan is “not compatible with fundamental rights” ; DHS and European officials had reached an agreement to share the personal information of passengers including credit card numbers, travel plans, birth dates, and addresses