• Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus

    The roots of the nation’s current inability to control the pandemic can be traced to mid-April, when the White House embraced overly rosy projections to proclaim victory and move on. What is more, Michael D. Shear, Noah Weiland, Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman, and David E. Sanger write in the New York Times, members of the corona crisis group, meeting in the office of Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff every morning at 8:00am, saw their immediate role as practical problem solvers, but their ultimate goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic – which was becoming a public health, economic, and political disaster — from the White House to the states.

  • Who Is Watching the Border Patrol?

    Since 2016 the Border Patrol (BP) has become highly politicized, even as the organization continues to be plagued by institutional violence and corruption at all levels. A closer examination of these federal agents and officers in green now highlights their extraordinary legal powers and reach. This is worrisome: In these challenging times, the BP is especially ill-prepared for more mission creep, nor are we ready for it. The Border Patrol is a loose cannon requiring immediate accountability and oversight by our elected representatives.

  • DHS Authorizes Domestic Surveillance to Protect Statues and Monuments

    You might not imagine that the U.S. intelligence community would have much stake in local protests over monuments and statues, Steve Vladeck and Benjamin Wittes write, but you’d be wrong. An unclassified DHS memo, provided to Lawfare, makes clear that the authorized intelligence activity by DHS personnel covers significantly more than protecting federal personnel or facilities. It appears to also include planned vandalism of Confederate (and other historical) monuments and statues, whether federally owned or not. “[W]e do not accept that graffiti and vandalism are remotely comparable threats to the homeland [as attacks on federal buildings] — or that they justify this kind of federal response even if, in the right circumstances, such activity would technically constitute a federal crime,” Vladeck and Wittes conclude.

  • Boogaloo Followers Charged with Seeking to Exploit Protests in Las Vegas to Incite Violence

    The District of Nevada’s U.S. Attorney’s Office announced charges against three followers of the far-right, anti-government Boogaloo movement for trying to use the Floyd protests in Las Vegas as cover for inciting violence and causing destruction with improvised incendiary devices. The prosecutors said that the goal of the three was similar to other instances of Boogaloo followers’ provocations in other cities: “hijacked peaceful protests and demonstrations across the country, including Nevada, exploiting the real and legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death for their own radical agendas.”

  • Crisis Government

    Henry Kissinger once quipped: “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” That was back in the 1960s, when it appeared that responding to crises required the government to take a break from its ongoing work. Philip Wallach writes in National Affairs that when we step back and regard 21st-century American politics, we ought to see that the crisis responses are not “anomalous,” but rather that they vastly exceed the “normal” actions of the government in terms of importance. “This change of perspective compels us to reject the idea that polarization is the defining feature of our era, and we must reassess our understanding of the American political system’s capacities and infirmities accordingly. The overall picture is still a negative one, of course, but for reasons that differ from those we are used to hearing about.”

  • U Nevada-Reno’s programs Designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD)

    The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) co-sponsor Centers for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD). The aim of the program is to ensure cyber defense professionals graduate from institutions of higher education with theoretical and hands-on experience in cybersecurity. After a rigorous review process, the University of Nevada-Reno’s B.S. in computer science with a minor in cybersecurity was recently designated a CAE-CD.

  • Ensuring Safety of Migrants at the U.S. Borders

    Every day, undocumented migrants attempt to enter the U.S. between the ports of entry, specifically at our southwest border. Oftentimes, they face life-threatening circumstances. They are miles away from shelter, food, and water; exposed to harsh terrain and drastic changes in temperature; and lack the means to receive help if they need it. To better monitor migrant activity and provide life-saving aid when needed, ICE and DHS S&T collaborated to implement the Missing Migrants Program.

  • Congress Should Investigate the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response

    Charlie Martel, who in 2008-2009 led the staff of a bipartisan Senate investigation of the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, writes that “Today, as with Katrina, the nation is faced with a deeply flawed federal response to an ongoing crisis with catastrophic consequences on a historic scale.” He adds: “Having apparently discarded the careful pandemic planning it inherited, the Trump administration has no evident strategy guiding its response to the complex crises created by the coronavirus. Administration statements and decisions have been impulsive, contradictory and in some instances dangerous. Congressional oversight is necessary to review the federal response and correct it where necessary.”

  • Department of Homeland Security Law Enforcement Agencies Require Expanded Oversight

    Hundreds of Department of Homeland Security officers have been called up to serve along with other federal law enforcement officers and the National Guard to provide security within the District of Columbia. The question is whether the deployed officers are adequately trained and prepared for the current tense environment. “Repurposing law enforcement officers to work in a tense civic moment is not as easy as it might sound,” Carrie Cordero writes. If they are not well prepared, “the consequences can range from the embarrassing to the dangerous.”

  • COVID Slows Central America-U.S. Migration

    From March to April, when the U.S. began to lock down, total apprehensions along its southern border dropped by 50 percent, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Apprehensions and expulsions have plummeted, going from 109,415 in April 2019 to just 16,789 in April 2020.

  • Iran Warns U.S. of “Firm Response” over Interference against Venezuela-Bound Fuel Tankers

    Iran has warned the United States against conducting “piracy” in the Caribbean as five Iranian tankers laden with fuel sail toward Venezuela. The tankers’ voyage comes as a senior U.S. official told Reuters on May 14 that the United States was considering what action it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

  • Crisis Exposes How America Has Hollowed Out Its Government

    The government’s halting response to the coronavirus pandemic represents the culmination of chronic structural weaknesses, years of underinvestment and political rhetoric that has undermined the public trust — conditions compounded by President Trump’s open hostility to a federal bureaucracy that has been called upon to manage the crisis. Dam Balz writes that “The nation is reaping the effects of decades of denigration of government and also from a steady squeeze on the resources needed to shore up the domestic parts of the executive branch.”

  • The Most Remarkable Part of Rick Bright's Testimony

    The most remarkable part of Rick Bright’s testimony: His claims about the government’s lack of COVID-19 preparedness went largely uncontested, even by the president’s allies. Russell Berman writes in The Atlantic that it was a single, salty sentence that first made Rick Bright realize a pandemic crisis was coming: “We’re in deep shit.” Those four words, punctuated by the profanity, also neatly summarize Bright’s stark message to Congress over the course of his four-hour testimony: The United States dropped the ball early in the pandemic, and it remains woefully unprepared for the painful months to come. “Lives were endangered,” he said, “and I believe lives were lost.” Without a significantly improved federal response, Bright told lawmakers, “2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.”

  • Studying Ideologically Motivated Cyberattacks

    A John Jay College of Criminal Justice project on cyberterrorism is one of 13 selected by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center, a new DHS Center of Excellence. The John Jay project will study and aggregate ideologically motivated cyberattacks and will create a new, unique dataset – the Cyber-Extremist Crime Database (Cyber-ECDB) – which will track ideologically motivated cyberattacks against U.S. targets from 1998 to present.

  • “A Crippling Blow to America’s Prestige”: The Government Struggles to Meet the Moment

    The global coronavirus crisis crashed into the United States in Washington state in January and quickly brought the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world to its knees. Ben White writes that, so far, the federal response has been too small in scope and short on creative solutions to meet the greatest challenge since the Second World War. “The United States was once known for its can-do culture. We built the Panama Canal and we put a man on the moon,” said historian Douglas Brinkley of Rice University. “And now we can’t get a swab or a face mask or a gown and we have no real chain of command. And we have two Americas, a Republican one and a Democratic one, and they won’t collaborate. We are not leading in the pandemic response, we are trailing other countries by a long shot. This is a crippling blow to America’s prestige around the world.”