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Leaving Government But Not the Mission – Saull Departs Capitol Hill

Bradley Saull recently announced that he was leaving the House Homeland Security Committee staff, where he has worked for the past two years, to join the Professional Services Council. He may be leaving the government, but thank goodness he is not leaving the homeland security mission.

Confederate Flag is No Better Than Nazi and ISIS Banners

After last week’s horrific terrorist attack on the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, there is widespread discussion about whether to take down the Confederate flag that flies outside the South Carolina Capitol Building. Today, terrorists have claimed the rebel banner as their own, and for that and other reasons, it should never fly again, particularly on public land.

The “T” Word – America’s Terrorist Dilemma After Charleston

Last week, there was yet another ideologically motivated attack in America, complete with a manifesto and racist, symbol-laden photos posted to the Internet. The shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston is a textbook example of homegrown violent extremism (HVE).

Why is South Carolina Shooting a Hate Crime and Not Terrorism?

On Wednesday, a shooter entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing 9 people who had gathered for Bible study. The FBI has classified the attack as a “hate crime.” Why has this horrific attack been immediately characterized as a hate crime and not as an act of terrorism?

Inconsistent Wait Time Data from DHS

DHS needs a uniform policy across all components on disseminating high quality, objective data that provides utility to all who use it. The data needs to be transparent and reproducible. With regards to the collecting and posting of wait times, much work is still needed across at least three agencies: CBP, TSA and USCIS.

Understanding ISIS Through the Lens of Early Islam

By Dr. Doron Pely
Those following the evolution and expansion of ISIS over the past few years find themselves often bewildered by the pace and rate of success demonstrated by a supposedly young, inexperienced band of ideologues. Yet, the similarity is uncanny between what is happening now with ISIS and what happened 1,400 years ago, as Mohammad founded Islam and set about consolidating and expanding the power and reach of the new religion.

Fixing the TSA FOIA Request Backlog with Risk Taking

There were about 160,000 unanswered FOIA requests in 2014, with the Department of Homeland Security accounting for 65%. The federal government has a culture of risk aversion, but there are four reasons why taking a smart risk in answering FOIA requests would be good for TSA and other agencies.

Growing Threat from Homegrown Violent Extremism in US

The United States faces a range of terrorist threats. Foreign terrorist organizations pose a grave threat to U.S. security, but even as we are looking outside American borders, we must not forget the persistent threat from homegrown violent extremism. Security Debrief contributor Dr. Erroll Southers recently gave a TedX Talk on this ongoing threat from domestic terrorism.

After TSA Fails IG Red Team Test, Accountability at DHS

As much as I like Mel Carraway, it is difficult to disagree with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s decision to reassign Carraway, the (now former) acting TSA Administrator. The news reports of an Inspector General (IG) investigation finding serious problems in TSA screening processes were difficult to ignore. A good man – one whom I am 100% convinced does not condone sloppy security procedures – was sacrificed to set an example to the rest of the agency.

Is It Possible To Have A Congressional Hearing “Do-Over?”

This week, the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies held a hearing: “Examining DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s Engagement with Academia and Industry.” The committee members all but ignored what is actually going on in DHS S&T, and their myopia was encouraged by three witnesses who appeared to be accomplices to the debacle rather than advisors on how to understand the problems and fix them. How can you have a hearing about “engagement with academia” and not one time mention the S&T Directorate’s Office of University Programs?