After two decades of pouring resources and technology into patrolling the U.S. border with Mexico, there are encouraging signs that Congress is about to start asking the right question: what exactly have we bought for all that money? But the administration is continuing to drag its heels. A May 8 hearing of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security was intended to provide some answers to the critical question of how to assess progress along the border.
May 9th, 2012 - by Edward Alden
May 3rd, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
Since the Obama campaign’s commercial heralding the President’s decision to launch the Bin Laden mission, people from all political corners have either cheered or jeered it. His detractors accuse the President of “spiking the football” and over-politicizing a decision that he said he himself said should not be politicized. For as honorable as the President’s spoken intentions may have been after Bin Laden’s termination a year ago, they have been abandoned for the very real, pragmatic electoral politics – when you have an advantage in anything, you take it and use it to its utmost.
May 3rd, 2012 - by Steven Bucci
Should President Obama be taking credit for the removal of Usama bin Laden from this mortal realm? The short answer is “yes,” based on the logic that if the mission that got UBL had failed, Obama would have had to take the blame. That said, it is a distorted view to think that nothing was done until before the present Administration arrived, and no one should be credited except President Obama.
May 2nd, 2012 - by James Carafano
It has been almost a year since the death of Osama bin Laden. Though we are right to be proud in dispensing justice to the terrorist mastermind, it is no time to rest on our laurels. Al-Qaeda is weakened and scattered, but this has only led them to adjust their tactics. A particularly worrisome trend is al-Qaeda’s shift toward recruiting homegrown terrorists.
The United States has changed the world in many ways. Our inventions, innovations and enterprising national nature impact people around the world every day, and for decades, one of the biggest feathers in America’s cap was our space program. For those of us who were fortunate enough to be a part of the program, the Shuttle’s final tour of America has been a slow, painful goodbye, but as with all things, the end of one era is also the beginning of another.
April 18th, 2012 - by Wendell Shingler
One of the great things about the United States is that our forefathers wrote and established a timeless Constitution as a cornerstone to the best nation in the world. It is the basis for the best legal system in the world, where citizens are afforded due process. Sadly, there are more and more instances where the press has self-appointed itself judge, jury and even attorney for both sides. What happened to reporting the facts and not opinions? Indeed, many in the press have tried and convicted the Secret Service agents and officers that were in Colombia recently.
April 13th, 2012 - by Janice Kephart
For the past month, the Homeland Security Show I host is spotlighting issues in homeland security without the interlude of media packaging stories into three minute segments or subjected to political hyperbole from Capitol Hill. This is not a show about thrillers, even if some of the content is more twisted and strange than most science fiction. Here is a rundown of my guests and show topics and some of our upcoming broadcasts.
April 9th, 2012 - by Nadav Morag
Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has become an area of growing concern due to the present semi-anarchical situation in an area that has long been problematic in terms of lawlessness. Over the years, the Sinai became a center for international criminal activity that largely involved human trafficking, drugs and military contraband. As the various organizations have become entrenched in the Sinai, and as the ability of the Egyptian state to confront these groups became even more limited as the Mubarak regime tottered and then collapsed, the Sinai has become a truly dangerous place in terms of regional stability.
March 29th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
Despite Defense Department budget cuts and ongoing military operations, pirates in the waters off the coast of Somalia won’t see a decrease in naval military presence any time soon. NATO allies recently agreed to continue through 2014 the Ocean Shield operation – a counter-piracy naval operation off the Horn of Africa protecting merchant ships from pirate attack. This is welcome news to many ship owners and charters, which have seen an increase in the number of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean. The pirate threat and the international response seem only to be escalating.
We need to pay more attention to small but growing Islamist terrorist groups, such as the Caucasus Emirate and Boko Haram. Both organizations are threats to the United States, even if only indirectly at the moment. They seek to attack and weaken our allies, enlist many for their cause, and create fertile breeding grounds for the training of terrorists.
March 26th, 2012 - by Frank Cilluffo
By Frank Cilluffo and Sharon Cardash
On the eve of last week’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing concerning Iran/Hezbollah and the threat to the U.S. homeland, we penned an opinion piece together with our colleague, HSPI Senior Fellow Michael Downing, the Deputy Chief and Commanding Officer of the Counterterrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Here are some important takeaways.
Ten years from now, global water shortages are likely to threaten U.S. security interests. Ask the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency or someone from the Central Intelligence Agency; better yet, read the most recent National Intelligence Estimate. According to a senior U.S. intelligence official who briefed reporters on this issue (on condition of anonymity), there is an increasing likelihood that water will be “potentially used as a weapon, where one state denies access to another.”
On January 31, 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper expressed the intelligence community’s concern about “Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.” Since then, Iran and its primary proxy, Lebanese Hizballah, have carried out a string of terrorist plots abroad. I recently testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security on the significance of these events; it is no longer clear that Iran sees carrying out an attack in the United States as crossing a red line.
March 19th, 2012 - by Robert Blitzer
When something like the attacks in France happen, clearly enhanced measures above and beyond normal day to day security operations must be taken by both the Jewish community and our military until the scope of threat posed by these attacks is fully identified, the perpetrators identified and brought to justice. There is just no choice. We can’t think for a minute that other plots are not out there or that some individual will act out unilaterally.
Throughout history, wars have often turned on the success or failure of seizing the high ground. Waterloo, Gettysburg, the Battle of Hastings, D-Day all depended on taking the heights, and the results of these battles changed the tides of wars and history. Today is no different, but the high ground looks much different on the Internet.
I worry that we are sliding toward a “Guns of August” scenario over Tehran’s nuclear program. I worry that rhetoric and potential policy choices may bring about the very outcome we seek to avoid and unleash unforeseen and uncontrollable forces. Stoking this concern is the fact that despite a lack of intelligence suggesting Iran is moving toward weaponization, the chorus of those calling for direct military strikes to interdict such is sounding off with increasing frequency and volume. With this comes the risk that ex ante policy objectives may be getting ahead of both intelligence and strategy.
As the Obama administration continues to try to convince the American people they are securing the borders, their most recent budget request makes clear that “Amnesty by Any Means” remains the consistent mission. The latest installment is buried in the president’s homeland security budget, which includes provisions dotted throughout that, put together, would result in the dismantling of arguably the best border-related program that exists in federal government, US-VISIT, burying its capabilities in two of the most politicized of all government agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.
March 1st, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
President Obama’s recent apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the unintended destruction of Qurans by U.S. military forces has set off a firestorm of action and debate. In Afghanistan, violent protests by those furious at the desecration of the Islamic holy book have killed a number of people and are even suspected as being contributing factors in the recent murders of two U.S. military officers this past week. Many have been critical of the president’s apology, but it brings up the question of whether the President should have apologized in the first place.
February 29th, 2012 - by Joseph Clark
Umar Patek, indicted for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings, sits before five Indonesian judges. After years of being hunted, Patek must account for a campaign of premeditated murder and bomb-making. While his fate may not be as dramatic as that which befell Osama Bin Laden or Anwar al-Awlaki, there are at least three reasons why the result is every bit as important.
February 29th, 2012 - by Matthew Levitt
Al-Qaeda’s finances are at their weakest point in years due to a successful campaign to close off major sources of funding. In an article for the IHS Defense, Security, and Risk Consulting publication, I examine the options left to the group, which is increasingly turning to a model of low-level threats from individuals, rather than spectacular orchestrated attacks.