At an airport security checkpoint last week, a TSA officer guided a 95-year-old cancer patient to a private room to investigate “something suspicious on her leg.” It turned out to be a wet adult diaper, which she was asked to remove. TSA offered no apology and stood by protocol. This was another missed opportunity. Sometimes, even when we do the “right” thing, we should apologize. Instead, we now have a “viral” episode that places another brick on the wall between the public and the security agencies charged with protecting them.
Ideology and Public Diplomacy
April 25th, 2011 - by David Olive
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has been making numerous public appearances throughout the country. I applaud Secretary Napolitano’s efforts communicating with the public, but what I do not understand is that among her many domestic travel destinations, Napolitano has never visited the one place Arizona where DHS has made a major investment – the area where the “SBInet” technology has been deployed and is currently being used with great success.
Peter King’s Homeland Security hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” convinced me to prepare this post about an initiative established in the DHS/ICE Special Agent in Charge office in New York City. From my perspective, the meetings were productive because they allowed ICE and Muslim communities to speak openly about initiatives, procedures and concerns about profiling.
March 9th, 2011 - by Chris Battle
We’ve got anti-Muslim accusations. We’ve got anti-American accusations. We’ve got anti-Peter King accusations. We’ve got charges of bigotry, racism and religious intolerance. We’ve got a New York Times magazine writer asserting that “America is a tinderbox of prejudice and fear.” In short, we’ve got a lot of hysteria.
At the height of the 1988 Presidential campaign, George H. W. Bush stood at the podium of the Republican National Convention and uttered: “Read my lips, no new taxes!” Now, fast forward to 2000, where a young Senator from Illinois (Barack Obama) promised to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. After two years in office, reality sets in. Bush couldn’t hold back new taxes, and now Obama can’t close Guantanamo. Reality bites, and this is one of those times for Barack Obama.
March 3rd, 2011 -
Like any movement that spans continents and has millions of affiliates, the global Muslim Brotherhood is hardly a monolithic block. Personal and ideological divisions are common. Divergences emerge on how the movement should try to achieve its goals and, in some cases, even on what those goals should actually be.
March 3rd, 2011 - by Steven Bucci
The Supreme Court decision to uphold the right of the members of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at the funerals of fallen service members reminds us: Even hurtful speech is protected. As a career Army Officer, what these protesters do at ceremonies personally sickens and angers me, but I thank God that I can be counted as a U.S. citizen, and I am glad I was willing to lay down my life so the Westboro Baptist crowd can desecrate the memory of my comrades.
February 28th, 2011 - by Rich Cooper
Countries in the Middle East that have been ruled for decades by one person and their respective families and close allies have found their grips on power disappearing. The sheer brutality of these men and their regimes is well documented, but it is more than interesting to watch the actions of the teetering dictators as they look to hold onto what power they have. For all of their faults and countless sins for which these despots must ultimately answer, we know one thing is for sure – their egos remove them from any sense of reality, and when that happens, leadership fails.
February 16th, 2011 - by L. Vance Taylor
GreenPeace wasted little time showing off its true colors last Friday when the group’s legislative director, Rick Hind, decided to protest during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on chemical security. Waving flip-flops over his head, Rick managed to interrupt the hearing and wag the proverbial middle finger to the water sector. The fact is, GreenPeace is less concerned about chemical security than they are about just banning chlorine.
Today’s unexpected news that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) is departing the US House of Representatives to take over as the new Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center is a tremendous blow to the Congress and in particular House Democrats. By far one of the most powerful and influential voices on national security, homeland security and intelligence matters, Harman has been one of the real leaders in the Congress on all of these issues and has not been afraid to speak her peace regardless of whose feathers she might ruffle.
February 1st, 2011 - by Justin Hienz
The protests that began last week in Egypt are ongoing, and today brings what has been dubbed a “million man march” on the capital city, Cairo. With the Egyptian Army’s statement that it will not fire on its own people, President Hosni Mubarak’s fate appears to be sealed. If the United States was concerned about an al Qaeda threat from Yemen – and it should be – our current security concerns should be increasing exponentially, and not only because of al Qaeda. The terrorist ideology has taken flight and morphed into the lethal threat of transnational terrorism.
January 31st, 2011 - by Wendell Shingler
What is going on in this country? I see that TSA and Secretary Napolitano are being sued for doing their jobs. One-time wrestler and former-Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura has filed a law suit for screening him at airports as a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Funny, for a person who made a living running around without a shirt on TV and in movies, why would he be so concerned about someone screening him?
January 28th, 2011 - by Sam Rosenfeld
As Egypt enters its fourth day of large scale protests and serious rioting, it is becoming increasingly likely that the Egyptian Government may fall in the same way that the Tunisian Government fell two weeks ago. Protests in Jordan have been better managed than those in Egypt, revealing important lessons for policing protest.
January 17th, 2011 -
A public forum will be hosted Tuesday on Capitol Hill discussing Attorney General guidelines for law enforcement domestic intelligence as it relates to homegrown radicalism. Participants include Rep. Rush Hold, Chairman of House Intelligence and Michael Isikoff, national investigative correspondent for NBC, among others.
In Washington, some things never change. There are and always will be vigorous debates about policies, programs and of course money. What does change are the names and faces of the people who make many of those decisions, and unless you’ve totally tuned out on the comings and goings in town, here’s a rundown of some things you should know.
January 11th, 2011 -
In an article published today in CQ Homeland Security, Security Debrief Contributors Rich Cooper, Sam Rosenfeld, James Carafano and Security Debrief founder Chris Battle weighed in on how the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others impacts DHS.
January 11th, 2011 - by L. Vance Taylor
To express their discontent, “the people” tossed out many of the old congressional leaders in the hopes of something new. Two weeks into the New Year, I’d say they haven’t exactly found the change they were looking for. If the election taught us anything, it’s that, as a nation, we’ve grown tired of the rhetoric.
In July 2009, the Department of Homeland Security announced the kick-off of a 60-day task force review of the Homeland Security Advisory System. Then, in November 2010, the press reported that DHS had decided to scrap the color-coded system and would unveil the new system in several weeks. It has been 18 months since DHS announced a 60-day task force review. It’s time to decide.
December 10th, 2010 - by Sam Rosenfeld
Providing accurate coverage of any protest event, especially an event where there is violence, is difficult at the best of times; the media often misunderstand or misrepresent what actually happened. However, it is rare that the media coverage of an event is as inaccurate or misleading as some of the reports I have seen concerning the violence at the student protest in London yesterday. Much of what has been written and broadcast about yesterday’s incidents does not stand up to the facts. Without naming and shaming individual media groups, there were many glaring errors.
I’ve watched with some frustration and amusement the coverage that has unfolded regarding DHS’ announcement earlier this week of working with Wal-Mart as part of its “See Something, Say Something” campaign. The coverage has been pretty cynical, and that’s really disappointing. The truth is there is probably no better company in America to aid this country’s bad days than the worldwide enterprise headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. The partnership DHS is putting forward with Wal-Mart to engage the public in keeping an eye out for things of concern makes perfect sense on so many levels.