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State and Local

Disharmony in the Home Team

It is hard to argue that local, state, and federal counterterrorism operations are not still a work in progress. While working together, law enforcement agencies at all levels have combined to thwart a number of plots since 9/11, many challenges that frustrate cooperation still perplex the national counterterrorism enterprise. The remedy is a new organizational culture that places a premium on building trust and confidence between federal, state, and local counterterrorism efforts.

Will San Francisco Ever Get It?

San Francisco is beautiful, historic and diverse. But as nice as that city is, I remain disturbed by its anti-military reputation. The SF Police and Human Rights Commission held hearings on Joint Terrorism Task Force operations in San Francisco. The hearings specifically addressed the FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guidelines that allow the JTTF to commence an investigation/surveillance without a direct nexus to criminal activity. I wonder if residents of San Francisco and the SFPD will ever “get it.”

Attorney General Guideline Changes Impacting FBI Intelligence Collection Operations

The media is reporting changes to the Attorney General Guidelines. it looks like expanded authority to conduct physical surveillances, polygraphs of informants and limited attendance at public functions is not much change in terms of intrusion into the civil liberties of our population. I understand that some people may be alarmed; however, I know that the FBI’s agents charged with collecting intelligence within the United States are closely supervised – I was one of them.

Homeland Security Department curtails home-grown terror analysis

Homeland Security Department curtails home-grown terror analysis – Washington Post
The Department of Homeland Security has stepped back for the past two years from conducting its own intelligence and analysis of home-grown extremism, according to current and former department officials, even though law enforcement and civil rights experts have warned of rising extremist threats.

Supreme Court Ruling Opens Floodgate to More State Immigration Regulation, Stronger Federal Preemption Statute Needed

After much anticipation and speculation, the Supreme Court decided that, in essence, states may enact their own employment eligibility and employer sanction laws. The name of the case is Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting, and we have to expect more states joining the ranks of Arizona and others already with verification laws on the books

Black Swan in MA: How Elected Officials Can Contribute to Community Resilience

By Keith Stefanelli
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has experience working through emergencies – on Wednesday, he was again guiding emergency response, this time to a fatal tornado outbreak in Central and Western Massachusetts. This made me wonder: What if Governor Patrick had lost the 2010 Gubernatorial Election, and Massachusetts had a new Governor, less experienced in emergency response? What if the next Black Swan event of statewide or national significance occurs on the Inauguration Day of a new Governor or President?

Senate Demands National Disaster Recovery Plan From FEMA

Senate Demands National Disaster Recovery Plan From FEMA – Disaster Zone
Hmm, this is not an easy answer for the Senate. FEMA is on the hook for delivering a National Disaster Recovery Framework and they are still in DRAFT mode. I see the challenging word being “National” and not Federal.

Is Preparedness Pointless?

Is Preparedness Pointless? – Homeland Security Watch
Watching coverage of the devastation wrought by the EF5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri over the weekend, I have been pondering the theme of the Washington State Emergency Management Association’s conference scheduled for later this year: “Preparedness: It’s Not a Mystery.” As catchy as that may sound, I find it hard to accept.

Public-safety network tees up House, Senate showdown

Public-safety network tees up House, Senate showdown – Hillicon Valley
Lawmakers are laying the groundwork for a showdown between the chambers on the question of how to build a communications network for police and firefighters, a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that has not been realized.

FEMA aid bill advances as tornado response continues

FEMA aid bill advances as tornado response continues – Federal Eye
Lawmakers are pushing a $1 billion aid package for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of the deadly Joplin, Mo., tornado — even as the agency is already stretched thin by other twisters and floods one week before hurricane season begins.