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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
In an era where the public and private sectors alike are using data analytics to better understand and manage resources, DHS’ stance on making customer service compliment and complaint data publicly available is frustrating. This is a missed opportunity, as public access to analyze and learn from this data would improve our national economy, especially the travel and tourism industries.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced at the 2015 RSA Conference that DHS is opening a satellite office in Silicon Valley. His words were vague, leading to questions of why DHS is setting up this office and with whom the Department will be working. Perhaps a more pressing question is, what makes DHS think Silicon Valley wants to work with the federal government in the first place?
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