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Homeland Security

August 27, 2013 | By Brian Bennett
Janet Napolitano has a message for the next head of the Department of Homeland Security: “You will need a large bottle of Advil.” In a farewell speech Tuesday, Napolitano gave a wide-ranging defense of her 4½f years as head of one of the government's youngest and most unwieldy departments. “Some have said that being the secretary of DHS is the most thankless job in Washington,” Napolitano said at the National Press Club in the capital. “That's not true. No doubt it is a very big and complex job. It is literally a 24/7 job,” she said.
April 25, 2014 | By David Willman
WASHINGTON - Amid concerns about its effectiveness and multibillion-dollar cost, the Department of Homeland Security has canceled plans to install an automated technology that was meant to speed the 24-hour operations of BioWatch, the national system for detecting a biological attack. The cancellation of the "Generation 3" acquisition was made Thursday at the direction of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, according to a memorandum circulated by Michael V. Walter, the BioWatch program manager.
September 1, 2011
It was a natural reaction after 9/11: Protect the nation at any cost. But a survey of homeland security projects by Times staff writer Kim Murphy reveals that the "any cost" rationale has resulted in unnecessary and eccentric responses to the possibility of a terrorist act. Congress should block such projects in the future. For example, Murphy told of a grant for anti-terrorism equipment to a county in Nebraska, which received thousands of dollars for cattle nose leads, halters and electric prods — in case terrorists waged biological warfare against cows.
April 24, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - The former top watchdog for the Homeland Security Department rewrote reports and slowed investigations at the request of senior staff for then-Secretary Janet Napolitano, a review conducted by Senate staff found. Charles K. Edwards, who was acting inspector general for Homeland Security from late 2011 through early 2013, considered aides to Napolitano to be friends, socialized with them over drinks and dinner and, at their urging, improperly made changes to several investigative reports, according to the Senate review released Thursday.
February 28, 2013 | By Sandra Hernandez
The Department of Homeland Security began releasing immigrants from detention centers across the country this week, in anticipation of looming budget cuts. Contrary to what some Republicans in Congress have said, those released are not criminals but rather low-risk detainees, such as asylum-seekers, foreign nationals who overstayed visas and undocumented immigrants arrested for minor offenses who were granted bail but were unable to post the money. In other words, immigrants who pose no risk to public safety but are still facing deportation trials.
February 20, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
The new head of Homeland Security played down a recent warning that terrorists might try to sneak explosives onto commercial planes in passenger shoes, saying the threat has been around "for years. " In a press conference at Los Angeles International Airport, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the advisory was "the type that we routinely issue in response to the latest intelligence. " Law enforcement officials, speaking anonymously, said the alert was based on new intelligence indicating that a shoe bomb may be used to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner.
February 19, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security warned airlines Wednesday to watch for explosives hidden in the shoes of passengers flying into the United States from overseas, officials said. The alert was based on new intelligence indicating that a shoe bomb may be used to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner, said two law enforcement officials who described the bulletin on the condition of anonymity. Officials said the threat was not specific to a particular airline, flight, country or time.
November 20, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON -- President Obama's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security moved a step closer to confirmation Wednesday, advancing to the full Senate after a swift committee vote. At a time when many top presidential appointments have been blocked by Senate Republicans, Jeh Johnson's nomination has proved remarkably smooth thus far. The Senate Homeland committee took just moments to approve Johnson with a voice vote during a meeting Wednesday, less than a week after his confirmation hearing.
September 8, 2011 | By Catharine Hamm, Times Travel Editor
In the face of what  counterterrorism officials called a “credible but unconfirmed terror threat involving New York or Washington,” the Department of Homeland Security is calling on Americans to be vigilant this weekend as the anniversary of 9/11 looms. The threat was reported Thursday by Fox News and later by the Associated Press. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly are expected to give a news conference about 6:30 p.m. PT to talk about the threat, NBC News reported.
July 12, 2013 | By Larry Gordon
Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona, is being named as the next president of the University of California system, in an unusual choice that brings a national-level politician to a position usually held by an academic, The Times has learned. Her appointment also means the 10-campus system will be headed by a woman for the first time in its 145-year history. Napolitano's nomination by a committee of UC regents came after a secretive process that insiders said focused on her early as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate who has led large public agencies and shown a strong interest in improving education.
April 6, 2014
Re "Hands off those photos," Editorial, April 3 Count me among those who have encountered security hysteria for taking pictures. In 2004, I stood in a broad, traffic-free street in a river-adjacent industrial zone of my hometown of Memphis, seeking to capture the beautiful, auburn-streaked patina of a huge, unpainted storage tank. An overzealous security guard called 911 to report a frighteningly skinny, 60-year-old white man in shorts, who might be a terrorist hell-bent on blowing up thousands of gallons of maybe cottonseed oil or rendered animal fat. Memphis police screamed onto the scene.
March 28, 2014 | By Tony Perry
In his scathing and deeply reported examination of the U.S. Border Patrol, Todd Miller argues that the agency has gone rogue since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, trampling on the dignity and rights of the undocumented with military-style tactics. "The U.S. Border Patrol is not just the 'men in green,' it is a much larger complex and industrial world that spans from robotics, engineers, salespeople and detention centers to the incoming generation of children in its Explorer programs," Miller writes in "Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Homeland Security.
March 14, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - Under orders by President Obama to enforce immigration laws "more humanely," Homeland Security officials are focusing on at least two major policy changes that would slow the pace of deportations of immigrants in the U.S. illegally. But the White House has tentatively rejected proposals to expand an Obama administration program to allow the parents of young people who were brought to the country illegally to stay. Officials said Friday that the changes under review would effectively stop most deportations of foreigners with no criminal convictions other than immigration violations, and focus enforcement efforts instead mostly at those charged or convicted of felony crimes or who pose more of a threat to public safety.
March 8, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - The FBI is deploying agents and technical experts to assist in investigating the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet, based on the American citizenship of three of the passengers aboard the lost flight, a top federal law enforcement official in Washington said Saturday. He said that a fourth passenger, whom he described as an infant flying with the three Americans, also may be a U.S citizen. "This gives us entree" to the case, the official said, speaking confidentially because the FBI investigation is just beginning.
February 27, 2014 | Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border, according to an independent review of 67 cases that resulted in 19 deaths. The report by law enforcement experts criticized the Border Patrol for "lack of diligence" in investigating U.S. agents who had fired their weapons. It also said it was unclear whether the agency "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.
February 23, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
In the near future, airline passengers may be screened for weapons without having to stop walking or remove their coats and shoes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pushing for private contractors to create a screening machine with "screen and walk" capability for use at the nation's 160 international airports and thousands of federal facilities. The agency recently requested information from high-tech companies and other private firms about any new technology that can help speed up the security checkpoints managed by the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Protective Services.
December 17, 2009 | By Sebastian Rotella
The Department of Homeland Security issued but recalled a 2007 intelligence analysis about the Nation of Islam after deciding the document dealing with the black Muslim group broke rules on intelligence activity in the United States, officials said Wednesday. Internal documents revealed that intelligence chiefs found analysts had "unintentionally and inadvertently" violated rules governing the collection, retention and distribution of information concerning "U.S. persons and organizations."
October 17, 2013 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - President Obama plans to nominate former top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson to be secretary of Homeland Security, a senior administration official confirmed Thursday. Obama is expected to make the announcement Friday afternoon at the White House, the official said. Johnson would succeed Janet Napolitano, who left in July to become president of the University of California system. In choosing Johnson, Obama is promoting the lawyer known for leading the way on reforms to the military commissions system at the Guantanamo Bay prison.
February 23, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
In the near future, airline passengers may be screened for weapons without having to stop walking or to remove their coats and shoes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pushing for private contractors to come up with a screening machine with “screen-and-walk” capability for use at the nation's 160 airports and thousands of federal facilities. The agency recently requested information from high-tech companies and other private firms about any new technology that can help speed up the security checkpoints managed by the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Protective Service.
February 20, 2014 | By Gary Hart and Norman Augustine
In February 2001, a bipartisan federal commission on which we served warned that terrorists would acquire weapons of mass destruction and mass disruption. "Attacks against American citizens on American soil, possibly causing heavy casualties, are likely over the next quarter-century," the Hart-Rudman Commission said. "In the face of this threat, our nation has no coherent or integrated governmental structures. " We added: "Congress should rationalize its current committee structure so that it best serves U.S. national security objectives.
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