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Category Archives: Homeland Security

Throwback Thursday: Rewards and Bounties

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Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 9:17 PM

On January 5, Dominic Ongwen, senior commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, was captured by Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR). Subsequently, the rebels transferred Ongwen to the US military, who has maintained a small force in the region since 2011 to assist in the hunt for the LRA’s commanders. The question was what . . .
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Safe Havens Still Matter

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 9:13 PM

Micah Zenko and Amelia M. Wolf, both with the Council on Foreign Relations, have a new piece in Foreign Policy which argues against the “myth” that safe havens allow terrorists a space in which to flourish. They claim that this myth has only led us fruitlessly abroad in search of monsters to destroy. It’s a stunning . . .
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The French Response to Terror: Counterterrorism Detention and Prosecutions Across the Atlantic

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 12:15 PM

In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery, Western European security forces unleashed a dizzying storm of arrests and prosecutions and announced “exceptional” new measures to combat terrorism. In the space of just a few days, dozens of suspects were detained in Belgium, France and Germany, many of whom were questioned for days without . . .
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An EU PNR System?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 10:11 AM

Passenger Name Records (or PNR) are the data collected by an airline at the time of a passenger’s reservation.  The data in a PNR is often very detailed and robust.  It may, for example, include a cell phone number for text updates or an email address.  It will typically also include an address, a credit . . .
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How Many People Are We Really Deporting?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7:13 AM

Under the shadow of Mexico’s twin volcanoes in the tiny mountainous village of San Mateo Ozolco, Erasmo Aparicio stands outside his house, arms crossed, black hood pulled down over his hair. “Fucking Mexico, no fucking money,” he spits out in defiant English. Now a campesino by his own description making 100 pesos—or just under $7—a . . .
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Did the FBI Just Prevent an Attack in DC from a Homegrown ISIS Supporter?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 6:12 PM

A very, very big arrest in Cincinnati today, involving allegations that a man named Christopher Cornell (online alias Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah) had planned to travel to DC in order to carry out an attack (via assault rifle) at the Capitol. It appears Cornell was arrested today after he purchased two ArmaLite M-15s. How did the . . .
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Help An Elementary School Find Its Lost Drone

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 2:39 PM

It seems Chesterbrook Elementary, of Fairfax County, Virginia, has lost its drone—and now wishes to enlist the help of the community in locating it. Such is the gist of the below email, sent by a school official earlier today. (I have embedded the video and pictures, which are linked in the original.)  Chesterbrook isn’t that far . . .
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Recreating Old Loopholes: Thoughts on the Revised Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Earlier this month, the Justice Department issued revised Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity. The prior version—issued in June 2003—didn’t cover profiling on the basis of religion or national origin, and exempted national security and border investigations altogether.  While the . . .
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Labor Relations and Chemical Security

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Monday, December 1, 2014 at 5:23 PM

You wouldn’t think that labor relations were related to chemical security, but they are (or at least they may be).  The security of our chemical facilities is governed by the CFATS — the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (6 CFR Part 27). CFATS are promulgated by DHS pursuant to Section 550 of the Department of Homeland . . .
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White House Proposes Funds for Police Body Cameras

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Monday, December 1, 2014 at 3:22 PM

The privacy- and oversight-relevant news comes to us via this Associated Press story. It begins as follows: WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama wants to see more police wearing cameras to help build trust between the public and police by recording events like the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, but is not seeking to pull back federal . . .
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Jeh Johnson for Secretary of Homeland Security

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Rumor has it, that Jeh Johnson, the current Secretary of DHS, is being considered for appointment as the next Secretary of Defense.  Don’t do it Mr. Johnson.  Don’t do it President Obama. I say this, not because I think Johnson would do a bad job.  To the contrary, I’m sure that as a dedicated public . . .
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Confiscating Passports: Is this a Good Way to Stop Citizens from Joining Jihadists in Syria and Iraq?

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Thousands of westerners, including at least 100 Americans and more than 500 Britons, are known to have joined ISIS or the Al Nusra Front in Syria and Iraq. In the United States and the United Kingdom small numbers may have already come back, and some of these may have nefarious plots in mind. An undisclosed number . . .
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Executive Discretion and Immigration Law

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Friday, November 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Earlier this week Ben posted his own thoughts on the President’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the enforcement of our immigration laws.  Now, we have the DOJ OLC opinion justifying the President’s actions, and a preliminary response from Gabriel Malor.  I am sure that much ink will be spilled regarding the topic in coming days . . .
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Border Security Today

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Friday, October 10, 2014 at 1:55 PM

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson gave a very useful speech earlier this week at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  Entitled “Border Security in the 21st Century,” it provides a detailed overview of how our effort to secure the border (most notably, of course, the southwestern border) has matured in this century.  The entire text . . .
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The Law and Policy of Ebola Interdiction

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Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 7:00 AM

A few days ago President Obama announced his intention to do greater screening of passengers arriving in the United States, as a way of interdicting the spread of the Ebola virus. According to the Washington Post, the new procedures will include “entry” screening – that is screening upon arrival in the United States – layered . . .
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The FBI’s Facial Recognition Program

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Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Earlier this week, the FBI announced the completion of its “next generation” facial recognition program.  The system, now “fully operational” will house more than 52 million faces, which (assuming no duplication) is roughly 1 in 6 Americans.  The system is said to be only moderately effective — it will typically return 50 possible matches for . . .
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Reorganizing Congress — A 9/11 Perspective

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Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 1:26 PM

On this day of remembrance, the three prior Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security have issued a joint letter calling on Congress to reorganize itself and streamline oversight of DHS.  I can think of no better way for Congress to honor those who have died than by taking steps to get its own house . . .
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Countries Without Conflicts: Notes from Iceland

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 7:40 PM

It’s hard to imagine a place in the world where one would feel less threatened by geopolitics than Iceland. It’s an island. It’s pretty far from anywhere else. And it has very few people (the entire country has a population of only 330,000). It has not had any kind of real international conflict since the . . .
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DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Speaking at the ABA Convention

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Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 5:00 PM

At this hour, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is speaking at the ABA Convention. Here’s the text of his speech: REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY JEH JOHNSON AT THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONVENTION – AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY Release Date: Aug. 9, 2014 Boston Hynes Convention Center (As prepared for delivery) Introduction Thank you, Elizabeth, . . .
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The Intercept on NCTC Guidance for Putting People on Terrorism Watchlists

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Over at the Intercept, Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux have this piece on the NCTC’s guidelines for adding citizens and foreigners to terrorism watchlists. Their article opens: The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an . . .
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