All Articles Tagged "homeland security"
(New York Times) — TIMERY SHANTE NANCE is an African-American woman who has a thing about her hair. “I don’t use chemicals or straighteners,” she said. “It’s just my natural texture, and I wear it in a normal-looking puff.” Now she wonders, as some other black women evidently do, whether the Transportation Security Administration also has a thing about their hair. Ms. Nance is the second black woman I’m aware of within a month who says she was racially profiled when a T.S.A. officer insisted on publicly patting down her hair after she had already gone though a full-body scan without setting off any alarm. Ms. Nance was departing from the airport in San Antonio in late July. After she passed through the body scanner, she said, a female T.S.A. screener told her to stand facing her possessions. “You’re good to go, but first I have to pat your hair,” the officer told her, she said.
(Huffington Post) — Ultimately, it was the keen eye of a Texas gun shop clerk that helped authorities find an AWOL soldier who’d stashed bomb-making material in his nearby motel room for a planned attack on Fort Hood soldiers. The tip that led Killeen police to Pfc. Naser Abdo on Wednesday prevented what could have been the second terrorist attack on the Army post, following a 2009 shooting rampage in which an Army psychiatrist is charged with killing 13 people. Earlier this year in Texas, a shipping company that told the FBI about a suspicious order for a chemical explosive foiled an alleged plot to blow up former President George W. Bush’s Dallas home. The enduring lesson for a post-9/11 world: America’s work force plays a crucial role in preventing potential terror attacks.
(New York Times) — Obama administration officials are sharpening their crackdown on the hiring of illegal immigrants by focusing increasingly tough criminal charges on employers while moving away from criminal arrests of the workers themselves. After months of criticism from Republicans who said President Obama was relaxing immigration enforcement in workplaces, the scope of the administration’s strategy has become clear as long-running investigations of employers have culminated in indictments, convictions, exponentially increased fines and jail sentences. While conducting fewer headline-making factory raids, the immigration authorities have greatly expanded the number of businesses facing scrutiny and the cases where employers face severe sanctions. In a break with Bush-era policies, the number of criminal cases against unauthorized immigrant workers has dropped sharply over the last two years. Among the employers who have felt the impact of the administration’s tactics are two owners of Mexican restaurants in the Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler chain, which are popular for their laid-back Margaritaville mood and their broiled mahi tacos. On April 20, immigration agents descended on 14 Chuy’s restaurants in coordinated raids in Arizona and California, detaining kitchen workers and carrying away boxes of payroll books and other evidence.
(Washington Examiner) — Local officials said Wednesday they’re worried the Washington area still isn’t prepared for a terrorist attack 10 years after Sept. 11, as demonstrated by the region’s woeful handling of a January snowstorm. ”The reality is this region continues to fail to have the capability that other cities have had for years,” Falls Church Vice Mayor David F. Snyder said about alerting residents of an impending crisis. Snyder said ”disjointed decision making” led to “inconsistent, confusing and sometimes contradictory information” going public during the Jan. 26 evening snowstorm. Residents should be told “what has occurred, what we’re doing about it and here is what you’re to do,” he said. The concerns were raised during a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments briefing by the Department of Homeland Security on a new terror alert system.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Project Shield — Cook County’s troubled post-9/11 security initiative — has come under scrutiny by the FBI, the Chicago Sun-Times and NBC5 News have learned. Auditors from the federal Department of Homeland Security had been looking into the program, which is years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget, and found something in the course of their review “that sparked the FBI’s interest,” according to a source familiar with the investigation. FBI officials wouldn’t comment. A spokeswoman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said her staff is cooperating with investigators.
The Homeland Security Department audit had been requested by U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, the Northwest Side Democrat, and then-U.S. Rep. and now-U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). They asked the federal agency to determine why the project — which has spent $45 million in federal money in an effort to blanket the county in stationary and mobile security cameras — remains plagued by such basic problems as cameras that don’t work.
(AJC) — Georgia industries are now weighing in on tough new legislation aimed at illegal immigration here, urging lawmakers to tread cautiously so they won’t do irreparable damage to the state’s economy. In testifying before a Senate subcommittee Monday, representatives from the state’s agricultural and commercial construction industries singled out provisions in Senate Bill 40 that would require certain businesses to use E-Verify to make sure newly hired employees are eligible to work in this country. Critics say E-Verify, a federal program, has accuracy problems and can be burdensome for businesses. A coalition of businesses and immigrant rights groups is suing to stop a similar law in Arizona that requires all businesses to use E-Verify, arguing that it is unconstitutional. Federal officials, meanwhile, say they are improving the free E-Verify program’s accuracy. It automatically confirms 98 percent of employees as being eligible to work in the United States, a federal report says. In all, the subcommittee heard Monday from about six speakers, all of whom were critical of the legislation. Before the nearly two-hour-long hearing began, the bill’s sponsor called the legislation “a work in progress” and said revisions were on the way. Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, said he intended to meet with the business groups and others as he “redefines and tightens up the language” in the bill. “The bill that you have before you is not the bill that we will probably ultimately come out with,” Murphy told a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
(Washington Post) — A package addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited in a District postal facility Friday, authorities said, a day after two similar parcels containing low-grade incendiary devices flashed in Maryland government buildings. The latest incident, which caused no injuries, occurred in a Northeast Washington postal facility that was created to screen mail sent to Congress and federal agencies after the terrorist attacks and anthrax scare of 2001. The package sent to Napolitano was not opened, but it ignited after a worker sorting mail tossed it into a bin, authorities said.
(Washington Post) — Members of the public spoke out against Metro’s decision to start random bag inspections, with speaker after speaker condemning the initiative at a meeting held by the Metro Riders’ Advisory Council on Monday evening. In a string of one-minute statements in the public comment period of the Riders’ Advisory Council (RAC) meeting, virtually every speaker called the searches unconstitutional, invasive and ineffective – arguing they could create a false sense of security and aid terrorists. Speakers urged Metro to halt the practice.
(Washington Post) — A year after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials say they have made it easier to add individuals’ names to a terrorist watch list and improved the government’s ability to thwart an attack in the United States. The failure to put Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on the watch listlast year renewed concerns that the government’s system to screen out potential terrorists was flawed. Even though Abdulmutallab’s father had told U.S. officials of his son’s radicalization in Yemen, government rules dictated that a single-source tip was insufficient to include a person’s name on the watch list.