DHS Partners With City of Houston to Promote Suspicious Activity Reporting

The city of Houston has partnered with federal authorities to launch a new national public awareness program that will give citizens an outlet for reporting suspicious terroristic-like activity to local and state law enforcement agencies, officials announced today. Beginning Tuesday, residents from Houston and surrounding areas will be able to access iwatchHouston.org to access information, videos that will aid people in identifying indicators of terrorism and other violent crime as well as a channel for them to report that activity to authorities. The regional campaign is part of the national “If You See Something, Say Something,” initiative created to help encourage “hometown security,” according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who announced the partnership during a press conference at the Lone Star College Victory this morning.

One Step Closer to Fusion Center Transparency

The recent ten-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks brought a deluge of news regarding the transformation of the United States in the wake of the most devastating terrorist attacks in the country’s history. Many reports focused on debating the efficacy, or lack thereof, of policies implemented over the decade since the attacks occurred. One set of particularly revealing reports from the Center for Investigative Journalism discussed suspicious activity reporting at the Mall of America and the transformation of Homeland Security following September 11. Some publications discussed the waste inherent in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its various grant programs. In addition to these critical evaluations of security policy, a number of public relations pieces from the national network of fusion centers appeared in local publications around the country. A local television station in Michigan covered the state’s local fusion center, having “unprecedented access” to walk around inside without cameras. Another piece from Tennessee discussed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s fusion center, ending with appeals for viewers to report suspicious activity and “say something” if they “see something”. Articles from other states including Arkansas and Alabama, sometimes written by Homeland Security officials, emphasized the important work of their local fusion centers and the continued need for funding and support.

Wall Street Regulator Says Complaints About Market Manipulation and “Suspicious Trading” Significantly Increased This Year

A Wall Street regulator said industry complaints about market manipulation and trade reporting have spiked this year, raising questions about the adequacy of banks’ internal controls over their traders. Gene DeMaio, of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), said on Wednesday that his group is still investigating these complaints. On Thursday, UBS AG said a rogue trader, who was later charged in London with fraud, will cost it $2 billion in the third quarter. The loss highlights the extent to which some banks still cannot police their traders. FINRA has received complaints this year about banks’ audit systems, canceled orders, and brokers misrepresenting whether orders were on behalf of customers, DeMaio said.

Quebec Anti-Corruption Unit Report on Criminal Collusion in the Road Construction Industry

Le ministère des Transports du Québec signe de plus en plus de contrats puisque le volume de ses travaux est en pleine croissance. Sa planification quinquennale fait état de plus de 4 000 projets routiers qui en sont à différentes étapes de préparation. En moyenne, seulement pour les travaux de construction, plus de 700 nouveaux contrats sont octroyés annuellement’. Or dans ce contexte d’externalisation croissante des dépenses de l’État dans ce secteur d’activités, on craint que des entreprises concluent entre elles des ententes secrètes à leur bénéfice, mais qui sont préjudiciables au bien public. On parle ici de collusion entre quelques joueurs majeurs de l’industrie, ce qui permet une prise de contrôle occulte du processus d’attribution des contrats de sous-traitance, réservés alors à quelques initiés. Et si la collusion prend une telle importance dans le domaine particulier de la construction routière, c’est sans contredit en raison du caractère massif et continu des investissements qui y sont faits et qu’on nous annonce encore pour les années à venir.

Mafia, Biker Gang Criminal Cartels Conspire to Control Road Construction Contracts in Quebec

It’s been whispered about for years, but now the government’s anti-corruption squad says it has proof that organized crime has infiltrated the construction industry and influenced political parties. The report by former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau and Quebec’s anti-corruption squad and obtained by Radio-Canada and La Presse comes after a year-and-a-half-long investigation. The UPAC (Unité permanente anticorruption) report, which does not name any firms or individuals, found that prices are regularly hiked by engineering consulting companies and that contractors regularly overrun their costs.

(U//FOUO) National Counterterrorism Center Mobilizing Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) Behavioral Indicators

A US Government interagency study of homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) revealed four major mobilizing patterns shared by a majority of HVE cases between 2008 and 2010, providing officials with an emerging picture of distinct behaviors often associated with an individual mobilizing for violence. These four patterns—links to known extremists, ideological commitment to extremism, international travel, and pursuit of weapons and associated training—repeatedly appeared in the case studies, reinforcing initial assessments of potential trends. Awareness of the patterns can help combat the recent rise in these cases while providing a data-driven tool for assessing potential changes in the HVE threat to the Homeland.

NSA Director Fears “Destructive” Element in Coming Cyberattacks

Threats posed by cyber-attacks on computer networks and the Internet are escalating from large-scale theft of data and strikes designed to disrupt computer operations to more lethal attacks that destroy entire systems and physical equipment. “That’s our concern about what’s coming in cyberspace — a destructive element,” Gen. Alexander, who is also the director of the National Security Agency, the electronic spying agency, said in a speech at a conference on cyberwarfare. Gen. Alexander said two cases illustrate what could happen in an attack.

Colombia’s Former Intelligence Chief Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison For Conspiring to Murder Activists

Colombia’s Supreme Court Wednesday sentenced a former secret service chief who served under ex-president Alvaro Uribe to 25 years in prison on charges including the murder of a university professor. The court declared Jorge Noguera, the former director of the DAS — a domestic intelligence agency that reports directly to the president — guilty of aggravated conspiracy and homicide in the death of Alfredo Correa de Andreis, a professor and activist at the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla. Assailants aboard a motorcycle gunned down Correa and his bodyguard on September 17, 2004 in the northern Caribbean coast city.

US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand Joint Public Key Infrastructure Cross-Certification Standards

This section provides the long-term Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) interoperability architecture for the CCEB Allies as agreed at the February 2005 Canberra Collocated Meeting. The architecture enables interoperability through direct cross-certification of each National Defence PKI (NDPKI) in a mesh configuration.

New $300 Million Transatlantic Cable Makes Stock Trades 6 Milliseconds Faster

In the high-speed world of automated financial trading, milliseconds matter. So much so, in fact, that a saving of just six milliseconds in transmission time is all that is required to justify the laying of the first transatlantic communications cable for 10 years at a cost of more than $300m. Seabed survey work for the Hibernian Express, as the 6,021km (3,741 mile) fibre-optic link will be known, is already under way off the east coast of America. The last cables laid under the Atlantic were funded by the dotcom boom in the 1990s when telecoms infrastructure firms rushed to criss-cross the ocean. The laying of the new transatlantic communications cable is a viable proposition because Hibernia Atlantic, the company behind it, is planning to sell a special superfast bandwidth that will have hyper-competitive trading firms and banks in the City of London and New York queuing to use it. In fact it is predicted they will pay about 50 times as much to link up via the Hibernian Express than they do via existing transatlantic cables.

GAO U.S. Agencies Are Not Able to Fully Account for U.S. Nuclear Material Located at Foreign Facilities

DOE, NRC, and State are not able to fully account for U.S. nuclear material overseas that is subject to nuclear cooperation agreement terms because the agreements do not stipulate systematic reporting of such information, and there is no U.S. policy to pursue or obtain such information. Section 123 of the AEA, as amended, does not require nuclear cooperation agreements to contain provisions stipulating that partners report information on the amount, status, or location (facility) of special nuclear material subject to the agreement terms. However, U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements generally require that partners report inventory information upon request, although DOE and NRC have not systematically sought such data. We requested from multiple offices at DOE and NRC a current and comprehensive inventory of U.S. nuclear material overseas, to include country, site, or facility, and whether the quantity of material was rated as Category I or Category II material. However, neither agency has provided such an inventory. NMMSS does not contain the data necessary to maintain an inventory of U.S. special nuclear material overseas. DOE, NRC, and State have not pursued annual inventory reconciliations of nuclear material subject to U.S. cooperation agreement terms with all foreign partners that would provide the U.S. government with better information about where such material is held. Furthermore, according to DOE, NRC, and State officials, no U.S. law or policy directs U.S. agencies to obtain information regarding the location and disposition of U.S. nuclear material at foreign facilities.

DHS Partners With NFL Teams, MLB Teams and Universities to Promote Suspicious Activity Reporting

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced new partnerships between the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign and several sports organizations and collegiate universities. Partnerships include National Football League (NFL) teams, Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships (USTA), Ohio State University, and the University of Oklahoma. “Every citizen plays a critical role in identifying and reporting suspicious activities and threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “By expanding the ‘If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign we are working together to ensure the safety and security of fans, players, employees, and students.”

Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center Methamphetamine Labs Safety and Statistics Brief

The growing popularity of methamphetamine over the past 15 years has increased the risk of exposure to the surrounding community and law enforcements personnel. Methamphetamine is a controlled substance that is “cooked” using many common household ingredients which can be volatile and generates by‐products that can be very harmful to humans. When these products are combined, they emit toxic fumes and may cause chemical burns upon contact. Toxic residue from the cooking process saturates every surface and can remain there for months or years if not properly sterilized. Since the chemicals can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin, everyone coming in contact with those surfaces is vulnerable. Acute exposure occurs over a relatively short time and produces symptoms that include: shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, dizziness, lack of coordination, chemical irritation, and burns to the skin, eyes, nose, or mouth. If toxicity levels are fairly high or a person is particularly vulnerable (i.e. pre‐existing breathing problems), acute exposure can cause death. Less significant exposure can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, or lethargy, and can lead to other long‐term health problems.

Accenture to Pay $64 Million in Fines After Rigging Bids for Government IT Contracts

The Justice Department announced Monday it reached a $63.7 million settlement with Accenture LLP in a whistleblower lawsuit that accused the technology services company of rigging bids, taking kickbacks and inflating prices the government paid for computers and services. New York-based Accenture said in a statement that it “vigorously” denies the accusations and that the settlement did not constitute an admission of guilt. The lawsuit was originally filed in the Eastern District of Arkansas by Norman Rille and Neal Roberts under whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act. The government in 2007 joined the suit, as it did in similar lawsuits against Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Majority of 9/11 Commission Records, Including Bush and Cheney Interview Transcript, Remain “Indefinitely” Sealed

Ten years after al Qaeda’s attack on the United States, the vast majority of the 9/11 Commission’s investigative records remain sealed at the National Archives in Washington, even though the commission had directed the archives to make most of the material public in 2009, Reuters has learned. The National Archives’ failure to release the material presents a hurdle for historians and others seeking to plumb one of the most dramatic events in modern American history. The 575 cubic feet of records were in large part the basis for the commission’s public report, issued July 22, 2004. The commission, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was established by Congress in late 2002 to investigate the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks, the pre-attack effectiveness of intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the government’s emergency response.

Mobile Crowd Control Surveillance Tower Manufacturer Offers Demonstration to Lawmakers

This Thursday Terrahawk, LLC will show off its Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower (MUST) to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate along with their staffs; with MUST, law enforcement agencies can quickly set up a mobile surveillance tower for emergency response, crowd control, or general surveillance. This Thursday Terrahawk, LLC will show off its Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower (MUST) to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate along with their staffs. With MUST, law enforcement agencies can quickly set up a mobile surveillance tower for emergency response, crowd control, or general surveillance. Using an automatic hydraulic stabilization system, in less than two minutes a single operator can launch a vehicle-mounted elevated surveillance tower as high as twenty-five feet without ever having to leave the safety of the interior of the vehicle.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Potential Al-Qaeda Threat to New York City and Washington, DC During 9/11 Anniversary Period

We assess that al-Qa‘ida has likely maintained an interest since at least February 2010 in conducting large attacks in the Homeland timed to coincide with symbolic dates, to include the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We also remain concerned that the May 2011 death of Usama bin Ladin (UBL), coupled with the subsequent removal of several key al-Qa’ida figures, could further contribute to al-Qa’ida’s desire to stage an attack on a symbolic date—such as the 10-year anniversary of 9/11—as a way to avenge UBL’s death and reassert the group’s relevance, although operational readiness likely remains the primary driving factor behind the timing of al-Qa’ida attacks.