(U//LES) DHS Agricultural Storage Facility Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

Traditionally, food in America is produced through a series of processes commonly referred to as the “farm to table” continuum. This process is comprised of multiple components, including production, distribution, processing, transportation, wholesaling, exporting/importing, retail sales, and consumption. Each component of the “farm to table” continuum is achieved in a variety of ways specific to the particular end product being produced. At multiple stages of these processes, raw agricultural products, farm input supplies, and consumer-ready foods are stored in large facilities. These agricultural storage facilities include facilities storing raw agricultural products (wheat, corn, apples, etc.) prior to processing; farm input supplies (fertilizers, chemicals, etc.), live animals (cattle, swine, chickens, etc.), or processed products ready for distribution and consumption (cheese, cereals, packaged products, etc.). In this regard, there is not a “typical” agricultural storage facility. Rather, a variety of facilities specific to the storage requirements of a given product or component serve the “farm to table” continuum.

(U//LES) DHS Wastewater Treatment Facility Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

Wastewater is water that has been used. It includes substances such as human waste, food scraps, oils, soaps, and chemicals. Wastewater is derived from residential, commercial, and industrial activities. In homes, wastewater is produced from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers. Commercial and industrial activities also produce wastewater that must be treated prior to release to the environment. In addition to home and business production, wastewater can also be generated by storm runoff (referred to as inflow) and interception of ground water (infiltration). Because of potentially harmful substances that wash off roads, parking lots, and rooftops, this water must also be treated.

(U//LES) DHS Railroad Bridges Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

The national economy is based on timely rail deliveries, especially in light of industry’s current practice of just-in-time stocking arrangements. Railroad bridges can be critical chokepoints for high-volume rail lines moving freight from geographic areas of supply to other areas of demand. Furthermore, critical rail bridges are vital assets of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET), a 38,800-mile interconnected network of rail corridors. The STRACNET supports the deployment of military forces across the U.S. to strategically located ports of embarkation.

DHS Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability and Terrorist Activity Indicator Reports

Over the next two weeks, Public Intelligence will be publishing several dozen reports from the Department of Homeland Security’s Protective Security Division concerning vulnerabilities and the detection of terrorist activity at critical infrastructure locations. This information was inadvertently disseminated by a non-profit organization that is concerned with domestic preparedness. Due to flaws in their website’s construction, a members area for sharing documentation was openly accessible to anyone and had been largely indexed in Google’s search results. The documents range in date from 2003-2004 and provide early background on critical infrastructure security activities, including known vulnerabilities that often have not been fixed and tenuous listings of so-called “suspicious activity” indicators. The documents also provide background on a number of “critical infrastructure” categories about which there has previously been a lack of publicly-available information. Some of these categories include railroad yards, wastewater treatment facilities, undersea cable landings and milk processing plants. For easier browsing, reports will be added to the list below as they are published.

(U//LES) DHS Banking Repositories Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

One of the key roles of the government is to maintain the stability of the nation’s financial system and to address and contain systematic risk that may arise in the financial markets. The financial repositories play an important role in market stability. Several agencies of the government (U.S. Treasury, U.S. Mint, Federal Reserve Board, U.S. Secret Service, FBI) are involved in the supply, distribution, storage, and security of U.S. currency, coins, and other market transactions and clearing transactions.

Sinaloa Cartel Cocaine Trafficker Claims He Was Working for the U.S. Government

A high-level player with one of the most notorious narco-trafficking organizations in Mexico, the Sinaloa “cartel,” claims that he has been working with the U.S. government for years, according to pleadings filed recently in federal court in Chicago. That player, Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, is the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia — one of the purported top leaders of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization. Zambada Niebla was arrested in Mexico in March 2009 and last February extradited to the United States to stand trial on narco-trafficking-related charges. The indictment pending against Zambada Niebla claims he served as the “logistical coordinator” for the “cartel,” helping to oversee an operation that imported into the U.S. “multi-ton quantities of cocaine … using various means, including but not limited to, Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, private aircraft … buses, rail cars, tractor trailers, and automobiles.”

(U//LES) DHS Railroad Yards Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

Railroad yards can be located in any type of environment having a flat area sufficiently extensive and elongated to permit emplacement of intermodal loading tracks, sorting “humps,” classification “bowls,” or any combination thereof. Thus, yard properties may be sited in open plains or adjacent to hills or other high ground (Figure 3). In the latter case, there may be vulnerabilities to adversaries using longer range, stand-off weapons. Trains are put together in the classification yard, which is comprised of multiple parallel tracks branching out from a central track and connected by switches. Each of the parallel tracks is designated to receive cars with particular destinations along the route. A special locomotive, or switch engine, transports each car or group of cars to its assigned track. Depending on the sensitivity of the shipment and the type of classification yard, cars may be either “shoved to rest” or “humped.” If shoved to rest, the car remains attached to the engine until it couples with the adjacent car. If humped, the car is uncoupled at the top of a very gentle incline and allowed to travel freely downhill.

(U//LES) DHS Nuclear Spent Fuel Storage Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

Spent fuel, after it is removed from the reactor core, is safely stored in specially designed pools at individual reactor sites around the country. The spent fuel is first placed into a spent fuel pool (Figure 1), which is like a deep swimming pool with racks to hold the fuel assemblies. It allows the fuel to begin cooling. The spent fuel is moved into the water pools from the reactor along the bottom of water canals, so that the spent fuel is always shielded to protect workers. Fuel assemblies are covered by a minimum of 25 feet of water within the pool, which provides adequate shielding from the radiation for anyone near the pool. Spent fuel pools are very robust structures that are constructed to withstand earthquakes and other natural phenomena and accidents. They are typically rectangular structures 20 to 40 feet wide, 30 to 60 feet long, and at least 40 feet deep. The outside walls are typically constructed of more than 3 feet of reinforced concrete. Spent fuel pools at pressurized water reactors (PWRs) are commonly located within an auxiliary building near the containment. Many of the PWR pools are located in the building’s interior. At boiling water reactors (BWRs), spent fuel pools are typically located at an elevated position within the reactor building, outside the primary containment area.

White House Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

A secure cyberspace is critical to our prosperity. We use the Internet and other online environments to increase our productivity, as a platform for innovation, and as a venue in which to create new businesses. “Our digital infrastructure, therefore, is a strategic national asset, and protecting it—while safeguarding privacy and civil liberties—is a national security priority” and an economic necessity. By addressing threats in this environment, we will help individuals protect themselves in cyberspace and enable both the private sector and government to offer more services online. As a Nation, we are addressing many of the technical and policy shortcomings that have led to insecurity in cyberspace Among these shortcomings is the online authentication of people and devices: the President’s Cyberspace Policy Review established trusted identities as a cornerstone of improved cybersecurity.

NCIS Interviewing and Interrogating Militant Islamists Guide

Law enforcement personnel at all levels serve on the front line of America’s Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). In the interest of national security and public safety, law enforcement investigators frequently must question persons, either for purposes of intelligence gathering, for collecting evidence that may lead to prosecution and take immediate action that may be in the interest of the public safety/force protection. The objective of these interviews/interrogations is to gather accurate and reliable information that furthers security, safety, intelligence, and law enforcement interests. The current threat environment, however, poses some new challenges for professionals conducting terrorism investigations.

(U//LES) DHS Nuclear Fuel Cycle Characteristics and Common Vulnerabilities Report

Nuclear power plants in the U.S. use fuel rods that have been enriched in the uranium-235 (235U) fissile isotope. At the time of their insertion to the reactor, typical commercial power plant fuel rods contain approximately 2% to 5% 235U; the exact value depends on the details of the reactor design. This fuel remains in the reactor for up to three years or more, at which time fission product buildup necessitates its removal even though it still contains significant quantities of 235U.

WikiLeaks Guantanamo Files: Captured Militants Had BBC Phone Number

The files, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph, disclose that a phone number of someone at the BBC was found in the phone books and phones of a number of extremists seized by US forces. A detainee assessment, dated 21 April 2007, states: “The London, United Kingdom (UK), phone number 0044 207 XXX XXXX was discovered in numerous seized phone books and phones associated with extremist-linked individuals. “The number is associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).” Analysis by The Daily Telegraph suggests the number is one for Bush House, home of the BBC World Service.

WikiLeaks Guantanamo Files: Al-Qaeda Assassin Worked for MI6 and Canadian Intelligence

An al-Qaida operative accused of bombing two Christian churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan in 2002 was at the same time working for British intelligence, according to secret files on detainees who were shipped to the US military’s Guantánamo Bay prison camp. Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili, an Algerian citizen described as a “facilitator, courier, kidnapper, and assassin for al-Qaida”, was detained in Pakistan in 2003 and later sent to Guantánamo Bay. But according to Hamlili’s Guantánamo “assessment” file, one of 759 individual dossiers obtained by the Guardian, US interrogators were convinced that he was simultaneously acting as an informer for British and Canadian intelligence.

(U//LES) DHS Nuclear Power Plants Characteristics and Common Vulnerabilities Reports

A nuclear power plant is an arrangement of components used to generate electric power. Nuclear power plants used in the United States (U.S.) are either boiling water reactors (BWRs) or pressurized water reactors (PWRs). Boiling water reactors (Figure 1) use a direct cycle in which water boils in the reactor core to produce steam, which drives a steam turbine. This turbine spins a generator to produce electric power. Pressurized water reactors (Figure 2) use an indirect cycle in which water is heated under high pressure in the reactor core and passes through a secondary heat exchanger to convert water in another loop to steam, which in turn drives the turbine. In the PWR design, radioactive water/steam never contacts the turbine. Except for the reactor itself, there is very little difference between a nuclear power plant and a coal- or oil-fired power plant.

(U//FOUO) JIEDDO Report: Water-borne IED Threats and the Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz is the narrow waterway that allows maritime access into and out of the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has identified the Strait of Hormuz as one of six critical chokepoints in the global distribution and trade of oil. The concentration of valuable maritime traffic passing through such a relatively small area makes the Strait of Hormuz a strategic area for the targeting of maritime objectives by groups or nations looking to threaten or disrupt global trade. Iran, located on the north bank of the strait, has made repeated threats to strangle maritime traffic passing through the strait in retaliation for any strike against its nuclear program. In addition, al-Qaeda has reportedly been planning strikes at critical maritime chokepoints over the past decade, including the Strait of Hormuz. Al-Qaeda continues to plan maritime attacks, copying successful tactics from other militant groups such as the LTTE. The Strait of Hormuz would be an ideal target for al-Qaeda’s maritime campaign, either through the use of WBIEDs or conventional maritime weapons.

Syrian Government Forcing Unrest Victims’ Families to Sign Papers Saying They Were Killed by “Terrorists”

Parents and relatives of people killed during funerals yesterday have been forced to sign papers stating they died at the hands of “armed gangs” or “terrorists” before Syrian security forces would release the bodies for burial, according to reporting gathered by three separate activists. In Douma, the town on the edge of Damascus where four mourners were killed yesterday, two activists said they spoke with friends and relatives of the dead who told them secret police had required the families to sign papers stating their loved ones were killed by “terrorists” before they would release the bodies to them.

Swiss Authorities Investigate Money Laundering Linked to Russian Tax Fraud Scheme

Switzerland has opened a money- laundering probe at the request of Hermitage Capital Management Ltd., the first criminal investigation outside Russia linked to the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison. The allegations involving a former Russian tax official are the most recent lodged by Hermitage founder William Browder as he asks authorities around the world to sanction officials he blames for Magnitsky’s death. The lawyer, who alleged Interior Ministry officials fraudulently collected a $230 million tax refund using documents seized from Hermitage, died in 2009 after a year in pre-trial detention. “It’s been impossible to get any kind of real criminal investigation in Russia,” Browder said yesterday by phone. “It’s highly significant that a Western law enforcement agency is taking this seriously and is launching an investigation.”

(U//FOUO) DHS “Red Cell” Report: How Terrorists Might Use a Dirty Bomb

An independent, unclassified analytic Red Cell session, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Departments of Energy and Homeland Security, found a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) attack on the U.S. homeland to be highly appealing from a terrorist standpoint. The Red Cell group, which simulated two different terrorist cells, believed an RDD attack would be relatively easy to prepare and mount and could have wide-ranging physical, psychological, political, and economic impacts. The group believed radioactive materials would be easy to procure, especially from abroad, and found a variety of potential targets across the country. Participants expected that public distrust of official guidance would heighten fear and panic.

(U//FOUO) DHS “Red Cell” Report: How Terrorists Might Exploit a Hurricane

A key component of the IAIP/Competitive Analysis and Evaluation Office’s mission is convening a diverse range of governmental and nongovernmental experts who adopt a terrorist mindset to challenge traditional or existing assumptions about how terrorists might attack some aspect of our critical infrastructure. The ideas generated by these “red cells” contribute insights on potential terrorist threats to the homeland for state and local governments, law enforcement, and industry.