The Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC) produces Infrastructure Protection Notes to address issues impacting the infrastructure protection community’s risk environment from terrorist threats and attacks, natural hazards, and other events. Based on the analysis within the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis product Evolution of the Terrorist Threat to the United States this IP Note outlines the evolution of terrorist threats and impacts to the Nation’s critical infrastructure.
(U//FOUO) DHS Mass Transit and Passenger Railroad Systems Terrorist Attack Preparedness Info Regarding a Realistic Threat
Terrorist attack tactics used against mass transit and passenger railroad systems abroad provide insights that can assist law enforcement officers in securing these critical infrastructure assets. The chart below highlights common tactics noted in attempted or successful use of explosive or incendiary devices against mass transit or passenger railroad systems in attacks conducted between March 2004 and November 2009. The information about these attacks provides insights into device type, selection, and construction and can help law enforcement identify patterns and develop protective measures. Analysis shows terrorists have timed attacks during periods of peak ridership; used multiple, coordinated, drop-and-leave devices in identical or similar baggage; and placed devices inside rail cars to cause casualties among passengers.
Social media are web-based and mobile technologies that turn communication into an interactive dialogue in a variety of online fora. It may be appropriate for the government, including DHS, to use social media for a variety of reasons. The President has challenged his Administration to use technology and tools to create a more efficient, effective, and transparent government1. DHS recognizes that the use of social media by government actors must occur with appropriate privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections; whether DHS is disclosing its informationand press releases via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, reviewing news feeds for situational awareness, or researching identified, discrete targets for legitimate investigatory purposes. Accordingly, DHS has created Department-wide standards designed to protect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties in each category of its use.
The purpose of this assessment is to alert law enforcement and homeland security officials about recent suspicious activity involving school buses and the licenses to drive them.
Terrorists overseas have suggested conducting vehicle ramming attacks—using modified or unmodified vehicles—against crowds, buildings, and other vehicles. Such attacks could be used to target locations where large numbers of people congregate, including sporting events, entertainment venues, or shopping centers. Vehicle ramming offers terrorists with limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct a Homeland attack with minimal prior training or experience.
On 5 February 2010, the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA)—an official British Government agency—announced the confirmation of one case in England of a heroin user testing positive for anthrax. HPA also said 19 cases of anthrax had been confirmed so far in Scotland and that the heroin, or a contaminated cutting agent mixed with the heroin, was the likely source of infection.
DHS-University of Maryland Study: Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States 1970 to 2008
While efforts are increasingly aimed at understanding and identifying “hot spots” of ordinary crime, little is known about the geographic concentration of terrorist attacks. What areas are most prone to terrorism? Does the geographic concentration of attacks change over time? Do specific ideologies motivate and concentrate terrorist attacks? Moreover, what factors increase the risk that an attack will occur in a particular area? Using recently released data from the Global Terrorism Database, we address these gaps in our knowledge by examining county-level trends in terrorist attacks in the United States from 1970 through 2008.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said that her department is constantly looking for ways to trim its multi-billion budget. “Every element of the federal government has an obligation to find ways to do what we do more efficiently and in a more cost effective manner,” Napolitano said in a speech this past week. “We’ve been looking for these ways for three years. It’s everything … it’s cutting down expenses related to procurement, it’s doing certain things with IT which are cutting the costs of that, it’s eliminating you know, subscriptions to unnecessary periodicals. We are finding that we can get leaner and meaner. And we will continue to do that.”
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin is intended to provide information on the 7 January 2012 arrest by the FBI Tampa Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), as part of a planned law enforcement action, of Florida-based Sami OsmakacUSPER. Osmakac is charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. This information is provided to support the activities of FBI and DHS and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial, counterterrorism and law enforcement officials to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today traveled to Indianapolis to highlight the Department’s “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign’s continued partnership with the National Football League (NFL) to help ensure the safety and security of employees, players and fans during the regular season, and Super Bowl XLVI. “At a major national event like the Super Bowl, security is a shared responsibility and everybody has a role to play in identifying and reporting suspicious activities and threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Our partnership with the NFL on the “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign during the Super Bowl is a critical part of our efforts to ensure the safety of every employee, player and fan.”
If you watch the Super Bowl next Sunday, between the commercials and the elaborate half-time show, take a moment to to think about the one aspect of the event that you will not see: the massive deployment of federal and local law enforcement resources to achieve what is already being called “the most technologically secure Super Bowl in the history of the Super Bowl.” The game, which will take place February 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, will be secured by an unprecedented number of measures including dozens of newly-installed night-vision cameras, mobile gamma-ray scanners and a $18 million fusion center staffed with officials from various federal agencies and the military.
Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence Fusion Centers, U.S. Secret Service
We have no specific or credible information indicating a threat to the US Capitol or the National Capital Region (NCR) to coincide with the 2012 State of the Union address. We assess, however, that al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates and allies remain committed to attacking the Homeland and, as of February 2010, al-Qa‘ida identified the NCR and the State of the Union address itself as important targets, presumably for attacks. Moreover, homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) as well as lone offenders could view the event as an attractive target, offering the means to inflict casualties and garner extensive media coverage. Detecting homeland plots involving HVEs and lone offenders continues to challenge law enforcement and intelligence agencies due to the operational independence of the perpetrators, which can reduce or eliminate preoperational indicators.
DHS to Focus on Providing Intelligence to Local Governments, Private Sector to Counter Domestic Threats
Nearly a decade after Congress created the Department of Homeland Security to prevent other 9/11-style terrorist attacks, a bipartisan group of experts says it is time for the agency to shift its focus from foreign enemies to working with local governments and the private sector so it can secure the border and critical infrastructure from homegrown threats. “The growth of our expectations of domestic security, and the evolution of threats away from traditional state actors toward non-state entities — drug cartels, organized crime, and terrorism are prominent examples — suggest that the DHS intelligence mission should be threat agnostic,” said a report by the Aspen Homeland Security Group, which is co-chaired by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Leaders of a congressional subcommittee are urging the Department of Homeland Security to extensively monitor social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to detect “current or emerging threats.” The top Republican and Democrat on a House counter-terrorism subcommittee last month sent a letter to Homeland Security’s intelligence chief encouraging department analysts to pore over huge streams of social media traffic. Representatives Patrick Meehan and Jackie Speier said in the letter to Caryn Wagner, undersecretary of homeland security for intelligence and analysis, that they “believe it would be advantageous for DHS and the broader Intelligence Community to carefully parse the massive streams of data from various social media outlets to identify current or emerging threats to our homeland security.”
The Department of Homeland Security is set to participate in a discussion panel at an online dating industry conference in Miami in the coming days. Tom Millar, chief of communications for the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) is slated to discuss deceptive dating tactics in a January 24 panel at the iDate SuperConference event, said a statement from Ticondergoa Ventures, Inc., the sponsor of the conference. The event takes place on January 23-30, 2012 in Miami Beach. Millar’s session is designed, said Ticonderoga Ventures, to help dating operators prevent fraud within their respective sites.
Project Shield was supposed to make citizens safer. But in the end, the $45-million Homeland Security program more resembled a disaster, wasting taxpayers’ dollars and failing to make a single citizen more secure. The failed Cook County initiative was replete with equipment that failed to work, missing records and untrained first responders according to a report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The report, to be released Monday but obtained by The Sun-Times and NBC5 News, found “millions of tax dollars may have been wasted.”
In the last week before Christmas, the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office quietly issued an updated Privacy Impact Assessment for the Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) program. The controversial FAST program is designed to study the use of automated systems for scanning behavioral indicators to detect malicious intent in individuals who might pose a potential threat to security. A subject of FAST screening at an airport, sports arena or other public venue enters a mobile screening trailer that contains a number of devices that monitor behavioral cues believed to be associated with malicious intent. The subject is then asked typical screening questions in an attempt to elicit a heightened response and identify malicious actors. The new Privacy Impact Assessment indicates that in addition to verbal interactions, the FAST program will study the impact of passive screening measures on a subject including “audio, visual, or tactile stimuli.” In this modified version of the program, a subject will enter the FAST screening trailer and be confronted with images or videos and may never speak with security screening personnel.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced a new partnership between DHS’ “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign and the National Hockey League (NHL) – highlighting the Department’s continued partnership with the sports industry to ensure the safety and security of employees, players and fans. “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 to the NHL, we are working together to ensure the safety and security of employees, players, and fans.”
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin provides law enforcement, public, and private sector safety officials with an evaluation of potential terrorist threats during the 2011 US holiday season, extending from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. This information is provided to support the activities of DHS and FBI and to assist federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government counterterrorism and first responder officials in deterring, preventing, preempting, or responding to terrorist attacks within the United States.
Members of the House Homeland Security Committee introduced a cybersecurity bill on Thursday that would establish a quasi-governmental entity to oversee information-sharing with the private sector. Like the other cybersecurity bills offered by the House GOP, the Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness (PrECISE Act) encourages private firms to share information on cyber threats but stops short of mandating new security standards for sectors deemed critical to national security. “The risk of cyberattack by enemies of the United States is real, is ongoing and is growing,” said Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.). “The PrECISE Act, in line with the framework set forth by the Speaker’s Cybersecurity Task Force led by Rep. [Mac] Thornberry [R-Texas], protects our critical infrastructure without a heavy-handed and burdensome regulatory approach that could cost American jobs.”
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today unveiled new Spanish-language Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign during a roundtable meeting with Hispanic law enforcement groups at the White House. The PSAs are aimed at reaching out to the Spanish-speaking public to encourage them to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
An example of a monthly report released through the Department of Homeland Security’s TRIPwire program that documents bomb threats and other incidents related to the domestic use of improvised explosive devices. The report is compiled from open source information gathered around the country. The reports are not released publicly.
Law enforcement and government officials for decades have understood the critical importance of building relationships, based on trust, with the communities they serve. Partnerships are vital to address a range of challenges and must have as their foundation a genuine commitment on the part of law enforcement and government to address community needs and concerns, including protecting rights and public safety. In our efforts to counter violent extremism, we will rely on existing partnerships that communities have forged with Federal, State, and local government agencies. This reliance, however, must not change the nature or purpose of existing relationships. In many instances, our partnerships and related activities were not created for national security purposes but nonetheless have an indirect impact on countering violent extremism (CVE).
The Chertoff Group, a global security advisory firm founded by Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is pleased to announce the opening of a new office in San Francisco. Founded in 2009, The Chertoff Group provides consulting, business development, and merger and acquisition (M&A) advisory services for clients in the security, defense and government services industries. “We are excited to be expanding our presence in Silicon Valley – the heart of innovation and home to so many truly transformative technologies,” said Michael Chertoff, Chairman of The Chertoff Group. “This office will enable us to share our analysis and insight in the homeland security, defense and intelligence space with this unique community that is developing many of the critical technologies needed to confront today’s global security challenges. Our team has helped an array of companies grow and meet their business objectives especially in the federal and international markets and we look forward to continuing this work on the West Coast.”
The chief of the Homeland Security Department’s drone aircraft program is facing an ethics investigation for joining the board of directors of the largest industry group promoting the use of unmanned aircraft, officials said Monday.The internal affairs office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reviewing whether Tom Faller, director of unmanned aircraft systems operations, violated internal rules when he took an unpaid position as a board member of the Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International on Aug. 16. Faller oversees eight Predator B surveillance drones that are chiefly used to help search for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers on the northern and southwestern borders.