A presentation from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement Systems Branch on the status of information sharing presented at the 2011 AFCEA Homeland Security Conference on February 23, 2011.
According to Debkafile, an Israeli electronic news website, a group claiming to be al-Qa‘ida has declared 11 November 2007 as the first day of a campaign of “electronic jihad” on the Internet. According to Debkafile, unspecified “al-Qa‘ida electronic experts” allegedly would begin attacking “Western, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim apostate and Shiite Web sites on that date with many more jihadist hackers joining in the attacks later [sic].” DHS and the FBI have no specific or credible information corroborating these cyber attack claims, or intelligence indicating this group is tied to al-Qa‘ida.
This assessment is intended to support the activities of DHS and to assist federal, state, and local government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials, and the private sector in deterring, preventing, preempting, or responding to terrorist attacks against soft targets such as hotels in the United States. It is intended to support the national “See Something, Say Something” campaign.
(U//FOUO) DHS Identifying Clandestine Biological, Chemical, Explosives, and Methamphetamine Laboratories
The purpose of this assessment is to assist members of the law enforcement and public safety communities in differentiating among four types of clandestine laboratories: biological, chemical, explosives, and methamphetamine. It provides descriptions, distinguishing features, and hazards of each type of laboratory and includes four reference guides for distribution to public safety personnel. This assessment expands on a related product—Distinguishing a Biological Agent Production Laboratory from a Methamphetamine Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 22 January 2008—by including indicators and warning signs associated with clandestine chemical and explosives laboratories.
To consider terrorist threat indicators in relationship to chemical storage facilities, it is useful to understand the basic structure of the industry and what general types of facilities might be attractive targets for terrorist attack. Chemical storage facilities are attractive terrorist targets because they can contain toxic and hazardous materials, can create extensive casualties and property damage, and can be a source of materials for use in other attacks. Figure 1 shows some of the potential terrorist targeting objectives.
The United States (U.S.) has two types of pipelines that transport petroleum: those that carry crude oil and those that carry refined petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and home heating oil. Pipelines transport more than two-thirds of all crude oil and refined products in the U.S. Other transportation modes are water, which includes ocean tankers and barges and accounts for 28% of petroleum transportation; tanker trucks, which account for 3% of petroleum transportation; and railroads, which account for 2% of petroleum transportation. The U.S. has more than 200,000 miles of petroleum pipelines.
Highway tunnels are enclosed passageways for road vehicles to travel through or under an obstruction, such as a city, mountain, river, or harbor. Tunnels may have one or more “tubes,” and some are also equipped with rail lines for trains. Highway tunnels are generally classified with regard to their method of construction: bored, cut and cover, or submerged. Tunnels through hard rock formations are usually bored (i.e., drilled) and finished to facilitate vehicular traffic. Very large boring machines are often used to cut the tunnel tubes through the hard rock formation.
A refinery comprises upstream components, process units, downstream components, and product storage. There are four basic processes used in refineries to produce products. Distillation is used to separate hydrocarbons of similar boiling range into intermediate and final products. Chemical processes are used to change the structure of the hydrocarbons to give them different properties breaking them into smaller pieces or combining them into larger ones. Treating processes are used to remove impurities such as sulfur, and blending systems are used to combine intermediate products and additives into final products for sale.
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin provides law enforcement and public and private sector officials with information for consideration in the wake of the death of Usama bin Ladin. This information is provided to support the activities of DHS and FBI and to help federal, state, and local government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks directed against the United States.
While hazardous and nonhazardous chemicals are stored and used in many industries, the focus of this report is specific to facilities that manufacture chemicals. A chemical manufacturing facility comprises upstream components, process units, downstream components, and product storage. The chemical manufacturing process can be further divided into the following five stages, each of which may contain one or more processing activities: (1) receipt of chemical ingredients, (2) temporarily staging or storing chemical ingredients awaiting use in production, (3) processing chemical ingredients into product, (4) temporarily staging or storing chemical products awaiting shipment, and (5) shipping chemical products.
Steam power plants burn fossil fuel in the furnace of a steam boiler. Steam from the boiler expands through a steam turbine, which is connected to a drive shaft of an electric generator. The exhaust vapor expelled from the turbine condenses, and the liquid is pumped back to the boiler to repeat the cycle. Steam power plants are designed to use coal, natural gas, or oil. Before combustion gases can be exhausted to the atmosphere, they typically must be cleaned to reduce particulates, NOx, and SO2 to levels required by federal and state regulations.
A subway system, as defined here, includes not only the portion of a rail rapid transit system that is underground, but also the other portions of the rail rapid transit system, even if they are not beneath the ground surface. Data for U.S. subways are typically collected under the heading of “heavy rail,” which is an electric railway with the capacity to transport a heavy volume of passenger traffic and characterized by exclusive rights-of-way, multi-car trains, high speed, rapid acceleration, sophisticated signaling, and high-platform loading. Heavy rail is also known as “subway,” “elevated (railway),” or “metropolitan railway (metro).” Subway systems are typically only one division of a transit agency. Bus, light rail, and commuter rail often operate as feeders to subway stations.
Shopping malls are potential targets for terrorist attacks because of the ability to inflict casualties, cause economic damage, and instill fear. Furthermore, they are “soft targets” in that they are serve the general public, and the presence of a significant number of American citizens is assured at certain times of the day. Due to the nature of their functions, these facilities usually lack perimeter or access controls. Due to their accessibility, soft targets are more vulnerable, and virtually impossible to defend against terrorist attacks. Damage or destruction of a large mall could inflict mass casualties, primarily on site; shut down or degrade its operation, thus having a significant impact on the economic well-being of a large area; have widespread psychological impact; and cause the release of hazardous materials.
Underwater cables carry telecommunications traffic (voice and data) under bodies of water (e.g., lakes and seas). These cables carry about 95% of all intercontinental telecommunications traffic. International banking and finance transactions are highly dependent on underwater (also known as submarine) communications cables. Some military communications traffic is carried via underwater cables. Most underwater communications cables in service are fiber-optic cables. New systems are almost always equipped with fiber-optic cables (rather than older technology coaxial cables). Underwater cable systems have expanded in recent years due to increased demand, changes in technology, and reduction in costs. This paper focuses on the gateway point to underwater cable systems, the cable landing station, including the fiber run from the station to shore where the fiber enters the water. Additional detail on the underwater portion of fiber cabling can be found in Characteristics and Common Vulnerabilities, Infrastructure Category: Underwater Cables (Draft, December 15, 2003).
The Intelligence Community (IC) assesses the death of al-Qa‘ida leader Usama Bin Ladin could result in retaliatory attacks in the Homeland and against US and Western interests overseas. Attacks might originate with al-Qa‘ida Core elements in the tribal areas of Pakistan, with one of their affiliates overseas, and/or with individuals in the homeland sympathetic to the cause but lacking a formal group association. We have no indications of advanced al-Qa‘ida Core plotting efforts in the Homeland, but the case of now-detained al-Qa‘ida operative Najibullah Zazi—who, along with two associates, planned to attack the New York City subway in 2009 using homemade explosives—demonstrates that unidentified operatives could advance plotting in the homeland.
Successful contamination of fluid milk can have serious public health consequences, since the product moves through the distribution and consumption stages very quickly. The shelf life of fluid milk is short compared to the shelf life of other food products; fluid milk is bought and used by consumers in short time periods. This leads to the potential for a rapid spread of any contaminated product. Fluid milk is consumed by all segments of the population from infants to the elderly. Health impacts from contamination could reach a wide range of people, including those with limited ability to recover from an induced illness. Some milk products such as cheese and ice cream have longer shelf lives and more limited consumption patterns than does fluid milk. Health impacts from the contamination of these products would be confined to a smaller group. Moreover, the longer times between production and consumption allow for response actions (e.g., product recall) to be implemented more effectively.
LNG is typically created in a three-step process. First, gaseous-form natural gas, extracted from the ground in neighboring oil reservoirs, is “frozen” into a liquid state through a complex cryogenic process (called liquefaction). The LNG boiling point is -260°F. In a liquid state, the volume of the gas is greatly reduced; it would take 600 ships carrying natural gas to equal the cargo contained on just one LNG tanker. Thus, it is practical and economical to import natural gas from overseas. The density of LNG is 26.5 pounds per cubic foot, or less than half that of water. LNG is odorless, colorless, non-corrosive, and nontoxic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.