Tag Archive for Department of Homeland Security

DHS Signs Agreement with Spanish Government for Cooperation on Homeland Security Matters

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today joined Spanish First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba to sign an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation – sharing best practices to prevent and detect threats in addition to strengthening research and development. “International collaboration in science and technology is a major part of our ongoing efforts to counter threats of terrorism,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This agreement demonstrates concrete and practical steps that the United States and Spain are taking to further strengthen cooperation and to research while sharing cutting-edge technologies to ensure our mutual security.” During today’s meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Minister Rubalcaba reiterated their commitment to foster bilateral cooperation in scientific and technological fields that have a direct impact on national security—underscoring the need to amplify research, evaluation, and preparation of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and anti-explosive protection measures to better protect the flow of commerce and the citizens of both nations.

(U//FOUO) DHS Interagency Security Committee Threats to Federal Facilities Assessment

The DBT Report is a stand-alone threat analysis to be used with the Physical Security Criteria for Federal Facilities: An ISC Standard. The document establishes a profile of the type, composition, and capabilities of adversaries, and it is also designed to correlate with the countermeasures in the compendium of standards and to be easily updated as needed. The DBT is an estimate of the threats that face Federal facilities across a range of undesirable events and based on the best intelligence information, Intelligence Community (IC) reports and assessments, and crime statistics available to the working group at the time of publication. Users of the DBT must consider that undiscovered plots may exist, adversaries are always searching for new methods and tactics to overcome security measures, and the lone-wolf adversary remains largely unpredictable.

ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection (ICEPIC) System

The ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection (ICEPIC) system was established in 2008 to enable ICE law enforcement agents and analysts to look for non-obvious relationship patterns among individuals and organizations that are indicative of violations of the customs and immigration laws that are enforced by DHS agencies, as well as possible terrorist threats and plots. From these relationships, ICE agents develop specific leads and intelligence for active and new investigations. Identified relationships are also recorded for reuse in subsequent investigative analyses. The information processed by ICEPIC comes from existing ICE investigative and apprehension records systems, as well as immigration and alien admission records systems. ICEPIC includes capabilities that assist investigators in recording results of analyses performed in support of investigations and in capturing additional relevant information obtained from outside sources. The information collected by, on behalf of, in support of, or in cooperation with DHS and its components may contain personally identifiable information collected by other Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign government agencies, or international organizations.

(U//FOUO) LulzSec Release: DHS-FBI Use of Common Chemicals to Make Homemade Explosives

Terrorists can acquire precursor materials legally through a variety of commercial transactions, secondhand from individuals with access to such substances, or through theft. Many precursors can be purchased legitimately and without special authorization from chemical supply stores. They also are available at retail stores that sell beauty supply products, hardware and home improvement materials, groceries, and swimming pool supplies, and are used widely in hospitals, universities, construction sites, industrial facilities, farms, and mining operations.

(U//FOUO) LulzSec Release: DHS National Socialist Movement Reference Aid

The National Socialist Movement (NSM) USPER is the most active neo-Nazi group operating in the United States. It has grown from a small organization with a limited following confined to the mid-western United States to the preeminent National Socialist group in the nation. Despite having recently suffered a defection of several regional leaders, NSM remains an influential force within white supremacist circles and the only major racist group that eschews all attempts to distance its methods and objectives from those of the Third Reich. NSM has a reputation for conducting numerous public rallies that have triggered a violent response, including a riot in Toledo, Ohio, in October 2005.

(U//FOUO/LES) LulzSec Release: DHS Mexico Sonora-Based Threats to U.S. Border Security

This Homeland Security Assessment examines threats to U.S. border security emanating from the Mexican state of Sonora, which borders Arizona and a small section of New Mexico. It discusses drug and alien smuggling, border violence, and Mexican federal, state, and local government capabilities to confront organized crime. This is the fifth of six planned assessments on current threats to homeland security arising in Mexican states along the U.S. border. It is intended primarily for working-level analysts and operators engaging in homeland security-related activities and concerned with pertinent developments in Sonora and nearby U.S. territory.

Like to Take Photos? You Might Be a Terrorist

Taking an innocent snapshot in a public area may get you in trouble, even if photography is allowed. It almost landed Ryan Miklus behind bars when he flew from Phoenix to Reno with his parents recently. When Miklus tried to videotape an altercation between his mother and a TSA agent, another officer tried to stop him. “You are not allowed to film,” the officer says on the video. “You need to go. You cannot film us.” “Where does it say that?” Miklus asks. “Show me the law. Show it to me and I’ll stop.” The agent doesn’t answer, but leaves and returns with several airline employees, one of whom tells Miklus that it’s “against the law” to take photos at a security checkpoint.

DHS Partners with Faith-Based Organizations to Promote Suspicious Activity Reporting

Jewish Federations of North America officials met today at the White House with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The meeting, coinciding with the announcement of the Federation movement’s new partnership with DHS, was dedicated mainly to the state of threats posed to American Jewish institutions. According to the Jewish Federations spokesman, it’s the first time DHS is partnering with a faith-based community to advance its “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. “Homeland security begins with hometown security, and our nation’s faith-based organizations play a critical role in keeping our communities safe,” said Secretary Napolitano, according to the White House readout of the meeting.

General Dynamics Wins $867 Million DHS IT Contract

The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded General Dynamics a seven-year, $867 million contract to develop IT infrastructure for a consolidated Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters. The award was previously given to Northrop Grumman but revoked after a protest by competitive contractors. The GSA is handling the Alliant government-wide acquisition contract for the new DHS headquarters at the St. Elizabeth campus in southeast Washington, which will unite, in one central location, 22 department agencies that currently span 35 offices. The agency’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center awarded the contract to General Dynamics, which will work with the DHS to create a green, energy-efficient IT infrastructure for the campus, according to the GSA.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Unsubstantiated “Electronic Jihad” Warning November 2007

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.

(U//FOUO) DHS Hotels Threat Assessment

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.

(U//LES) DHS Chemical Storage Facility Terrorist Indicators Report

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.

(U//LES) DHS Petroleum Pipeline Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

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.

(U//LES) DHS Highway Tunnel Terrorist Indicators Report

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.

(U//LES) DHS Petroleum Refinery Characteristics and Common Vulnerabilities Report

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.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Potential for Retaliatory Attacks Following the Death of Osama bin Laden

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.

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

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.

White House Promotes Public-Private Partnerships for Cybersecurity

The Obama administration is proposing comprehensive cybersecurity legislation that would clarify the government’s role in protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure and favor public/private cooperation over regulation. The proposal would give the Homeland Security Department oversight authority for the Federal Information Security Management Act, the primary framework for protecting civilian government IT systems, and establish a program to encourage owners and operators of critical infrastructure to implement cybersecurity. “The nation cannot fully defend against these threats unless portions of existing cybersecurity laws are updated,” a senior White House official said in a briefing today.

(U//LES) DHS Fossil-Fuel Power Station Terrorist Indicators Report

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.

(U//LES) DHS Subway Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

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.

(U//LES) DHS Shopping Mall Characteristics and Common Vulnerabilities Report

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.

(U//LES) DHS Underwater Cable Landing Station Vulnerabilities and Terrorist Indicators Reports

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).