Julie Bird

Articles by Julie Bird

CBP agrees to update risk assessments at foreign ports

Customs and Border Protection has not assessed risks at select foreign ports with U.S.-bound shipments since 2005, part of a string of failures that has left key ports without a CBP presence, the Government Accountability Office says.

DOJ OIG: Patriot Act civil rights complaints not substantiated

The vast majority of the 515 complaints to the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General alleging civil rights or civil liberties violations by DOJ personnel in the first half of 2013 were misdirected or unfounded, according to the OIG's most recent report.

GAO tells Forest Service, Interior to combine efforts on modernizing firefighting aircraft

The U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior need hard data on the effectiveness of various types of firefighting aircraft before they can identify how to best to expand the fleet, the General Accountability Office says in a new report (.pdf).

Studies overestimated impact of reducing soot, methane

New research finds that reducing soot and methane emissions wouldn't reduce global temperatures as much as thought--and would be substantially less effective than enactment of a comprehensive climate policy that tackled both short- and long-lived pollutants.

Extreme weather increases CO2 by one-third

Extreme weather driven by higher atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide is essentially dumping another 11 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to a third of global CO2 emissions per year, according to new research from Germany's Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry.

Mobile radiation scanners enhance port security

Radiation detectors typically are positioned at port entrances and exits, meaning they are unable to scan transshipment containers. The Mobile Radiation Detection and Identification System makes it harder for terrorists to smuggle radioactive material, said Greg Stihel of Sandia's Systems and Mission Assurance Department.

CRS: Legal issues complicate efforts to close Gitmo

Closing the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay raises a host of legal issues for the detainees, especially any transferred to the United States for further detention and possible trial, the Congressional Research Service says in a new report (.pdf).

TSA folds on allowing small knives on planes

The Transportation Security Administration  backed away from its plan to stop screening air travelers for small pocketknives, along with toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and up to two golf clubs.

No more nude images at airport screenings

The Transportation Security Administration has equipped all of its advanced imaging technology units with the required advanced target recognition technology, replacing the nude images produced by backscatter X-ray scanners, TSA Administrator John Pistole says in a May 24 letter (.pdf) to Congress.

GAO calls for independent review of DHS critical infrastructure assessment

The Homeland Security Department plans to commission an independent review of how it identifies and prioritizes critical infrastructure under its National Infrastructure Protection Plan, following recommendations in a new Government Accountability Office report (.pdf).