News

DHS now reports to more congressional committees than it did when 9/11 Commission called for consolidation

In 2004, the Homeland Security Department reported to 88 different committees and subcommittees of Congress. The 9/11 Commission urged Congress to consolidate oversight to make it less fragmented—but now, a decade later, the department reports to 92 committees and subcommittees.

Growth of FEMA's administrative costs during disaster recovery and response worries GAO

For federally declared disasters that occurred between 1989 and 1995, only 9 percent of aid money went toward administrative costs. From 2004 through 2011, that number rose to 18 percent.

One CDC high-containment lab resumes transfer activities halted after anthrax mishandling debacle

One of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's so-called high-containment laboratories was allowed to resume its transfer of inactivated dangerous organisms on July 24, a day after a CDC official resigned in the wake of the agency's anthrax mishandling scandal.

As Congress mulls options to deal with migrant chldren, agencies try to cope with border crisis

The Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman released a draft bill July 23 that would provide more than $1 billion in emergency funding to help the Homeland Security Department and other departments cope with the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the southwestern border.

Report: US needs to adopt minimal national security standard for cybersecurity

The United States cannot allow cyber insecurity in information systems to reach a point where weaknesses would result in leaders "unwilling to make a decision or unable to act on a decision fundamental to our national security," said a new think tank report, suggesting a new national security standard for what's important to protect in cyberspace.

House approves bill that could potentially reclassify some TSA employees, reduce their pay

The House on July 22 passed a bill that could potentially reclassify some Transportation Security Administration criminal investigators as non-law enforcement workers - and reduce their salaries.

IG: Long-delayed repairs to US radiation detection system addressed, readiness enhanced

Improvements to a national radiation monitoring system hampered by long-delayed repairs and maintenance has improved the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to assess such threats to the public and environment, a July 22 internal audit has found.

Senate OKs bill extending terrorism risk insurance program, House to take up bill

By a 93-4 vote, the Senate reauthorized the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, or TRIA, which was set to expire at the end of the year. Under the bill (S. 2244), the program - which has already been extended and modified twice since it was first enacted in 2002 - would be extended for another seven years.

Report: Explosion of electric grid-connected devices will complicate security

The proliferation of smart-grid technology and the integration of more devices into the electric grid system will only add to the complex security matters facing the grid in the United States, says a report from the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

Trio of Democrats urges DHS watchdog to investigate Motorola practices

Three top House Democrats are urging the Homeland Security Department inspector general to investigate questionable tactics by Motorola related to sales of public safety communications equipment to government agencies.

Cities, feds grapple with inadequate border-crossing infrastructure

Port of entry infrastructure along the U.S. borders has struggled to keep up with the needs of cross-border trade and travelers, lawmakers and federal officials testing during a House hearing.

Terrorism analyst: Lone-wolf narrative overstated

Intelligence agencies and analysts have far overestimated the threat posed by so-called "lone wolf" terrorists, a prominent Spanish terrorism analyst said July 15 during a talk at the Brookings Institution.

GOP congressman seeks more transparency about migrant children's whereabouts in US

A Republican congressman said he intends to introduce legislation directing federal officials to account for the whereabouts of unaccompanied migrant children that are flooding the Southwest border.

Bipartisan legislation would give due process to unaccompanied minors crossing border

Two lawmakers plan to introduce bipartisan border legislation that they say would treat all unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border equally and ensure due process. Though text of the legislation isn't available, a July 16 statement from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) it would allow for voluntary reunification of children with their families whether they are from Mexico, Central America or any other country.

ACLU joins appeal of Idaho woman suing NSA

More than a month after a federal judge struck down a lawsuit that an Idaho woman filed against the National Security Agency's collection of cellphone data, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have taken on the case in the appeals process.

CDC head says "pattern" of poor safety in handling pathogens at labs

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted that a recent incident potentially exposing staff to anthrax has revealed a "pattern" of poor safety measures in handling such dangerous pathogens over the years.

NATO seeks software to help it prevent chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents

According to a solicitation posted on FedBizOps July 8, NATO's Communications and Information Agency is seeking commercial-off-the-shelf software that will provide command and control functionality, which would also protect forces from effects of such incidents.

Report: Crime, violence, poverty, family may be contributing to influx of migrant childen

Crime, poverty, educational and economic opportunities, and family reunification may be several reasons behind the recent surge of unaccompanied, mostly Central American children into the Southwest border of the United States, a recent report says. But the precise combination of these "push" and "pull" motives is still unclear, the Congressional Research Service authors wrote.

Report outlines new CDC actions after staff potentially exposed to anthrax

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's taken several actions to prevent future incidents similar to one in June when dozens of Atlanta-based employees were potentially exposed to anthrax.

Study: Utilities, others in critical infrastructure sector unprepared for cyber attacks

Nearly 70 percent of water, power, oil and gas, and other companies in the critical infrastructure sector said they've experienced at least one cybersecurity breach over the last 12 months, a new Ponemon Institute global survey finds.