News

Effectiveness of DHS visa security program unclear, internal audit finds

The effectiveness of a Homeland Security Department program designed to deny terrorists, criminals and other ineligible applicants from receiving U.S. visas is unclear, an internal audit found.

Internal investigators at CBP to become criminal investigators

Homeland Security Department Secretary Jeh Johnson has given Customs and Border Protection the authority to convert qualified internal affairs employees from general investigators to criminal investigators in order to pursue its employees for alleged criminal misconduct.

New DHS HQ faces more problems if plans, cost estimates not updated, says GAO official

Already more than $1 billion over budget and a dozen years behind schedule, the Homeland Security Department's planned consolidated headquarters could face more such problems if current estimates and plans aren't revised, a Government Accountability Office investigator said.

UN boosts effort to combat Ebola in West Africa, says $1B needed over next 6 months

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations is launching a new emergency health mission to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as well as a "20-fold increase" in international assistance.

TSA still needs help checking potentially fake IDs, GAO official says

A congressional investigator testifyng before a House subcommittee said the Transportation Security Administration is making better progress in screening airline passengers with potentially fraudulent boarding passes than with fake IDs.

Homeland, intelligence officials say no info that ISIL infiltrating southern US border

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently testified that he's unaware of any plot by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to cross into the United States thorugh Mexico.

Audit finds numerous IT-related security problems for DHS agencies at airport

An internal audit found that the Homeland Security Department's IT systems and assets at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport had inadequate security measures, which could potentially be exploited or compromised.

House bill would suspend US Visa Waiver countries if they fail to give pertinent terrorist info

Countries that don't give the United States relevant traveler information related to terror threats could be suspended from the U.S. Visa Waiver Program under a proposed House bill. The Homeland Security Department, which oversees the program, will also be required to consider expanding collection of biographical information from foreign applicants.

GAO: DHS needs a better approach to assess vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure

Congressional investigators said the Homeland Security Department needs a better way to consistently assess vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure despite conducting thousands of reviews in recent years.

Report: DHS training not all relevant to all its agencies

The centralized leadership training that the Homeland Security Department oversees for its components sometimes isn't all applicable to those components, says a report from the Government Accountability Office.

Republicans target passports of American citizens who fight with terrorist groups

Republicans in the House and the Senate introduced a series of bills last week that would allow the government to strip the passports and citizenship of Americans who join foreign terrorist organizations.

Expect a new wave of unaccompanied minors crossing the US border, expert says

Another wave of unaccompanied minors crossing the border into the United States from Central America is likely to occur before long, an expert on Central America and organized crime said Sept. 12 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

CBP paid a premium for employee housing near southwestern border

Customs and Border Protection built employee housing in an Arizona town that cost nearly eight times as much as the town's average home price.

DHS secretary: Apprehensions at southwest border continue to decline

In fiscal 2014, through Aug. 31, more than 66,000 unaccompanied children up to 17 years old were apprehended at the southwest border. In fiscal 2013, that number was just north of 35,000.

IG: DHS didn't assess needs before stockpiling for pandemic

The Homeland Security Department hasn't adequately assessed what supplies it needs in case of an influenza pandemic nor develop plans to replenish its stockpile, an Aug. 24 DHS inspector general report says. In 2006, Congress appropriated $47 million in supplemental funding to DHS for necessary expenses to plan, train and prepare for a potential pandemic.

Official: US laws need to be updated to help DHS better tackle cyber threats and attacks

A top Homeland Security Department official told Senate lawmakers Sept. 10 that Congress needs to update laws to help the department better tackle the growing threat of cyber threats and attacks.

Head of DHS's R&D arm says new strategic plan will better meet user needs

The head of the Homeland Security Department's research and development arm told lawmakers Sept. 9 that the long-term strategy that his organization is currently developing will better meet what Border Patrol agents and other end users need to do their jobs.

Report: Tens of millions of dollars wasted on underused vehicles at DHS

Underused vehicles cost the Homeland Security Department tens of millions of dollars in fiscal 2012, according to the DHS office of inspector general.

Federal labs to review safety in wake of anthrax, flu mishandling

By the end of next week, federal agency laboratories will have to have begun reviews of their safety practices in the wake of widely publicized lapses at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere.

NCTC chief: ISIL won't carry out large-scale attack in US

Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said he expected "nothing like a 9/11-scale attack" from ISIL in the United States. Olsen spoke Sept. 3 during a discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.