News

Report: Law enforcement community seeks more info about new tech, criminal justice practices

A new RAND-led report said law enforcement agencies want greater knowledge about new technologies and criminal justice practices – rather than requested technologies – with researchers calling for greater coordination in that area.

Audit: ICE financial systems need improvements in access controls, configuration management

An independent public accounting firm has found that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's core financial system still has some access control and configuration management problems.

GAO: Agencies need more help to better assess physical security improvement costs

Congressional investigators said the risk management standard established by the Interagency Security Committee requires agencies to use a cost-analysis methodology that considers all direct, indirect and life-cycle costs as well create performance measurements and a testing program to better help them allocate resources.

House lawmakers introduce bill to reform beleagured Secret Service

A bi-partisan group of House lawmakers March 26 introduced legislation aimed at reforming the Secret Service, which has been plagued by a series of scandals, low morale and breaches over the last few years.

House lawmakers question TSA process that funnels high-risk travelers through PreCheck

A Transportation Security Administration official said the agency is ramping up marketing to enroll more eligible low-risk travelers who pay to go through an expedited screening program, but will continue to use a process that ferries higher-risk travelers through that same security checkpoint.

Sea-level rise from climate change will threaten Hawaii's shoreline communities, new study says

If climate change continues as predicted, rising sea levels would double Hawaii's coastal erosion by mid-century, leading to beach loss, damage to homes and infrastructure, and endangerment to critical habitats, a new study predicts.

DHS's No. 2 Mayorkas under fire for giving preferential treatment to foreign investors following IG probe

In three instances, the Homeland Security Department's second-in-command used "improper influence" to help foreign investors obtain necessary permanent residency in the United States, an internal investigation concluded March 24.

DHS IG confirms whistleblower allegations that some border patrol agents abused overtime pay

Through four separate reports, the Homeland Security Department's watchdog said it's confirmed allegations from whistleblowers about widespread misuse of "administratively uncontrollable overtime" by some U.S. border patrol agents.

DHS issues draft guidance for disaster information sharing following earthquake exercise

The guidance lays out Essential Elements of Information to be shared in response to a disaster, as well as instruction on how to publish and receive alerts from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and share geospatial information.

UK researchers craft economic methodology that outlines business losses from climate change

Researchers at a U.K. university said a methodology they developed for a social housing provider, outlining the "true" business costs from the impact of climate change, is also applicable to other organizations.

House bill would widen Visa Waiver Program despite concerns of intelligence gaps

The bill would expand the program that permits visitors from certain participating countries to enter the country without a visa as a way to boost tourism in the United States, but some have fears that the program could also potentially admit terrorists.

TSA improperly provided 'notorious' convicted felon expedited screening at airport, DHS IG finds

A convicted felon who was also a former member of a domestic terrorist group was allowed by the Transportation Security Administration to go through the expedited passenger screening lane at an airport last year even after a security officer recognized the "notorious" traveler.

DHS helping communities assess, prepare for chemical attacks, says official

The threat of chemical attacks against U.S. communities is different based on an individual community's risk, a Homeland Security Department official said during a House hearing March 19.

GAO: Oversight of some major DHS programs' cost and performance lacking

The Government Accountability Office said DHS has improved certain aspects of its acquisition management process in recent years, which is important to make sure that programs are living up to their promise.

ACLU, NY affiliate sue TSA for records related to passenger behavior screening program

At issue is the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, which uses behavior detection officers to detect passenger behaviors that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception.

Destruction of thousands of chemical weapons at Army depot in Colorado begins this week

Eventually, the entire stockpile of 780,000 munitions containing more than 2,600 tons of mustard agent will be destroyed at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, using a process called neutralization followed by biotreatment.

US, Canada announce new agreement to boost preclearance inspections of travelers

Canadian and U.S. government officials announced March 16 a new agreement that allows federal agencies to conduct immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in each other's countries while facilitating travel.

NASA plans satellite mission to study phytoplankton, airborne particles and climate impact

The Pre-Aersol Clouds and ocean Ecosystem, or PACE, mission will study the Earth's oceans and atmosphere and learn more about the role of marine phytoplanton – which are microscopic ocean algae – in the global carbon cycle.

CBP addresses problems in examining high-risk rail shipments from Canada, Mexico, IG says

United States customs officers didn't always effectively use certain critera to assess the risk of some rail shipments entering from Canada and Mexico nor did some use required radiation detection equipment to examine high-risk cargo – problems that have since been addressed.

Coast Guard needs to better ensure the quality of biometric data it sends to DHS, IG says

The DHS inspector general's audit found that the Coast Guard does not consistently reconcile the data it collects through its Biometrics At Sea System with what it provides to DHS's Automated Biometric Identification System.