Michael Chertoff

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McCaul: Malaysia 'Wasted a Week'

And Jimmy Carter thinking Big Brother is probably watching his inbox

(Newser) - Malaysian officials "spent way too much time" looking for Flight 370 in the wrong places, charged House Homeland Security chair Michael McCaul this morning on Fox News Sunday. "We wasted a week of precious time at the mountain region when all along it’s been in the southern... More »

Scanner Firms Doubled Lobby Spending Over 5 Years

High-profile former officials ended up on scanner firms' payrolls

(Newser) - A revealing USA Today scan of government records finds that companies who won the contracts to supply the TSA with its controversial full-body scanners have more than doubled their spending on lobbyists over the last 5 years. The firms have also hired some high-profile former government officials to advance their... More »

High Court Won't Hear Challenge to Border Fence

(Newser) - The Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the completion of the border fence between the US and Mexico, Fox News reports. Environmental groups, an Indian tribe, and the city of El Paso brought the challenge, contending that a fence will cut off access to the Rio Grande... More »

Terrorists Up to Dangerous New Tricks Next 5 Years: US

Report predicts increase in homegrown terrorists, growing danger of biological attack

(Newser) - The number of homegrown Islamic militants in the US is expected to increase sharply over the next 5 years, according to a Homeland Security assessment obtained by AP.  A pool of "terrorist wannabes" will be recruited online and used to carry out attacks, including sophisticated cyberattacks for which... More »

Chertoff's Cleaner Hired Illegals

Fined owner says he's a 'scapegoat,' blasts Homeland Security system

(Newser) - A cleaning service whose illegal workers got past Secret Service checks to scrub Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s home is facing fines for hiring undocumented laborers, the Washington Post reports. The owner calls the enforcement uneven, saying his small business may go under while customers and large companies enjoy... More »

Napolitano Pick Suggests Focus on Immigration

Rumored Homeland Security nominee has hawk cred on border

(Newser) - If Janet Napolitano is indeed Barack Obama’s pick for Homeland Security chief, it likely signals a shift in the department away from terrorism and toward immigration issues, CQPolitics reports. The Arizona governor has been on the front lines of the immigration battle. “She would do a pretty serious... More »

Airport Security Loophole Gets High-Tech Fix

Encryption makes boarding pass 'impossible' to forge

(Newser) - The government is finally closing a well-known loophole that makes it easy for would-be terrorists to board planes, Wired reports. Under current rules, it’s possible to forge a boarding pass at home. But new measures will put the passes, with secure barcodes, on smartphones, making it “well-nigh impossible... More »

Homeland Security Chief: Terror List Isn't So Long

Feds to take over airline passenger screening from next year

(Newser) - The terrorist watch list isn't the million-name behemoth it’s been reported as, the Homeland Security chief says. Only 2,500 people are on the no-fly list, according to Michael Chertoff, and just 10% of them are US citizens. Less than 16,000 people are on another, lower-level threat list,... More »

Texas Battles Ike Blackouts, Floods, Looting

FEMA struggles to keep Houston, Galveston supplied

(Newser) - Federal officials were working yesterday to move emergency supplies and fresh water to distribution centers in beleaguered Houston, where residents were struggling to cope with continued flooding, blackouts and looting. Millions are still without power and a curfew is in force, reports the Houston Chronicle. Officials in Galveston, meanwhile, appealed... More »

Border Fence Blamed for Ariz. Flooding

Critics say fence design ignores environment

(Newser) - Environmentalists say the US border-security fence is to blame for water backups in southwestern Arizona and Mexico, where steel-mesh panels meant to keep illegal immigrants out are getting clogged with flood debris, the AP reports. Critics are focusing their attacks on Homeland Defense Secretary Michael Chertoff, who waived environmental laws... More »

Cash-Strapped Businesses Battle Immigration Crackdown

Some states now responding to employers' need for low-cost labor

(Newser) - As state and federal authorities crack down on illegal immigration, businesses are fighting back, the New York Times reports. Employers, stung by aggressive new measures that would revoke the licenses of those found to have hired illegals, say their very existence is threatened. A few states are responding to the... More »

Feds Triple Cases Against Illegals

Immigrants account for half of prosecutions; critics question White House priorities

(Newser) - Prosecutions of illegal immigrants have soared in recent months, now accounting for half of all federal cases, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some 9,350 illegal immigrants faced federal charges in March of this year, up from 3,746 in March 2007, as the Bush administration ratcheted up efforts to... More »

US Visitors Face Tough New Rules

Tourists must register online information 3 days before trip

(Newser) - Visitors to the US who don't need visas will have to register personal information online before traveling this summer, reports ABC News. The information will be used for background checks and scrutiny of travel plans. European officials have threatened to introduce similar rules in retaliation. The new regulations would apply... More »

Border Fence Will Skirt Environmental Laws

Dozens dumped to speed building

(Newser) - Homeland Security is ditching environmental laws in a push to finish 670 miles of border fence along Mexico by the end of this year, reports the Los Angeles Times. Congress has approved a waiver for more than 30 environmental and cultural laws to accelerate building. Critics say the plans are... More »

Renegade Geek to Head Cyber Security

DHS taps outsider as Silicon Valley ambassador

(Newser) - Outre tech entrepreneur Rod Beckström will top the White House’s new secretive cyber security initiative, the Wall Street Journal reports, to the surprise of many Washington insiders. Beckström is a Silicon Valley transplant without security experience, but he has developed a cult following in the security and... More »

Montana Gov Rips Real ID Law

Calls scheme 'kooky' and 'hare-brained'

(Newser) - NPR Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and every single state legislator have refused to implement the Real ID Act, a congressional mandate to create standardized identification documents. Schweitzer tells NPR the law is "kooky" and "hare-brained," asserting that half a dozen high school students and a Kinko's are... More »

Homeland Security Dep't Turns 5

Chertoff reflects on successes, challenges at Homeland Security

(Newser) - With the Department of Homeland Security celebrating its fifth anniversary Saturday, Secretary Michael Chertoff says six attack-free years could tempt the next US administration to make cuts in his agencies, the Christian Science Monitor reports. He said he has a "moral responsibility" to make choices he might not see... More »

'Virtual Fence' Cleared For Arizona Border

Troubled system already operational

(Newser) - The government has just given the green light to a 28-mile “virtual fence” along the Arizona/Mexico border, the AP reports. The system, which uses cameras, radar, and other sensor devices to detect border jumpers, is already partially constructed, and working. Last week Border Patrol caught 38 would-be illegal immigrants... More »

Tornadoes Put FEMA on Spot

Agency that botched Katrina response is under close scrutiny

(Newser) - As the full extent of the damage from this week's deadly tornadoes comes clear, survivors and lawmakers are united in one sentiment: FEMA better come through this time. The agency that botched the Katrina recovery is under close scrutiny, the New York Times reports. “FEMA must not use bureaucratic... More »

New ID Rules Look to Shore Up US Borders

Proof of citizenship now needed; 'Time to grow up,' says Chertoff

(Newser) - All travelers entering the US, including Americans, will face tough new ID requirements beginning in two weeks. "It's time to grow up and recognize that we've got to take determined steps to getting better security," homeland security chief Michael Chertoff told the AP. More »

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