In answering questions yesterday after a speech to the Anti-Defamation League, Secretary Napolitano signaled a shift on Real ID. Here is what she said, “And so we’ve been, over the last weeks, meeting with governors of both parties to look at a way to repeal REAL ID and substitute something else that pivots off of the driver’s license but accomplishes some of the same goals. And we hope to be able to announce something on that fairly soon. Stateline.org reports, “Congress and the Obama administration are considering ceding key ground in a long-running battle between the federal government and the states over Real ID, the 4-year-old federal program that requires all states to start issuing more secure driver’s licenses by the end of the year. Proposed legislation being circulated on Capitol Hill would give states more time, flexibility and money to meet federal Real ID requirements.”
Today’s hearing on FEMA indpendence has been postponed. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee staff tells CQ that a scheduling conflict has emerged. Craig Fugate’s strong statement yesterday (see prior posts) on FEMA remaining part of DHS is widely suspected to have played a role.
A wildfire is quickly spreading near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Brush fires have complicated travel across Florida’s Alligator Alley. The California drought increases the likelihood of a bad wildfire season.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating two cases of swine flu detected in children in the San Diego, California, area last week… The children were infected with a virus known as swine influenza A H1N1, which has a unique combination of genes not previously seen in flu viruses in either humans or swine – although it shares similarities with a virus that has been circulating in pigs since 1999,” according to CNN. UPDATE (late Thursday): The CDC now confirms seven with swine flu, five in California and two in Texas. (More from CNN)
Yesterday during his nomination hearing John Morton was pressed for ICE leadership in coordinating the federal response to violence on the Southwest Border. According to Government Executive, ‘Morton said he was aware of the problems and a top priority would be to solve the jurisdictional issues among the agencies. ‘As a federal prosecutor I’m very familiar with the issue of turf wars. I don’t think they have a place in the federal government as a general matter, and I particularly don’t think they have a place on the southwest border,’ he said.”
“Taliban fighters spilling out of the Swat Valley have swept across Buner, a district 60 miles from Islamabad, as Hillary Clinton warned the situation in Pakistan now poses a “mortal threat” to the security of the world,” the Guardian reports. “The US secretary of state told Congress yesterday that Pakistan faced an “existential” threat from Islamist militants. “I think the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists,” she said. Any further deterioration in the situation “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world”, she said.” BREAKING NEWS at 0800 (eastern): Reuters is reporting that a few (perhaps a platoon) of Pakistani paramilitary troops are being reinserted into the Taliban-taken area.
According to Computerworld, “Endorsing a viewpoint that’s been gaining currency in the security industry, President Obama’s acting senior director for cyberspace Wednesday called for a more direct White House role in coordinating national cybersecurity efforts Melissa Hathaway, who just completed a 60-day review of the government’s cybsersecurity preparedness at the president’s behest, said that while cybersecurity needs to be a shared private and public sector effort, the task of leading it ‘is the fundamental responsibility of our government.’”
Last night several Republican Congressmen expressed their anger at Secretary Napolitano and called for her resignation. But the conservatives were calm compared to some Canadians. The Calgary Herald asks of Napolitano, “Where do they get these people?” The Globe and Mail asks, “What is Bush throwback Janet Napolitano doing in Obama’s cabinet?” Dispensing with the questions, the Gazette (Montreal) headlines its editorial, “US Security Boss Guilty of Borderline Stupidity.” The northern media is responding to the Secretary’s comment on Monday, “to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it’s been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there.” Some in Canada have issues with the accuracy of that statement.