Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 24, 2009

A few natural, accidental, and intentional threats with our varied responses

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on June 24, 2009

NAO Terminated

Yesterday morning the Wall Street Journal scooped — and in the afternoon  Secretary Napolitano confirmed — termination of the National Applications Office.

AQ Nuke Threat and Indiscriminate Nuke Detection

As al-Qaeda renews its threat to use a nuclear weapon — if it can get its hands on one — the GAO reports little progress in the US effort to detect nuclear devices in cargo. “The monitors now in use can detect the presence of radiation, but they cannot distinguish between threatening and nonthreatening material. Radioactive material can be found naturally in ceramics and kitty litter, but would be of no use in making a bomb, for instance,” according to Eileen Sullivan reporting for the AP.

Swat Consolidated, Waziristan Targeted

Missile strikes from US drones killed between 45 and 70 people yesterday – reportedly including three militant commanders – in the stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, the al Qaeda ally and leader of the Taleban in Pakistan… It came as Pakistani forces also pounded the area — seen as an al Qaeda sanctuary and possible hiding place for Osama bin Laden — with air strikes and heavy artillery in preparation for a ground attack on Mr Mehsud.  Meanwhile, according to government reports, “Security forces are carrying out search and sweep operations in various parts of the Swat valley in the final phase of the military operation.”

Automation Failure Probed

Investigators are focusing on how and why automatic slowing and stopping apparently failed in the deadly DC Metro collision.  Attention is also being given to how Monday’s accident may or may not be related to other rail accidents.

Intense Heat Threatens Heartland

The National Weather Service has released excessive heat warnings for an area stretching from Northeast Oklahoma to Southwest Iowa and from the middle of Kansas to metropolitan St. Louis.  Kansas City, ground zero for the heat wave, will have temperatures in the upper 90s with a heat index predicted at 105 degrees.

H1N1  Threatens H3N2  (Mostly)

As flu season begins in the Southern Hemisphere, Australian health professionals  find the new H1N1 strain competing effectively with the previously established H3N2 strain. In most cases, humans are reacting to the new strain with the same mild symptoms as the prior strain.

Andres Opens Hurricane Season

Andres is the first named tropical storm of the Pacific hurricane season.  The Atlantic continues calm, with no significant energy waves as yet emerging off Africa.


A new series of articles have been published online by the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management including, “A Game Theory Approach for Evaluating Terrorist Threats and Deploying Response Agents in Urban Environments.”

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