Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 19, 2013

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on July 19, 2013

During the night between July 18 and 19 in the year 64 CE the Great Fire of Rome began. The flames continued for six days consuming at least 10 percent and perhaps as much as 30 percent of the city. This is the event during which the Emperor Nero is remembered for playing his violin. But the most trustworthy sources report Nero was vigorous in organizing a response. Spin is not new.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 19, 2013 @ 6:55 am

Extract from the Robert T. Stafford Act:

Sec. 621. Administrative Authority (42 U.S.C. 5197)
(a) In General – For the purpose of carrying out the powers and duties assigned to the Administrator under this title, the Administrator may exercise the administrative authorities provided under this section.
(b) Advisory Personnel –
(1) The Administrator may employ not more than 100 part-time or temporary advisory personnel (including not to exceed 25 subjects of the United Kingdom or citizens of Canada) as the Administrator considers to be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this title.

I view HS and EM as developing multidisciplinary “professions” thus wondering why NO FEMA Director or Administrator has ever used this authority. Perhaps a DHS Secretary or FEMA Administrator will arrive someday that does not have the mindset of “not invented here” and will use this authority?

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 19, 2013 @ 7:00 am

Professor David McIntyre, PhD, of the University of N. Texas if memory serves has produced the only text of comparative EM [how other countries do EM] that exists. Excellent effort IMO.

Oddly FEMA long held the rep position to NATO for its civil security operation. And NATO produced a wonderful little analytic handbook of the civil security efforts of its members. Not available virtually to my knowledge. But a great effort.

FEMA’s international program is housed in its POLICY shop under David Kaufman. Wonder UFA

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 19, 2013 @ 7:26 am

CONTINUED: Wonder why we know so little about DHS and FEMA international efforts?

Comment by Quin

July 19, 2013 @ 8:38 am


One of my NPS professors, Nadav Morag, recently published a book on comparative HS efforts and includes EM. Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 19, 2013 @ 8:53 am

Thanks Quin!

Comment by Rubin, Claire

July 19, 2013 @ 9:38 am

I recently referred an international visitor to FEMA’s office of international relations and the person never got so much as a return email.

Not the best way to foster international cooperation.

Comment by Andrew Slaten

July 19, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

Ms. Rubin, we monitor the International Affairs mailbox on a regular basis, and respond as promptly as possible. I am not showing any pending requests. Please advise your acquaintance to please resend their request and I will see that it receives prompt attention. I apologize for the breakdown in service.

Andrew Slaten
Deputy Director
International Affairs
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 19, 2013 @ 4:18 pm


Comment by William R. Cumming

July 19, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

In a three judge opinion by the 4th Circuit Federal Appeals Court James Risen a NY Times reporter forced to release his source. One judge dissented. Risen could seek SCOTUS review or En Banc review by the Circuit. If the opinion stands without modification IMO the Judiciary has created in essence an Official Secrets Act and Freedom of the Press to cover the monstrous National Security State has ended, perhaps forever.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 21, 2013 @ 10:55 am

S.1234 introduced in the US Senate would expand the ability of nonprofits of various types to receive federal disaster assistance.

I have long advocated that even the current language should be modified to all only formally TAX EXEMPT nonprofits otherwise eligible to receive such relief.

Many so called nonprofits without formal tax exemption are scams and poorly administered.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 21, 2013 @ 11:00 am

CORRECTION: S.1274 with text found on Thomas.loc.gov!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 21, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

Friday forum –

Open the White House Doors Now – Our Kids Deserve Better –

My Father often said that “the People are like sheep” and the corrupt seize upon the dysfunctional and apathetic. The disregard to past historical events will again lead to the demise of humanity and much calamity. “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” — “The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.”
? Plato, The Republic?

July 18, 2013 @ 8:45 pm
ref Repeating History and Writing the Future….

Ladies and gentlemen of the Department of Homeland Security and other governmental agencies as well as the good People of this our beloved Republic, kindly be attentive:

Here are excerpts from a speech entitled “The President and the Press: Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association”, given by US President John F. Kennedy at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, April 27, 1961. (For the full text, click here; for the audio file, click here):

“Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

“Tonight, I want to talk about our common responsibilities in the face of a common danger. The events of recent weeks may have helped to illuminate that challenge for some; but the dimensions of its threat have loomed large on the horizon for many years. Whatever our hopes may be for the future — for reducing this threat or living with it — there is no escaping either the gravity or the totality of its challenge to our survival and to our security — a challenge that confronts us in unaccustomed ways in every sphere of human activity.
“The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.
“Today no war has been declared — and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. (…)
“For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence — on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.
“Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match. (…)
“It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation — an obligation which I share. And that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people — to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well — the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.
“Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply ‘give the public what it wants’ — but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.
“This means greater coverage and analysis of international news — for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security — and we intend to do it.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
…submitted this 18th day, July 2013 as this nation so plagued by a divisive executive White House and its malevolent mannerisms and its intentional disavowal and malicious ways towards the Constitution and our Judeo Christian principles, I ask the House to place Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton under arrest for suspicion in breach of faith, treason for their knowing ways and willingness to convey blatant lie shoulder to shoulder to write their self-serving future and leave our brave Patriots behind at the “Benghazi Massacre” –
As Stephen Douglass said, ” Find out just what People will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress” –
…and in looking in the past and to the future at this critical time in US history, in the words of Samuel Jackson (1775):
“No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue preserved. On the Contrary, when people are universally ignorant, and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without Aid of foreign invaders” –

God Bless our beloved Republic! We are in great peril from within….

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 21, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

Friday Forum – We shall never forget our brave Patriots left behind at the “Benghazi Massacre” –

July 20th, 2013
07:06 AM ET
Former general: Knew early that Benghazi was terrorist attack
By Elise Labott

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.

The former head of U.S. forces in Africa said the September 11, 2012, attack on the American mission in Benghazi quickly appeared to be a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous protest.

It was clear “pretty quickly that this was not a demonstration. This was a violent attack,” former Gen. Carter Ham told the Aspen Security Forum on Friday. Ham is the former chief of U.S. Africa Command, commonly known as AFRICOM.

Five days after the attack, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on the Sunday news shows to say it was the result of a spontaneous demonstration, not a terrorist strike.

While the State Department has maintained that Rice’s erroneous talking points were the result of getting and reacting to information in real time, critics accuse the Obama administration of orchestrating a politically motivated cover-up over a botched response, and continue to press for answers as to when the administration knew they were dealing with a terrorist attack.

When asked whether he specifically thought it was a terrorist attack, Ham said, “I don’t know that that was my first reaction. But pretty quickly as we started to gain understanding within the hours after the initiation of the attack, yes. And at the command I don’t think anyone thought differently.”

Ham was in Washington for a meeting of all combat commanders when the attack was under way. Although a decision was made to send a drone from eastern Libya toward Benghazi, by the time it arrived above the facility, the attack on the mission was winding down.

Ham knew Ambassador Chris Stevens was missing and believed he could have possibly been kidnapped. Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack.

“In my mind, at that point we were no longer in a response to an attack. We were in a recovery and frankly, I thought, we were in a potential a hostage rescue situation,” Ham said.

Ham said although he had authority to scramble a jet to the scene, he decided there was “not necessity and there was not a clear purpose in doing so.”

“To do what?” he asked. “It was a very, very uncertain situation.”

Ham said although U.S. officials were looking for indicators about a possible attack on US interests during the 9/11 anniversary, there was no information that an attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi was imminent.

“It was on it everyone’s mind….we really were looking very hard,” he said. “Did we miss something? Was there something in the intelligence that indicated that an attack on the U.S. special mission facility in Benghazi was being planned or was likely? If that intelligence exists, I don’t know.”

Ham said that he didn’t think Stevens, who lived in Libya, would have traveled to Benghazi if he had information about a possible attack.

“If he felt there was a risk in Benghazi, I don’t think only for himself, but he would not have put others at risk by going to Benghazi he felt was an increased likelihood of violence occurring in that place,” Ham said. “I’m convinced that he didn’t have any indications.”

Ham said the fact there is not a stable government in Libya makes the country “a very significant threat,” noting that al Qaeda has established itself in eastern and southwestern Libya. The United States, he said, is trying to strengthen the capacity of the Libyan authorities to deal with the threat.

Post by: CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott
Filed under: Aspen Security Forum • Benghazi • Carter Ham • Libya • US Africa Command

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