Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 20, 2013

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on December 20, 2013

On this day just last year a winter storm was sweeping across much of the middle United States causing blizzard conditions from Colorado to Wisconsin. Iowa bore much of the storm’s brunt on December 19 and 20 with locations from Des Moines northeast through Dubuque receiving over a foot of snow. Strong winds of 50 to 60 mph paralyzed the region for several days. Two people died in a 25 vehicle pileup on Interstate 35 during the height of the blizzard.

On this date in 1987 the Philippine ferry Dona Paz collided with an oil tanker.  More than 1750 people were drowned.

The December 20 Movement (Movimiento de Diciembre 20 or M-20) was active for several years during the 1990s. The group targeted members of the Panamanian government organized after the ouster of General Manuel Noriega. In addition, M-20 attacked U.S. government installations, including diplomatic buildings and military facilities.

Worth noting that tomorrow, December 21, is the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

Pending some extraordinary event, Homeland Security Watch will be on vacation next week.  May you find meaning in reviewing the year soon to end and make a bright beginning of the New.


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Comment by William R. Cumming

December 20, 2013 @ 8:39 am

If I were the new Secretary DHS:y
1. Have all incumbents in politically vetted positions whether formally or informally provide to me personally and each other a one page document describing their highest priority tasking from their chain of command;

2. All subordinate employees do the same as #1 above but give only to those who evaluate them annually or more often;

3. Have each component prepare a complete list of all funded or unfunded inter-agency or intra-agency MOUs, MOAs, and IAAs. These will be distributed to all personnel in the component;

4. Provide a memo from the component head to me on thoughts on the first QHSR and BUR;

5. Brief me- How does the DHS chain-of-command work in a declared Stafford act incident or event and an incident or event where not declared;

6. Brief me- how does DHS claim resources from DoD and how does DoD claim resources from DHS?

7. Brief me-in conjunction with OFAs as to how those OFAs are staffed and funded to support DHS programs, functions, and activities;

8. Fact– there are many well meaning but incompetent individualsved in the Executive Branch–I need a briefing oreri briefings not on those individuals but rather who are the drive sprockets in each component–identify by name and position, and be inclusive not exclusive;

9. Provide a comprehensive list of all legal authorities for each component and how derived; include any with sunset provisions and date of

10. What gaps appeared in past transition of DHS Secretaries and should they or could they be avoided now?

Comment by JCOMISKEY

December 20, 2013 @ 11:06 am


Good “What is HLS diagnostic/needs assessment.”

Add to list of people who should answer above questions” Head of each of the 22 DHS agencies and add question: if/how the agency relates to the other 21 agencies

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 20, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

John! YUP!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

December 21, 2013 @ 9:31 am

Friday Free Form: Homeland Security and our Nation and History

To those celebrating the birth of Christ, Merry Christmas 2013! After all, Frank Capra’s, “It’s A Wonderful Life” was premiered this date in ’46 and for many history buffs, the Mayflower Pilgrims landed at nearby Plymouth this date in 1620 (though some point to the 11th) and while Shirley Temple signed her first studio contract this date in 1933 and in Springfield, MA this date in 1891, the first basketball game was played….

…. To all, let us pray and work together for a new 2014 which brings harmony and peace among all men and women, however on this 21st December I wish to note some interesting recollections worthy of our notation emphasizing the necessity for us to understand the importance of history more often than not, filled with violence and corruption and as a nation We must be prepared and to be cognizant of the dangers certainly from far distant shore, but as importantly from within when discussing Homeland Security issues and planning and We must be attentive to the lessons of history and fully versed in the wisdom and God’s Blessings of our forefathers who warned us and politician alike that – We the People – have “entrusted” anyone and everyone to cherish our American Judeo-Christian values and our beloved Republic and remind all that –

“No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are unwisely ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without Aid of foreign invaders” – Samuel Adams (1775)

In 1941 this date, U-567 sinks and in 1994, a bomb goes off on the #4 train on Fulton Street in NYC; in 199, the Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid and in 1988, this date, Pan Am flight 103 explodes in the Lockerbie bombing.

So while whether a few days from Christmas when the Christian world joins with many others in prayer for peace and hope, as you can see that these and other threats and acts of cruelty towards fellow humans take place no matter the date, thus, we must always be vigilant and as an elder, I believe that as a Democracy to survive in the past, present and future, we must portray a nation of strength and tout a strong arsenal of weapons to the “Brutes of Tehran, the “KGB Putinites’ and so many others who seek our demise, not fewer weapons found in both in our military and among our civilian population for all lawful purpose of course as unfortunately the so corrupt among us respect only the strength of such and We must be weary of the past and present onslaught of “Executive Orders” forthcoming from the White House which continue to batter and leave our Blessed Constitution tattered at its edges and under direct siege and in the partisan mannerisms of both majority parties in our House, our Homeland Security is at stake and as we soon here of even more of an abundance of “Executive Orders” from this White House to be announced contrary to the best interests of our political system of checks and balances, we must reread the words of James Madison (1775) and take note:

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. But, in reality it will be an Enemy from within” –

…and in the words of Frederick Douglas most applicable today given the partisan politics and failure of our elected Representatives no matter the party affiliation and in parallel with these dangerous and contempt Executive Orders being administered as a threat to our Homeland Security from at least my perspective and this apathy and indifference and loyalty to party partisanship rather than understanding that We are worried, very worried here on “Main Street USA” when it comes to Homeland Security and the threats from within….

Frederick Douglas best describes our Enemy from within when his words can be used to describe this ever evolving government today when he writes,

“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” –

While we know on this date the first hospital insurance plan was offered in Dallas, TX long ago and that the Chicago Bears kicked for an extra point in ’41 to win the NFL championship, we are worried, very worried about our own government so on this 21st December 2013, again in the historical reference to just this date, not yesterday and tomorrow, with multiple “Executive Orders” to be implemented by an administration who gives little regard to our Constitution and a Senate and Congress intent on playing politics rather than looking out for the best interests of We the People here on “Main Street USA” where we will hold our Muskets High for all lawful purpose as well as holding our Bible even higher….

I remind those among us enlightened of the 1914 1st reel featured comedy which debuted on this 21st December date in 1914, entitled, “Tillie’s Punctured Romance” with the English name, Tillie meaning, “Battle Strength” which very much describes the growing consternation among the law abiding and truly patriotic American who cherishes his/her Rights and his government established on firm principles and Biblical verse for the benefit of the majority that being a government whereby – We the People and By the People – means just that as the great threat to our Republic and to maintaining Homeland Security….

….these forthcoming onslaught of “Executive Order” circumventing our government;s long standing checks and balances, w/promise from here on ‘main Street USA” – We shall stand forthright shoulder to shoulder w/Bible in hand, Constitution and the American flag proudly waving and this Presidency of the United States and anyone else in leadership role no matter party affiliation will clearly see that We may be a tolerant People, however just as Frederick Douglas stated, “The limits of tyrant are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress” and so help us God, We shall empower those who – We the People – do in fact “trust” in their pledge in oath to stand with strength to protect our Constitution and further, We as individuals and as proud Americans whether Christian, Hebrew, Greek, Muslim or other, understand fully our obligation and oath as well to stand, protect and preserve our Constitution in every lawful means and if necessary, We pledge together that We will not allow a 2014 remake of the the 1914 “Tillie’s Punctured Romance” w/Charlie Chaplin today represented by this ever evolving “big government” which has attempted to seduce us with empty political promise and masterful rhetoric in blatant lie to steal the farmer’s daughter’s heart with intent to run off with her Daddy’s (our) money….

Homeland Security and the threat of the “KGB Putinites” and his comrades, the “Brutes of Tehran”, I would say and under oath to the Constitution, the continuity of “Executive Orders” and the onslaught and expedience of “Executive Orders” to be encountered this new year 2014 by – We the People – in direct intent to circumvent the checks and balances and those permitting these checks and balances to be protected, well that’s my Home land Security real concern this 21st December 2013!

God Bless America as we permit Germany to fill the foreign policy vacuum left by this tainted and narrow minded Presidency of Barry Obama who stood at the podium that night when journalists gathered and spoke how much he would like to be called Hussein Obama so many who refer to themselves as being astute and missed what he was really saying as his pledge has always been as a Chicago city street slicker and nothing more to his Father, Hussein Obama and his Kenyan pals, anti-Christians and anti-colonialists whose dream was to bring America to par with other nations….

When we talk about Homeland Security, let us look closely at the manufacturing and distribution of billions in arms already sold into the Middle East by Germany which is slowly surrounding Tehran by nurturing a new Confederate of Middle East States in ally to Germany and unfortunately while we are so grasped by the words of a character in the Duck Dynasty and celebrities who attempt to disarm law abiding Americans while they drive fully armored Range Rovers and walk shoulder to shoulder with body guard fully armed by their side, if we want to truly discuss Homeland Security issues outside of the obvious Executive Order threat to our freedom, then discuss this warped foreign policy which enables Merkel’s doctrine to be implemented and like in 1899, 1913, 1939, soon, We shall be engaged in global conflagration because this administration feels so compelled to be innocuous rather than to portray the strength of our Democracy and We the People who have full intent in protecting our Constitution from such outright attack from within!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 21, 2013 @ 9:46 am

WAPO recently ran an article on rankings of departments agencies by employee satisfaction. DHS ranked last!

Why? I have answered this several times in my comments on this blog! But I wish to reinforce the impact of multiple retirement system with almost two thirds of the department’s employees able to retire after 20 years of service!

And with the set off abolished retired military get their full military retirement and privileges plus their full civil service salary!

This combined with gross mis-distribution of workload
in DHS leads to justified grievance!.

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 21, 2013 @ 9:58 am

UCS [Union of Concerned Scientists] is publishing the first examination of the March 2011 Fukishima event in February. It is available on pre-publication order from Amazon.com and the publisher is the NEW Press.



The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded in 1969 by faculty and students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The organization’s founding document says it was formed to “initiate a critical and continuing examination of governmental policy in areas where science and technology are of actual or potential significance” and to “devise means for turning research applications away from the present emphasis on military technology toward the solution of pressing environmental and social problems.” The organization employs scientists, economists, engineers engaged in environmental and security issues, as well as executive and support staff.
One of the co-founders was physicist and Nobel laureate Dr. Henry Kendall, who served for many years as chairman of the board of UCS. In 1977, the UCS sponsored a “Scientists’ Declaration on the Nuclear Arms Race” calling for an end to nuclear weapons tests and deployments in the United States and Soviet Union. In response to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the UCS sponsored a petition entitled “An Appeal to Ban Space Weapons”.[5]
In 1992, Kendall presided over the UCS’ Warning to Humanity, which called for “fundamental change” to address a range of security and environmental issues. The document was signed by 1700 scientists, including a majority of the Nobel prize winners in the sciences.
According to the George C. Marshall Institute, the UCS was the fourth-largest recipient of foundation grants for climate studies in the period 2000–2002, a fourth of its $24M grant income being for that purpose.
According to Charity Navigator, an independent, non-profit organization that evaluates American charities, the UCS maintained $20,575,731 in assets, $5,514,946 in liabilities, $15,060,785 in net assets, and $14,112,057 in working capital, as well as $10,058,784 in program expenses, $813,335 in administrative expenses, and $1,703,907 in fundraising expenses in fiscal year 2006. In 2007, the Union of Concerned Scientists received a four (out of four) star rating from Charity Navigator.

I note that IMO just as WWI and WWII were the larg

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 21, 2013 @ 10:01 am


the largest catastrophic events in the 20th Century Fukishima may be the largest catastrophic event of the 21st Century.

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 22, 2013 @ 9:34 am

Happy Holidays to All!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

December 25, 2013 @ 8:45 am

In thinking of Homeland Security and the seemingly waning spirit among the populace who continues to support an administration bent on usurping the Constitution in every way and particularly through Executive Order and which at least only I seem to be concerned with and construe as a threat to our Democracy, in preference in recollection during this Christmas 2013, the recollection of Bob Hope and his willingness along with so many touring with him to visit 22 bases throughout Viet Nam in 16 days during the Christmas of 1967!

Whether during WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and until his death, Bob Hope truly was patriotic and willing to portray so many times over what it truly means to be an American and proud of it and while we are all under pledge to stand forthright shoulder to shoulder and to protect the Constitution, I am concerned that such a partisan Congress shall never stand and be counted!

God Bless America!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to our beloved Republic and to all who understand how fortunate we are to be part of a Democracy when so many others are oppressed….

A Democracy must have strong arsenal and be readied to challenge those from far distant shore to those among us who desperately seek to undermine us not only by Executive Order in circumventing the checks and balances intentionally established to assure that no one and especially the executive administration can undermine the People and when it does as presently, Homeland Security is thereby weakened ever so!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by Christopher Tingus

December 25, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

In free forum and at Christmas when we as Christians celebrate Jesus Christ and our nation comprised of majority Christian populace and adhering to our Judeo-Christian values have bode well for us since our humble beginnings….when talking about Homeland Security and the lessons from history and Life we learn as youth turns to elder years, a seasoning of a man’s Life, while it is not necessary to embrace another, often it is loving understanding, a firm, yet warm handshake in conveying tolerance as well as dignity towards another which is prerequisite to resolving differences.

Resilient and 21st century educated as well as being enlightened as to your surroundings and prepared in vigilance especially to those that may lurk about seeking the demise of our beloved Republic whether from distant shore or from within is also a requirement and “entrusting” those who don’t throw their arms in the air and say, “What difference does it make” but rather, being truthful and realizing that there is much value in lesson to be learned from one being honest with the constituency….for at some point, those deceiving will understand why truth shared is so inherent to our values….

Merry Christmas and God Bless America us all this New Year 2014!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (cape Cod), MA 02645 USA

Comment by Christopher Tingus

December 27, 2013 @ 9:18 am

With the Christian killings we have seen these last few days and indeed on Christmas day and the failure of Muslim leaders domestically or globally w/not even a faint whisper condemning these killings of Christians, the worsening of Middle East tensions created by a vacuum in foreign policy leadership left by this narrow minded executive US White House and an agenda which is contrary to what our foreign US policy should be is a Homeland Security breach, a breach of faith, treason!

The following breaking news and as I reiterated again and again, this Congressional partisanship and the likes of Pelosi et al has to stop as these are very serious times and until the Germans truly muster their fast deployment Army and eventually begin their march which will inevitably again bring us to War, this washington politicizing and these Executive orders must be considered Homeland Security threats from within…We the People better wise up quickly and demand an end to this circumventing Constitution as well as demanding transparency by this administration:

Blast Kills Ex-Minister Chatah in Lebanon
Top News: Former Lebanese minister and opposition figure Mohamad Chatah has been killed by a car bomb in central Beirut. The explosion killed at least six people and injured 70.

Mr. Chattah, a Sunni Muslim, was a critic Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement that supports him.

The attack reflects worsening sectarian tensions in Lebanon linked to Syria’s civil war. Last month, suicide bombers targeted Iran’s embassy in Beirut, and clashes between Sunni and Alawite factions in Tripoli have become increasingly violent.

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 27, 2013 @ 6:57 pm


Tough to deal with power outages from Michigan to Maine continue!

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