Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 11, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 11, 2014

On this date in 1861 Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.  Federal commander, Major Robert Anderson, refused.  At about 4:30 AM on April 12 Confederate artillery commenced firing on the fort.

We persist in the light and shadow of that bombardment.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by Christopher Tingus

April 11, 2014 @ 1:58 am

An executive American government with continuing troubles and a world perspective of a weakened US lending to increased global strife and challenges moving forward! We no longer choose to lead, but follow….a real threat to our well being!

Friday free forum – Breaking News:

HHS Secretary Sebelius resigning

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, who was the face of the president’s health care law, is resigning, Fox News confirms — with White House budget director Sylvia Burwell, right, already tapped to replace her.

a year ago….

Acting IRS Chief Resigns, Obama Condemns ‘Inexcusible’ Targeting of Tea Party Groups
May 15, 2013
ABBY D. PHILLIP More From Abby »
Digital Reporter, Politics
ABBY D. PHILLIP More From Abby »


Leaks have consequences. Just ask Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who was kidnapped in retaliation for allowing the United States to carry out a special operations raid in Tripoli that captured a senior al-Qaeda leader, Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known as Abu Anas al-Libi.
How did the kidnappers know that the prime minister had approved the raid? After all, his government denied any prior knowledge of the U.S. action. Simple: The Obama administration told them. A front-page story in the New York Times, “U.S. Officials Say Libya Approved Commando Raids,” reported that “After months of lobbying by American officials, the Libyans consented ‘some time ago’ — weeks or perhaps even months — to the United States operations.” The article, which cites “more than half a dozen American diplomatic, military, law enforcement, intelligence and other administration officials” as sources, notes that “The Libyans’ consent marks a significant step forward for the Obama administration, which has been criticized by Congressional Republicans for moving too slowly to apprehend the Benghazi suspects.”
In other words, the Obama administration exposed the Libyan government’s cooperation in a top-secret covert action in order to bolster the president against domestic political criticism.
It gets worse. The exposure of the Libyan government’s secret cooperation is not the only damaging leak surrounding the Libyan raid. According to the Times, “the United States had hoped to keep secret” the very fact of al-Libi’s capture, “but that leaked out to the news media.” Not only that, the Times revealed that a second raid had been planned, but not carried out, “to seize a militia leader suspected of carrying out the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi.”


A false narrative endangers the homeland
Joseph Lieberman | Testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee
January 15, 2014

After all, the enemy we are fighting is not “terrorism,” which is simply a tactic. But an organization-centric approach to counterterrorism, as the Obama Administration has advocated, is ultimately inadequate because al Qaeda as an organization can be eviscerated, but it will regenerate as long as the ideology that inspires it survives. An organization-centric approach may also inadvertently cause us to miss the threat posed by groups that share al Qaeda’s ideology and ambitions to harm us, but that lack meaningful organizational ties to it. Indeed, it seems plausible that this is part of what happened in Benghazi in 2012.

The fact is, ultimate success in the struggle we are in depends not simply on the death of particular terrorist leaders or the destruction of a particular terrorist group, important though that is. Rather, it requires the discrediting of violent Islamist extremism as a worldview.

And let me underscore here, the enemy is violent Islamist extremism–a political ideology that seeks to justify totalitarian governance by perverting religion. The enemy, we can never stress enough, is not Islam itself.

Nor, I would add, our enemy is political Islam per se. In fact, there are political Islamists who are neither violent nor extremist, and who recognize al Qaeda to be a mortal threat just as much if not more than we do. In Tunisia, for instance, we see an Islamist party that has proven thus far to be respectful of democracy and of political pluralism.

In fact, such Islamists–operating in a democratic framework–may ultimately prove to be the most powerful and effective force to delegitimize and destroy violent Islamist extremism. Conversely, repressive regimes in Muslim countries are likely in the long run to radicalize people and push them towards violent extremism. For this reason, the U.S. does have a core national interest in the political development of the Muslim world towards greater freedom.

Mr. Chairman, the progress we have made since 9/11 in securing our homeland is real. But we should not delude ourselves into thinking that this fight is anywhere near over. Perhaps the best description of where we find ourselves can be found in the familiar words of a great statesman of the last century, speaking of a very different struggle against another totalitarian foe.

In late 1942, after the first British victories in North Africa, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

So, too, perhaps it is for us now “the end of the beginning” of our war against violent Islamist extremism. If so, that should give us reason to hope–but also grounds to recognize much danger, difficulty, and hard work lies ahead.

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 4:22 am


NYPD Commissioner William Bratton’s Collaborate or Perish is on this blogger’s mind on Friday, April 11, 2014. See: http://www.amazon.com/Collaborate-Perish-Reaching-Boundaries-Networked/dp/0307592391/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397163515&sr=1-1&keywords=COLLABORATE%2BOR%2BPERISH


On April 6, 2014, Police Officers Dennis Guerra and Rosa Rodriguez responded to reports of a fire in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. They suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation. Police Officer Guerra succumbed to his injuries. Officer Rosa Rodriguez remains in critical condition. The fire was set allegedly by a 16 year man who was “bored.” Responding firefighters found both officers unconscious and rushed them out of the building and into ambulances.

Upon review of the incident, NYPD realized that neither they nor any other police department had a procedure in place for such events. “It is not unique to New York City,” Commissioner Bratton said. “It is a deficiency evidently in the profession.” NYPD is reviewing its procedure and asked FDNY for its assistance to establish new fire training and response policies. See: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/nypd-officer-responded-coney-island-fire-dies-article-1.1750442 AND http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/nyregion/brooklyn-high-rise-fire.html?_r=1


In a related case, NYPD changed its confined space entry policy after the line of duty death of Patrolman Salvatore Spinola. On October 2, 1969, Patrolmen Spinola and David Hayes responded to a radio run reporting a man in a sewer in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Upon arrival at the scene they discovered that a utility worker had entered a manhole on a routine inspection and was overcome by gas. Patrolman Spinola donned a cheox mask and descended ten feet into the sewer in order to rescue the aided. Before he was able to accomplish his mission, he was also overcome by the gas. With the arrival of additional assistance and equipment, Patrolman Hayes secured a mask and went down into the sewer. He managed to pick up his partner, Patrolman Spinola, and raise him up enough so that other officers were able to remove him from the hole. Patrolman Spinola was rushed by ambulance to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. See: http://www.nypdangels.com/cop/cop.php?id=190
Subsequently, NYPD changed its confined space entry policy:


If a person is unconscious in a manhole, the uniformed member of the service concerned should immediately request the services of the Emergency Service Unit. If there is reason to believe that the victim was asphyxiated by lack of oxygen, or toxic gas in the manhole, the member WILL NOT DESCEND into the manhole unless equipped with a self-contained oxygen breathing apparatus such as a Scott Air Pack, NOT a filter mask as used by the military. If a person is unconscious in a manhole and there is reason to believe that atmosphere in the manhole is safe, the member concerned, before descending into the manhole, shall obtain a rope or similar article and tie the rope, etc., securely around his/her body. A capable person outside the manhole should hold the free end.


A Scott Air Pack, however, did not save Police Officer Francis LaSala. On January 10, 1987, Officer LaSala was in quarters when he was informed of a fire in an apartment building in lower Manhattan, a few doors away from his command. He responded with a Scott air pack, and began to clear the building and alert the occupants. He was alone and credited with saving many lives before he became trapped in a staircase. Firefighters located him unconscious with burns over 50-percent of his body. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. See: http://www.nypdangels.com/cop/cop.php?id=190


Police Officers are doctors, lawyers, and Indian Chiefs: People call the Police when bad things happen or when they fear that bad things will happen. Society expects the police to prevent/mitigate bad things. When bad things do happen, society expects that the police will fix bad things or at least make them better. See Peel’s Nine Principles of Policing and especially Principle 1 – “The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.” See: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/administration/commissioners_corner.shtml

Similarly, William Pelfry said of the homeland security enterprise, what was once prevention and mitigation aspirations are now expectations. See: https://www.hsaj.org/?article=9.1.3

Driven by both aspirations and expectations, members of the homeland security enterprise operate in dangerous and uncertain conditions. They know the inherent dangers and try to learn from past experiences. Lessons learned and practiced, however, are no guarantee that others will not fall.
NYPD has since established interim fire response guidelines. A comprehensive after action review that will include FDNY will provide further guidance AND the opportunity for interagency collaboration.

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 5:18 am


NYPD’s Intelligence Enterprise is a “smart practice.” The impetus for this post and now a series of posts on this blog’s Friday Free Forum is a developing journal article of the above title and HLS Watch blogger E. Earhart’s question:

What if then NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had implemented the post-9/11 NYPD Intelligence Enterprise after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing?

See: http://www.hlswatch.com/2014/02/26/alternative-reality-what-if-ramzi-yousef-had-accomplished-his-goals/

Previous posts have chronicled NYC and the NYPD’s HLS-like activities during the American Civil War; World War I; World War II, and the Cold War. Thus far, the NYPD/NYC involved itself in protecting a president-elect Abraham Lincoln from assassination; dealt with Civil War confederates and draft dodgers en masse; arrested war saboteurs during World War I; helped lead the nation’s Civil Defense efforts during World War II; and prepared for atomic/enemy attacks, pursued and apprehended a mad bomber, terrorists, and subversives during the Cold War.

The history of the Cold War Period is especially relevant to the emergence of the current NYPD Intelligence Enterprise, so much so that this blogger has decided to organize NYC and the NYPD’s Cold War Period experiences into four time periods, the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Last week the 50s were examined. This week, the 60s:

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 5:19 am


Anthony Bouza’s Police Intelligence (1976) provides an insider sense of how NYPD attempted to balance security and privacy. Bouza, a former member and later commanding officer of NYPD’s Bureau of Special Services (Intelligence), asks whether or not people in a democracy should remain passive to the assaults of subversives or terrorists or should they risk the creation of an intelligence organization to meet the threat?

See: http://www.amazon.com/Police-Intelligence-Operations-Investigative-Unit/dp/0404131387/ref=la_B001HO3T2O_1_1
Coincidentally, Phil Palin’s recent post on this blog examined the security-privacy quandary by describing in Hegelian fashion, the dilemma as a conflict between two rights.:

“Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights.”

See: http://www.hlswatch.com/2014/04/10/debate-discussion-desiderata/

Similarly, this blogger’s argues that NYPD’s Intelligence Enterprise is a HLS antinomy unresolved in the sense that what the NYPD does intelligence-wise as compared to what the Intelligence Community and especially the FBI does intelligence-wise are two obligations (rights) that serve both the homeland and NYC’s hometown. While NYPD and the Intelligence Community mostly collaborate and coordinate, they sometimes conflict.

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 5:20 am

THE 60s


In 1964, a group of anti-Castro exiles were arrested and charged with possession of explosives with intent to use them maliciously in connection with a failed bazooka attack on the United Nations. The fired bazooka shell missed its intended target and exploded in the East River. The charges, however, were dropped after a NY State court ruled that confessions obtained in the case were because the defendants were denied legal counsel.

See: http://www.amazon.com/Police-Intelligence-Operations-Investigative-Unit/dp/0404131387/ref=la_B001HO3T2O_1_1 and http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00610FD39581B728DDDAB0994DA415B848AF1D3

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 5:20 am


In 1965, members of the Black Liberation Front decided to shock the nation by blowing up the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The organization purchased 30 sticks of dynamite from members of a Quebec separtist group. Unbenknownst to the Black Liberation Front, one of their members was NYPD Detective Raymond Wood.The members of the Black Liberation Army and the Quebec Separatist group were arrested and convicted.

See: http://www.amazon.com/Police-Intelligence-Operations-Investigative-Unit/dp/0404131387/ref=la_B001HO3T2O_1_1

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 5:21 am


On February 21,1965 Malcolm X Little was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem by former comrades. NYPD warned Malcolm X of plots against him and offered him protection. The offers of protection were refused. Several members of NYPD’s Bureau of Special Services were present in the ballroom and arrested three people in connection with the assassination. One of Malcolm’s closest associates pictured in Life Magazine giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to Malcolm was an NYPD agent.

See: http://www.amazon.com/Police-Intelligence-Operations-Investigative-Unit/dp/0404131387/ref=la_B001HO3T2O_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397168882&sr=1-1

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 5:22 am


In 1968, as was the case in other campus throughout America and the world, students protested what they perceived to be injustices at Columbia University located in the Morningside Heights Section of Manhattan. The University’s 1968 troubles were unique in that protestors were divided amongst themselves. Members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), mostly white students, were protesting the Vietnam War and particularly the Univerity’s association with a DOD affiliated research institute.

Members of Columbia’s Student Afro Society, all black students, mostly protested the university’s plan to build a gym whose design was believed to segregate Harlem’s black community. Some protestors were not from Columbia University at all. After lengthy negotiations failed, the University President called in the NYPD. NYPD met significant resistance and made hundreds of arrests and was accused of police brutality. Significantly, members of the Student Afro Society were policed by a detail of African American police officers and apparently fared better than their white counterparts.

Members of Columbia’s SDS would go on to form the Weathermen, a domestic terrorist organization that would bomb the Capital and the Pentagon and participated in a bank robbery that left three people dead including a police officer. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/books/review/Barrett-t.html

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 5:22 am


The Cubans, the Black Liberation Front, the Quebec separatist group, Malcolm X and his associates and former associates, and the Columbia University students and those that associated themselves with the 1968 protests thereat, and the Weathermen all had grievances (legitimate/otherwise). The manner in which they sought redress was mostly illegal and often violent. The manner in which the federal, states, and local governments secured the homeland and their hometowns also bears scrutiny and in some cases condemnation.

What is clear, is that the government must provide security. Next week, the 70s

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 11, 2014 @ 7:25 am

Thanks to all for high quality comments on today’s and past FFFs!

Well for 34 years of active service in the US military and civil service I strove to determine first principles in the activity I was engaged for two reasons primarily. First, to comprehend what the mission or goal really was in fact. Second, to determine the validity of those first principles in their application.

The NGA in their study of Emergency Management in the 70’s seized on the paradigm of preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. Prevention was added to that paradigm in the first decade of the 21st Century. Perhaps the Heisenberg Principle applies to the definitions of this terms–specifically the eye of the beholder.

But a lifetime of study and experience in actual events labeled crisis, catastrophe, or emergency has made me come to understand that their is a MISSING LINK!

And BTW I like the term RESILIENCE because it seems to cover most of the NGA paradigm described at its creation as COMPREHENSIVE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT! But if RESILIENCE is the end game what else is required?

IMO the missing link is MOBILIZATION! Mobilization of resources, including personnel [trained or in need of training] and equipment and funding.

Typically Governors, Mayors, and Chief Executives of local governmental entities would have no idea what I am writing about.

As to the federal government, in the 100th year of the shadow of WWI, some instinctively and in part correctly base the occurrence of that WAR on lockstep Great Powers.

And certainly military mobilization planning long out of favor at DoD is one facet. The COME AS YOU ARE war or as that wit Donald Rumsfeld stated “You fight a war with the army you have not the army you need”!

But I am concerned in this comment about mobilization for national needs OTHER THAN WAR!

There is some knowledge base at State and local level of MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS and the existence of EMAC is somewhat widely known [NEMA has a website for EMAC] but even the triggers for those agreements are not locked in usually.


And who, what, when, how, with what funding, training, and equipment the feds will show up is almost a complete unknown unless a recent event can be considered predictive of what a similar event will trigger in assistance.

Sadly, the rather pathetic nation wide numbers of EM [less than 20K IMO] has never been closely analyzed as to specific capabilities. Even FEMA rarely hires CEMs.

FEMA has not yet released its statutorily required ANNUAL NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS REPORT that is supposed to include capability analysis of all levels of government and perhaps even NGO’s and other private sector organizations.


Comment by Claire B. Rubin

April 11, 2014 @ 7:31 am

Actually NGA took those concepts from a pamphlet done a few years earlier at Council on State Government, but publicized and promoted them. They called it comprehensive emergency management at the time but now the fashionable term for much of the same thing is resilience.

Comment by John Comiskey

April 11, 2014 @ 7:51 am

Do you have access to the Council on State Government document

I am intersted in copy for current research

Comment by Claire B. Rubin

April 11, 2014 @ 8:15 am

Yes, I scanned it some time back.
Contact me offline with your direct email and I will send it to you.


Comment by Meredith

April 11, 2014 @ 10:52 am

Coming to the end of my masters degree and looking back at the last two years, it’s concerning to see all the potential threats our Nation faces. While it is difficult to rank the potential threats we face, I believe the biggest growing concern is cyber threats. Reason being, we are all interconnected through cyberspace. Without it, we would not be able to do everyday tasks such as communicate with others, travel, run our economy, etc. We rely on cyberspace so much that it is an increasing risk. There are people out there constantly trying to exploit our vulnerabilities and they are succeeding. If they succeed in a cyber attack large enough it could paralyze the whole country.

An example of a cyber attack that could paralyze our whole country was just discussed this last week in my HLS technology class where we learned about the Stuxnet software. Just like the previous attack on the pentagon, the Stuxnet virus works “through the use of a thumb drive that is inserted into computers” (Kerr, Rollins & Theohary, 2010, pg. 1). Once inside the computer this software would crawl from computer to computer looking for some type of industrialize operation that was using a certain type of equipment. The equipment was a Siemens F 7300 programmable logics controller that runs our factor floors. This virus would then spread its malicious code on to the box so they would be able to control the equipment. Being able to speed up controls, and sabotage a system.

Whoever released this malicious software did not mean for it to be seen. However, it is now freely available on the internet, where other countries and terrorist can “revise and reformulate existing codes” (Kerr, Rollins & Theohary, 2010, pg. 1). Being able to release it on our Nation’s computers, paralyzing our whole country.
It is clear the United States is facing a war like never before and something must be done before it is too late. While an Executive Order was just recently created to improve critical infrastructure and Cybersecurity, I hope it will be enough.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 11, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

Thanks Claire!

And Meredith agree with cyber threats as biggest problem. Note that most manufacturers of hardware and software have NOT been made accountable in anyway for their vulnerabilities.

Comment by Arnold Bogis

April 11, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

Meredith, according to reports Stuxnet was the result of U.S.-Israeli cooperation in efforts to slow down Iran’s nuclear program. So if an attack on the U.S. happens based on that code it would be a bit of an own goal.

To perhaps slightly ease your fears about the cyber threat, Peter Singer of Brookings writes that truly catastrophic attacks won’t come from the single hacker in the basement but sophisticated state programs: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2014/01/06-cybersecurity-cyberwar-what-everyone-needs-to-know

Similarly, this piece in International Security analyzes the conditions for cyber war:

Comment by Justin Blake

April 11, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

John, in response to the efforts of the officers involved in the search and rescue operations in the NYPD I would present certain facts that provide perspective on the dangers of these efforts. The following video shows how flammable polyester police uniforms can be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpw8AlrhLts. Police entering an immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) situation have been a recent topic of debate in my area due to certain events. Recently two police officers in my town entered a house that was actively on fire. Their intentions were noble, but they were not trained or prepared for the situation. They entered the residence to conduct a search; in the process they were overcome by smoke and were barely able to make it out of the house alive. They were able to make it back outside without severe injury, but were vomiting and choking upon exiting the house. If they had become disoriented or panicked they may not have been able to exit in time. If this had happened they would have suffered severe smoke inhalation,, as well as the possibility of being burned, as referenced by the video posted above. If an officer becomes unconscious in any IDLH environment it is not only a threat to their life, but the fireman or other rescuers who have to then rescue the officers. Even if the officers receive the proper training, unless they enter this type of environment on a fairly regular basis, they will not recognize certain dangers that may be present. First responders should not enter a situation they are not prepared to handle, even under a life safety situation. All emergency responders are taught one simple rule, they come before anyone else. If you cannot ensure your own safety, you are useless as a rescuer and will only complicate the situation if they are hurt themselves. Even firefighters with plenty of training and experience still have fallen in the line of duty due to unforeseen consequences, but at least they have protective equipment. Even in situations with invisible gases, police officers are not prepared to deal with many of those circumstances. In any situation where there is a possible IDLH atmosphere firefighters will immediately go on air just in case there is a dangerous gas. Most of the time there is no issue and the metering devices will confirm the reading.However, these meters cost large amounts of money and it is completely impractical to train and equip officers with this specialized equipment. The same can be compared to radiation and chemical metering devices, only specialized personnel are equipped with these devices.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 11, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

SCUBA! Self-contained breathing apparatus. Fully equip the entire FIRE SERVICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT! Cost–one F-35!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 2:10 am

Could someone sometime on FFF provide a reading list of books in English discussing efforts of other nation-states in HS and EM?

Phil kicked off this FFF thread with a US Civil War reference! I’m not sure what a “civil” war is anymore but current incidents of organized violence against innocents [how I define terrorism regardless whether the perps are nation-states or sub-state sctors] are generating huge refugee flows and large numbers of internal displacements. Any open source references on this subject and ties to HS and EM would be welcome?

Finally, it does look as though my prediction that “immigration reform” will be a can tied to the tail of both parties in the 2016 Presidential election.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 10:11 am

At the 2010 FEMA Higher Ed Conference [the one and only I attended or will attend since not an academic (perhaps a wantabe] Dr. David A. McEntire, PhD, a professor at North Texas State University announced he was writing for publication a comparative EM book. I have been unable to locate it if it was published! Help?

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 10:20 am

While searching on Amazon recently found over a dozen listings in various editions of books entitle something like INTRODUCTION TO EM!


Anyone know of advanced texts on these subjects?

By the way the books I found and have read and passed on to FEMA employees are very uneven in quality.

Book reviews no longed published by JHSEM [Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (Berkeley
Electronic Press] and Amazon requires you to purchase
the book through Amazon if you want to post a review.

So if anyone knows sources for book reviews on HS and EM please comment? Thanks in advance!

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 10:31 am

Mr. Cumming,

Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons, by Nadav Morag.

NADAV is a faculty member at CHDS he teaches courses on policy analysis and research methodology as well as a course entitled “Comparative Government for Homeland Security.”

He is also Dean for Security Studies at Colorado Technical University. I believe he uses this book in the PhD program he teaches.

He previously served as a senior director at Israel’s National Security Council where he was responsible for developing policy recommendations in areas of national security for the prime minister and the cabinet.

From Amazon:
Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons examines overseas homeland security practices, allowing readers to integrate counter-terrorism, emergency response and other H.S. practices from around the world into our own policies. The book covers strategies for combating terrorism, countering radicalization, emergency response, border and transportation security, critical infrastructure protection, public health and military support for civil authorities from a number of the world’s democracies. Organized topically, the book allows scientists, policymakers, law enforcement professionals, government workers and students of H.S. to easily compare and integrate the concepts presented into practice.


Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 10:34 am

I did have several book reviews posted on JHSEM!

One is the following the book written by a friend:

Disaster Response and Homeland Security: What Works, What Doesn’t (Stanford Security Studies) by James Miskel (Feb 18, 2008)

You might find the reviews posted on Amazon of this book of interest.

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 10:42 am

Mr. Blake and Mr. Cumming:

Why do we fail to learn?

Re: “Even firefighters with plenty of training . . . at least they have protective equipment” and “Fully equip the entire FIRE SERVICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT!”

Firefighters, and maybe some of our colleagues can weigh in with specifics I do not recall, have some of the highest cancer rates in our society as a result of breathing in invisible gasses.

The biggest risk from these gasses occur after the fire has been knocked down (“the dangerous part”) At this point, despite having the equipment and knowing the dangers, many still “unmask” and shun using the gear.

While this example is FFs, it applies everywhere. Why do we fail to learn?

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 10:44 am

Thanks Double E!

And links between Israel and US on HS are deep including training.

You may have heard the term IOC [this is not the International Olympic Committee–a deeply corrupt organization BTW] but International Organized Crime.

Organized crime in Israel, Russia, and the US is deeply linked IMO! And almost totally immune from federal prosecutions. IMO DEA should be in DHS which is heavily involved otherwise in the War on Drugs.

I mention IOC because it is a serious HS problem and issue IMO!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 10:57 am

Double E! A footnote to your comment!

In the fall of 2005 I was asked to help design the annual training course mandated by law for Missouri Fire Chiefs and Police chiefs and then help teach it.

The design work was conducted in a beautiful little city, Lexington, KY! I had never been there before and home base for NEMA BTW!

One of my lectures was immediately after lunch. So in attempting to overcome post lunch stupor I asked all in the session who had participated in knocking over a METH lab to raise their hands. About 60% of those in attendance did so!

I then asked the class if they would raise their hands if they knew that METH labs were HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SITES?

Perhaps 20% of the class raised their hands.

I then asked if they thought OSHA regs applied to knocking over METH LABS? About 10% raised their hands.

Then I asked that under OSHA it was a felony to untrained or unprotected workers in harms way?

Perhaps 5% raised their hands!

I said no need to raise hands but seems some of you need to stay awake for all of this lecture! They all did!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 11:00 am

BTW the fire and police chief training held outside St. Louis, a favorite quirky town that I really enjoy visiting.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 11:11 am

Ithink this review on Amazon of the Morag book linked by Double E is worth reposting on this thread now. The USA has huge problems overcoming its NIE [not invented here] syndrome!

But as I have ofter blogged or commented HS and EM are universals in the nation-states of the 21st Century.


review is from: Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons (Hardcover)

Homeland security has been ill-defined, misconstrued, conflated, and confounded, all the more easily for its susceptibility to taking on the appearance of whatever background any exponent elects to use on this slippery chameleon. Until now, that is. John Le Carré once observed that, for an intelligence officer, nothing exists without a context. Such a context is precisely the missing element that Nadav Morag supplies the reader of Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons. This work is invaluable to any serious practitioner likely to one day face a policy maker asking the question, “Why can’t we do in America what they do in______?” Why not introduce an American equivalent of Britain’s MI5, for example? Why not adapt the French system of having special prosecutors who make entire careers in counter-terrorism?

Dr. Morag, proves a first-rate, analytical teacher in giving the reader the means to answer just such questions, whether the country in the blank is Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, or Australia. Resisting the temptation to serve up easy answers, Morag gives the reader details and examples and context to enable arriving at one’s own answer depending on the circumstances. Thus, the book follows a logical order of exposition, beginning with drawing comparative distinctions among select countries to illustrate how their laws and institutions affect the range of feasible options for defending against terrorist attack. The author reveals how counterterrorism strategy aligns along a continuum, ranging from a law-enforcement to a war-fighting approach (p. 63) where the larger situation dictates which approach is most likely to emerge or avail. Similarly, some countries find it useful to go to great lengths to categorize and define terrorism (pp. 68, 77), while others eschew such detail in order to retain flexibility for implementing ad hoc solutions under rapidly changing conditions (p. 69). Variation in national approaches that heretofore appeared impenetrable or head-shakingly idiosyncratic become demystified and rational to the reader benefiting from the arcane details of government, history, law, and geopolitical imperatives affecting the different countries Dr. Morag analyzes in the 388 pages of this book. To unearth and consolidate such detail otherwise, the reader would have to undertake a research expedition through hundreds of texts and archives, facing a near eternity of sifting through extraneous or confusing information.

The policy analyst who wants a feeling for checks and balances in free countries like Britain, for example, need only to turn to page 85 to find that emergency regulations enacted for safeguarding life must be “geographically specific, cannot amend basic guarantees of human rights, and must be limited in time.” What about ticking-bomb situations in countries like Israel, where saving lives and defending human rights may come into conflict? Morag explains the technical exemptions that theoretically protect defenders who save lives only to face prosecution for harsh interrogations (p. 119), but he does not stop there. He also reveals ambiguities in relevant law that ultimately have the effect of telling interrogators that they use harsh measures only at their own risk – no matter how many lives get saved as a result.

Continuing his unvarnished presentations, he often notes what once worked but no longer avails. For example, Morag explains how a once effective approach of destroying the homes of terrorists’ family members has, over time, lost much of its deterrent value (p. 129).

Morag’s analysis of comparative approaches to terrorist-induced calamaties goes beyond the immediately obvious, touching such areas as emergency medical response, and how the “scoop and run” principle evolved out of fears of secondary terrorist strikes (p. 292).

Wrapping up the discussion, the author again leaves the reader with cogent insights, such as

* Terrorism … is in its own category because terrorist threats … are a direct challenge to the government through their attempt to disrupt and produce a lack of confidence in the ability of government to provide stability and security (p. 360).

* Adopting a successful foreign model requires understanding and analyzing the differences in legal frameworks, institutional frameworks, culture/mentality (in terms of what is and what is not publically acceptable), and a range of other variables (p. 361).

* The difficulties … in adopting strategic-level foreign practices are…considerable but not unbridgeable (p. 361).

Overall, Nadav Morag has made a significant contribution to the field with this book whose value is indisputable in general and priceless in the event one encounters demands for action and consideration of other models of terrorism defense in the immediate aftermath of the next attack.

Nick Catrantzos
Adjunct University Instructor
Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 11:12 am

The power of music to create calm and prevent panic and two heroes who knew how to harness that power:

The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic, by Steve Turner

Wallace Hartley: April 15, 1912

Conductor aboard the Titanic.

“They kept it up to the very end. Only the engulfing ocean had power to drown them into silence. The band was playing ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ I could hear it distinctly. The end was very close.” —Charlotte Collyer, Titanic Survivor

“[T]he band took the courageous decision to play because of the moral character of their leader, the violinist Wallace Hartley. I know he often said that music was a bigger weapon for stopping disorder than anything on earth. He knew the value of the weapon he had, and I think he proved his point.”

“So it appears almost certain that Wallace Hartley had contemplated being on a sinking ship and had already decided how he would respond. He believed that music could prevent panic and create calm.”

“I didn’t discover any stories from the lives of these musicians that led me to think that they were born with the gene of courage. As with most people who perform heroic acts I suspect they didn’t know what they were made of until the moment came when they had to reveal it.”


What made the Titanic band keep playing, even as ship sank?

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 11:17 am

The power of music to create calm and prevent panic and two heroes who knew how to harness that power:

And in case you do not know, story of Rick Rescorla:

Rick Rescorla was born in Cornwall, England, in 1939. After service in the British armed forces, he earned a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. Rescorla volunteered to fight in Vietnam. He fought with the 7th Cavalry Regiment (Airmobile) in the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang. He was the gritty soldier pictured on the cover of “We Were Soldiers Once … And Young.” Co-author Lt. Gen. Harold Moore described him as “the best platoon leader I ever saw.” Rescorla’s men called him “Hard Core” for his extraordinary courage in battle.

At 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 struck tower one. Rescorla sprang into action and had most of Morgan Stanley’s 2,700 employees and hundreds of visitors safely out of the building before United Airlines Flight 175 hit tower two at 9:02 a.m.

Rescorla loved his adopted county. As thousands marched down to safety, he sang “God Bless America” over a bullhorn and encouraged everyone to “be proud to be an American.” The last voice many heard as they descended from tower two was Rescorla singing his version of the song from the movie “Zulu”:

“Men of Cornwall stand ye steady; It cannot be ever said ye for the battle were not ready; Stand and never yield!”

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 11:21 am

Apologies! Lost in the world of Washington acronyms!

I meant to write NIH for NOT INVENTED HERE! Instead wrote NIE standing for National Intelligence Estimates!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 11:29 am

Double E! WOW!

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 11:33 am

Mr. Cumming:

Curious, which of the stories were you “wowing?”

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 11:35 am

Is there already or could there be an application for music in creating calm and preventing panic in responding to EM or hls incidents?

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

IOC- Crime-Terror-Nexus?

Semion Mogilevich

One of the leaders of Russian organized crime has been identified as one of the most dangerous men in the world; Semion Mogilevich. Sourcing Russian intelligence, Pinheiro writes of a well-established connection between the Russian Mafia and al-Qaeda with Mogilevich being the main point of contact, helping al-Qaeda get whatever they need. Pinheiro, A. d. (2006). Narcoterrorism in Latin America: A Brazilian perspective.

In a 1999 interview appearing on BBC’s Panorama, the interviewer refers to a Russian Ministry of Interior report that identifies Mogilevich as one of the top crime bosses in Russia, a finacier running prostitution, gambling, and money laundering rings.

During the same interview, referencing a 1995 FBI report, among Mogilevich’s main enterprises are identified arms dealing, trading nuclear material, prostitution, and drug dealing. The Billion Dollar Don. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/panorama/transcripts/transcript_06_12_99.txt

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

IOC- The Don of Dons

During the 1990s, Mogilevich founded YBM Magnex International, a maker of industrial magnets. YBM Magnex incorporated in Canada, had factories in Hungary and Britain and its world headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its stock price rose 2000 percent as a result of bogus financial records, bribery, and SEC violations. Mogilevich cashed out, defrauding investors out of 150 million dollars.

During the 1999 Panorama interview, he is asked about his dealings with YBM and the tremendus evidence of money laundering that investigators uncovered. His response was, “It’s up to them to prove it. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the FBI files” Despite the bravado, investigators had enough to bring charges.

In 2003, four years after his interview on BBC’s Panorama, the United States indicted Mogilevich for participating in defrauding investors in the stock of YBM Magnex International out of 150 million dollars.

Comment by E. Earhart

April 12, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

IOC- Boss of Bosses placed on FBI Top Ten Most Wanted

Six years after being indicted, the FBI placed Semion Mogilevich on the FBI 10 Most Wanted List.

The Bureau’s annoucment indicated that as bad as the YBM Magnex fraud scam was, Mogilevich’s continuing international criminal enterprises, including weapons trafficking, contract murders, and prostitution is believed to be much worse. In the image accompanying the annoucment, Mogilevich appeared right next to bin laden.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 12, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

Double E! Wow for Titanic Band leader comment and Rescorla Comment!
And thanks for IOC links also!

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 13, 2014 @ 9:24 am

ALL: Confirming Meredith’s concerns on cyber security see today’s post [April 13th] discussing

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 13, 2014 @ 9:33 am

FEMA has statutory authority to hire up to 100 experts from other countries. It has never used this authority. WHY? It knows it all!

Today’s NYTimes has article about a Dutch structural flood control expert working for HUD!

FEMA also can cross delegate any of its authorities to other departments and agencies with Presidential review. It has no current cross delegations I know of except with the Departments of Education and Labor!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

April 13, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

A true hero and patriot! How brave! Bravo! God bless….


Comment by Christopher Tingus

April 15, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

Breaking news:

Large al Qaeda gathering revealed in video

Leader addresses scores of fighters
A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. U.S. officials aren’t saying if the CIA knew anything about it. FULL STORY
Photos: Most-wanted terrorists
Rogers: They feel empowered
Bergen: Deadliest U.S. extremists

Comment by Christopher Tingus

April 21, 2014 @ 6:48 am

Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) — The heavily armed militants stormed the girl’s dormitory in the middle of the night, herding more than 100 students on to vehicles and burning down nearby buildings as they made their escape.
That was a week ago Monday.
Of the 129 students abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School from the Nigerian town of Chibok, 77 are still missing.
Boko Haram: Nigeria’s crisis
Fate of kidnapped students uncertain Nigerian officials: 200 girls abducted Boko Haram ‘increasingly monstrous’
No one knows where they are. And surprising still, no one’s particularly shocked.
“All the community are sympathizing with the parents,” principal Asabe Kwambura told CNN. But, she said, “the people in the villages are not surprised.”
Such is life in the lawless Borno province.

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