(WASHINGTON) DHS Family Reunification Report: Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and the Family Reunification Task Force announced that this week, the Biden Administration will begin to reunite families who they say were unjustly separated at the United States-Mexico border under the prior administration #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.03: In February, President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families (Task Force) to identify parents and children separated by the prior administration. The order directed the Task Force to implement comprehensive strategies that will bring families back together and ensure the families are provided support.

Biden Administration Begins This Week to Reunite Families Separated Under the Prior Administration: “The Family Reunification Task Force has been working day and night, across the federal government and with counsel for the families and our foreign partners, to address the prior administration’s cruel separation of children from their parents,” said Secretary Mayorkas, who serves as the Chair of the Task Force. “Today is just the beginning. We are reuniting the first group of families, many more will follow, and we recognize the importance of providing these families with the stability and resources they need to heal.”

Biden Signed Executive Order In February

The Task Force has been working tirelessly to establish a complete database of separated families, correct inaccuracies in the files they were provided, and build the processes to find every family and give them the opportunity to reunite and heal. The Task Force is in the process of reviewing additional cases for reunification in the coming months. The Task Force’s initial report is due on June 2, 2021, and will provide a full update on the Task Force’s progress. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leads the President’s Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families and is joined by the Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice. Michelle Brané serves as the Task Force’s Executive Director. While the Task Force is leveraging existing authorities, the reunification effort is novel work that has required significant interagency coordination: 

  • DHS has established a process for accepting parole requests and stands ready to process and receive families as they request to enter the U.S.  
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is working on facilitating services to support harmed families.  
  • The Department of State has developed a streamlined system for processing in-country requests for travel documents to enter the U.S. 
  • The Department of Justice supports the Task Force in related settlement negotiation efforts.  

While coordinating all these efforts, the Task Force is also exploring options for long term legal stability for reunified families and identifying and recommending policies to avoid repeating these unnecessary and cruel separations in the future. The Task Force has made critical progress in a short period of time, resulting in reunifications starting this week and many more in the weeks ahead.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: May.03: 2021:

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#biden, #dhs, #washington

(WASHINGTON) JW REPORT: After 18 Years, Billion-Dollar Bioterror Defense System Still Can’t Detect Multiple Threats: ‘BioWatch was introduced with tremendous grandeur in the aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.18: In the latest of many issues to plague the nation’s seriously flawed system to detect biological attacks, a federal audit reveals it lacks detection equipment in more than half the country and is unable to recognize multiple biological agents that pose threats. The beleaguered system, known as BioWatch, has already received north of a billion dollars in government funding and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) keeps pouring money into it despite its well-documented failures:

After 18 Years, Billion-Dollar Bioterror Defense System Still Can’t Detect Multiple Threats: ‘BioWatch was introduced with tremendous grandeur by President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Just days after 9/11, letters laced with powdered anthrax spores began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed, and more than a dozen sickened’

Here is why; the government has no back up plan to deal with a biological terrorist attack, a very realistic threat considering the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). That disturbing information was disclosed by a senior DHS official who confirmed after congressional investigators exposed BioWatch’s deficiencies that it is the only “biosurveillance system designed to detect the intentional release of select aerosolized biological agents.”

The government labeled it the worst biological attack in U.S. history and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created a special task force to catch the culprit. In 2003 President Bush and Congress established BioWatch to surveil for aerosolized exposure caused by the intentional release of biological agents. The system includes hundreds of units that collect air from public places in dozens of urban areas. Samples are sent to a lab that tests for dangerous pathogens that terrorists may use in an attack against civilians. But years ago, congressional investigators found that the costly air samplers are not reliable when it comes to detecting an attack.

Regardless, DHS continues to tout the system as life-saving technology that can detect pathogens that cause anthrax, tularemia, smallpox, plague and other deadly diseases. The early detection of a biological attack is an essential part of an effective biodefense posture, DHS asserts. The reality is that BioWatch is best known for false alarms and other glitches. The system is such a joke that years ago state and local authorities stopped ordering evacuations when its alarm triggers. In fact, federal agencies documented 56 false alarms in just a few years, yet DHS keeps spending large sums to keep BioWatch alive and the agency plans to continue investing huge sums if Congress does not stop it. BioWatch currently operates under a special DHS unit called Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) with an average annual budget of $76 million. Former President Donald Trump created the office in 2018 to prevent attacks against the country through “timely, responsive support to operational partners.” On its website the CWMD touts BioWatch as a valuable tool that provides early warning of a bioterrorist attack in more than 30 metropolitan areas across the country. “This early warning helps decision makers plan an effective, coordinated, and rapid response,” the CWMD proclaims.

Not exactly, according to several federal probes published in the last few years. The costly system’s latest mishaps are documented in a lengthy report issued this month by the DHS Inspector General. Portions are redacted for security reasons, but enough material is available to illustrate that BioWatch remains a disaster after nearly two decades and a monstrous investment by American taxpayers. For starters, BioWatch’s early warning system is not operating nationwide like it is supposed to be. In fact, its biological detection equipment is only located in 22 states, leaving 28 without coverage. In most of the jurisdictions air samples could not be collected to be tested for biological threats because equipment was not secured to prevent unplugging or security breaches, according to the audit. It gets better. BioWatch has failed to update its biological agent detection capabilities so it can only monitor about 43% of biological agents known to be threats.

The IG blasts the government, writing that the “United States’ ability to prepare, detect, and respond to a potential bioterrorism attack is impeded, which could result in significant loss of human life.” The watchdog reveals that the country is at risk of a bioterrorism attack going undetected and recommends that DHS conduct risk assessments of BioWatch’s posture, ensure physical security of all portable sampling unit equipment and utilize the most recent threat assessment to enhance biological agent detection capabilities to respond to the most up-to-date threats. DHS agrees with the recommendations and vows to make the changes. The agency also says it will have the Los Alamos National Laboratory conduct a new assessment to assist BioWatch with optimizing its defense against bioterrorism.

BioWatch and its colossal price tag have been on Judicial Watch’s radar for years. Back in 2012 Judicial Watch reported that DHS refused to provide congressional leaders with records of the controversial system, outraging both Democrats and Republicans demanding accountability from then DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawmakers, who at the time chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, said in a letter to Napolitano that her agency’s inadequate response to their request for BioWatch records raised serious questions about the department’s “willingness to cooperate with efforts to ensure the success of the BioWatch program and transparency about its potential failures.”

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Mar.18: 2021:

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#anthrax, #bioterror, #dhs, #judicial-watch, #washington

(WASHINGTON) DOJ/ODNI & DHS Report: Release anunclassified summary of the joint comprehensive threat assessment on domestic violent extremism #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.18: The ODNI assessment was drafted by the National Counterterrorism Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and DHS, and includes contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

ODNI, DOJ, and DHS Release Unclassified Summary of Assessment on Domestic Violent Extremism: ‘The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released an unclassified summary of the joint comprehensive threat assessment on domestic violent extremism. The unclassified summary is attached and will be available on DNI.gov later today’

All agencies involved are mindful of the duty to respect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties and to act within the authorities granted to them as they seek to put together as complete an intelligence and analytic picture as is possible.

Last Published Date: March 17, 2021: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/21_0301_odni_unclass-summary-of-dve-assessment-17_march-final_508.pdf

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Mar.18: 2021:

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#cia, #counterterrorism, #dhs, #dia, #doj, #fbi, #odni, #washington

(WASHINGTON) DHS REPORT: Homeland Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support a government-wide effort over the next 90 days to safely receive, shelter, and transfer unaccompanied children who make the dangerous journey to the U.S. southwest border #AceNewsDesk report

Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas Directs FEMA to Support Response for Unaccompanied Children: ‘The federal government is responding to the arrival of record numbers of individuals, including unaccompanied children, at the southwest border. Since April 2020, the number of encounters at the border has been rising due to ongoing violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America. The federal government is working around the clock to move unaccompanied children from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) care and to place them with a family member or sponsor until their immigration case is adjudicated: The risks posed by the spread of #COVID19 have made this mission all the more difficult’

Last Published Date: March 13, 2021:

“I am grateful for the exceptional talent and responsiveness of the FEMA team,” said Secretary Mayorkas.  “I am incredibly proud of the agents of the Border Patrol, who have been working around the clock in difficult circumstances to take care of children temporarily in our care. Yet, as I have said many times, a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child. We are working in partnership with HHS to address the needs of unaccompanied children, which is made only more difficult given the protocols and restrictions required to protect the public health and the health of the children themselves. Our goal is to ensure that unaccompanied children are transferred to HHS as quickly as possible, consistent with legal requirements and in the best interest of the children.”

FEMA is now integrated and co-located with HHS to look at every available option to quickly expand physical capacity for appropriate lodging. The workforce of DHS, including CBP, the Federal Protective Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and volunteers from across the Department through the DHS Volunteer Force, will help to provide shelter capacity, security, and other support as needed.  

“It is never safe to come to the United States through irregular channels, and this is particularly true during a pandemic,” continued Mayorkas.  “To effectively protect both the health and safety of migrants and our communities from the spread of COVID-19, individuals apprehended at the border continue to be denied entry and are returned.”

The journey that unaccompanied children undertake from their home countries is extremely dangerous, and the danger is more severe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a result of the public health imperative, adults and accompanied children are subject to COVID-19 related travel restrictions and are returned to Mexico under the statutory authority of the CDC.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Mar.14: 2021:

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#cbp, #dhs, #fema, #hhs, #washington

‘ US CUSTOMS & BORDER PATROL STRENGTHENING THE 911 COUNTER-TERRORISM ACT ‘

#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – Press Release – November 03 – The Secure Travel and Counter-terrorism Partnership Act of 2007 (part of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, also known as the “9/11 Act”) (Pub. L. No. 110-53) amended Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, requiring that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implement an electronic travel authorization system and other measures to enhance the security of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

' Strengthening Security of the Visa Waiver Program through Enhancements to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization '

‘ Strengthening Security of the Visa Waiver Program through Enhancements to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization ‘

On August 1, 2008, DHS implemented the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), adding a significant layer of security to the VWP by enabling U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct security vetting of prospective VWP travelers to determine if they pose a law enforcement or security risk before they board aircraft destined for the United States.

Although the U.S. Government does not currently have any credible information that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or other Syria-based terrorist groups are planning imminent attacks against the United States, we do know that a significant number of foreign fighters have traveled to Syria over the past three years, including citizens from the United States and Europe.

Many of these foreign fighters have joined ISIL’s and other terrorist groups’ ranks and there are significant concerns that these groups may use these fighters to conduct external attacks. These foreign fighters are likely to gain experience and training from the Syria-based groups and eventually may return to their own countries battle-hardened and further radicalized. Many of these fighters may possess valid European and U.S. passports or travel documents, and pose a potential threat for committing terrorist attacks in Europe or the United States.

ESTA has been a highly effective security and vetting tool that has enabled DHS to deny travel under the VWP to thousands of prospective travelers who pose a risk to the United States. Since program inception in August 2008, CBP has approved millions of ESTA applications, but has denied over 4,300 ESTA applications as a result of vetting against the U.S. Government’s known/suspected terrorist watchlist.

During that same period of time, CBP has also denied over 22,500 ESTA applications for individuals who applied for an ESTA using a passport that had been reported as lost or stolen. As part of our commitment to preventing terrorist attacks here in the homeland and to strengthening border and immigration security, DHS has been carefully evaluating options for further strengthening the security of the VWP, to include enhancements to ESTA that would bolster CBP’s ability to identify potential security threats.

In response to increasing concerns regarding foreign fighters, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is strengthening the security of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) through enhancements to ESTA. These improvements are designed to address the immediate foreign fighter threat, provide an additional layer of enduring security for the VWP and facilitate visa-free travel to the United States.

DHS has determined that ESTA enhancements will improve the Department’s ability to screen prospective VWP travelers and more accurately and effectively identify those who pose a security risk to the United States.

DHS also believes enhancements to ESTA will help the Department facilitate adjudication of ESTA applications. By requiring ESTA applicants to provide additional information, DHS will enhance its ability to identify ESTA applicants on the terrorist watchlist and therefore reduce the number of inconclusive matches that currently result in an ESTA denial, requiring the applicant to apply for a visa for travel to the United States.

ESTA is a web-based application and screening system used to determine whether certain aliens are eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP. As stated in the ESTA Privacy Impact Assessment Update dated June 5, 2013, DHS has entered a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) that permits NCTC to use ESTA information to facilitate NCTC’s counterterrorism efforts and helps to ensure travel authorizations are not issued to individuals who pose a threat to national security.

No single data element by itself enhances ESTA to address the foreign fighter threat. It is the combined totality of existing and new ESTA data elements that will help the U.S. Government mitigate the foreign fighter threat and facilitate lawful travel under the VWP.

All ESTA data elements will help DHS adjudicate applications and, in many cases, enable DHS to distinguish between lawful applicants and individuals of concern.

Points of interest 1 – 18 on here: Read More: 

#ANS2014 

#dhs, #immigration

BOSTON: ‘ DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATE CYBER SECURITY FLAWS IN MEDICAL DEVICES ‘

#AceNewsServices – BOSTON – October 27 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is investigating about two dozen cases of suspected cyber-security flaws in medical devices and hospital equipment that officials fear could be exploited by hackers, a senior official at the agency told Reuters.

' U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws '

‘ U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws ‘

The products under review by the agency’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, or ICS-CERT, include an infusion pump from Hospira Inc and implantable heart devices from Medtronic Inc and St Jude Medical Inc, according to other people familiar with the cases, who asked not to be identified because the probes are confidential.

These people said they do not know of any instances of hackers attacking patients through these devices, so the cyber threat should not be overstated.

Still, the agency is concerned that malicious actors may try to gain control of the devices remotely and create problems, such as instructing an infusion pump to overdose a patient with drugs, or forcing a heart implant to deliver a deadly jolt of electricity, the sources said.

The senior DHS official said the agency is working with manufacturers to identify and repair software coding bugs and other vulnerabilities that hackers can potentially use to expose confidential data or attack hospital equipment. He declined to name the companies.

“These are the things that shows like ‘Homeland’ are built from,” said the official, referring to the U.S. television spy drama in which the fictional vice president of the United States is killed by a cyber attack on his pacemaker.

Source: 

#ANS2014 

#boston, #department-of-homeland-secuity-dhs, #dhs