Northcom Backs Out of National Level Exercise 2010

Northcom has unexpectedly withdrawn from participation in National Level Exercise (NLE) with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Defense announced on April 26 it was decoupling its Ardent Sentry exercise from the National Level Exercise.

Ardent Sentry is a Joint Chiefs of Staff directed and Northcom sponsored “homeland defense” exercise. It is one of a number of DoD and Homeland Security exercises that blur the boundaries between the Pentagon, the federal government, and state and local governments under the guise of combating terrorism and responding to natural disasters.

The Pentagon said it decided against the exercise after Las Vegas, the planned site for a post-nuclear-attack response exercise, pulled out in November, fearing a negative impact on its struggling business environment, according to the Washington Times. Officials said a new site could not be found.

“The official also said the Northern Command’s exercise plans for ‘cooping’ — continuity of operations, during which commanders go to off-site locations — also had been scratched,” writes Rowan Scarborough for the newspaper.

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Three More Domestic Spying Programs Revealed

The Department of Homeland Security is acknowledging the existence of three more government programs charged with spying on American citizens in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The programs — Pantheon, Pathfinder and Organizational Shared Space — used a variety of software tools to gather and analyze information about Americans, according to documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The DHS turned over the papers in response to a December 2008 Freedom of Information Act request. The documents shed new light on the proliferation of domestic intelligence and surveillance efforts after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to the CIR:

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Deportation’s Harmful Effect on Children

This brief from the International Human Rights Law Clinic University of California, Berkeley School of Law , In the Child’s Best Interest? The Consequences of Losing a Lawful Immigrant Parent to Deportation states “Congress is considering a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws more than a decade after the enactment of strict immigration measures. Lawmakers should take this opportunity to reaffirm the nation’s historic commitment to family unity by addressing the discrete provisions that currently undermine it. Current U.S. immigration laws mandate deportation of lawful permanent resident (LPR) parents of thousands of U.S. citizen children, without providing these parents an opportunity to challenge their forced separations. Through a multi-disciplinary analysis, this policy brief examines the experiences of U.S. citizen children impacted by the forced deportation of their LPR parents and proposes ways to reform U.S. law consistent with domestic and international standards aimed to improve the lives of children.”

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DHS Controls Over Firearms

Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General Report, DHS Controls Over Firearms

This report addresses the efficacy of the Department of Homeland Security‘s management and oversight of its components to ensure that personnel are sufficiently safeguarding and controlling firearms. It is based on interviews with employees and officials of relevant agencies and institutions, direct observations, and a review of applicable documents.

Recommendations by the Office of Inspector General to the DHS Undersecretary for Management are:

• Develop department-wide policies and procedures for safeguarding and controlling firearms; and
• Assess firearm security equipment needs for each officer assigned a firearm, issue security equipment as needed, and reaffirm to each officer the requirement to always properly secure firearms.

Former New York Police Commissioner Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

New York, February 20 (RHC)– Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Bailey “Bernie” Kerik has been sentenced to four years in prison. Kerik pleaded guilty in November to lying to the White House when he was nominated to head the Department of Homeland Security.

The former Commish admitted to tax evasion and receiving renovations from a construction firm linked to organized crime. Bernard Kerik will remain under house arrest until he begins his sentence in May.

Mexicans Say U.S. Drug Crackdown Feeds Violence

Washington, DC, United States (AHN) – A Mexican law enforcement agency is blaming recent violence along the border in large part to a U.S. crackdown on drug traffickers, prompting skepticism from American government agencies.

Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública) reported that in the past six months the value of cocaine in Mexico has escalated from $431 million to $811 million because fewer of the illegal shipments are making their way into the United States since Barack Obama assumed the presidency.

Obama administration anti-drug efforts have included sending an additional 400 Department of Homeland Security agents to the border, which included specialists from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Government posting wealth of data to Internet

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday is posting to the Internet a wealth of government data from all Cabinet-level departments, on topics ranging from child car seats to Medicare services.

The mountain of newly available information comes a year and a day after President Barack Obama promised on his first full day on the job an open, transparent government.

Under a Dec. 8 White House directive, each department must post online at least three collections of “high-value” government data that never have been previously disclosed.

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