U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that the federal government is more prepared than ever to respond to a Hurricane Katrina-like disaster and that the county is safer than ever against foreign terrorist attack.From the Houston Chronicle, on a new immigration task force:
In a wide-ranging hour-long interview with The Courier-Journal's editorial board, the former Arizona governor, who took over the federal post in January, said an issue receiving ever more attention by her agency is the threat of domestic terrorism. She added that the department is also focused on potential threats to the private sector, such as cyber-terrorism.
Napolitano said that while the threat of a terrorist attack "remains with us" it doesn't come solely from Al Qaida and that the "methods" of possible attack are varied.
"We're stronger now and we keep getting stronger," Napolitano said. "We're certainly stronger than before 9/11." She added that the department needs to continue to "reduce the risk and strengthen our ability to respond."
Immigration officials on Wednesday announced plans to create a task force to crack down what they described as a tremendous local problem - immigration document and benefit fraud.From NextGov, on Cyberstorm III:
"We've noticed a tremendous amount of document and benefit fraud occurring within the Greater Houston area," said Pat McElwain, the assistant special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Houston and head of the newly created task force.
The task force is still forming, and ICE officials are talking to other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Attorney's Office, and local agencies, including the Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff's Office, about participation, McElwain said.
Gregory Palmore, an ICE spokesman, said ICE does not have statistics available on document fraud in Houston and could not go into details about cases locally that are under investigation.
Nationally, ICE has 17 fraudulent document task forces up and running that have been credited with a number of high-profile cases, McElwain said.
The Homeland Security Department's third large-scale cybersecurity drill in September 2010 will test the national cyber response plan currently being developed by the Obama administration, said industry and government participants in the simulation exercise during a conference on Tuesday.Leadership Events
Cyber Storm III will build upon the lessons learned in the two previous exercises that took place in February 2006 and March 2008, and provide the first opportunity to assess the White House strategy for responding to a cyberattack with nationwide impact.
"The national cyber response plan will be an offshoot of a lot of the findings that came out of Cyber Storm I and II that will formalize the roles and responsibilities," said Brett Lambo, director of the cyber exercises program in DHS' national cybersecurity division. He participated on an afternoon panel at the GFirst conference in Atlanta hosted by the department's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team. "It's not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but a lot of questions bubbled up [from the exercises]," followed by the announcement along with President Obama's 60-day cyber review that a response plan should be developed.
9:15 AM CDT
Secretary Napolitano will deliver remarks at the 2009 Fire-Rescue International Conference, swear in Kelvin Cochran as U.S. Fire Administrator and participate in a media availability
Dallas Convention Center Arena
650 South Griffin Street
9 AM EDT
NPPD Deputy Under Secretary Philip Reitinger will deliver remarks about DHS cybersecurity priorities and how to better build and sustain current and future cyber partnerships at the GFIRST Conference
Omni Hotel at CNN Center
100 CNN Center
3:45 PM EDT
NPPD Federal Network Security (FNS) Director Matt Coose will participate in a presentation at the GFIRST Conference about the activities of the FNS Branch
Omni Hotel at CNN Center
100 CNN Center