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[VIDEO] Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson: ‘We Expanded Family Detention’

‘I freely admit it was controversial …’

Scott Morefield reports: Former Obama administration DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson “freely admitted” to Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday morning that his department “expanded family detention” as well as detained some children alone, but added that he believed the decision “was necessary at the time.”

After showing pictures of detained children from 2014, Wallace noted that “in some cases you separated children from their parents” before asking, “Did you handle it so well?” Read the rest of this entry »

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BREAKING: John Kelly Confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary

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Kelly, a four-star general who had been head of the U.S. Southern Command, retired from the Marines in 2016.

Michael Kruse reports: The Senate Friday overwhelmingly confirmed retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to be President Donald Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security. Read the rest of this entry »


Dismissing Concerns About Syrian Surge into US; Obama Doubles Down; Opens Doors Wider

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State Department reports show that 2,340 Syrian refugees arrived last month in the United States. That’s more than what occurred during the entire seven months after President Obama directed his team to prepare for 10,000 admissions from the war-torn country.

The pace of Syrian refugees entering the U.S. has surged in recent weeks, government figures show, putting the Obama administration on track to meet its target of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees before the end of September -– and reviving Republican concerns about the security implications.

State Department reports show that 2,340 Syrian refugees arrived last month in the United States.

That’s more than what occurred during the entire seven months after President Obama directed his team to prepare for 10,000 admissions from the war-torn country. Total admissions for the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, now come to about 7,900, and the vast majority of them are Sunni Muslims, records show.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said earlier this week the U.S. is on track to meet the 10,000-refugee goal.

If the pace from June and July continues this month, the target should be reached with a couple of weeks to spare, before Obama heads to the United Nations to urge world leaders to admit more refugees and increase funding for relief organizations.

But amid new predictions from FBI Director James Comey of a “terrorist diaspora out of Syria,” some Republicans are ramping up warnings that the flow of refugees poses a threat to America and Western Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


Global Panic Update: Government Reveals Details About Energy Grid Hacks

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Hackers have stolen sensitive information from American energy companies — and have planted malware in the energy grid with the intent to turn off the lights in the future.

Jose Pagliery reports: They even managed to infect at least three energy companies with Cryptolocker ransomware, a particularly nasty computer virus that locks digital files and demands a ransom payment.

Newly released documents from the Department of Homeland Security are finally shedding some light on what exactlyAPPROVED-non-stop-panichackers are doing when they sneak into the American electrical grid.

The DHS intelligence assessment — originally dated January 27, 2016 — was published by Public Intelligence, a research project that shares secretive documents to educate people.

Some of the attacks described in the report are potentially serious.

Aggressive foreign government hackers broke into American companies 17 times between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, according to DHS. In two cases they snuck into U.S. petroleum organizations, and hackers are “suspected of exfiltrating data” from one of them.

It’s rare, but highly sophisticated foreign government hackers have gotten inside the energy grid, DHS said. They hack “primarily to conduct cyber espionage … to conduct a damaging or disruptive attack in the event of hostilities with the United States,” DHS stated in a recent internal “intelligence assessment.”

[Read the full story here, at CNNMoney]

That sounds alarming, but DHS is throwing cold water on any present worries. The agency concluded that damaging cyberattacks against the American energy sector is “possible but not likely.”

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That calm demeanor doesn’t sit well with some cybersecurity experts. Ryan Duff is a researcher and former member of U.S. Cyber Command, the American military’s hacking unit. He warned that once a hacker gets into a computer — even if physical damage hasn’t been caused yet — the potential is there.

“While I agree with the DHS assessment overall, it’s still pretty frightening,” he said. “The fact is that the ability to cause destruction exists. Their assessment that attack is unlikely is based on political realities instead of technical realities. Attack is way more than technically possible.”

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DHS prefers to label these cyber incidents as “espionage or some other activity,” rather than “cyberattacks.” To date, there have been “no damaging or destructive attacks against the U.S. energy sector,” DHS said.

“The majority of malicious activity occurring against the U.S. energy sector is low-level cybercrime that is … not meant to be destructive,” DHS analysts wrote.

Kyle Wilhoit, who investigates these types of hacks for Trend Micro (TMICF), said criminal hackers sometimes gain access to sensitive machinery by mistake.

“Most of the attacks that we’ve witnessed against this sector are in fact criminal in nature,” he told CNNMoney. “In some cases we even see criminals not realizing the importance of some of the machines [they gained access to.]”

The agency cautions against media using the term cyber “attack,” although it’s own 2013 advisory refers to cyber “attack” 56 times. Read the rest of this entry »


TOP-SECRET MEMOMAGEDDON: Too Late for Damage Control?

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  report: The intelligence community has deemed some of Hillary Clinton’s emails “too damaging” to national security to release under any circumstances, according to a PANTSUIT-REPORTU.S. government official close to the ongoing review. A second source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, backed up the finding.

The determination was first reported by Fox News, hours before the State Department formally announced Friday that seven email chains, found in 22 documents, will be withheld “in full” because they, in fact, contain “Top Secret” information.

The State Department, when first contacted by Fox News about withholding such emails Friday morning, did not dispute the reporting – but did not comment in detail. After a version of this report was first published, the Obama administration confirmed to the Associated Press that the seven email chains would be withheld. The department has since confirmed those details publicly.

The decision to withhold the documents in full, and not provide even a partial release with redactions, further undercuts claims by the State Department and the Clinton campaign that none of the intelligence in the emails was classified when it hit Clinton’s personal server.

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Fox News is told the emails include intelligence from “special access programs,” or SAP, which is considered beyond “Top Secret.” A Jan. 14 letter, first reported by Fox News, from intelligence community Inspector General Charles McCullough III notified senior intelligence and foreign relations committee leaders that “several dozen emails containing classified information” were determined to be “at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND TOP SECRET/SAP levels.”

[Read the full story here, at Fox News]

The State Department is trying to finish its review and public release of thousands of Clinton emails, as the Democratic presidential primary contests get underway in early February. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Why Is Homeland Security Welcoming Terrorists into the US? 

Should the Department of Homeland Security respect online privacy, even if terrorists are behind it? How did these ISIS sympathizers involved in the San Bernardino massacre pass visa screenings? Should immigration check social media before granting visas?

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, left, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 24, as they testify on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing regarding the growing problem of unaccompanied children crossing the border into the U.S. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, left, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 24, as they testify on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing regarding the growing problem of unaccompanied children crossing the border into the U.S. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


¡Qué lástima! SF Sheriff Loses Re-Election Bid Amid ‘Sanctuary City’ Controversy 

In this Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, photo, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi answers questions during an interview in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

In this Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, photo, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi answers questions during an interview in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi convincingly lost his bid for re-election Tuesday after spending months in the national spotlight as the face of his city’s controversial “sanctuary city” policy on illegal immigration.

Mirkarimi, 54, was defeated by Vicki Hennessy, a former sheriff’s official who had the endorsement of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the sheriff deputies association. With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Henessy had received 63 percent of the vote to 31 percent for Mirkarimi.

Mirkarimi and his office received heavy criticism after Mexican illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on San Francisco’s waterfront July 1. Sanchez had been released from Mirkarimi’s jail in March even though federal immigration officials had requested that he be detained for possible deportation. Read the rest of this entry »


Not a Mystery: Border Figures Posted, Removed Month Before Election

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Staggering statistics that show nearly a half-million people were caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally — and more than half were not Mexican, a number far higher than in 2013 — reportedly were posted on a U.S. government website for just a few hours last month before being taken down.

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the numbers were posted on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website on Oct. 10 for roughly five hours. The dramatic numbers raised questions over whether they were yanked to protect the administration before key midterm elections.

“According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the stats showed about 53 percent of the migrants, or 253,000, caught at the U.S.-Mexico border this year were not Mexican — a number far higher than in 2013. A decade ago, fewer than 10 percent were from countries other than Mexico.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told the Center he’s worried “they may have been taken down for purely political reasons.”

“If the information is ready it should be made available. The idea that it was and then yanked down for political reasons is outrageous,” he said.

“This year, some of CBP’s data was posted on the website prematurely and removed later that day. One of the statistics released was the number of Southwest border apprehensions by the Border Patrol, which was 479,371.”

— CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske

The numbers could have become a political football less than a month before the elections. They emphasize the challenge still facing U.S. border agents — the reported number of apprehensions is larger than the population of major U.S. cities including Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans. The number has dropped from even higher levels a decade ago, but the flow is staying strong, even as a virtual army of border agents numbering close to 20,000 remains posted, to catch them.

The stats also point to a startling shift, with more and more border crossers coming from other countries. It is already well-known that illegal immigrant children from Central America have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, but some lawmakers also have suggested the border could be a crossing for Middle East extremists. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Seeks Brisk Passage of Border Children Funding Bill: Would Subsidize Schooling, Health Care, Lawyers for Illegal Immigrants

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Women from Honduras traveling with their children are stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services agents after crossing the Rio Grande near McAllen, Texas. About 90 Hondurans a day cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico. (associated press) Photo by: Rodolfo Gonzalez

For the Washington TimesStephen Dinan reports: President Obama’s new border spending request will pay for schooling, health care and lawyers for the unaccompanied illegal immigrant children surging across the border, officials told Congress on Thursday as they pleaded for quick action on the $3.7 billion package.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Congress must approve the money this month, saying that if nothing is done before lawmakers leave for a monthlong August vacation, one of his agencies will have to cut its other immigration enforcement in order to hold and transport the children.

But Mr. Johnson and other officials faced bipartisan complaints that Mr. Obama’s plan is “incomplete.” Democrats said it fails to compensate local communities who are having to face the problem, while Republicans said Mr. Obama needs to spell out details of how he wants to change the law to make sure the children can be quickly deported.

“He needs to work with us to get the right policy into effect — not just throw money at the problem,” Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican in the Senate, said on the chamber floor. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Border Funding Reality Check: Most Money to Care, Feed, Transport Illegal Immigrants; Little for Deportations

For the Washington ExaminerByron York reports: It’s still a little unclear exactly how much money President Obama will request to deal with the crisis of thousands of families and unaccompanied children crossing the border into the United States illegally.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, left, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 24, as they testify on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing regarding the growing problem of unaccompanied children crossing the border into the U.S. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, left, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 24, as they testify on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing regarding the growing problem of unaccompanied children crossing the border into the U.S. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

But there are indications the vast majority of the funding will go to caring for the illegal immigrants who are already here — feeding, housing, and transporting them to new American homes — while a far smaller amount will go to sending some of those immigrants back to their home countries and preventing future immigrants from crossing into the U.S. illegally.

The president will ask for a large amount of money, perhaps as much as $2 billion, for the Department of Health and Human Services. Most of that will go to care for the more than 50,000 unaccompanied children who have illegally entered the United States in recent months. The law requires that border officials transfer those children to the care of HHS, which is then required to find homes for them, unite them with family members, provide legal assistance, and help them in a variety of other ways. So most of the HHS funding request, whatever it is, will go to the care of illegal immigrants who are already here.

Then there is the administration’s request for more money for the Department of Homeland Security, which handles border enforcement. But it appears that most of that money will go to care for — rather than deport — the new illegal immigrants. Read the rest of this entry »


Oversight Fail: U.S. Has Lost Track of Tens of Thousands of Foreign Students Who Came to Study Then Took Jobs

Photo by: J. Scott Applewhite

Photo by: J. Scott Applewhite

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t even consistently collect information or have the tools to monitor all of the foreign students who take part in the optional practical training (OPT) program, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report released late Friday.

“The problems with [optional practical training program] are extensive and serious. The report not only calls into question the department’s oversight of the program, but also whether such lack of oversight is a serious national security risk”

— Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican.

“The problems with OPT are extensive and serious. The report not only calls into question the department’s oversight of the program, but also whether such lack of oversight is a serious national security risk,” Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who released the report, said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Officials who run the Student and Exchange Visitor Program have deemed OPT to be a low-risk program, but the new findings suggest that may be wrong.

Read the rest of this entry »