Center Will Consolidate Terrorist Watch Lists
The U.S. government is setting up a Terrorist Screening Center to consolidate
terrorist watch lists and provide information to federal, state and local investigators
The center, which begins operations on December 1, will be administered by
the Federal Bureau of Investigations, with support from the Departments of Homeland
Security and State, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said.
“The Terrorist Screening Center will provide ‘one-stop shopping’
so that every federal anti-terrorist screener is working off the same page—whether
it’s airport screener, an embassy official issuing visas overseas or an
FBI agent on the street,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft, in a written
“The creation of the new center means that all government agents will
be able to run name checks against the same comprehensive list with the most
accurate, up-to-date information about potential terrorists.”
The TSC will receive the vast majority of its information from the Terrorist
Threat Integration Center, a joint CIA, FBI and homeland security operation.
The TTIC‘s database includes more than 100,000 names of potential terrorists
from the State Department’s TIPOFF program. In addition, the FBI will
provide the TSC with information about purely domestic terrorism, which has
no connection to international terrorist activities.
“What’s different about the TSC is its ability to make that information
available in real time, constantly updated, 24 hours a day and across the board,”
said FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Reaction to creation of the TSC was mixed. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Democratic
presidential candidate, welcomed the move, but said it came late. “The
administration has fumbled for two years, but I’m pleased it has finally
begun to consolidate the watch-list information,” he said.
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Army Contracts Out Force Protection at U.S. Bases
To meet growing force-protection needs, the U.S. Army is beginning to turn
over security functions at bases around the country to private contractors.
The move is intended to relieve the burden on Army, National Guard and reserve
The Army plans to replace, by November 1, uniformed soldiers with private-sector
guards at Fort Detrick, Md.; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort
Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Myer, Va., and Fort McNair, D.C., as well as Walter Reed
Medical Center, D.C., and Tooele Army Depot, Utah.
The contractors are being hired under a new program initiated by the Army’s
Installation Management Agency, which was established in 2002 to bring together
all base-support functions under a single umbrella. The prime contractor at
many of the bases is Chenega Technical Products, an Alaskan Native American
Until 2001, federal law prohibited contract security at military installations.
After September 11, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which in part allowed the
services to contract force-protection efforts through state and local agencies.
As it turned out, state and local agencies have had their hands full protecting
their own installations, so in December 2002, Congress authorized the services
to hire private security.
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DHS Office to Focus on Science and Technology
Since its inception in March, the Department of Homeland Security has provided
nearly $4 billion in funding and has run about 400 emergency action plan evaluation
exercises for states and communities, according to Charles McQueary, the undersecretary
for science and technology.
The science and technology department of DHS has received almost $500 million
this year, while the president’s budget for 2004 requested another $800
million, he said. This funding will accomplish several goals:
DHS recently created the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency
(HSARPA), a cousin to the Defense Department’s DARPA agency, he explained.
David Bolka has been the agency’s director since September.
“HSARPA will help jumpstart and steer homeland security R&D toward
the Department’s high priority needs, areas such as port security and
critical infrastructure protection,” said McQueary.
At press time, HSARPA had just issued its first research solicitations, for
biological and chemical detection systems.
“Our goal for this first solicitation is to develop and transition to
the field the next generation of biological and chemical detectors,” said
McQueary. “These detectors will significantly advance the capabilities
of our first responders and federal programs to counter terrorism.”
The biological countermeasure area is seeking ideas for Bioagent Autonomous
Network Detectors to monitor outdoor urban and marine/shipboard areas for presence
of bacteria, viruses or toxins.
In addition, bids will be requested for Rapid Automated Biological Identification
Systems, which will monitor buildings, such as shopping malls, stadiums and
The chemical countermeasures area will seek concepts for an Autonomous Rapid
Facility Chemical Agent Monitor that can monitor facilities for the presence
of both toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents. The solicitation
also requests ideas for the development of a Lightweight Autonomous Chemical
Identification System, a hand-held device for first responders.
The third project in the chemical arena is the Portable High throughput Integrated
Laboratory Identification System (PHILIS) which will be capable of analyzing
thousands of samples to help identify areas that may be contaminated by dangerous
chemicals. PHILIS will be designed to be self-contained and easy to transport
to suspected contamination sites.
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DHS to Partner with Industry to Protect Cyberspace
A National Cyber Security Summit is being planned for this fall to bring together
industry and government representatives to work on efforts to prevent disabling
attacks on the Internet such as the Blaster and SoBig worms that attacked computers
The summit is one of several measures that the National Cyber Security Division
of the Department of Homeland Security has undertaken to protect government,
industry and personal computer systems.
Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science, and Research
& Development, Robert Liscouski, assistant secretary for infrastructure
protection and acting director for the national cyber security division, said
the growing reliance on the Internet is compelling the government to create
“With nearly all of the backbone of cyberspace owned by the private sector,
it is imperative that the NCSD strengthen its relationship with them,”
The NCSD already has begun shoring up its relationship with the private sector.
In August, when the Blaster worm began to surface on the Internet, NCSD issued
warnings to security professionals suggesting specific steps they could take,
including shutting down Internet service providers to block the spread of the
infection, Liscouski said.
Working with Internet security researchers, private industry and academia,
the NCSD and the FBI were able to uncover a code embedded within the SoBig worm
that was programmed to launch a denial of service attack, Liscouski said.
“Federal authorities located the 20 computers infected with this variant
of the worm and asked their ISPs to shut down their Internet access,”
he said. “As a consequence, the second wave of the attacks never materialized.”
The NCSD plans to continue its cooperation with industry, academia and the
government to ensure that a potentially more serious infection doesn’t
cause irreversible damage, he said. The effort has led to the planned summit,
Key goals of the meeting are: to produce a common threat reporting protocol;
develop a vulnerability reduction initiative; create a public outreach program;
and formulate and ratify a National Cyber Security road map that would raise
the bar of cyber security across the country and identify work stream leads
from both government and industry, Liscouski said.
NCSD is looking to create, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management
and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, cyber security awareness
and education programs along with partnerships with consumers, businesses, governments,
academia and international communities, he said.
Liscouski also announced that the Cyber Security Tracking Analysis and Response
Center (CSTARC) has become the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team.
“This initiative will harness this massive capability to significantly
increase America’s ability to protect against, and respond to, a massive
scale cyber attacks,” he said.
More than 200 private and public sector groups and universities operate CERT
“We view the US-CERT as a fundamental element of the DHS strategy to
ensure timely notification of all types of attacks, working toward having, within
a year, an average of a 30-minute response to any attack,” Liscouski said.