Skip to comments.Napolitano Warns of Cybersecurity, Aviation Security, Threats by Homegrown Extremists
Posted on 09/19/2012 1:53:06 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
In an annual threat assessment hearing convened by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano indicated the three top concerns of her department were strengthening cybersecurity, maintaining aviation security and combating homegrown violent extremism.
Under questioning by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), who was chairing his last threat hearing before his upcoming retirement from Congress, Napolitano confirmed that the Obama administration was hard at work on an executive order that would address some cybersecurity concerns in lieu of any legislation from Congress.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies have been working on the cybersecurity executive order through interagency collaboration, Napolitano said.
"Yes, we have been very actively involved as have some agencies who have primary responsibility in this area," she remarked.
The draft executive order has included "a deep-dive analysis into areas where sector-specific authorities may already exist," Napolitano added, declining to indulge any further information.
However, the idea behind examining existing authorities would be to build upon existing relationships in the 18 specific sectors of critical infrastructure identified by the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. Federal agencies that already have relationships with those industry sectors would collaborate with them to improve their overall cybersecurity posture.
Cybersecurity remains a challenging area because of limited awareness of the threat and a lack of minimum standards for critical infrastructure protection, Napolitano said.
She lamented the dim prospects for cybersecurity legislation this year.
"The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 would have begun to address vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructure systems. This legislation was the result of years of work. It reflected input from the administration, the private sector, privacy experts and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Numerous current and former homeland and national security officials had also expressed the importance and urgency of this legislation," Napolitano said in her written testimony.
Even if the administration issues an executive order, the order could not do all of the things legislation could do. For example, an order could not ease limitations on personnel hiring, which DHS and others must overcome to recruit top cybersecurity talent. It also could not resolve issues with regard to liability protections, which are necessary to encourage industry participation in cybersecurity partnerships with the government. And finally it could not increase criminal penalties on bad actors, Napolitano said.
Aviation security remains a top DHS concern, Napolitano said. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has committed itself to repeated attacks on aviation systems, most notably with the Christmas Day 2009 bombing attempt and the October 2010 cargo plane attack.
Terrorists such as AQAP continually target commercial aviation by attempting to circumvent existing security measures, Napolitano remarked, with "sometimes ingenuous and increasingly sophisticated" attacks.
Napolitano hailed layered defenses in aviation security, beginning with intelligence and information sharing between international partners, within the aviation sector and among federal agencies.
She praised a new agreement signed with the European Union on July 1 to share passenger name record data for air passengers traveling to the United States. DHS also is working with global shipping companies and the International Air Transport Association to promote terrorism awareness training and to vet personnel with access to US-bound cargo.
Meanwhile, "very interesting work" is underway in technical advances to make airport screening more efficient for travelers while addressing evolving threats to aviation security, Napolitano commented without elaborating.
Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, agreed that APAQ remained the terrorist group most likely to attempt attacks against the United States, as indicated by its plot to attack an airliner in May near the anniversary of the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Olsen emphasized that federal intelligence agencies and DHS work together to disrupt such plots before a terrorist gets to an airport.
Foreign terrorist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and other individuals continue to seek to recruit westerners to attack US targets, Napolitano warned. Violent extremism can be inspired by various religious, political or ideological beliefs and US authorities must stay vigilant against a range of attacks such as the Sept. 11 Libyan embossing bombing to the July 20 movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo.
Although there is no current intelligence of any planned violent attacks within the United States, DHS must work to detect threats earlier, share information faster and maximize capabilities to respond homegrown violent extremism, Napolitano said.
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Annual meeting of the committee?
Sorry the BOA, NYSE were Foreign Terrorist who hate Obama I saw them burn him
If I import some banana trees, and some of their native soil to plant them in, and some native water to water them with, and some natives to pick them for me, are they still “homegrown”?
Al Qaeda has their own acronyms now.
Is DHS saying that was an attack on the U.S. and not just a lone nutjob?
You might enjoy this:
Obama Homeland Security Brass Spent Day B/f 9/11 Golfing w “Resigned” Sexual Harasser Suzy Barr
They want to shut down Fox News also.
I am worried about threats to America posed by 0bama cabinet members.
I’m also worried about threats to America posed by non-homegrown presidents.
Make no mistake, she actually means US. Americans. Conservative, patriotic Americans.
We’re the “threat”.
“Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano indicated the three top concerns.... combating homegrown violent extremism.”
Like the Obozo Regime and its minions?
uhhh.....that sure sounds like somebody is setting the table for Electus Interruptus to me....
This is the most frightening sentence in the article.And Janet knows all about "deep-diving".
Published July 26, 2012, 02:25PM
Had that. Thanks. Chicken is ready to take out of the oven. I’m stopping the CSPAN video. Time to load up on some wholesome food. :)