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Homeland Security News – August 23, 2011

DHS to promote “See something, say something.” DEA busts Iraqi-Mexican crime ring. NYPD puts cops on the Facebook beat. These and other national security stories in this week’s Homeland Security News.

DHS to Run Public Awareness Ads on TV

See Something, Say SomethingThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently unveiled a series of public awareness ads to promote its “See something, say something” public awareness campaign. With the upcoming 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in mind, the ads remind Americans to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to authorities. “What we can do is maximize our ability to prevent an attack from occurring, minimize the ability of such an attack having a large impact, and increase our ability to respond,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, explaining the campaign’s intent.

DEA Brings Down Iraqi-Mexican Drug Ring Near San Diego

Drug BustThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a major drug bust in the suburbs east of San Diego, Calif., where Iraqi exiles had joined forces with Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel to sell contraband, including assault rifles, grenades and drugs, in the United States. About 60 people from the city of El Cajon’s Iraqi community were arrested, many of them believed to be Iraqi Chaldeans, Christians who fled Iraq following threats from al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists. The DEA believes this Southern California group is linked to the Chaldean Organized Crime Syndicate, which is based in Detroit, Mich.

NYPD Forms New Social Media Squads

Social MediaThe New York Police Department (NYPD) has formed a new “social media” unit to keep tabs on suspicious exchanges on Facebook and Twitter. Criminals are purportedly not only using these and other social media sites to plan illegal activities, but to subsequently brag about them as well. An NYPD spokesman noted that social media was used extensively by organizers of the recent London riots, as well as by concerned citizens who helped police by posting photos of lawbreakers on their Facebook pages.

Senator Proposed FBI Background Checks for Utility Workers

Power PlantSen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has proposed legislation that would require workers at power plants, water treatment facilities and other key infrastructure sites to pass FBI background checks. The new regulation is in response to a recent DHS report that warned terrorists could cause significant damage to the U.S. by infiltrating the domestic utility operations and from there, launch physical or cyber attacks. Currently, only workers at U.S. nuclear power plants are subject to FBI background checks as a condition of employment.

Terrorists Believed to Be Planning Ricin Attacks on U.S.

ricinAmerican counterterrorism officials have warned the DHS that an al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen appear to be stockpiling and processing castor beans in what they believe is a plot to attack U.S. targets with the deadly poison ricin. Derived from castor beans, ricin is so powerful that a single speck can kill if inhaled or if it reaches the bloodstream. It’s believed the terrorists intend to wrap powdered ricin around low-yield explosives and then detonate them in a large indoor venue such as a shopping mall or airline terminal to maximize fatalities. The officials also noted that ricin, while deadly, loses its potency in dry, sunny conditions, which poses a significant challenge to the militants trying to produce weaponized versions of the chemical in the deserts of Yemen.

Consider a Career in Homeland Security

Interested in a career in Homeland Security? Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, offers a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security that may allow you to qualify for a variety of careers in the field. Designed for working adults or students without convenient access to ground campuses, the Everest University Online bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security program can be taken at your own pace and on your own schedule. The degree can be earned in as little as four years. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information on the bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security program or other career education and degree programs available from Everest University Online, contact Everest University Online today.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at

Tagged with: Criminal Justice, News

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