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Homeland Security

Terrorism Arithmetic

by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com

The most recent issue of the National Counter Terrorism Center’s annual Report on Terrorism [.pdf] came out last week, covering the year 2011. I would like to say that it is well worth a read, but actually it is quite tedious. For those who are interested, it is essentially a statistical and analytical breakdown of the terrorism phenomenon derived from the U.S. government–maintained Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, or WITS, which is based on publicly available open-source material reporting alleged terrorist activity around the globe. Most often the analysis is bare bones and avoids political coloration, not, for example, going deeply into the motives of the various terrorist groups but instead providing information in a pie chart and chronological fashion. This year’s report is 33 pages long.

The United States is engaged in what most Americans still refer to as a global war on terror or, in shorthand form, a war on terror. The Obama administration avoids the expression because it is a legacy of the Bush years and because it uses the expression “war,” so it refers to “overseas contingency operations,” which has a nicer sound and does not appear to be so preemptive or premeditated. It also fudges the reality of what is taking place by pretending that the process is reactive, which it is not. The unrelenting expansion of U.S. military intervention is in response to many diverse overseas developments, most of which are not genuine threats. This was recently demonstrated by the White… Continue reading

DHS Interoperable Communications Still Lacking Decade after 9/11 Commission

Originally published at Homeland Security Today by Amanda Vicinanzo on 6/9/15

Photo of first responders using payphone on 9/11

Ron Agam Getty Images

Nearly 15 years after the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, problems with interoperable communications continue to plague the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to a DHS Inspector General (OIG) audit report.

“In other words, nearly a decade after the 9/11 Commission highlighted the problem with interoperable communications, DHS components could not talk to each other using about $430 million worth of radios purchased,” said DHS Inspector General John Roth, whose office just concluded a verification review of its 2012 audit of DHS’s oversight of interoperable communications.

In the 2012 audit report, DHS’ Oversight of Interoperable Communications, the IG’s review of progress on intra-agency communications during an emergency, such as a terrorist event, found less than 0.25 percent of the 479 radio users could access and communicate via that specified common channel.

Moreover, of the 382 radios tested, only 20 percent contained all the correct program settings for the common channel.

The IG determined the reason behind the communications failure was lack of an effective governing structure with the authority and responsibility to ensure DHS achieved department-wide interoperable radio communications.

Now more than two years later, the IG found, DHS still hasn’t complied with the recommendations of the initial 2012 audit. Although DHS has taken some corrective actions to standardize department-wide radio activities, plans have not been finalized and DHS could not provide a timetable for finalization of the plans.

Furthermore, some component… Continue reading