Friday, March 29, 2013

Texas Public Safety Threat Overview 2013, very well done & informative

www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/media_and_communications/threatOverview.pdf

It is long but for security types it does most of it's action in the first 40 pages.  The matrix used to help depict the Threats is both a tried and true approach, and if I may say so, one of the better approaches to be used.  A lot of Home Land Security types should be taking a good hard look at it.  It beats a lot of the Sector Plan(s) analysis in many ways.  I think a lot of folks in the field are still trying to see how Agriculture really tried to use the CARVER method, even with the additions for their approach.

It also does something else not seen to much these days, it deals with some thorny issues in a straight forward method.   There is a lot to be complimented here.

In page two, it addresses an issue that many States and Cities want to it seems hide.  Yes under the 8 indexed crime stats crime has come down, but it states quite correctly that index is not showing the true crime picture. I have taken one section for page 2 that deal with the issue:

For example, the majority of the crimes committed in Texas by the Mexican cartels and transnational and state-wide gangs go unreported, and include crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, public corruption, money laundering, and the recruitment and use of children in criminal operations. If there were a national organized crime index in the Uniform Crime Report, Texas would most likely lead the nation as a direct result of Mexican cartel and gang activity along the border and throughout the state.

New York, for instance claims a higher percentage of HLS grant money than most states, but has probably less threat issues than Texas.

The Texas report also deals with High Threat criminals that are not normally associated with high threat, for instance on page 30 of the report it shows:


1.4 High Threat Criminals
(U) Criminals associated with organized crime are not the only individuals who pose a significant criminal threat to Texas. A traditional and now outdated approach to analyzing criminal activity has been simply to distinguish between violent and non-violent offenses. However, this distinction does not explicitly take into account other factors that assist in illustrating and understanding this threat. Certainly murders, rapists, armed robbers, serial burglars and arsonists are high threat criminals, but others are as well. These include those engaged in organized crime activities such as extortion, kidnapping, public corruption, drug and human trafficking, and compelling prostitution, as well as those who prey on children and the elderly. High threat criminals include pedophiles and other sex offenders; gang members; career criminals; criminals that prey on children, the elderly, and other vulnerable victims; and criminals that are statistically likely to re-offend. As such, the Texas Department of Public Safety identifies as High Threat Criminals those individuals whose criminal activity poses a serious public safety or homeland security threat.

Further on in the same page is the issue of "crimes of mass effect" as shown here:

(U) Serial criminals who operate across jurisdictions and who commit multiple crimes not only affect their immediate victims, but also have the potential to cause fear and have other psychological and behavioral impacts on the general population. These crimes of mass effect represent challenges to the investigators and prosecutors who work to arrest and convict these criminals, but they are among the highest priority for law enforcement agencies. In response to several high-profile crimes of mass effect in Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety established task forces composed of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to investigate these crimes that targeted multiple victims over a span of time and had a reverberating impact on the community. These task forces included the dedication of substantial resources, in the form of Texas Rangers, Troopers, Agents, surveillance, intelligence analysts, forensic teams, and others.

By taking into account these issues, it may reflect badly on a chart or spread sheet, but it does give Texas a firm knowledge of the real Threats it faces.  I hope this report get's the airing and exposure it deserves, taking your head out of the sand and getting real look at what is happening around you is in my talks around the country the first part in making us all safer.  Awareness starts with each of us, but in this case DPS has brought an awareness that we all needed to see.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TSA to Heed Formal Gripes Over Body Scans

TSA to Heed Formal Gripes Over Body Scans - Nextgov.com:
"The Transportation Security Administration is letting airplane passengers formally critique its $2 billion body scanning program -- a requirement for substantial federal programs that TSA had skirted for about four years." (via nextgov.com)
The effectiveness of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), also known as full-body scanners, is just one piece of the puzzle (one which could use improvement). The TSA needs to also balance privacy concerns on the public side, cost and throughput concerns on the airport side, and safety concerns all around. The fact that the TSA is responding to stakeholder concerns is a positive step.

To address privacy issues, by summer 2013 the TSA will moved entirely to scanners using the Automated Target Recognition (ATR). So instead of naked images, screeners will see a cartoon image which highlights areas where objects are detected, the limitation being that there is no indication of what that object is.


On the safety side, these scanners use millimeter-wave technology (essentially radio waves), unlike the abandoned backscatter x-ray method which uses small doses of x-ray radiation. Both have their problems detecting certain objects in certain areas, however.

While the purpose of integrating technology into the screening checkpoint is to make things easier, not harder, the best technology in the world is worthless if it is not used properly, or if your entire screening process hinges on it. The most effective screening methods use multiple layers of security, including intelligence-gathering.
Agency officials acknowledge in the public notice to be released on Tuesday that "the U.S. Court of Appeals directed TSA to conduct notice-and-comment rulemaking on the use of AIT as a screening method for passengers." Passengers will have three months to file opinions.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

'Four trucks filled with bodies' after Reynosa firefight

'Four trucks filled with bodies' after Reynosa firefight - The Monitor: Local News

There is a great need for someone to get a handle on the issues in Reynosa as this escalation is getting very dangerous to both the people and businesses along the border.   Rumors are being circulated that every colonia on the Mexican side of the border has been dived up by the Cartels, and the Zeta's have most of the control in the Reynosa area.  There has been no real confirmation of this yet, but there needs to be.  Apparently the battles to control the colonias is where most of the deaths are now occurring.   We saw similar actions in Turkey in historical terms, where the phrase "young Turks" came from.  It is sort of breeding ground for young wantabe cartel gangsters, that have to prove their worth, which from a Zeta perspective is truly a very violent method. 

Rumor's also abound on the colonia's outside the established city limits on the US Side of the border.  They are becoming the dark underbelly of people escaping from Mexico Violence, but worse the crime is following them, as are the cartel control.   Most of the Cities can claim it did not happen here, but the County Sheriff's have to claim the colonia's that sprout up.  There needs to be an investigation into these colonias, which will be hard to do, but must be done.  These areas are the inroads into our Schools & Businesses here in the valley.  A very few bad guys coming over with the population looking to escape, can control them with very little law enforcement control over them.

Moving beyond rumors is the escalation of Cartel control of the Ropa trade in the valley.  Using the cross border truckers, who they already control via extortion and worse, the Cartels are slowing gaining control over the Ropa companies.  By controlling the truckers, Cartels can put these businesses out of business very quickly, a few out breaks of violence like fires have happen locally, but most of the encroaching control is much more subtle.

We could all be in for a very violent summer.


'Four trucks filled with bodies' after Reynosa firefight

'Four trucks filled with bodies' after Reynosa firefight - The Monitor: Local News

There is a great need for someone to get a handle on the issues in Reynosa as this escalation is getting very dangerous to both the people and businesses along the border.   Rumors are being circulated that every colonia on the Mexican side of the border has been dived up by the Cartels, and the Zeta's have most of the control in the Reynosa area.  There has been no real confirmation of this yet, but there needs to be.  Apparently the battles to control the colonias is where most of the deaths are now occurring.   We saw similar actions in Turkey in historical terms, where the phrase "young Turks" came from.  It is sort of breeding ground for young wantabe cartel gangsters, that have to prove their worth, which from a Zeta perspective is truly a very violent method. 

Rumor's also abound on the colonia's outside the established city limits on the US Side of the border.  They are becoming the dark underbelly of people escaping from Mexico Violence, but worse the crime is following them, as are the cartel control.   Most of the Cities can claim it did not happen here, but the County Sheriff's have to claim the colonia's that sprout up.  There needs to be an investigation into these colonias, which will be hard to do, but must be done.  These areas are the inroads into our Schools & Businesses here in the valley.  A very few bad guys coming over with the population looking to escape, can control them with very little law enforcement control over them.

Moving beyond rumors is the escalation of Cartel control of the Ropa trade in the valley.  Using the cross border truckers, who they already control via extortion and worse, the Cartels are slowing gaining control over the Ropa companies.  By controlling the truckers, Cartels can put these businesses out of business very quickly, a few out breaks of violence like fires have happen locally, but most of the encroaching control is much more subtle.

We could all be in for a very violent summer.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Brief Review of the new TSA knife rule

TSA has conducted a risk assessment that basically says short, thin folding knife blades are an acceptable risk at this time.  They may have a better way of saying it on the TSA.gov web site.

The risk assessment still bans locking blade knives and a few other restrictions, like box cutters and such. This piece will not go into the risk finding regarding golf clubs and baseball bats.  The following picture is of a knife similar to the one found in the field in Pennsylvania from the 911 attacks.  Like the one found it is a lock blade knife that also is a cigar lighter, the first shot is of it closed:

This is the knife open:
Now is a knife provided by the airlines in first class as a dinner knife, to cut your steak with:
This knife has all the characteristics of a folding knife that locks, in fact is much more dangerous, and has been available in first class, less than a year after the 911 attacks.

My issue is not with the risk analysis that said the knives they are going to allow are an acceptable risk, my issue is with why the locking blade knives and molded handle knives are not being considered risk acceptable.  I can carry my briefcase on board, and have been for years, it is stiffened by a long thin very sharp piece of metal, that comes out of the case with out any problem at all.   There are so many items in the cabin that can be made into knives or sharp bladed objects, by any one that has ever been in prison,or watches reality prison TV.

Accepting risk is actually at times good security, and I believe that TSA as far as they went made a good risk assessment call.  But stay true to your risk assessment.