Morning Security Brief: DHS Unit Hamstrung, Organized Retail Crime, Bogus DHS Letter, FISMA

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge


♦ According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security "has cut the number of personnel studying domestic terrorism unrelated to Islam, canceled numerous state and local law enforcement briefings, and held up dissemination of nearly a dozen reports on extremist groups," say current and former officials, because of a backlash from conservatives after the department released a report in 2009 on rightwing extremism. The result has been that "in the two years since, the officials said, the analytical unit that produced that report has been effectively eviscerated. Much of its work—including a digest of domestic terror incidents and the distribution of definitions for terms such as 'white supremacist' and 'Christian Identity'—has been blocked. Multiple current and former law enforcement officials who have regularly viewed DHS analyses said the department had not reported in depth on any domestic extremist groups since 2009," says the Post.

A report freshly released from the National Retail Federation (NRF) says that organized retail crime is growing and that North New Jersey and the New York City metro area are hotspots. The report reveals that loss prevention executives at more than 125 retail chains said these were the areas where their companies had experienced the highest rates of organized retail crime. "The study found 94.5 percent of the companies surveyed had been the victim of organized retail crime in the past 12 months, the highest number in the seven years the NRF has been conducting the study, up from 89.5 percent a year ago," reports

♦ The FBI has issued a warning that a scam is afoot. A letter has been mailed to people around the nation, supposedly from the DHS, threatening recipients with arrest unless they pay $350 to obtain a clearance certificate. The Detroit News has more.

♦The DHS has released new reporting metrics for agency compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) that focus on continuous cybersecurity monitoring, says Information Week Government. "The new metrics should bolster the federal government's strategy to keep closer and more constant track of security vulnerabilities and threats as it moves forward with improvements to overall cybersecurity across agencies," the site reports.



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