Morning Security Brief: Lawmakers Discuss Border Issues, DHS Warns Oil Industry, and the Patriot Act Extended

By Teresa Anderson

♦ In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, lawmakers urged government officials to step up efforts to protect the Northern border of the United States from terrorist activity as well as the smuggling of drugs, guns, and people. Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), expressed concern the shifting of resources to the Southern border has left the Northern border with few resources. Witnesses, including John Morton, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), assured the committee that the administration’s commitment to the region remains strong. Morton noted that last year ICE agents initiated 1,149 investigations into export violations and made 248 arrests, more than any other federal agency.

♦ The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have issued a warning to the energy industry that al Qaeda is gathering intelligence on the size and construction of oil tankers. According to an Associated Press article, files obtained from the raid on Bin Laden’s compound indicate that terrorists were planning attacks on oil supertankers in an effort to create a worldwide economic panic.

♦ Lawmakers have reached a deal to extend the provisions of the Patriot Act, which are set to expire this month. The New York Times reports that leaders from both the House of Representatives and the Senate have agreed to extend measures allowing roving wiretaps, wiretaps against suspects who are not U.S. citizens, and seizure of “any tangible things” related to terrorism investigations. The provisions, which are due to come to a vote before the end of the week, would be extended until June 1, 2015.


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