Category: On the Homefront – the HSDL Blog

Secret Intelligence Bill signed

The president signed legislation which would, among other things, make it easier for FBI agents to demand financial records from businesses without seeking court approval. Supporters claim that this will help identify money laundering and funding for terrorism. To read details go to,1,1834165.story?coll=la-headlines-nation Article formerly posted at

Senators urge resolution of detainees

Former POW Sen. John McCain and two other senators have sent a pointed letter to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to either release the detainees at Guantanamo Bay or try them. Holding the detainees could be a perceived violation of civil rights, asserted Sen. McCain. To read more, go to

Forensic research and development highlights

On December 10, 2003, the FBI posted its January 2004 issue of “Forensic Science Communications.” This issue includes a practical guide and manual for human hairs, a survey of tissue-depth landmarks for facial approximation, and other items of forensic interest. The current issue is available at Article formerly posted...

FBI forms Terrorist Financing Operations Section

On December 15, 2003, Carl Whitehead, FBI Special Agent in Charge, announced the formation of the Terrorist Financing Operations Section (TFOS). “TFOS was created to combine the FBI’s traditional expertise in conducting complex criminal financial investigations with advanced technologies and the powerful legislative tools provided in the USA PATRIOT Act.”...

National Security Language Act

A critical shortage of language professionals within the United States has led Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and several colleagues to introduce a bill entitled the National Security Language Act that will use federal grants and other incentives “to strengthen the national security through the expansion and improvement of foreign language...

New airline screening system under scrutiny

A proposed new airline passenger screening system, CAPPS II, is coming under criticism from various civil liberties groups, members of Congress, and concerned air travel industry groups. The system would require passengers to give extra information, such as date of birth and home phone number when making a reservation, and...

Final report from the Gilmore Commission released

This Gilmore commission has released its final report entitled “Forging America’s Normalcy: Securing Our Homeland, Protecting Our Liberty” >. According to advance reports, the commission is critical of the administrations lack of vision for a forward-looking strategy to combat terrorism but instead remains focused on “the crisis of the moment”....

New Intel laws a worry to critics

Sweeping changes in FBI powers for searches and wiretaps have critics worried that the line between criminal and intelligence missions will become increasingly blurred. Details can be found at Article formerly posted at

New read on Homeland Security

Touted as a critical look at where Homeland security is and how we are conceiving it, is “The Myth of Homeland Security” by Marcus J. Ranum. To read a review go to Article formerly posted at

The latest WMD: Fruitcake

Added to the list of potential lethal weapons is the fruitcake, according to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. To read why go to Article formerly posted at