House passes homeland security measures

The House has passed a series of homeland security measures that focus on airport security and enhancing the redress system for travelers who believe they  are wrongly on the government’s name-based terrorist watchlist database.

The Fair, Accurate, Secure, and Timely Redress Act, passed June 18, would require the Homeland Security Department to create a comprehensive list of people cleared from having connections to terrorism and share it in that department and with other organizations that use versions of the terrorist watchlist for screening.

Travelers who share names with individuals on the government's consolidated terrorism watchlist have frequently been misidentified and faced difficulties when traveling. The name-based no-fly list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration, a component of DHS, is a version of the the government's consolidated terrorist watchlist for commercial aviation.

Separately from this legislation, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on April 28 announced an initiative to decrease the number of “false positives” identified in screening. Through that program, airlines can mitigate the problem by storing additional biographic information from travelers, such as a dates of birth. Chertoff said that one major airline estimates that it gets about 9,000 false positives each day.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), said more than 15,000 people who felt they were incorrectly identified have given extra personal information voluntarily to TSA.

The House also passed a series of other bills that dealt with airport security on June 18:



  • The Biometric Enhancement for Airport-Risk Reduction Act of 2008 that would require TSA to examine how airports can adopt biometric identification systems for airport workers.

  • The Catching Operational Vulnerabilities by Ensuring Random Testing Act of 2008 that aims to boost the effectiveness of covert testing of airport security.

  • The Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Support Act of 2007. This legislation would require government auditors to look into the Civil Air Patrol's capabilities of partnering with DHS. 



In addition, the House passed a resolution that that TSA should enhance security on rail and mass transit lines and two other homeland security measures:



  • The National Bombing Prevention Act of 2008, which would establish an office for enhancing federal response and prevention efforts for terrorist explosive attacks.

  • The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act, which would support international and domestic efforts to detect so-called dirty bombs.



The measures all passed by a voice vote and now must be taken up by the Senate, likely as part of the Homeland Security Department’s Authorization bill.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.