DHS&EM 24 January 2008 Situation Report 08-024Postmark
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From:Thursday, January 24, 2008 12:47 PM -0900
Subject:DHS&EM 24 January 2008 Situation Report 08-024 

SITUATION REPORT 08-023 (as of 11:00 AM, January 23, 2008)

Homeland Security Advisory System – National Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Homeland Security Advisory System – Alaska Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Maritime Security (MARSEC) Level – Level I – Low.
Military installations in Alaska are at FPCON A.
State of Alaska Cyber Security Alert Level: Guarded
World Health Organization Pandemic Phase - Phase 3: No or very limited human-to-human transmission (An Influenza Pandemic situation report, which contains an explanation of the WHO Pandemic Phases, is attached to this situation report and updated every Tuesday)

Threat Level Changes
No change.

State of Alaska Situation
(Updates to this section from previous Situation Report are in Italics)

Rural Alaska Fuel Shortages
The SECC continues to work with communities in rural Alaska that are facing fuel shortages and/or power generation problems.  The SECC is coordinating with local, state and federal agencies and other organizations to ensure that the situation in these communities does not reach the point of becoming a disaster emergency.

Homeland Security
Government serious about chemical security. The Department of Homeland Security recently announced a delay that exempts farmers and other agricultural facilities from having to complete a vulnerability screening, and the agency is working to make the screening more appropriate for farmers. The screening will help DHS determine if it needs to follow up with individuals to do further vulnerability assessments. It is important to note agriculture fertilizer dealers and pesticide dealers are not exempt and must complete the vulnerability assessment by the January 22 deadline. This extension applies to crop, fruit, nut, and vegetable farms; ranches and rangeland; poultry, dairy, and equine facilities; turfgrass growers; golf courses; nurseries; floriculture operations; and public and private parks. For questions about which category an operation or facility may be in, call DHS directly at 866-323-2957.
Source: January 22, Carroll County Times – http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/articles/2008/01/22/ features/business/biz973.txt

Airports to inspect ID cards with black lights. Airport screeners are starting to use handheld black lights this month to examine driver’s licenses and other passenger ID cards presented at checkpoints to spot forgeries or tampering. Passengers with suspicious documents can be questioned by police or immigration agents. Black lights will help screeners inspect the ID cards by illuminating holograms, typically of government seals, that are found in licenses and passports. Screeners also are getting magnifying glasses that highlight tiny inscriptions found in the borders of passports and other IDs. About 2,100 of each are going to the nation’s 800 airport checkpoints.

Explosions at Florida Middle School.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to unearth bombs and rockets near an Orlando-area school. Eleven explosions rocked the neighborhoods around Odyssey Middle School yesterday. Army Corps officials say they are still finding live bombs on ranch property near the school and there could be more beneath nearby neighborhoods. The school was built on a former World War II bombing range. Corps experts will return in the spring to test the soil for toxic chemicals, but they say the agency's five-month investigation on the school property is over.
Source: NICC, Daily Sector Pulse, 22 Jan 08

New Fusion Center opens in Las Vegas, NV. The first Counter Terrorism Fusion Center is officially open in Las Vegas. But it has actually been gathering information since October. The information collected is shared between federal, state, and local authorities to prevent terrorism or other crimes. In addition to representatives from the FBI, Henderson police, North Las Vegas police, Metro, and the Clark County Fire Department, Phoenix police and the Los Angeles police departments have detectives assigned to the Nevada Fusion Center to share information.
Source: NICC, Daily Sector Pulse, 22 Jan 08

Stolen credentials, uniforms is a concern of Super Bowl security officials.  Security for Super Bowl XLII, to be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium on February 3, is being described as “unprecedented,” and will include both covert and overt measures like bomb-sniffing dogs from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms trained to ferret out liquid explosives. But the federal government’s terrorism threat assessment of the upcoming game outlines concerns about stolen official law enforcement credentials, uniforms, weapons, and other equipment that could be used to “infiltrate” the stadium complex to carry out an attack. While the assessment makes clear that the Intelligence Community “has not identified a credible terrorist threat to Super Bowl XLII and its related events,” one of the three “key findings” of the nine-page threat assessment is that “the threats of greatest concern” during events like this “include individuals impersonating law enforcement and other security personnel and insiders to facilitate attacks.” The assessment states that “the list of stolen equipment includes access cards; ammunition; body armor; firearms; Kevlar helmets; marked and unmarked emergency services, fire, and police vehicles; official badges and credentials; radios; raid shirts and jackets; rifles; uniforms; and weapons.” While the assessment notes that “such thefts … are common in large metropolitan areas,” they nevertheless “increase the risk that unauthorized individuals may use insignia, official equipment, and uniforms to gain access to sensitive areas during Super Bowl events.”

Oil prices sink on fears of a recession. Oil futures dropped sharply Tuesday on mounting concerns that the U.S. economy may be heading toward a recession that would dampen demand for crude. While the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut helped crude futures recover some of their earlier losses, many investors doubt the move will stave off a serious slowdown. Light, sweet crude for February delivery fell $1.42 to $89.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange; earlier, it had fallen as low as $86.11. Oil last traded below $86 a barrel on December 6. The Fed cut the federal funds rate — the interest that banks charge each other on overnight loans — by three-quarters of a percentage point to 3.5 percent. It was the biggest single cut of its kind in recent memory. Overnight, the average national price of a gallon of gas held steady at $3.01 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. But prices have fallen 2.3 cents a gallon since Friday.
Source: January 22, Associated Press – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12400801/

Epidemic superbug strains evolved from one bacterium. The drug-resistant “superbugs” that have appeared in day care centers, schools, locker rooms, and prisons across the United States in the last five years stem from one rapidly evolving bacterium, US scientists said Monday in a study that appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists studying the genetic make-up of these bugs, which are resistant to almost all antibiotics, say they are nearly identical clones that have emerged from a single bacterial strain, which they have dubbed USA300. “The USA300 group of strains appears to have extraordinary transmissibility and fitness,” said a researcher with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton, Montana. “We anticipate that new USA300 derivatives will emerge within the next several years and that these strains will have a wide range of disease-causing potential.” What is particularly worrying to health authorities is that the MRSA infections, (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have spread beyond their traditional hospital setting, seeding an epidemic in the wider community.
Source: January 22, Agence France-Presse – http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/ussciencesuperbug 

(Nothing critical to report at this time)

Current weather warnings and watches for Alaska can be found at the following National Weather Service web site:  http://www.arh.noaa.gov/

DOT&PF Road Information:  can be found at http://511.Alaska.gov/ or by calling 511.

The Next Situation Report: will be published as of 11:00 AM, January 25, 2008. A significant change in the situation or the threat level will prompt an interim report. Please direct questions regarding this report to the SECC at 907-428-7100 or secc@ak-prepared.com.

How to reach the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Phone the State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) by dialing (907) 428-7100 or 1-800-478-2337, 24 hours per day.  Information on emergency topics is available on the Division's web site at http://www.ak-prepared.com.  Homeland Security information may be found at http://www.ak-prepared.com/homelandsecurity/

How to reach the Division of Administration – State Cyber Security Program:  If you have questions you may contact Darrell Davis, State Computer Security Officer darrel.davis@Alaska.gov.

For further information:
Being prepared: Ready.gov
Countries:              U.S. State Department Background Notes.
Maps:           United Nations Cartographic Section
                University of Texas Library Map Section.