DHS&EM 29 January 2008 Situation Report 08-029Postmark
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From:Tuesday, January 29, 2008 11:35 AM -0900
Subject:DHS&EM 29 January 2008 Situation Report 08-029 

SITUATION REPORT 08-029 (as of 11:00 AM, January 29, 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)

DHS&EM’s new Emergency Operations Center Manager is Claude Denver.  He replaces Tom Smayda who now works for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

StateAlaska 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.

Blizzard Warnings
The National Weather Service in Anchorage has issued blizzard warning for the following:
- Alaska Peninsula including Cold Bay and Sand Point.  A blizzard warning remains in effect until 6 am Wednesday from Cold Bay west.  A north pacific low will approaching the Alaska Peninsula this morning will pass to the south Tuesday evening. East winds of 30 to 40 mph will develop early in the afternoon and shift to the north by evening. The combination of strong winds and snow will result in blizzard conditions Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday night.

- Eastern Aleutians including Unalaska and Nikolski.  A blizzard warning remains in effect until 3 am Wednesday.  A north pacific low south of Unalaska will move east throughout the day. East winds of 30 to 45 mph will shift to the north this afternoon. The combination of these strong winds with snowfall will produce blizzard conditions through Tuesday night.

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 Alaska Earthquake Information Center located an earthquake that occurred on Tuesday, January 29th at 6:38 AM in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska. This earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 2.7 and was located at a depth of about 24 miles (38 km).  This event was felt in Anchorage. No reports of it causing damage have been received at this time.  Distance to nearby locations: 1 km (0 miles) ENE of Anchorage and 50 km (31 miles) NW of Girdwood.

Selawik Tank Farm Fuel Release
The fuel release  was reported to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) on 28 January which is located at Selawik IRA Fuel Project, about 75 miles east of Kotzebue.  The estimated spill volume has been revised to 5,385 gallons of diesel fuel No. 1.  The response activities are currently on weather hold due to blowing snow and wind chill temperatures to -50° F. Flights into Selawik are currently on weather hold.  One ADEC responder is on-site and will review fuel records to attempt to determine a more accurate spill volume.  The automatic shut off for the pump that transfers fuel from the storage tank to the day tank malfunctioned, causing the day tank to overfill.  No fuel has been visually identified outside of the tank farm’s secondary containment. The tank farm is elevated and there is not visual evidence of leakage from the secondary containment.  Additional information are available at: http://www.state.ak.us/dec/spar/perp/index.htm

Homeland Security
Schools Worry Buses a Target. A group of school transportation directors believe that the federal government should be more concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack on the nation's school bus system. In August, President Bush signed a bill that gave the Transportation Security Administration a year to begin a national safety assessment of school buses. The House Homeland Security Committee learned that the TSA had not yet started the assessment, though TSA officials promised that the study would be completed on time. In many foreign countries, public buses have been frequent targets of terrorist attacks. Bus drivers are already being trained to identify suspicious behavior, but transportation directors hope that the TSA study will create a series of safety guidelines.  Source: Centre Daily Times (PA) (01/23/08) P. A1 ; Barrett, Barbara - (go to web site)

New Anti-Terrorist Data Base. A massive new database program that culls information from more than nine federal sources will help law enforcement agents link possible terrorists or other suspected criminals with associates whose records are in the system. The program's goal is to close gaps in information-sharing. Other federal, state and local law enforcement will be able to access the ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection System (ICEPIC). It will collect information from databases that track foreign students, visitors and immigrants, as well as criminals and suspected terrorists.  Source: NICC, Daily Sector Pulse, 25 Jan 08

Teenager arrested in suicide hijacking plot. Authorities have charged a teenage boy who said he planned to hijack a commercial jetliner in an attempt to commit suicide, an FBI spokesman told CNN late Thursday.  The 16-year-old was taken into custody by airport police without incident on Tuesday evening after flying from Los Angeles, California, to Nashville, Tennessee, on Southwest Airlines Flight 284.  "His stated intent was to hijack the airplane and commit suicide," said George Bolds, an FBI spokesman in Memphis, Tennessee.  "He did indicate he intended to die in Louisiana.  It appears he had a ticket to Louisiana."  Bolds said the boy indicated he had lived in Louisiana.   Source: CNN.com, 01/25/2008 - http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/01/25/flight.incident/index.html?eref=rss_topstories 

U.S. says threat against airlines remains high. The United States is likely to keep a high threat designation for the airline industry because militants still see air travel as a target, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.  Chertoff said the orange, or high, threat level assigned to the airline sector - one level higher than the overall alert level for the United States - was based on a general assessment rather than a specific threat.  "We've seen again and again interest in this sector," he said, pointing to an alleged British-based plot to blow up transatlantic flights using liquid explosives in 2006 and an attempted car bomb attack on Glasgow airport last year.  Source: Yahoo news, 01/25/2008, DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/ 20080125/ts_nm/davos_usa_security_dc;_ylt=Amluk._BSK7ZFTdUf7bjBNB34T0D

Cyber Espionage Seen as Growing Threat to Business, Government. The SANS Institute has ranked cyber espionage as this year's third-biggest security threat, behind Web site attacks that take advantage of browser vulnerabilities and botnets such as Storm. "Economic espionage will be increasingly common as nation states use cyber theft of data to gain economic advantage in multinational deals," SANS said. "The attack of choice involves targeted spear phishing with attachments, using well-researched social engineering methods to make the victim believe that an attachment comes from a trusted source." Several organizations have been the target of cyber espionage in the last several months. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) last month acknowledged that about 12 of its staff members received emails urging them to go to phishing sites or open attachments laced with malware. The attack, which some security researchers say was launched in China, was part of a "coordinated attempt to gain access to computer networks at numerous laboratories and other institutions across the country," says ORNL Director Thom Mason. China has denied any involvement in the attack. Despite such attacks, the RSA Conference Advisory Board's Tim Mather says concerns about cyber espionage are overblown. He believes open source intelligence gathering is a growing industry, with several companies available for hire to scour the Internet for desired information.
Source: Network World (01/17/08); Messmer, Ellen - (go to web site)

Pacific Rim
Bird Flu May Be Spread Indirectly, WHO Says. A recent study by the World Health Organization examined the 350 cases of avian influenza reported in 14 countries during the past five years, with 61 percent resulting in death. Published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the study indicates that the cause of one-quarter of the cases is unknown and could be the result of the virus clinging to surfaces or entering a person's nose or mouth via fertilizer containing the feces of infected birds. Most infections were caused by direct contact with infected birds, and person-to-person transmission always involved relatives living in close quarters. However, lead researcher Dr. Frederick Hayden says, "For some patients, the only identified risk factor was visiting a live-poultry market." The report indicates an incubation period of anywhere from two to seven days, with death occurring in as little as nine days. Researchers noted that quick use of Tamiflu and other antiviral drugs has been useful in treating certain strains of the virus.  Source: Reuters (01/17/08); Fox, Maggie - (go to web site)

Foreign Hackers Seek to Steal Americans' Health Records. Russian and Chinese hackers are trying to infiltrate Americans' medical records, says Mark Walker, a Department of Homeland Security analyst in the agency's Critical Infrastructure Protection Division. Walker says the reasons why hackers would want to steal health care records information is still unknown, but he speculates that medical information about American leaders would probably be of interest to foreign enemies. Walker says the Department of Veterans Affairs is the only agency regularly reporting medical records breaches, so the extent to which hackers have attempted securing this information could still be grossly underestimated. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experienced a hacking incident, while Tricare was another hacker target. The DHS is tracking cyberthreats across a number of industries and is seeking to create a database of medical records breaches to combat the problem in the future. Source: Federal Computer Week (01/17/08); Ferris, Nancy - (go to web site)

The Next Situation Report: will be published as of 11:00 AM, January 30 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.