Homeland watch | In brief

Back to first base

The Transportation Security Administration's re-baselining of the Secure Flight airline passenger prescreening system, which is set for completion in September, may get a boost from the uncovering this month of the London airline terror plot.

Secure Flight, in development since 2004, will match passenger names against terrorist watch lists culled from intelligence sources and the Terrorist Screening Center.

The program may pick up speed as some experts call for more sophisticated profiling of airline passengers to identify potential terrorists in the aftermath of the London arrests.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promised greater use of "advanced targeting tools" at airports immediately after the U.K. plot was revealed.

But details are not available on what those tools would be and how they would be applied.

Ready.gov vs. ReallyReady.org

The Federation of American Scientists developed a revised version of the Homeland Security Department's Ready.gov Web Site after finding inaccuracies and confusing statements in the departmental site.

Among the concerns reported by the scientists group is DHS' classification of a flu pandemic as a "biological threat" rather than describing it as a natural outbreak, and apparently contradictory instructions about what to do in the event of a suspected chemical attack.

Next stage for SBI-Net

Contracting teams bidding for the estimated $2 billion Secure Border Initiative-Network surveillance system at U.S. borders are busy preparing to give oral presentations within days.

DHS invited teams led by Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co. to participate in the questioning sessions, according to industry sources.

The sources said the team led by Ericsson Corp. also was invited to participate in the oral presentations; however, several phone calls for comment to Ericsson were not returned.

After the oral presentations, the contract is expected to be awarded within weeks.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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