The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in today’s Federal Register (77 FR 26774-26775) that the Homeland Security Advisory Council would be holding a somewhat public meeting on May 24th, 2012. I say ‘somewhat public’ because, while the Council will be meeting in person, public participation will be via a ‘listen only’ phone link and webcast. And a portion will be closed to the public for security reasons in any case.
There is no explanation given for why the public portions of the meeting (the afternoon session) will not be physically open to public participation. While the phone bridge and webcast open the meeting to many people that can’t get to Washington, D.C. on a regular basis (kudos for this), it doesn’t really feel like a public meeting without the groans, applause and occasional heckling that such meetings usually engender. Of course it does provide much more control over the message of the meeting.
BTW: The physical location of the meeting is not provided in this notice. More control?
The Council agenda for this meeting includes:
• CG update on “Counterterrorism Efforts Around the World”;
• TSA update on threats to airport security;
• Observation and remarks from ‘DHS senior leadership’; and
• Recommendations from the HSAC Faith-based Security and Communications Advisory Committee
It’s not hard to guess which of the above topics will include classified information that would be closed to the public. It would be nice to think that the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration could make an unclassified version of their security updates available to the public; nice but not likely.
Advanced registration is required. That registration can be accomplished by sending an email to HSAC@dhs.gov. Registrants will be provided with phone-bridge or webcast access details as well as a copy of the report from Faith-based Security and Communications Advisory Committee.
Written comments on the topics listed above can be submitted by the public via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # DHS-2012-0021). Such submissions must be made by May 22nd, 2012.