Sunday, January 8, 2012

DHS Updates Chemical Security Page

On Friday the folks at NPPD’s Office of Infrastructure Protection (OIP) updated their ‘Critical Infrastructure: Chemical Security’ web page. Apparently the only intended change was to take out a link in the left column to the ‘Laws & Regulations’ page. At first glance this seems to make some sense as there is a link on the lower right hand side of the page to the ‘Chemical Security Laws & Regulations’. Unfortunately the two pages are not the same.

Removed Information

The removed link took one to a page that included both the specific CFATS related information (also found on the ‘Chemical Security Laws & Regulations’ page) and whole list of other programs, including:

Both of these programs might be of interest to facilities under the CFATS program. In fact, both should be listed on the ‘Chemical Security Laws & Regulations’ page.

Bad Links

While the page was being updated to remove valuable information, OIP web masters should have taken care of two problematic links; one I’ve addressed before and a new problem.

The old problem deals with the link to the ‘CFATS Tip Line’ in the right hand column of the page. That link takes one to the ‘CFATS Knowledge Center’. It used to take one directly to the CFATS FAQ for the CFATS Tip Line (FAQ # 1620), but when the old FAQ page was changed to the Knowledge Center, permanent links to individual FAQ’s were removed. Now one has to know that #1620 deals with the Tip Line or has to search the Knowledge Center for the Tip Line FAQ; most people are just going to give up.

As I have noted on a number of occasions DHS does have a well hidden web site with information about reporting incidents ( and it includes information about the CFATS Tip line ( This is the link that should be on this page; not an outdated link to the FAQ.

The other bad link is not actually the fault of DHS. The GPO is changing the way a number of documents are accessed through their system. If one clicks on the link on this page to the “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Interim Final Rule” in the Key Documents section of the page they receive the following message:

“You are accessing using an old bookmark. We plan to stop supporting old bookmarks in near future. If this information is important to you, please update your bookmark. You will be redirected to the new location in 15 seconds.”

Unfortunately, the GPO does not provide a link to the document after 15 seconds. You just get one of those neat little pop-up windows that asks if you want to open or save the document; if you ‘open’ it you get the document in a .PDF window without a link. You can get the document today, but who know what will happen on this link when the GPO stops ‘supporting old bookmarks’ in the 'near future'.

What is strange is that the other four documents listed in the ‘Key Documents’ section do not have links to, but rather to pages on the DHS web site. There is no reason the Department couldn’t do the same thing with the CFATS IFR.

BTW: I do pick at the folks handling the chemical security web sites, but they are doing a much better job than just about anyone else in the Department of making valuable information available to the public. Keep up the good work, but keep setting the standards higher. Make it harder for the other folks to catch up.

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