Watchdog asks questions about NLE 09

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: July 27, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY —  While not getting much publicity in the Oklahoma or national media, next week, between July 27-31, there will be a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) event taking place in the Sooner State and surrounding states called National Level Exercise 2009 or simply NLE 09.

According to an official press release released at, “NLE 09 will focus on intelligence and information sharing among intelligence and law enforcement communities, and between international, federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector participants.”

And where Oklahoma comes in is that this year, NLE 09 is focusing on FEMA Region VI, of which Oklahoma is a part of. The other states in the participating FEMA region include: Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.

Specifically, according to the FEMA information sheet on NLE 09, the exercise involves a scenario that begins “in the aftermath of a national terrorist event outside the United States, and exercise play will center on preventing subsequent efforts by the terrorists to enter the United States and carry out additional attacks. This scenario enables participating senior officials to focus on issues related to preventing terrorist events domestically and protecting U.S. critical infrastructure.”

Curious to learn more about this NLE 09 anti-terrorism exercise, Red Dirt Report contacted Brook Arbeitman, the public information officer for the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security in Oklahoma City.

Arbeitman, interestingly enough, could not answer some more in-depth questions about NLE 09 because she is a role player in the exercise, playing – you guessed it – a public information officer for Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security and as a result “is not privy” to some of the specifics.

“We will be playing along with everybody to whatever extent the exercise” proceeds, Arbeitman said.

A lot of what NLE 09 is about, according to Arbeitman is “information sharing” between law enforcement on the local state and federal levels.

“We want to be able to effectively share information prevent something from happening,” she said.

And what is interesting about NLE 09 is what is not highlighted by FEMA and OKOHS.  As reported in April by Kurt Nimmo at “NLE 09 will also include exercises designed to round up and intern suspected terrorists.”  Nimmo’s report speculates that NLE 09 “represents the next phase of preparations to implement martial law in America under the guise of fighting loosely defined terrorists.”

And this is not simply a national exercise with Americans involved. Representatives from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Mexico are expected to participate as well. What the roles these foreigners will play, particularly the Mexican officials, is not entirely clear.

Asked if this reporter could sit in on the exercise, Arbeitman explained to Red Dirt Report that NLE 09 is not “media friendly” because it is largely involving people looking at computer screens in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

“This is not a typical exercise like the one here in Oklahoma City where they had cops responding and performing their exercises out on the street,” Arbeitman said, referencing the four-hour long anti-terrorism drill Wednesday involving “a fake extremist group called ‘The Redemption of the Fallen’ that was said to have attacked the Oklahoma City metro area.

In light of the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report, leaked earlier this year to and subsequently picked up in the media, there appears to be a shift in what the targets of the federal agencies – DHS, FBI, FEMA – and local law enforcement, in particular, are right-wing extremists, rather than foreign terrorists. And with the terrorism drill in Oklahoma City, followed days later by participation in NLE 09, Red Dirt Report can’t help but wonder if the authorities are preparing for something in the near future, particularly in light of the imploding economy.

Remember, in the MIAC report, out of Missouri, state police were urged to view regular Americans as potential terrorists, particularly those who supported Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, were pro-life activists, supporters of the Second Amendment, and other advocates of liberty and freedom. We’ve already seen reports of citizens being unfairly arrested and questioned for having pro-gun stickers on their vehicles, as evidenced in a recent case in Shreveport, Louisiana. This is happening all over the country and NLE 09, from what we here at Red Dirt Report have researched, is a way to further train authorities to clamp down even more.

Asked to speak to someone else who might have more information about the exercise and what is going on in Oklahoma specifically, Arbeitman said she would pass along my questions to Kim Carter, OKOHS’s Fusion Center coordinator.  Arbeitman acknowledged that Carter was extremely busy this week and may not be able to get back to me right away. As of Thursday afternoon, we have not heard back from Carter.

But back to the website and the NLE 09 press release:

The exercise is currently designed to validate the following capabilities:

  • Intelligence/Information Sharing and Dissemination
  • Counter-Terrorism Investigation and Law Enforcement
  • Air, Border and Maritime Security
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Public and Private Sector Alert/Notification and Security Advisories
  • International Coordination

Red Dirt Report will continue to follow and report on any developments related to NLE 09 and any related federal, state and local activities. And if any readers have any tips worth following up on, please contact us at

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