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Schumer pressing Homeland Security on Terror Group threatening NY Nanotech industry

By WKTV News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Wednesday, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer pressed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to crack down on a Mexican terror group that threatens New York's growing nanotechnology industry.

According to a Times Union report, the group has sent package bombs to nanotechnology research facilities in South America and Europe which injured both students and professors when opened. The recent investment in nanotechnology by several major companies, totaling over $4 billion dollars, is a giant step forward in making New York an international leader in nanotechnology but could also raise the profile of research centers, making them a possible terror target. Schumer today asked Homeland Security Secretary to do everything she can to protect New York's research centers including the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, RPI, the STC in Canandaigua, and SUNY IT.

"New York is well on its way to being the worldwide leader in nanotechnology research," said Schumer. "We need to do absolutely everything we can to protect this vital industry from attack. While the good news is that these terrorists have yet to target the U.S., we shouldn't wait until they have done so to act. I'm strongly urging the Department of Homeland Security to do everything in its power to break up the group, prevent an attack, and help our nanoscale research facilities protect themselves."

Schumer told Napolitano that it was his impression that the Department of Homeland Security was not yet involved in the effort to go after the Mexican terror group. He asked the Secretary to begin partnering with the FBI to crack down on the group, and to begin working with New York's leading nanotechnology research centers to protect them from the threat. Napolitano promised to look into the issue and be helpful to New York's research institutions as they take steps to ensure their security.

Schumer's push to have DHS investigate the Mexican terror ring known as "Individuals Tending to Savagery" comes after the state of New York and five companies invested over $4 billion to bring research and production of the 450 mm wafer chip, the next generation of nanotechnology, to New York. The state, Intel, GlobalFoundries, IBM, Samsung and TSMC have pooled together to create hundreds of jobs in nanoscale research and production across the state. The terrorists have struck via package bombs at several research centers abroad, and the recent investment in New York could make the U.S. an attractive target.

The recent investment is expected to boost New York's prominent nanoscale research facilities across the state. The CNSE, STC Center in Canandaigua, RPI facilities and SUNY IT are expected to grow over the next several years as nanoscale research in New York expands. Growing facilities and employment numbers have the potential to make cites throughout Upstate New York attractive targets for terror. The terror group has already struck in countries including France, Spain, and Chile. Two professors were injured in August of this year, according to media reports, when a bomb exploded at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education near Mexico City. Schumer is pushing the Department of Homeland security to protect New York's growing nanotechnology research industry, which has spread across the state over the last several years.

The College of Nanoscale Science at the University of Albany focuses on nanotechnology education, research and development, and technology deployment. It works with a variety of governmental and private enterprises to develop new technologies, and help these technologies enter the marketplace. The College was the first ever institution to issue a Ph.D. in nanoscience, and has a faculty of 48 instructing 184 students. The center hosts 2,500 employees on site and partners with 250 partner organizations across the globe.

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering's Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center in Canandaigua is an incubator for high-tech business in Ontario county, formed by a consortium of industry and government to promote economic growth through world-class high tech innovation. The technology is essential to satisfy the growing technical demands in security, defense, medical, transportation, industrial, consumer electronics, telecom and more. Schumer is pushing the Department of Defense to bring more nanotechnology work to the STC.

RPI conducts a great deal of early stage nanotechnology research and development. The school has a NSF center of nanoscale science and engineering on campus in Troy. RPI also has the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations which includes an IBM supercomputer located in the Rensselaer Technology Campus in North Greenbush.

SUNY IT is currently constructing a $127.5M state-of-the-art facility that will house a Computer Chip Commercialization Center focused on nanotechnology research and development. The three-story, 180,000 square foot Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad-C),will enable leading-edge research in partnership with private nanotechnology companies to drive advanced technology development and business opportunities related to system-on-a-chip (SOC) technologies.

RIT has been involved in nanotechnology research and development for nearly 20 years, pioneering several lithographic processes used by the semiconductor industry today. The school led development of the immersion nanolithography used worldwide for the manufacture of state-of-the-art microchips and has partnered with both Sematech and the Research Foundation of SUNY at UAlbany to grow the semiconductor industry in New York.

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