I have had it in mind to write up an article about the TSA as an implementation of the Milgram experiment, but it’s apparently old ground already covered:
(Posted from inside Newark Airport, at which security was pleasantly civilized: no taking-off of shoes, a metal detector instead of a body scan, and of course a bag scan.)
Former acting director of cyber security for the Department of Health and Human Services Timothy DeFoggi was convicted for a myriad of gruesome child pornography charges Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced.
DeFoggi, who had top security clearance in his capacity as cyber security director, first joined the child pornography website PedoBook in March 2012. The Omaha World-Herald reported that he was arrested in April of last year, when law enforcement officials serving a search warrant found him downloading child pornography in his home.
In addition to viewing and soliciting child pornography, reportedly asking another member of the site whether he’d share pictures of his son, he suggested meeting a fellow pedophile in person to violently rape and murder children together.
These are the people in charge of “Security.” As with the NSA, the IRS, and everything else at the federal level, how can you ever trust a word any of them say? And you want your *medical records* entrusted to them? Via Former HHS Cyber Security Director Convicted For Child Porn | The Daily Caller.
Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States. These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air Force is flying near Lincoln, Nevada and in areas of California and Utah. This drone uses “Gorgon Stare” technology, which Wikipedia defines as “a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone . . . capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.” This imagery “can then be analyzed by humans or an artificial intelligence, such as the Mind’s Eye project” being developed by DARPA.
via Vox Popoli: Federal spies in the sky.
The attention paid to terrorism in the U.S. is considerably out of proportion to the relative threat it presents. That’s especially true when it comes to Islamic-extremist terror. Of the 150,000 murders in the U.S. between 9/11 and the end of 2010, Islamic extremism accounted for fewer than three dozen. Since 2000, the chance that a resident of the U.S. would die in a terrorist attack was one in 3.5 million, according to John Mueller and Mark Stewart of Ohio State and the University of Newcastle, respectively. In fact, extremist Islamic terrorism resulted in just 200 to 400 deaths worldwide outside the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq—the same number, Mueller noted in a 2011 report (PDF), as die in bathtubs in the U.S. alone each year.
…According to one estimate of direct and indirect costs borne by the U.S. as a result of 9/11, the New York Times suggested the attacks themselves caused $55 billion in “toll and physical damage,” while the economic impact was $123 billion. But costs related to increased homeland security and counterterrorism spending, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, totaled $3,105 billion.
Something that I would love to see the Transportation Security Administration, the FBI, the CIA, and whoever else do is pull together an estimate of how many airplanes they think would have been blown up by terrorists if there was no passenger or baggage screening whatsoever. One way of thinking about it is this. If commercial airplanes were no more secure than your average city bus, planes would be blown up as frequently as city buses—which is to say never. I’ve heard some people postulate that terrorists have a special affection for blowing up planes, but I’m not sure that’s right. In the not-too-distant past, Israel had a substantial terrorists-blowing-up-buses problem and had to take countervailing security measures. But unlike Israel, we’re not doing anything to secure our buses. It’s at least possible that nobody blows up American buses because nobody is trying to blow anything up.
via The High Price of False Security.
The TSA has no business looking for drugs, outstanding arrest warrants, or immigration problems unless it has serious reason to believe that the person involved poses a serious threat to air safety. If it is going to serve as an extension of every other sort of law enforcement, then its searches should be subject to the same requirements for probable cause, which would allow almost everyone to travel without submitting to TSA examination.
This mission creep recalls InstaPundit’s prescient post at 1:49 p.m. on September 11, 2001:
It’s Not Just Terrorists Who Take Advantage: Someone will propose new "Antiterrorism" legislation. It will be full of things off of bureaucrats’ wish lists. They will be things that wouldn’t have prevented these attacks even if they had been in place yesterday. Many of them will be civil-liberties disasters. Some of them will actually promote the kind of ill-feeling that breeds terrorism. That’s what happened in 1996. Let’s not let it happen again.
And that’s exactly what happened.
via Mission Creep Leads TSA to Racially Profile in Pursuit of Non-Terrorists to Arrest :: Dynamist.
A stranded jet-skier seeking help effortlessly overcame the Port Authority’s $100 million, supposedly state-of-the-art security system at JFK Airport — walking undetected across two runways and into a terminal, The Post has learned.Motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras of the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, or PIDS, were no match for Daniel Casillo, 31, of Howard Beach, who easily breached the system meant to safeguard against terrorists.
Major fail by the TSA and related “security” apparatus. Via EXCLUSIVE: Stranded jet-skier effortlessly overcame $100M security system at JFK, walking across two runways and into a terminal undetected – NYPOST.com.
With a single exception, every multiple-victim public shooting in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed since at least 1950 has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry their own firearms.
If one of the hundreds of people at the theater had a concealed handgun, possibly the attack would have ended like the shooting at the mega New Life Church in Colorado Springs in December 2007.
In that assault, the church’s minister had given Jeanne Assam permission to carry her concealed handgun. The gunman killed two people in the parking lot — but when he entered the church, Assam fired 10 shots, severely wounding him. At that point, the gunman committed suicide.
The ban against nonpolice carrying guns usually rests on the false notion that almost anyone can suddenly go crazy and start misusing their weapon or that any crossfire with a killer would be worse than the crime itself. But in state after state, permit holders are extremely law-abiding. They can lose their permits for any type of firearms-related violation.
Nor have I found a single example on record of a multiple-victim public shooting in which a permit holder accidentally shot a bystander.
In the wake of this crime, gun control advocates have wasted no time offering up more gun control regulations as the way to prevent future tragedies. But aggressive gun control hasn’t prevented multiple-victim public shootings in Europe.
The guns used for the attacks in Germany and Norway were obtained illegally. When individuals plan these attacks months or even years in advance, it is virtually impossible to stop them from getting whatever weapons they need.
To reduce future carnage, the key is to get someone with a gun quickly at the scene. Quick responses not only limit the number of casualties, but reduce the attention these killers garner from committing their crimes. We can’t get rid of gun-free zones soon enough.
via Concealed weapons save lives – NY Daily News.
Phil Zimmermann and some of the original PGP team have joined up with former US Navy SEALs to build an encrypted communications platform that should be proof against any surveillance.
The company, called Silent Circle, will launch later this year, when $20 a month will buy you encrypted email, text messages, phone calls, and videoconferencing in a package that looks to be strong enough to have the NSA seriously worried. Zimmermann says that surveillance by the state and others has increased vastly over the last few years, and privacy improvement are again needed.
"At the very least I want people, as part of their right in a free society to be able to communicate securely," he said in a promotional video (below). "I should be able to whisper in your ear, even if your ear is a thousand miles away."
via PGP founder, Navy SEALs uncloak encrypted comms biz • The Register.
Four current and former Transportation Security Administration screeners have been arrested and face charges of taking bribes and looking the other way while suitcases filled with cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana passed through X-ray machines at Los Angeles International Airport, federal authorities announced Wednesday.
The TSA screeners, who were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, allegedly received up to $2,400 in cash bribes in exchange for allowing large drug shipments to pass through checkpoints in what the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles called a “significant breakdown” of security.
In addition to the two current and two former screeners, prosecutors also indicted two alleged drug couriers and a third who allegedly tried to smuggle 11 pounds of cocaine but was nabbed when he went through the wrong security checkpoint.
One wonders, what else could a TSA screener be bribed to let through? Via TSA screeners allegedly let drug-filled luggage through LAX for cash – latimes.com.
Sometime last year computers at the U.S. Social Security Administration were hacked and the identities of millions of Americans were compromised. What, you didn’t hear about that? Nobody did.
The extent of damage is only just now coming to light in the form of millions of false 2011 income tax returns filed in the names of people currently receiving Social Security benefits. That includes a very large number of elderly and disabled people who are ill-equipped to recognize or fight the problem.
But don’t worry, ObamaCare won’t be like that. Via I, Cringely » Blog Archive The $30 billion Social Security hack – I, Cringely – Cringely on technology.