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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #900 on: November 30, 2010, 10:13:59 AM »

Testing the TSA with Titanium Man
Mike Shaughnessy at 10:00 PM Monday, Nov 29, 2010

Guestblogger Dr. Michael Shaughnessy is a German professor who specializes in computer assisted language learning and visual representations of culture at Washington & Jefferson College. He is the director of the CAPL project to provide free CC licensed media to language and culture instructors worldwide.

I have been covertly testing airport security since early 2002. I file no reports and the only notes I take are mental. I am the person that knows when the airport has security holes and still boards the plane. I am titanium man.

OK, enough of the dramatic science fiction; the truth is stranger. I have a few replacement parts installed in my body. Both my right and left humerus are constructed of titanium pins and plates with a number of screws in each arm and my right tibia has a full titanium core with a number of screws to fix it to my ankle and up by my knee. The details of how they all got there would be book length. The short version is that in early 2002 I had to get around in a wheel chair for a while, learn to walk, write, dress myself, eat, cook, all over again. It was an odd rebirth with metal ersatz bones to keep me all together. Unable to use my arms for much at the time due to their reconstruction, I managed to get around by dragging my left foot against the ground to propel the wheelchair. It was much like skateboarding when you get enough momentum to get from place to place.

Oddly enough, one of the first things I did after 4 months in a skilled nursing facility was fly to Canada. At the airport I first noticed how little security there was for me, despite the increased vigilance resulting from 9-11. I was 'wanded' in my wheelchair and of course beeped when wanded on my arms and right leg. After a brief visual inspection, I was simply pushed on by security. At the time, there was no security check of my wheelchair and I could have brought anything stashed in my chair or thick seat cushion. I felt sick being simply pushed by security as I watched a grandmother get special scrutiny. Flying wheelchair bound opened my eyes to the oddities of airport security.

I (re)learned to walk a bit later and was a happy boy when the insurance company knocked on my door to repossess my Quickie brand chair, an awesome piece of equipment I must admit. Then I flew, again and again, and noticed at many airports the same trend: massive inconsistency and the reliance on devices to make us feel safe.

Simply put: I carry enough titanium in with me to set off most metal detectors, unless their settings are on low. Therein lies the truth that I see every time I fly: The security system in the aviation world was, is, and will always be a sham to a certain extent. There are way too many holes to call it secure.

Why are metal detectors manufactured with settings of low, mid, and high? Shouldn't there just be one setting? I flew last week and the metal detectors at both Pittsburgh and Boston were set to low. When they are, I most often walk on through with no problem. This summer in Albany, I set the detector off and got a very thorough secondary screening. I don't mind being wanded and having my limbs touched for security purposes. I admit, almost all of the time it is done in a professional and dignified way by the TSA agents.

At many airports on most days there is a low security concern and the rules are lax. I skip through unnoticed and board my plane. When there is a real terror concern, however, I start to beep. If the airport has a specific threat like when I was in Munich last year, I beep and get some sort of secondary screening. In Munich I had a nice chat (and a thorough wanding) with a gentleman who was clearly not a standard security checkpoint screener. He asked behavioral type questions and I think he was concerned that I could conduct the interview in German. (Apparently, being an American who speaks a language with a degree of competency is a red flag.)

These days are good. I go through security, set off an alarm, am treated with caution and respect and get to go home with a real sense that someone is paying attention. I worry most when I get through secondary screenings without a second glance. 7 times (2 alone at the Dayton airport) the batteries of the hand wands were low or empty and therefore didn't go off during my secondary screening. Once I think the device was not even turned on as the green light wasn't lit. The TSA agent simply waved it over me as a rote motion, and then told me to be on my way. I stood there the first time in disbelief as I know how much metal I have on me and I know how those wands go off when they get near me.

Of course, I also know what happens if I say something and alert the security to their "problem". The airport gets shut down, the gates are cleared and we all go through it again because some TSA agent forgot to charge the batteries or turn the thing on. So I just go to my gate and get on the plane. Perhaps it is irresponsible, but I have seen all of the airport security holes and know that terrorists are not stopped at the security checkpoint by the system we have created. That is my reality and my perception. It may be somewhat flawed, but I am not alone in this viewpoint.

And now we have backscatter technology to fix the holes. It is humorous to me that this is the device that causes the most outrage us because it exposes us physically. I don't personally mind if some TSA agent in a back room sees the size of my schnitzel. My issue with the scanners is that it is more of the same bullshit heaped upon the existing pile of bullshit we already take for a security system. Shoes, liquids, printer toner, nail clippers, whathaveyou. All are smoke screens to have us not ask the harder questions about issues of what actually makes us secure. It is that general feeling that we are not doing security in the right way and that in itself makes us feel insecure.

This insecurity logically leads to questions about the process. Now, something has changed for the worse. You are punished for refusing a specific device. The 'thorough pat-down' recently introduced is the TSA's method of quelling dissent by subjecting flyers to an invasive and undignified physical search. It is the spanking for simply questioning the veracity of the process. We ask, "Will the photos be stored?" The answer, "not possible, of course not." The geeks know differently. They probably programmed the machine and so we cry foul. Why are the geeks the ones who cry the hardest? Because we are inherently people of science and ultimately we know the limits of technology. We are the ones who understand that these new devices are no solution to our problems, but are most likely simple the new panacea, brought to us by a new lobbyist until the next great machine comes along. We know this because we have bought smaller versions of these devices all these years thinking that this device was 'it'. Was I the only person with a Sony Clié?

So pat me down, wand me, find my metal, but do it in a dignified way. Don't expect me to believe that this new device will find everything or that a groping will find things either. And please replace or charge the batteries in the hand wands. If you are so worried about touching us intimately and seeing us naked, you might miss the obvious.
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G M
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« Reply #901 on: November 30, 2010, 06:29:18 PM »

Quote
Where did I see that? Article I. Section II of the constitution. Perhaps less time wrapping yourself in it and more time reading it would be helpful? The point of it being a way to keep slave states from being over-represented in the House, not as a comment on the humanity of slaves or indians.

It was also cited in Dred Scott, both in the court actions leading up to and in the Supreme Court decision.

But I'll make you a deal, you quit shredding the constitution for reasons of expediency and I'll quit trying to stitch it back together and causing you distress by "wrapping" myself with the results.

Please show me where the Scott v. Sanford case uses the phrase "3/5 of a human being" or anything similar.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933t.html
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G M
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« Reply #902 on: November 30, 2010, 07:01:33 PM »

Being a Libertarian means never having to say you're sorry. As in, being a fringe party almost never entrusted by the public with any position of authority means you are free to create your imaginary utopias then throw rocks at those that actually shoulder real burdens with real consequences.

So, what, if any aviation security would you have? How does it work?
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G M
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« Reply #903 on: November 30, 2010, 08:58:04 PM »

Quote
After 9/11, a decision was made that the FBI wouldn't just wait for the next mass casualty attack so they could sweep up the body parts and process the crime scene. Rather than being a mostly neglected duty, it was to be one of the Bureau's primary jobs and done as to roll up attacks before there were more smoking craters in our cities. So they look for those predisposed to doing such things and then give them enough legal rope while controlling the situation so that no actual smoking craters happen. Should the FBI just have sat back until our Somali friend hooked up with real bomb makers or figured out how to make a functional device on his own? I guess there would be a lot less liberal voters in Portland after that. Probably more money for law enforcement in the aftermath of a mass fatality even in the pacific northwest. So in preventing such a thing, it's again their own interest and allows critics such as yourself to continue denying that there is a real threat that has to be addressed.

Wow, how's that for overwrought? Nothing like citing smoking craters and body parts spread thin to breath life into the tale of a dumba$$ who likely couldn't assemble an explosive device in the first place.

**I was in a training class where we watched the testimony from a OCPD officer that was one of the first responders to the Oklahoma City bombing. He recounted how he had assisted in extracting this child from the rubble.

http://oklahomacitybombing.com/oklahoma-city-bombing-pictures-1.html

He stated the he then found another tiny foot protruding from the wreckage. He and others carefully dug to extract the child, only to find that it was just a toddler's leg, severed at the hip.


« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 09:05:30 PM by G M » Logged
G M
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« Reply #904 on: November 30, 2010, 09:08:09 PM »

It does not take a terrorist mastermind to create a VBIED capable of turning masses of innocents into a scene from an inner ring of hell.
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G M
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« Reply #905 on: November 30, 2010, 09:21:10 PM »

**At least she didn't have to face screening from the TSA, right BBG?**

http://articles.cnn.com/2006-04-10/justice/moussaoui.victims_1_world-trade-center-tower-dna-samples?_s=PM:LAW

Jurors at Zacarias Moussaoui's death penalty trial heard wrenching accounts Monday about the 9/11 attacks' youngest victim and the World Trade Center firm that suffered the largest human toll.

One after the other, a diverse parade of government witnesses cried or fought back tears as they testified.

Seven of the 15 government witnesses lost two or more relatives in the trade center attacks. The jury also heard a pair of phone calls from victims trapped inside the towers.

Lee Hanson, 73, described how he watched on television as his son, Peter, 32, daughter-in-law, Sue Kim, 35, and granddaughter, Christine, perished aboard United Airlines Flight 175 as it slammed into the trade center's south tower.

Christine, 2 1/2 years old, was the youngest of the 2,973 victims.

"She was the sweetest little girl," her grandfather recalled. "She was love personified."

Peter had planned to combine a business trip with a family visit to Disneyland and his in-laws, who are Korean immigrants.

He called his father as the hijackings unfolded, describing in a soft voice how a flight attendant had been stabbed, Hanson testified.

When he called a second time, Peter said the hijackers' flying was so bumpy that passengers were vomiting.

"I think they're going to try to crash this plane into a building," the son told his father. " 'Don't worry, Dad. If it happens, it will be quick,' " Hanson quoted his son as saying.

Moments later, as his son whispered, "Oh, my God," into the phone three times, Lee Hanson watched on television as the plane struck the tower and burst into a fireball.

"They took away our dreams. They took away our future," Hanson testified.

He described how he later went to his son's house to collect toothbrushes and picked hair off brushes so medical examiners could obtain DNA samples to identify remains.
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G M
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« Reply #906 on: November 30, 2010, 09:30:15 PM »

http://www.petehansonandfamily.com/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #907 on: December 01, 2010, 09:50:51 AM »

Quote
Please show me where the Scott v. Sanford case uses the phrase "3/5 of a human being" or anything similar.

The article and section was cited in various arguments I read back when I studied the case for a civil liberties class. Think I still have the texts laying about and will try to dig up specific references.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #908 on: December 01, 2010, 10:10:38 AM »

Quote
Being a Libertarian means never having to say you're sorry. As in, being a fringe party almost never entrusted by the public with any position of authority means you are free to create your imaginary utopias then throw rocks at those that actually shoulder real burdens with real consequences.

So, what, if any aviation security would you have? How does it work?

And being an Authoritarian means you can present stark scenarios and then give people grief for not wholly embracing all tyrannies you prescribe as a result.

Is there any part of the founding documents of this country you won't toss down the oubliette for security's sake? Are you able to note that the kind of disruptions and heavy handed tactics being embraced are exactly the results our enemies hope for? Do you think playing into our enemy's hands counts as a victory? Do the 7,000,000 flights and 9,000,000,000 passengers screened by the TSA without finding a single bomb (they do claim 150 "items of interest," but won't tell anyone what they are) count as a measure of success? Should we grope everyone's groin every time there is a none in 9 billion chance that something bad might happen? Should I start posting pictures of car accidents and relating sad stories of people who drove and died rather than undergo the indignities of air travel? In view of the OK bombing maybe everyone who rents a U-Haul should also be groin gripped? And those who purchase fertilizer? Diesel fuel?

I could go on, but at some point doesn't rational risk assessment informed by our national values have to enter into the conversation or do all of us who hold the concept of liberty dear just have to stand there and be flailed by severed baby limbs wielded by authoritarian hands?
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G M
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« Reply #909 on: December 01, 2010, 11:39:19 AM »

And being an Authoritarian means you can present stark scenarios and then give people grief for not wholly embracing all tyrannies you prescribe as a result.

**I give you grief for never having concrete, tangible policies as alternatives to the current structures in place you criticize.**

Is there any part of the founding documents of this country you won't toss down the oubliette for security's sake?

**Were it only so simple as be a binary "free/unfree" decision.
"The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."-Associate Justice Robert Jackson

Are you able to note that the kind of disruptions and heavy handed tactics being embraced are exactly the results our enemies hope for?

**I can suggest some books for you to read that will explain to you what our enemies hope for. I can tell you that TSA screening isn't giving any of them cause to run a victory lap.**

Do you think playing into our enemy's hands counts as a victory? Do the 7,000,000 flights and 9,000,000,000 passengers screened by the TSA without finding a single bomb (they do claim 150 "items of interest," but won't tell anyone what they are) count as a measure of success?

**The measure of success is the fact the 7,000,000 flights and 9,000,000,000 passengers screened by the TSA didn't die enroute to their destination from terrorist actions. That is indeed a record of success. Thanks for pointing it out.**

Should we grope everyone's groin every time there is a none in 9 billion chance that something bad might happen?

**Lacking better options (I'm still waiting for your Libertarian-friendly aviation security policies) we have use what we have available to address real threats.**

Should I start posting pictures of car accidents and relating sad stories of people who drove and died rather than undergo the indignities of air travel?

**Should you rail on how traffic laws and law enforcement oppresses drivers by imposing speed limits and insisting you drive on the correct side of the road while sober? Oh where will the statist oppression end?**

In view of the OK bombing maybe everyone who rents a U-Haul should also be groin gripped? And those who purchase fertilizer? Diesel fuel?

**Post-OK City, and especially after 9/11, new laws and new programs were introduced to make it harder for those with criminal intent to purchase the precursor chemicals to make explosives. It's not impossible, but it's more difficult, and someone trying to make a large amount of ANFO will be much more likely to end up coming to the attention of law enforcement. Is that a bad thing?**

I could go on, but at some point doesn't rational risk assessment informed by our national values have to enter into the conversation or do all of us who hold the concept of liberty dear just have to stand there and be flailed by severed baby limbs wielded by authoritarian hands?

**Like anything, it's a matter of finding a rational balance between national security/public safety concerns with individual freedoms. Something long recognized by the courts. We could never prevent every terrorist attack, no matter what was done. However, we can harden our targets, proactively seek out and make cases on those with the intent to engage in terrorism and wage war on those that wish to command, motivate and train those who would carry out future attacks on us, all while preserving core constitutional freedoms.**
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G M
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« Reply #910 on: December 01, 2010, 12:31:22 PM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/sheriff-decides-to-burn-down-house-filled-with-too-many-explosives/

The audience gasped as the sheriff and other county officials showed slides of the rental home of George Djura Jakubec, which was full of hand grenades and powdered explosives in jars and in clumps on the floor.

Last week, explosives experts pulled out of the house in unincorporated Escondido, about 20 miles north of San Diego, saying it was too dangerous to continue investigating and removing the substances.

Gore said the house will be destroyed on Dec. 8 or after, depending on the weather.

“As soon as we get a clear weather pattern, we’re going to go,” he said.

But first, protective barriers will have to be built around the house, Gore said, and before the operation much of the surrounding neighborhood will be evacuated and Interstate 15 will be shut down.

The county declared a public emergency Tuesday to make the destruction possible.

Jakubec, a 54-year-old unemployed software consultant, pleaded not guilty last week to illegally making and possessing explosives and to robbing banks. Investigators suspect him of committing two holdups in San Diego County over the summer. He remained jailed on $5.1 million bail.

Authorities say it is unclear what Jakubec may have planned to do with the materials.

The explosives were discovered after a gardener was injured earlier this month in a blast that occurred when he stepped on explosive powder in the backyard, authorities said. Mario Garcia, 49, suffered eye, chest and arm injuries and was recovering.

The same types of chemicals have been used by suicide bombers and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. They included Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, which was used in the 2001 airliner shoe-bombing attempt as well as in last month’s airplane cargo bombs, authorities said.

The other chemicals were highly unstable Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD, and Erythritol tetranitrate, or ETN, authorities said.
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G M
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« Reply #911 on: December 01, 2010, 01:45:12 PM »

http://moelane.com/2010/11/21/rsrh-interesting-thought-re-tsa/

Glenn Reynolds, on the news that the TSA is probably contributing to more accidents on the road:

    “Of course, a few thousand extra highway deaths don’t produce the national trauma of a 9/11, and that’s a reasonable thing to factor in somehow.”

It’s the qualitative difference between ‘tragedy’ and ‘atrocity,’ Glenn.  There is no organized conspiracy to kill American citizens via car crashes, so each death is an separate tragedy, and even in the rare cases where actual malice is involved in the crash it’s an individual malice.  But 9/11 was the result of an organized conspiracy; and a failed one, at that.  They were trying to kill 50,000 people, after all.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #912 on: December 02, 2010, 03:38:24 PM »

I stand corrected. Scott didn't declare blacks to be 3/5s of a human, stating instead that they were an inferior race incapable of exercising citizenship and, as such, white slave owners couldn't be deprived of their chattel or the labor thereof without substantive due process. Rather than under the guise of security, freedom was denied on the grounds of property rights. Having spent most the day reading this depressing opinion I certainly wouldn't advise doing so, but anyone seeking to feel glum over the convolutions some will go through to deprive others of freedom can do so here:

http://digital.wustl.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=dre;cc=dre;view=text;idno=dre1857.0105.108;rgn=div1;node=dre1857.0105.108%3A1
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G M
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« Reply #913 on: December 02, 2010, 03:48:15 PM »

So rather than nazis, the intelligent and nuanced opinion is that the TSA is morally equivalent to slavery?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #914 on: December 02, 2010, 04:35:33 PM »

Quote
**I give you grief for never having concrete, tangible policies as alternatives to the current structures in place you criticize.**

There are plenty of folks who have the security creds to criticize the current security theater of which we partake and suggestions for improvement. You have the google-fu to find them, leaving me of the opinion your goal is not so much to expand understanding on the subject, but to get me to ground where I have no particular expertise. As that may be, I have and will certainly post the informed security suggestions I encounter.

Quote
**Were it only so simple as be a binary "free/unfree" decision. "The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."-Associate Justice Robert Jackson

For someone who traffics so frequently in stark questions that shoulder aside shades of gray I guess this admission can be seen as progress. Still, your willingness to shuck aside just about every freedom and constitutional principle is pursuit of security remains chilling nonetheless.

Quote
**I can suggest some books for you to read that will explain to you what our enemies hope for. I can tell you that TSA screening isn't giving any of them cause to run a victory lap.**

If you can cite a source, please do. I've been studying low intensity conflict for quite some time and have read plenty of source material from Che to Mao to Giap to Hoffman and so on that state one of the goals in this type of warfare is to alienate the citizens of a combatant country from its government. The Islamofascist appear to me to follow a former combloc schema with a theological overlay. Are you suggesting they don't seek to create these sorts of schisms over here? Do you think they don't snicker into their fists over the resources spent creating the current security theater? Do you have any doubt at all that they've already gamed out an attack that would render these measures irrelevant?

Quote
**The measure of success is the fact the 7,000,000 flights and 9,000,000,000 passengers screened by the TSA didn't die enroute to their destination from terrorist actions. That is indeed a record of success. Thanks for pointing it out.**

You are very welcome. And now, having established there is a none in 9 billion chance of TSA catching a bomber should we apply that standard to the local stop and rob? Since there is likely greater than a 0 in 9 billion chance something bad will happen there should we unleash the fired congressmen to lobby for their former corporate sponsors to provide high end, federally mandated security measures for all 7/Elevens? My math skills aren't my strong suit but if I remember correctly one nine billionth of zero is still zero so shouldn't we apply strong security measures anywhere there is greater than a zero chance of something bad happening lest someone like you come along and start flailing us with dead baby limbs? I mean we gotta be consistent, right?

Quote
**Lacking better options (I'm still waiting for your Libertarian-friendly aviation security policies) we have use what we have available to address real threats.**

Uh huh, and back in my high school days it was thought that the best post-coitus anti-pregnancy option was to shake up a coke and squirt it up certain nether regions. Best available option available to high schoolers back then so we should embrace it, right? Or at some point does effectiveness and rational risk assessment come into play?

Quote
**Should you rail on how traffic laws and law enforcement oppresses drivers by imposing speed limits and insisting you drive on the correct side of the road while sober? Oh where will the statist oppression end?**

If you can't tell the difference between grabbing septuagenarian scrotums, fondling granny breasts and driving on the right side of the street I'm not sure any amount of keyboarding I'll do can express the sarcasm your sarcasm deserves.

Quote
**Post-OK City, and especially after 9/11, new laws and new programs were introduced to make it harder for those with criminal intent to purchase the precursor chemicals to make explosives. It's not impossible, but it's more difficult, and someone trying to make a large amount of ANFO will be much more likely to end up coming to the attention of law enforcement. Is that a bad thing?**

Not calling it a bad thing, but am suggesting that rational risk assessment requires a commensurate degree of restraint where air travel is concerned. Lotta precursors I can snag without having any undue invasions of my privacy. Why is that the case for diesel fuel but not air travel?

Quote
**Like anything, it's a matter of finding a rational balance between national security/public safety concerns with individual freedoms. Something long recognized by the courts. We could never prevent every terrorist attack, no matter what was done. However, we can harden our targets, proactively seek out and make cases on those with the intent to engage in terrorism and wage war on those that wish to command, motivate and train those who would carry out future attacks on us, all while preserving core constitutional freedoms.**

I can agree with a lot of that while still feeling that our current measure will do little to prevent a future attack other than line the pockets of various companies selling solutions meant to thwart the attack that last occurred. Does that really count as security?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #915 on: December 02, 2010, 04:39:07 PM »

Quote
So rather than nazis, the intelligent and nuanced opinion is that the TSA is morally equivalent to slavery?

No I'd say they are equivalent to folks who say slaughter chickens in the hope of some sort of supernatural intervention that will keep bad things from happening. In the current instance freedom is sacrificed under the assumption our opponents are too stupid to game around current security arrangements.
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G M
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« Reply #916 on: December 02, 2010, 04:42:50 PM »

"There are plenty of folks who have the security creds to criticize the current security theater of which we partake and suggestions for improvement. You have the google-fu to find them, leaving me of the opinion your goal is not so much to expand understanding on the subject, but to get me to ground where I have no particular expertise. As that may be, I have and will certainly post the informed security suggestions I encounter."

Is it possible I have some relevant training and experience beyond just google-fu that informs my opinion?
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G M
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« Reply #917 on: December 02, 2010, 04:47:04 PM »

"For someone who traffics so frequently in stark questions that shoulder aside shades of gray I guess this admission can be seen as progress. Still, your willingness to shuck aside just about every freedom and constitutional principle is pursuit of security remains chilling nonetheless."

Oh really? Where have I expressed my willingness to shuck aside just about every freedom and constitutional principle?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #918 on: December 03, 2010, 11:14:18 AM »

Bomb Plot Foiled in Oregon
Patriot Post
Last Friday, federal agents foiled yet another terrorist plot -- the attempted bombing of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia, told FBI agents that his goal was to kill Americans as they celebrated the holidays. He believed he would be successful, he said, because no one would expect an attack in Oregon.

Mohamud first appeared on the anti-terror radar after exchanging emails with an "unindicted associate" in northwest Pakistan, a known terrorist breeding ground. After expressing his desire to engage in "violent jihad," Mohamud was approached by FBI agents posing as terrorists. Over the next several months, Mohamud plotted with them, even mailing them materials from which they were to assemble the bomb. Recorded conversations show that Mohamud was given more than one chance to back out, but he refused, saying that he had been planning this since he was 15 and that "it's gonna be fireworks ... a spectacular show."

On the day of the ceremony, Mohamud parked a van loaded with what he believed to be explosives at the site and then went to a nearby train station, where he twice attempted to detonate the device with a mobile phone. As agents surrounded him, Mohamud kicked them, screaming "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is great). He's been charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Despite the incredible work of our law enforcement agencies, we are often merely putting out fires instead of dealing with the larger issue. On the same day as the thwarted attack, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis released evidence that three major Islamic organizations are -- surprise! -- fronts for the terrorist group Hamas. Solis' 20-page ruling in the 2008 Holy Land Terror trial, which had been sealed until last week, reveals that the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have direct financial ties to suicide bombers working for Hamas. The ISNA, NAIT and CAIR maintain offices around the U.S., lobby Congress on Muslim-related issues, and are considered charitable organizations (and therefore tax exempt) by the IRS.

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G M
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« Reply #919 on: December 03, 2010, 11:30:09 AM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8177475/US-facing-attacks-by-home-grown-terrorists-senior-adviser-warns.html

US facing attacks by home-grown terrorists, senior adviser warns
The sheer volume of terror plots against the US means that the country will become unable to prevent a fatal terror attack by a new breed of extremists radicalised in America's towns and cities, the top counter-terrorism official has warned.
 
In unusually candid remarks, Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Centre, said that the nation's defences would be probably be breached by a home-grown radical, after a year-long period containing several failed or thwarted attacks that had seen the most intense terror activity since September 11, 2001.

"Although we aim for perfection, perfection will not be achieved. Just like any other endeavour, we will not stop all the attacks," he said.

"If there is an attack, it may well be tragic. Innocent lives will be lost. But we still have to be honest, and we have to be honest that some things will get through."

He said: "To say that we will not successfully defend against all attacks is certainly not to say that we are not trying to stop all attacks. We are."

The FBI last week arrested Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali-born American, for plotting to detonate a bomb as thousands of people attended the lighting of the Christmas tree in the centre of Portland, Oregon.

Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Mr Leiter, who advises the US government on the terrorist threat, said: "In this era of a more complicated threat, a more diverse threat and lower-scale attacks to include individuals who have been radicalised here in the homeland, stopping all the attacks has become that much harder."

The threat has risen in part because of the increased involvement of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric.

Known as AQAP, it has pursued smaller attacks perpetrated by lone operators which have complicated the challenges facing the US security services still battling the threat of another attack on the scale of September 11.

AQAP and Al-Awlaki, now living in Yemen, have been linked to Maj Nidal Hasan, an army psychiatrist, is accused of killing 13 people during a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in November, 2009, and to Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian student suspected of the failed attempt to blow up a flight headed for Detroit last Christmas.

Other "lone wolf" plotters based in the US have operated with a small amount of contact with any handlers in Pakistan's tribal areas, where Osama bin Laden and the core leadership is now based.

In October Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen born in Pakistan, was sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to planning to blow up a car packed with explosives in New York's Times Square. The FBI recently arrested a man who had allegedly surveyed train stations in the Washington area as potential targets of terror.

Conceding that the anti-terror services had made errors under President Barack Obama, particularly in the Christmas plot, Mr Leiter however asserted that hard work played a part in bringing about what critics have called lucky outcomes.

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« Reply #920 on: December 03, 2010, 01:08:17 PM »

Quote
Is it possible I have some relevant training and experience beyond just google-fu that informs my opinion?

No doubt, yet your posts on the subject all trend toward abridgment of 4th amendment protections, while there are certainly plenty of folks with security creds that doubt current security theater amounts to much.

Quote
Oh really? Where have I expressed my willingness to shuck aside just about every freedom and constitutional principle?

Just about every time a conversation occurs where a constitutional protection has to be balanced against a police or intelligence need you tend to favor the need over the constitutional protection and then label folks hysterics who err on the side of freedom instead. Be it data intercepts, police surveillance, genitalia grabs, or other issues I could catalog were I to go through other posts you invariably err on a side that interprets the security need having to trump the constitutional protection.

I'll note that there are costs associated with tyranny that exceed the zero in nine billion ratio I brought up. The population of the Soviet Union after WWII is thought to have been around 170,000,000; Stalin put a dent in that number by 20,000,000 or more, depending on how you like your corpses stacked. China's population was less than a billion when Mao ran his various pogroms estimated to have killed 200,000,000, though that is only a guess. Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Serbia/Croatia/et al have all show that unchecked government manages to very handily exceed the zero in nine billion ratio when their power is unfettered. In short there are some numbers out there that suggest hysterics like me may have math on our side when governments start trending toward unchecked power.
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« Reply #921 on: December 03, 2010, 01:29:27 PM »

As usual, you can't debate a point, so you default to the "Mao! Pol Pot!" routine.

Sorry if my posting of actual caselaw and law enforcement training documents clashes with your Libertarian fantasies. Sorry I assumed that you could actually come up with realistic alternatives to what you call "security theater". My mistake.
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« Reply #922 on: December 03, 2010, 02:14:01 PM »

The population of the Soviet Union after WWII is thought to have been around 170,000,000; Stalin put a dent in that number by 20,000,000 or more, depending on how you like your corpses stacked. China's population was less than a billion when Mao ran his various pogroms estimated to have killed 200,000,000, though that is only a guess. Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Serbia/Croatia/et al have all show that unchecked government manages to very handily exceed the zero in nine billion ratio when their power is unfettered. In short there are some numbers out there that suggest hysterics like me may have math on our side when governments start trending toward unchecked power.

**Yes, I think everyone is aware how all these countries started out with aviation security programs that quickly turned into gulags and mass executions. I guess aviation security is like a gateway drug, one week, you try a hit off a joint, by the next week you're smoking crack and mainlining meth. That's how it always works, right?**
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« Reply #923 on: December 05, 2010, 08:28:17 AM »

You know dude, there's been a lot of non-responsiveness on your end too that I suppose I could bludgeon you with if I found that worth doing. When tangling with you, alas, I find the debate involves getting dragged on to ground from which you can deliver authoritative and authoritarian pronouncements rather than being about expanding understanding of the issue and all its sides. I'm not here to get into tinkling contests, and I have background enough with authoritarians that I chafe when again enduring their tender ministrations. Sorry if that doesn't conform to the strictures you'd impose on all who dare debate you.
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« Reply #924 on: December 05, 2010, 10:24:04 AM »

Well, lets see if I can play a different tact here with a small thought experiment.

We had the Shoe Bomber and so now we take off our shoes.  We had the Undie Bomber and now we are either scanned by a scanner that claims to radiate only the skin or get our groins grabbed.  And a few months ago, Saudi Arabia had a bomber with a bomb us his anus explode himself in an attempt to kill a Saudi prince.

So, here's the question:  What do we do in the wake of such an attack in an airport or on an airplane in the US?  What security measures do we take?

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« Reply #925 on: December 05, 2010, 01:32:20 PM »

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/09/30/saudi.arabia.attack/index.html?eref=igoogle_cnn

Saudi investigation: Would-be assassin hid bomb in underwear

CNN National Security Analyst

(CNN) -- The would-be assassin of Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Nayef hid his bomb in his underwear, apparently believing that cultural taboos would prevent a search in that part of his body, according to a Saudi government official close to the investigation.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, head of counterterrorism, was slightly injured in August.


The prince was slightly injured when the bomb exploded in the August attack. Several news reports this week have said the assailant hid the bomb inside his rectum, but according to the Saudi official, the government assessment discounted those reports, based on various factors.

Among them: When the bomb went off there was a flash of light, suggesting that the bomb was not hidden inside the assassin's body. Also, doctors consulted by the government judged that the toxicity of the plastic explosives would make them hard to hold for many hours inside the rectum, and the environment in this area of the body would make detonation "difficult," according to the Saudi official close to the investigation.

The Saudis said they think the bomb weighed 100 grams and was made with a plastic explosive, to avoid detection by metal detectors through which the would-be assassin had to pass before he was allowed to meet with the prince.

The official said the explosive was PETN, which was used by the so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid, who attempted to blow up an American Airlines flight between Paris, France, and Miami, Florida, in December 2001.

The Saudis are exploring the possibility that the prince's assailant exploded the device using a detonator that used a chemical fuse, which would not be detected by a metal detector.

The would-be assassin -- a Saudi member of al Qaeda who had fled to Yemen, identified as Abdullah Hassan al Asiri -- posed as a member of the terror group willing to surrender personally to Prince Nayef.
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« Reply #926 on: December 05, 2010, 02:37:28 PM »

In the corrections world, using the rectum to smuggle contraband items is nothing new, it's commonly known as "keistering". Those inmates who decide to use this method often learn is that there can be serious medical consequences for such methods. Talk to any ER doc/nurse and you'll be amazed at the amazing variety of items that people "fall" on and have to have extracted by medical personnel.

I've seen an x-ray from a prison inmate that successfully "Keistered" a Derringer and a handcuff key (You could clearly see the perfect outline of both items in the x-ray). He however found that he was not able to remove those items and ended up seeking medical help as a result.

Aside from the cultural taboos that might discourage the use of this method by jihadists, the practical aspects also raise many operational problems for them. As we've seen with the undie bomber's painful failure and the Times Square bomber, attempts to alter the construction of IEDs to avoid detection may also result in the devices not detonating as desired.

As it's been said that "success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan", seriously burned genitals and an orange inmate jumpsuit is a serious damper on AQ's recruiting efforts.

IEDs concealed in body cavities or surgically implanted may be theoretically possible, but chaos and entropy in the personage of "Mr. Murphy" visits the jihadists just as he visits us. When we harden our target, they then have to recruit viable operatives and design devices around our security methods. In doing so, we reduce the odds of them being successful in their attempts to target the global aviation system.

They are not omnipotent supervillains with infinite resources, and every failure makes their next attempt more difficult. We may not like the TSA/USG's aviation security methods, but there are no simple, easy, unobtrusive solutions.
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« Reply #927 on: December 05, 2010, 04:10:01 PM »

Well, it looks like you get to evade my question , , , until AQ gets the kiestering technology down  smiley , , , or you can accept the hypothetical:  What if AQ does succeed or make a credible effort with keister bombs?  Just how far is the TSA and/or you willing to go on this?
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« Reply #928 on: December 05, 2010, 04:28:27 PM »

I don't know that there are any additional screening techniques easily incorporated to meet the various demands on the system. The "nekkid scanners"/pat searches are imperfect answers to the undie bomber threat, but we don't have the luxury of throwing up our hands and doing nothing. As much as a vocal minority might voice their displeasure at these methods, a few successful bombings of aircraft would see a renewed appreciation for what is incorrectly derided as "security theater".

If AQ masters the ass-bombing technique where they can use it at will, global aviation as we know it ceases to exist.
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« Reply #929 on: December 05, 2010, 04:40:24 PM »

How about bomb sniffing dogs?  cheesy
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« Reply #930 on: December 05, 2010, 04:44:04 PM »

Don't all dogs sniff there anyway?

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« Reply #931 on: December 05, 2010, 04:57:24 PM »

http://govpro.com/issue_20060101/gov_imp_30474/

During the 10-week training course, officers were provided instruction on handler skills, explosives safety, and safe handling and accountability of explosives canine training aids. They spent much of their time searching for explosives in specialized indoor and outdoor training areas that resemble the transportation environment, including aircraft and terminals. The teams also practice searching warehouses, luggage and a parking lot filled with cars, trucks, vans and buses.

"This graduating class increases TSAs field resources, and provides greater flexibility in securing transportation resources across modes, said Dave Kontny, Director of TSAs National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program. From long-time partners like the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to new additions like the airports in Tamuning, Reno and Little Rock, TSA is working closely with our partners in local law enforcement to further secure our transportation systems.

After returning to their facilities, the teams will complete a local orientation and certification. Upon certification, the teams will continue to conduct several hours of proficiency training each week in their operational environment. To ensure these teams stay sharp, they are certified annually by TSA evaluators.

Canine teams combine excellent mobility with reliable detection rates. Their uses include searching areas in response to bomb threats and investigating unattended packages in airports and other transportation terminals, vehicles, luggage, cargo and other areas, as well as serving as a proven deterrent to would-be terrorists or criminals.

The TSA Explosives Detection Canine Team Program is a cooperative partnership with participating transportation systems. TSA provides the canine, in-depth training for the handler, and partially reimburses the participating agency for costs associated with the teams, such as salaries, overtime, canine food and veterinary care. TSA-certified canine teams reflect the core values of the Department of Homeland Security providing first responders with the right tools, technical assistance and funding to protect our nation's interest.
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« Reply #932 on: December 05, 2010, 05:33:46 PM »

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS21920.pdf

Detection of Explosives on Airline
Passengers: Recommendation of the 9/11
Commission and Related Issues
Dana A. Shea and Daniel Morgan
Analysts in Science and Technology Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Summary
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as
the 9/11 Commission, recommended that Congress and the Transportation Security
Administration give priority attention to screening airline passengers for explosives.
The key issue for Congress is balancing the costs of mandating passenger explosives
detection against other aviation security needs. Passenger explosives screening
technologies have been under development for several years and are now being deployed
in selected airports.
Their technical capabilities are not fully established, and
operational and policy issues have not yet been resolved. Critical factors for
implementation in airports include reliability, passenger throughput, and passenger
privacy concerns.
Presuming the successful development and deployment of this
technology, certification standards, operational policy, and screening procedures for
federal use will need to be established. This topic continues to be of congressional
interest, particularly as the 110th Congress reexamines implementation of the 9/11
Commission’s recommendations via H.R. 1 and S. 4.

**Snip**

The olfactory ability of dogs is sensitive enough to detect trace amounts of many
compounds, but several factors have inhibited the regular use of canines for passenger
screening. Dogs trained in explosives detection can generally only work for brief periods,
have significant upkeep costs, are unable to communicate the identity of the detected
explosives residue, and require a human handler when performing their detection role.5
In addition, direct contact between dogs and airline passengers raises liability concerns.
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« Reply #933 on: December 09, 2010, 06:53:39 AM »



BY TOM WRIGHT
NEW DELHI—India expects Washington to apologize for the patting down of the Indian ambassador to the U.S. during a security check at an airport in Mississippi, a senior Indian diplomat said Thursday.

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« Reply #934 on: December 09, 2010, 09:56:44 AM »

Blacklisted pilot wins rights case against Bombardier
ARI ALTSTEDTER
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Canada’s human-rights laws trump American anti-terrorism efforts in Canada, the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal says in a decision released Tuesday.

The tribunal awarded a Pakistani-born Canadian man $319,000 in damages, ruling his human rights were violated when Bombardier Inc. barred him from flight training at a Montreal facility because U.S. authorities had designated him a security threat.

The decision amounts to a repudiation of the process that U.S. authorities use to label people security threats. The Quebec tribunal decided that because of the secrecy of the process, the lack of appeals and alleged racial profiling in an array of national security practices, applying U.S. threat designations in Canada must be considered a violation of Charter rights.

The rejection that sparked the complaint was actually Javed Latif’s second. He had first applied for training under his U.S. pilot’s licence, which alerted Bombardier to his designation as a security threat by American officials. According to the tribunal, the violation occurred when Mr. Latif applied for training under his Canadian pilot’s licence, and was rejected because of the American threat label.

“Those rules do not apply here in Canada, were not adopted here in Canada by Canadian law,” said Athanassia Bitzakadis, the lawyer who represented the Quebec Human Rights Commission, which brought the case before the tribunal. “So Bombardier cannot simply refer to those rules to justify a discriminatory decision to refuse to someone a service, a service that they offer to everyone here in Quebec.”

Tribunal judge Michele Rivet criticized Bombardier for taking the U.S. designation on faith and not objectively assessing whether Mr. Latif was a security threat. She also said Bombardier could have consulted Transport Canada or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Testifying before the tribunal, Steven Gignac, the Bombardier official who denied Mr. Latif’s request, said he considered the U.S. authorities credible when they had deemed Mr. Latif a threat. He said if he agreed to train him there would have been “serious consequences for Bombardier Inc.”

At the time of the incident in 2004, Mr. Latif had been a pilot for 25 years and had flown over U.S. airspace many times.

In 2008, U.S. authorities removed Mr. Latif’s designation as a threat to national security, and he has since trained with Bombardier in Montreal on three occasions.

According to Mr. Latif’s lawyer, Catherine McKenzie, he now works for an airline based in the Middle East, and she has not been able to reach him with word of the decision.

Much of the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s case rested on testimony from Reem Bahdi, an expert on U.S. national security practices. Prof. Bahdi, of the University of Windsor, argued that because of broadly discriminatory practices, a U.S. threat designation must be considered discriminatory if no specific reasons are given. One example she cited was the National Security Entry and Exit Regulation System, which requires citizens of specific countries, all of which happen to be Muslim, to register upon entering and exiting the U.S.

“Basically what they [the tribunal] were presented with was a whole series of policies that targeted Arabs and Muslims alongside a policy that said, and by the way, all of these policies, all of this decision making is going to take place in secret,” she said.

The amount awarded to Mr. Latif by the tribunal includes moral and material damages as well as the highest amount for punitive damages that the tribunal has ever given, $50,000.

Bombardier is reviewing the decision and considering whether to appeal.

Whatever happens, Prof. Bahdi said, this decision must have an effect on how other cross-border companies operate in Canada.

“What this decision says is that Canadian companies have to conform to Canadian standards of justice,” she said. “And we in Canada still take quite seriously the notions of due process, and individuals not being tarnished with the terrorist label and having no ability to clear their names.”

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« Reply #935 on: December 12, 2010, 09:55:06 PM »

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2010/12/06/
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« Reply #936 on: December 13, 2010, 12:54:10 PM »

Pardon my absence. Had to swing several hatchets last week, which made for enough drama without soliciting more.

The issue of TSS's nude scan or get groped policy strikes me as fairly unambiguous. The Fourth Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

By many metrics generally applied to the Fourth Amendment the TSA's searches appear to be unconstitutional. There is a reasonable expectation of privacy when standing in line waiting for transportation. TSD's policy goes well beyond that granted in Terry v. Ohio to LEO's to stop and frisk suspects for which they can articulate a reasonable suspicion. Please note here Terry applies to sworn officers--it's my understanding most TSD employees don't fit that bill, while TSA appears to throw the reasonable articulation out the window. It's worth also noting here that due process and probable cause are also sacrificed on the altar of security.

If a case regarding these intrusive searches does make it to court I expect the concept of "seizure" will also come into play. Definite shows of authority and occasional use of force are part of these searches. Exceptions are granted, again to LEOs, but travelers are not free to disregard search requests, which to my mind throws seizure issues into play. Toss in laptops, cell phones, and other devices for which access to and passwords for have been demanded and I believe a strong argument can be made that the TSA serially disregards Fourth Amendment protections.

As far as I'm concerned that's game, set, and match right there; if the TSA can't find security experts able to design a constitutional security regimen then they ought to fire their current ones and then fire themselves in the hope their replacements are actually acquainted with the US Constitution and the protections enshrined therein.

But let's pretend that there is some sort of "case law" out there that allows low paid, non-sworn, rudimentarily trained TSA staff to ignore black letter constitutional protections. Even granting that, their obtrusive scans are pointless as they've already been beaten. Many have heard of the suicide bomber who went after a Saudi prince with an explosive contained in his rectum. Fewer may have heard rumors circulating that jihadi females are receiving explosive breast implants, though the latter has not been confirmed and may just be meant as disinformation to see what sort of extra-constitutional invasion that rumor will inspire.

None the less, those embracing the "airport security über alles" ethic are not consistent if they do not demand that the TSA incorporate body cavity searches and some form of mammography that can tell saline, from silicon, from semtex into its security regimen. Their failure to do so suggests there are some security extremes they will not go to. Indeed, a recent paper looking at the efficacy of the nudie scanners notes:

Little information exists on the performance of x-ray backscatter machines now being deployed through UK, US and other airports. We implement a Monte Carlo simulation using as input what is known about the x-ray spectra used for imaging, device specifications and available images to estimate penetration and exposure to the body from the x-ray beam, and sensitivity to dangerous contraband materials. We show that the body is exposed throughout to the incident x-rays, and that although images can be made at the exposure levels claimed (under 100 nanoGrey per view), detection of contraband can be foiled in these systems. Because front and back views are obtained, low Z materials can only be reliable detected if they are packed outside the sides of the body or with hard edges, while high Z materials are well seen when placed in front or back of the body, but not to the sides. Even if exposure were to be increased significantly, normal anatomy would make a dangerous amount of plastic explosive with tapered edges difficult if not impossible to detect.

Full text here: http://springerlink.com/content/g6620thk08679160/fulltext.pdf

Moreover, as GAO noted in October of 2009:

. . . (S)ince TSA’s creation, 10 passenger screening technologies have been in various phases of research, development, procurement, and deployment, including the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT)—formerly known as the Whole Body Imager. TSA expects to have installed almost 200 AITs in airports by the end of calendar year 2010 and plans to install a total of 878 units by the end of fiscal year 2014. In October 2009, GAO reported that TSA had not yet conducted an assessment of the technology’s vulnerabilities to determine the extent to which a terrorist could employ tactics that would evade detection by the AIT. Thus, it is unclear whether the AIT or other technologies would have detected the weapon used in the December 25 attempted attack. GAO’s report also noted the problems TSA experienced in deploying another checkpoint technology that had not been tested in the operational environment. Since GAO’s October report, TSA stated that it has completed the testing as of the end of 2009. We are currently verifying that all functional requirements of the AIT were tested in an operational environment. Completing these steps should better position TSA to ensure that its costly deployment of AIT machines will enhance passenger checkpoint security.

http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d10401thigh.pdf

As we have untested equipment now in a front line role, clearly the only way we can prevent children's limbs from protruding though smoking wreckage is to strip and body cavity search and then MRI all flyers, yet we hear no such call. Is some sort of limit to invasiveness being tacitly acknowledged? Might the tools of risk assessment allow us to extrapolate these finding to other invasive search methods and develop a search regimen that is both effective and constitutional?

Beyond the constitutional argument, beyond the ineffectiveness of TSA techniques to deal with known threats lies an allocation of resources issue. Airport staff are a gaping security hole. According to a WSJ report (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703581204574599953475913542.html) from last year, baggage theft is on the rise. Airlines are not required to report these thefts so it's hard to define scope, but it's clear all sorts of stuff is walking out from secure zones and no one appears to be measuring how much is walking in. Worse yet, those involved with luggage thefts are exposed by both avarice and extortion to more nefarious recruitment efforts. Seeing how our hit rate when screening passengers is zero in 9 billion, and knowing that more than one piece of luggage is stolen every day, there is a strong argument to be made that the TSA is focussing resources where there is little demonstrable threat while not effectively dealing with an area where there is.

Stolen luggage is hardly the only demonstrable threat, alas. Combining two favorite areas of contention, one notes that 199 lbs. of heroin was found by Customs agents on commercial aircraft in 2009 (http://www.justice.gov/ndic/pubs38/38661/movement.htm). How many aircraft could 200 lbs. of semtex take down? And that's just the one variety of dope they found. How much other stuff went unnoticed? Note further that most the drugs were found as folks tried to disembark; someone looking to blow up a plane only has to get in onboard and does not have to worry about getting off the plane with it. Add in the printer cartridge scare of a month or so back and there are plenty of reasons to suspect that efforts should be applied to real threats rather than hapless air travelers.

So we have a system in place that violates the spirit, letter, and framer's intent when it comes to the Bill of Rights, a system that fails to guard against known threats, has been shown to be ineffective, and that diverts resources from areas where threats have been demonstrated. Does all this folly really need a solution in place before we call it what it is? At some point isn't it incumbent on security professionals--who are supposed to have the tools and requisite schools to do so--to propose and implement a constitutional and effective airport security system?

GAO documents (http://www.gao.gov/docsearch/featured/transportationsecurity.html) instead suggest that metrics are lacking, effectiveness not demonstrated, goals poorly stated, implementation more than uneven and so on. The cynics among us might go so far to say that the TSA has instead embraced security theater, imposing high profile methods known not to detect current threats, while spending vast amounts of money on heavily lobbied for equipment to give the appearance of a diligence that does not stand up to any sort of scrutiny. This is supposed to leave us feeling safe? This is how a Republic applies its founding ideals to the problem at hand? The questions answer themselves. Or ought to.
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« Reply #937 on: December 16, 2010, 10:46:39 AM »

Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb. What should people there do? The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don’t come out till officials say it’s safe.

The advice is based on recent scientific analyses showing that a nuclear attack is much more survivable if you immediately shield yourself from the lethal radiation that follows a blast, a simple tactic seen as saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Even staying in a car, the studies show, would reduce casualties by more than 50 percent; hunkering down in a basement would be better by far.
But a problem for the Obama administration is how to spread the word without seeming alarmist about a subject that few politicians care to consider, let alone discuss. So officials are proceeding gingerly in a campaign to educate the public.

“We have to get past the mental block that says it’s too terrible to think about,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview. “We have to be ready to deal with it” and help people learn how to “best protect themselves.”

Officials say they are moving aggressively to conduct drills, prepare communication guides and raise awareness among emergency planners of how to educate the public.

Over the years, Washington has sought to prevent nuclear terrorism and limit its harm, mainly by governmental means. It has spent tens of billions of dollars on everything from intelligence and securing nuclear materials to equipping local authorities with radiation detectors.

The new wave is citizen preparedness. For people who survive the initial blast, the main advice is to fight the impulse to run and instead seek shelter from lethal radioactivity. Even a few hours of protection, officials say, can greatly increase survival rates.

Administration officials argue that the cold war created an unrealistic sense of fatalism about a terrorist nuclear attack. “It’s more survivable than most people think,” said an official deeply involved in the planning, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The key is avoiding nuclear fallout.”

The administration is making that argument with state and local authorities and has started to do so with the general public as well. Its Citizen Corps Web site says a nuclear detonation is “potentially survivable for thousands, especially with adequate shelter and education.” A color illustration shows which kinds of buildings and rooms offer the best protection from radiation.

In June, the administration released to emergency officials around the nation an unclassified planning guide 130 pages long on how to respond to a nuclear attack. It stressed citizen education, before any attack.

Without that knowledge, the guide added, “people will be more likely to follow the natural instinct to run from danger, potentially exposing themselves to fatal doses of radiation.”

Specialists outside of Washington are divided on the initiative. One group says the administration is overreacting to an atomic threat that is all but nonexistent.

Peter Bergen, a fellow at the New America Foundation and New York University’s Center on Law and Security, recently argued that the odds of any terrorist group obtaining a nuclear weapon are “near zero for the foreseeable future.”

But another school says that the potential consequences are so high that the administration is, if anything, being too timid.

“There’s no penetration of the message coming out of the federal government,” said Irwin Redlener, a doctor and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “It’s deeply frustrating that we seem unable to bridge the gap between the new insights and using them to inform public policy.”

White House officials say they are aware of the issue’s political delicacy but are nonetheless moving ahead briskly.

The administration has sought “to enhance national resilience — to withstand disruption, adapt to change and rapidly recover,” said Brian Kamoie, senior director for preparedness policy at the National Security Council. He added, “We’re working hard to involve individuals in the effort so they become part of the team in terms of emergency management.”

A nuclear blast produces a blinding flash, burning heat and crushing wind. The fireball and mushroom cloud carry radioactive particles upward, and the wind sends them near and far.

The government initially knew little about radioactive fallout. But in the 1950s, as the cold war intensified, scientists monitoring test explosions learned that the tiny particles throbbed with fission products — fragments of split atoms, many highly radioactive and potentially lethal.

But after a burst of interest in fallout shelters, the public and even the government grew increasingly skeptical about civil defense as nuclear arsenals grew to hold thousands of warheads.

In late 2001, a month after the Sept. 11 attacks, the director of central intelligence told President George W. Bush of a secret warning that Al Qaeda had hidden an atom bomb in New York City. The report turned out to be false. But atomic jitters soared.

“History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act,” Mr. Bush said in late 2002.

In dozens of programs, his administration focused on prevention but also dealt with disaster response and the acquisition of items like radiation detectors.

============

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“Public education is key,” Daniel J. Kaniewski, a security expert at George Washington University, said in an interview. “But it’s easier for communities to buy equipment — and look for tech solutions — because there’s Homeland Security money and no shortage of contractors to supply the silver bullet.”

Dr. Irwin Redlener of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness says new insights are not reaching the public.
Multimedia
 Graphic
Duck and Cover
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 revealed the poor state of disaster planning, public and private officials began to question national preparedness for atomic strikes. Some noted conflicting federal advice on whether survivors should seek shelter or try to evacuate.
In 2007, Congress appropriated $5.5 million for studies on atomic disaster planning, noting that “cities have little guidance available to them.”

The Department of Homeland Security financed a multiagency modeling effort led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The scientists looked at Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other big cities, using computers to simulate details of the urban landscape and terrorist bombs.

The results were revealing. For instance, the scientists found that a bomb’s flash would blind many drivers, causing accidents and complicating evacuation.

The big surprise was how taking shelter for as little as several hours made a huge difference in survival rates.

“This has been a game changer,” Brooke Buddemeier, a Livermore health physicist, told a Los Angeles conference. He showed a slide labeled “How Many Lives Can Sheltering Save?”

If people in Los Angeles a mile or more from ground zero of an attack took no shelter, Mr. Buddemeier said, there would be 285,000 casualties from fallout in that region.

Taking shelter in a place with minimal protection, like a car, would cut that figure to 125,000 deaths or injuries, he said. A shallow basement would further reduce it to 45,000 casualties. And the core of a big office building or an underground garage would provide the best shelter of all.

“We’d have no significant exposures,” Mr. Buddemeier told the conference, and thus virtually no casualties from fallout.

On Jan. 16, 2009 — four days before Mr. Bush left office — the White House issued a 92-page handbook lauding “pre-event preparedness.” But it was silent on the delicate issue of how to inform the public.

Soon after Mr. Obama arrived at the White House, he embarked a global campaign to fight atomic terrorism and sped up domestic planning for disaster response. A senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the new administration began a revision of the Bush administration’s handbook to address the issue of public communication.

“We started working on it immediately,” the official said. “It was recognized as a key part of our response.”

The agenda hit a speed bump. Las Vegas was to star in the nation’s first live exercise meant to simulate a terrorist attack with an atom bomb, the test involving about 10,000 emergency responders. But casinos and businesses protested, as did Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. He told the federal authorities that it would scare away tourists.

Late last year, the administration backed down.

“Politics overtook preparedness,” said Mr. Kaniewski of George Washington University.

When the administration came out with its revised planning guide in June, it noted that “no significant federal response” after an attack would be likely for one to three days.

The document said that planners had an obligation to help the public “make effective decisions” and that messages for predisaster campaigns might be tailored for schools, businesses and even water bills.

“The most lives,” the handbook said, “will be saved in the first 60 minutes through sheltering in place.”
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G M
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« Reply #938 on: December 17, 2010, 11:54:13 AM »

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/holiday-terror-warning-cites-car-bombs-small-arms/story?id=12417968

Holiday Terror Warning Cites Car Bombs and Small Arms Attack
Authorities Worry About Christmas Attack For 'Psychological Impact'


By RICHARD ESPOSITO
Dec. 17, 2010


Federal law enforcement terror bulletins have become as much a part of the holiday season in the past decade as egg nog and department store Santas.


But this year, which ends amid a heightened concern over terror, is a little different. A Department of Homeland Security bulletin sent to law enforcement nationwide Thursday says that federal authorities worry terrorists will try to rattle Americans by attacking during the holidays, and lists concerns including car bombs, trucks ramming crowds and a Mumbai-style small arms attack.

"We are concerned these terrorists may seek to exploit the likely significant psychological impact of an attack targeting mass gatherings in large metropolitan areas during the 2010 holiday season, which has symbolic importance to many in the United States," The "Security Awareness for the Holiday Season" bulletin states.

**Must be christians, because the bible is more violent than the koran or something.....
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #939 on: December 17, 2010, 06:14:07 PM »


http://fromtheold.com/news/entertainment/japanese-version-tsa-20798

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G M
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« Reply #940 on: December 17, 2010, 06:36:34 PM »

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05646r.pdf

"Undocumented Americans" Harry Reid calls them.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #941 on: December 17, 2010, 10:31:55 PM »

""Undocumented Americans" Harry Reid calls them."

  - Control of the terminology has been the weapon ever since people tolerated calling the convenience killing of an unborn child a 'choice'.  Now government takeover of healthcare is the 'Affordability Act', and whether you sneak over the border or kill a border agent to get in, you are document-challenged.  Granting citizenship to trespassers is to 'DREAM'.

"Why not break EVERY law?"

  - Perfectly logical to break laws we don't enforce.  The Feds won't enforce and won't let states enforce.  So why not a) crack down on the crimes around the crime, and b) have states put pocketbook pressure back on the Feds.

Illegals tend to have false ID, don't they? Why not elevate and prosecute laws for displaying false identification to an officer, an employer, an aid worker as a version of felony identity theft?  The financial component of the crime alone often reaches felony levels.  Then perhaps going home could be an option offered in lieu of jail time.

When the states fail to follow a federal guideline like drinking age 21 or a federal freeway speed limit standard, the Feds cut off federal funds.  Don't states have similar financial leverage?  Revoke the property tax exemption on federal properties for malfeasance.  Require border enforcement for preferential treatment on property taxation. Foreclose and sell off those properties in sheriff auctions, just as the taxing authority would for anyone else?  Why are local property taxes zero for federal office buildings? Who pays for the teachers and the schools if property taxes are at zero? The local streets in front of Federal buildings cost money to build and maintain. Post Office property taxes are zero.  How much do their competitors pay? Even it up.

Revoke their state sales tax exemption for malfeasance - not operating as a federal government, failure to perform a basic function: border enforcement. No?
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G M
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« Reply #942 on: December 18, 2010, 12:39:06 AM »

It's a constitutional question I have no answer for. But I like the idea!  The federal gov't is tasked with securing the borders, and instead attacks states like Arizona for trying to protect the citizens the USG won't.
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JDN
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« Reply #943 on: December 18, 2010, 08:51:39 AM »

IThe federal gov't is tasked with securing the borders, and instead attacks states like Arizona for trying to protect the citizens the USG won't.

The federal government is also tasked with foreign policy (yes I agree I am not impressed).  I suppose we could simply shoot
each illegal alien as they cross the border, but I hardly think that would help our foreign policy.  And CA complains a lot about the cost of
illegal aliens, but loves those low cost workers around their house.

My point is that it is not an easy solution.  And deportation, which is not only impractical, would cost billions and billions of dollars.
Better to find a solution that is practical from all aspects.

While I am against illegal immigration and would vote against the DREAM bill, if you look deeper at your statistics you posted
regarding crime there is a direct correlation between education level (crime committed by the 60% that did not finish high school) and crime.
By the way, in the spirit of full disclosure those immigration statistics you posted in "Rest in Peace" were misleading.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/taxes.asp

It would be nice one day, if a reasonable and practical compromise could be reached between "deport them all" versus "full amnesty for all". 
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JDN
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« Reply #944 on: December 18, 2010, 09:25:05 AM »

DREAM Act.

Forget for a moment the part about granting illegal alien students legal status here in the U.S., what do you think about granting
legal status to illegal aliens who serve in our Military and fight for our country?
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G M
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« Reply #945 on: December 18, 2010, 10:38:15 AM »

Illegal aliens cannot legally serve in the US military. Normally, for enlistment one must be a permanent resident alien (green card holder), although recently there was a program opened for lawful non-resident aliens (such as those here on a student visa or other lawful purpose) to enlist as interpreters if they spoke a needed language. I'm aware of only one illegal alien who used bogus documents to enlist (a felony) that in his case was not prosecuted when discovered and allowed to stay in.
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JDN
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« Reply #946 on: December 18, 2010, 10:58:08 AM »

Illegal aliens cannot legally serve in the US military. Normally, for enlistment one must be a permanent resident alien (green card holder), although recently there was a program opened for lawful non-resident aliens (such as those here on a student visa or other lawful purpose) to enlist as interpreters if they spoke a needed language. I'm aware of only one illegal alien who used bogus documents to enlist (a felony) that in his case was not prosecuted when discovered and allowed to stay in.

Yes, that is true, however the DREAM Act provides that if illegal aliens meet certain conditions and serve two years in the military, they will
be given a path to legal status.  The Pentagon seems to support this provision; offering a pool of potential enlistees. 

My question was, "Do you think this is a good idea?"
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G M
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« Reply #947 on: December 18, 2010, 11:11:20 AM »

Well, some years back, we trained elite Mexican paratroopers in special operation/counterterrorist techniques to fight the drug cartels. Upon their return to Mexico, many deserted and went to work for the cartels, forming Los Zetas.

It's known that some gangs pay large bonuses to members for enlisting in the military for the training and access to weaponry. So, let's make that problem worse?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010, 12:20:28 PM by G M » Logged
G M
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« Reply #948 on: December 18, 2010, 12:01:05 PM »

http://www.gangsorus.com/military.htm

Street Gangs Are Training In The Military

Using military to spread their reach

It is sad, but true, that street gang members have infiltrated our U.S. armed forces.  They appear to be volunteering, not to serve our country, but to learn how to use military tactics and to learn how to kill.  There is evidence of these gang bangers appearing with more and more frequency in many parts of the world - where ever our military forces are serving.

The following news article appeared in the "Stars and Stripes" the military newspaper for all branches of services.  It contains alarming news about this growing problem.
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G M
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« Reply #949 on: December 18, 2010, 12:24:29 PM »

http://idtheft.about.com/od/leagalconcerns/a/IDT_Immigrants.htm

Social Security Fraud and Identity Theft
Stolen Social Security Numbers

By Jake Stroup, About.com Guide


   

Illegal aliens use stolen social security numbers to work in the US. They get the money, you get a headache.


Most people seem to think identity theft is a government issue, that our elected officials need to make some laws to stop identity theft.

The good news is, they already have. A series of data security regulations have been put in place to help protect our private information. Laws like FACTA and HIPAA have created fines for companies that let our identities slip into criminal hands. A big area of concern is stolen social security numbers, used for social security identity theft (usually just called Social Security Fraud.)

The odds of going to jail for identity theft are 1-in-1,000. Laws have been put in place to punish identity thieves. But the arrest rate is low – just one-in-twenty reported cases. The conviction rate is even lower, one-in-fifty.

In fact, looking over the past decade, the government seems to be encouraging identity theft among illegal immigrants. A major factor in identity theft (and the US economy in general) is illegal immigration. Nobody wants to talk about it, because of the political aspects.

Everyone knows you must give your employer a social security number to work in the United States. There are also laws requiring companies to verify that information, but an employee can work while the company waits for the response, even if they are using a stolen social security number.

Various law enforcement agencies have used the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act to fight illegal aliens using stolen social security numbers. That was a good start, and helped slow down identity theft between 2005 and 2008. But that changed in the spring of 2009.

The US Supreme Court ruled that an illegal immigrant has not committed a crime unless s/he knew the stolen social security number they used belonged to a US citizen. In other words, saying “I didn’t know.” can be a defense if you work in the US illegally. After this ruling, hundreds of previous convictions were appealed, and social security fraud is suddenly back on the rise.

None of the agencies involved are trying to tackle the problem because they all benefit from it, as does corporate America. Here’s an example:

    * The Social Security Administration (SSA) collects money from all workers, including identity thieves.
    * If a name and number reported doesn’t match the name the SSA has on file, the money goes into an “Earnings Suspense File.” That fund held nearly $500 billion in 2006.
    * The SSA will only pay benefits to one individual.

From that perspective, there is no reason to tell anyone they have a stolen social security number. In fact, it’s against the Internal Revenue code for the SSA to notify you that someone else is using your number.

The companies that pull your credit report know, too. But once again, they aren’t allowed to tell you. All three credit bureaus sell a specialized report, which shows all activity under a social security number. If there are two names associated with a certain SSN, two different files are made to track the credit, but both of them are associated with that SSN. Companies that want to give you credit can buy these reports, but they cannot tell you what they find.

So you may think you have perfect credit, and still get turned down for a loan. The company that denies your credit application will tell you to get a copy of your credit report. But that copy won’t show you everything they see in the credit file. Everyone knows you’re a victim of identity theft, but nobody can tell you. It’s as if the laws are set-up to make sure the last person to find out is the victim.

This is not a failure to communicate, it’s a shocking lack of concern toward protecting Americans. While the Department of Homeland Security insists on accuracy in financial records the IRS and SSA are taking cash from whoever sends it in. While congress is making laws to protect us, the Supreme Court tells us those laws don’t apply to the people breaking them. While we’re trying to buy a home or car, the loan company can’t tell us why they are denying the loan.

What can you do? For starters, vote. When your elected official needs to pay attention to something, write him/her a letter. Until the government addresses the illegal immigration issue, consider putting a credit freeze in place.

And above all protect your social security number until the government finds a better way to track citizens.
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