March 27, 2010

And On Top Of Everything Else…

isn’t this lovely.

A top FBI official warned today that many cyber-adversaries of the U.S. have the ability to access virtually any computer system, posing a risk that’s so great it could “challenge our country’s very existence.”

Why not?

We’ve already been transformed into an impending socialist shithole by the marxist toilet cakes voted into government leadership by a whole bunch of people who either didn’t take the time to learn how our political system works, nor to study the pedigrees and voting histories of their candidates before voting for them — the only exceptions being those, of course, who despise the entire concept of America as our founders intended it to be. You know, this free, successful, two century old nation that has, as the leftist scum have gradually succeeded more and more in their efforts to destroy it, begun to enter what might well be its last days.

But I digress.

For the last three decades or so, our government and our vital infrastructure have become gradually more computerized, as have private concerns that possess the personal information of millions. Our defense, security and financial organs can now all be compromized and breached electronically.

Steven Chabinsky, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, delivered a strong and urgent warning about the threat of cyberattacks during a presentation Tuesday at the FOSE government IT trade show here. Chabinsky also offered recommendations for countering the threat, including rules that would restrict the ability of some systems to interoperate with more vulnerable ones.

“The cyber threat can be an existential threat — meaning it can challenge our country’s very existence, or significantly alter our nation’s potential,” Chabinsky said. “How we rise to the cybersecurity challenge will determine whether our nation’s best days are ahead of us or behind us.


“I am convinced that given enough time, motivation and funding, a determined adversary will always — always — be able to penetrate a targeted system,” he added.

Which is about the same thing any competent security professional will tell you about pretty much any protective issue, but… it kinda’ sorta’ sucks to see computer and communications technology, billed to make everything so much easier, faster and more efficient, also render us vulnerable in an extreme, perhaps making for a majorly uneven trade-off.

Chabinsky said that terrorism is the FBI’s top cyber priority, followed by its investigation of foreign countries “that seek every day to steal our state secrets and private sector intellectual property, sometimes for the purpose of undermining the stability of our government by weakening our economic or military supremacy.”

Both terrorists and foreign countries are turning to cyber-technologies “to exploit our weaknesses,” Chabinsky said.

Isn’t that a cheerful thought!

by @ 4:09 pm. Filed under Homeland Security, Security

January 26, 2010

A Couple of Colleagues Who Read This Blog…

…have e-mailed me, wondering why I haven’t yet commented herein on the Errol Southers kerfuffle. After all, they reasonably reason, I do tend to pursue topics that concern the government’s affairs regarding our mutual area of endeavor, especially those of the Transportation Security Administration, with what one of my distinguished colleagues describes as “a tenacity that would make a pit bull envious”.

So here goes…

Truth to tell, I was first pleased, then disappointed by and at the same time, cynic that I’ve become where the neo-Democrats are concerned, unsurprised by the entire affair, from Southers’ nomination to his stepping down as nominee.

When he was first put forward by the Administration, I thought, Alright (High Five!!!!), the White House is finally getting it! Unlike in their appointment of the supremely unqualified and profoundly incompetent Janet Napolitano as National Security Advisor, they’re actually looking to appoint a qualified security professional to head up a security agency, the TSA no less.

Assistant Chief of the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department’s Office of Homeland Security and Intelligence, head of USC’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events. Well thought of in the security field, a man who has devoted his career to security and counter-terrorism and who is an expert on both counts.

The man was also appointed by the Governator as Deputy Director for Critical Infrastructure Protection of the California Office of Homeland Security.

Since he earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Brown University and later served on the Santa Monica Police Department and the faculty of the Rio Hondo Police Academy, every aspect of his career has been dedicated to the protection of the public and combating terrorism, and eminently qualify him to head up TSA. While with the FBI, he worked in counter-espionage and counter-terrorism, and was a shooter to boot: he was a member of their elite SWAT team.

Southers’ vision for the future of the agency, in the training aspects, the adoption of Israeli methods for identifying potential threats and enhanced utilization of existing technologies, was exactly what is needed.

I was truly impressed. The Obama Administration was actually going to put the right person in the right position, a real security expert as Director of the TSA!

Who’d a’ thunk it!?

And then…

…along came the broadsides, first the revelation that Southers was entertaining the idea of unionizing (collective bargaining, anyone?) the TSA.

“What!!!?” I exclaimed.

I’m sorry, but I in no way believe in unionizing any part of critical infrastructure, and as a protection professional, there’s no way I can condone the unionizing of any security agency.


“We’re going on strike, screw the lives or itineraries of the public, we want more lucre!”

“I don’t care if you’re short handed, my union contract says that I don’t have to work any overtime if I don’t want to!”

“My union contract says that I get two twenty minute coffee breaks every day, and if I take ten minutes to guard that door, I’ll only get half my break! I’m not guarding that door, I don’t care if you can’t get anyone else to do it!”

“I’m real sorry you’re short-handed, boss, but I’m taking a personal day. I promised to take my kid to the zoo.”

“You can’t fire me, buddy, I’m union all the way!”

Sorry, but those entrusted with the safety and security of others, by nature of the responsibilities involved, must be prepared to make sacrifices unasked of those in other lines of endeavor; sacrifices of personal time, personal convenience and, as often as not, personal fortune. If you’re not prepared to assume these sacrifices and such other elements as taking personal risks to protect the lives and the safety of others, you do not belong in the security business.

Unionizing TSA would drive a wedge between the objectives of such an agency and the efficiency necessary to realize them.

Based on the above, Senator Jim DeMint was correct in putting a hold on Southers’ confirmation. Given the virtual ownership of the Democrat majority by the unions, a suggestion by a head of the TSA that his or her agency be unionized would be all it took to see greedy, corrupt union czars authorized to “bargain collectively” with the very lives of the traveling public.

Civilian or not, a security department or agency has to be run more like a military venue than a Teamster’s operation. Imagine all of the firemen, EMTs and surgeons simply walking off the job in the middle of a natural disaster because they have a gripe with the institutions that employ them!

Unions have proven, time and again, to exploit the vulnerabilities of members’ employers by threatening strikes or actually going on strike when the employers have been at their most vulnerable.

Collective bargaining in the public sector is one of the factors behind governmental budget shortfalls and tax increases, and strikes, often tragically, can inconvenience and even endanger the majority of taxpayers to accommodate the greed of a very few. Again, it has no place in the safety and security sectors.

Then, there was the back issue of Errol Southers using the information access of his position to pursue inquiries into his ex’s new flame. To me, the only major problem with that is that he was less than truthful when asked about it.

Look, I’ll level with you here… Only a sanctimonious asshole can say with certainty that in a moment of desperation, he or she would definitely not use information access to which he or she is privileged (the exception being if it jeopardized national security or the integrity of the agency, firm or department in which he or she worked) to obtain information he or she felt he/she absolutely needed to possess.

Southers used such access to gain information relevant to a personal matter.

On the same token, any public servant has, without hesitation, got to tell the truth when under oath or otherwise asked about anything pertaining to his/her actions or those of others in the course of any official inquiry. That in itself is part and parcel in the scheme of things. When you serve the American people, you simply do not lie to them about such things — the people own the decision as to whether or not you are to be trusted in a given position and are entitled to all the facts that pertain to your character and to the details of any actions you have taken in the course of your service that are not officially classified as secret.

Errol Southers lied as a first instinct; There’s no way that anyone with even the most minimal intelligence could possibly believe otherwise. He “didn’t remember” that he himself had used his access to information directly, but rather had others seek private information on his behalf. If he had told the truth in the first place instead of having a “memory lapse”, I could easily find the wherewithal to overlook the underlying incident in light of his dedication and qualifications.

DeMint’s and others’ concerns were reality based, yet the left-wing (mainstream) media and the Democrats cried that blocking Southers’ appointment was based on “politics”.

Southers himself, on stepping down, said that he is “Nonpolitical” and was withdrawing because he believed his nomination and the subsequent ado presented a political lightning rod. On that score, I completely believe he is sincere.

It’s right that Southers did not end up in the job, even though, in my opinion, he was qualified from a professional standpoint.

Yeah, I did mention cynicism, that in my not being at all surprised that Erroll Southers had some “back trail”, as it were, if for no other reason than that he was selected by the Obama Administration: Barack Hussein did, after all, unabashedly bring the corrupt Chicago political machine with him to Washington, and in keeping with everything else he represents, he is forever hard put to produce key position nominees who do not have skeletons, problems with embracing veracity, or at least negative agendas of some kind.

In summation, politics has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion here. Had it not been for the lie and his perception that collective bargaining might have a place in a security organization, I would be, at the least, overjoyed to have a person with Erroll Southers’ knowledge, vision and experience at the helm of the Transportation Security Administration.

by @ 2:30 pm. Filed under Homeland Security, Security, TSA Concerns

December 12, 2009

Just When I Thought That Maybe…

…I could, in any kind of conscience, leave one of my few pet peeves, that being the incompetence of the Transportation Safety Administration, by the wayside, along comes this item.

The Transportation Security Administration inadvertently revealed closely guarded secrets related to airport passenger screening practices when it posted online this spring a document as part of a contract solicitation, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

The 93-page TSA operating manual details procedures for screening passengers and checked baggage, such as technical settings used by X-ray machines and explosives detectors. It also includes pictures of credentials used by members of Congress, CIA employees and federal air marshals, and it identifies 12 countries whose passport holders are automatically subjected to added scrutiny.

TSA officials said that the manual was posted online in a redacted form on a federal procurement Web site, but that the digital redactions were inadequate. They allowed computer users to recover blacked-out passages by copying and pasting them into a new document or an e-mail.


Yeah, I know, in the past I posted quite a bit about TSA, about their incompetence and the dangers it poses, as a result, to the millions of people who fly out of U.S. airports annually.

The problem, as I’ve said before, is not that the rank and file employees of the TSA are lazy, don’t want to do their jobs or what have you, and not even that they, themselves, are as incompetent as their agency is, as a whole.

Like any government entity, the TSA is run not by people who should be running it, ie veteran industry professionals who have been around the block a few times, but by political appointees who, despite flowery resumes of administrative excellence and vast bureaucratic experience, don’t know diddly about the hands-on aspects of that which they purport to command.

This was true at TSA’s inception, and it’s true today.

It was true under the Bush Administration and it’s true under the Obama Administration, and it’ll probably still be the same under the next administration.


Because those who run your — our — government, Democrat and Republican alike, care more about the repayment of political favors than they do about your — our — lives. Period.

Stewart A. Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, said that the manual will become a textbook for those seeking to penetrate aviation security and that its leaking was serious.

“It increases the risk that terrorists will find a way through the defenses,” Baker said. “The problem is there are so many different holes that while [the TSA] can fix any one of them by changing procedures and making adjustments in the process . . . they can’t change everything about the way they operate.”

Of course there are “so many different holes” — what do you expect when you entrust policies to people who shouldn’t even be managing a security agency?

Another former DHS official, however, called the loss a public relations blunder but not a major risk, because TSA manuals are shared widely with airlines and airports and are available in the aviation community.

“While it’s certainly a type of document you would not want to be released . . . it’s not something a determined expert couldn’t find another way,” the official said.

A “public relations blunder” is certainly of more worry to a government agency than a risk to the lives of those that depend upon them for security.

As for it’s not something a determined expert couldn’t find another way, well, to say that such a statement should earn the official who uttered it an immediate date with a firing squad would be completely accurate in my book. A dedicated security professional would be looking for methods of preventing “a determined expert” from “finding it another way”.

The “former DHS official”, in my professional estimate, is a piece of shit who has no business in the Protection Industry, not even emptying the waste baskets of the folks actively engaged in doing the job at hand. But then again, look who’s running the Department of Homeland Security — Janet Napolitano, no real, hands-on security experience, instead, an infinitely more relevant qualification, political relevance.

This is a measure of how cavalier, in the name of self and party serving politics, the government can be with the safety of we, the people, whom they are sworn to protect and defend.

Of course, there’s the usual bland, butt covering form letter style malarkey from the TSA.

“TSA takes this matter very seriously and took swift action when this was discovered. A full review is now underway,” the agency said in a statement. “TSA has many layers of security to keep the traveling public safe and to constantly adapt to evolving threats. TSA is confident that screening procedures currently in place remain strong.”

To be perfectly blunt, what’s needed is management, from top to bottom, of the Transportation Safety Administration by purely meritoriously appointed or hired, experienced security professionals who have no political or other debts to anyone in the administration or anyplace else in government.

Such people would ensure the proper training and, in effect, that those trained in each specialty area have completely absorbed all of said training before they are deployed. That these employees are properly motivated. That their supervisory personnel are both responsible people and are experts themselves at their subordinates’ duties, “been there, done that”.

The incompetence at hand, as such, makes for a rather grim joke.

Employees at the Transportation Security Administration inadvertently exposed classified information about the agency’s security procedures because, apparently, they don’t know how PDF documents work.

Read on…

September 6, 2009

Technology To Thwart Applied Islam

Sometimes we must give proper thanks to the technology weenies, as here:

From a Silicon Valley office strewn with bean-bag chairs, a group of twenty-something software engineers is building an unlikely following of terrorist hunters at U.S. spy agencies.

One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software’s main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn’t do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe.

Palantir’s software has helped root out terrorist financing networks, revealed new trends in roadside bomb attacks, and uncovered details of Syrian suicide bombing networks in Iraq, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the events. It has also foiled a Pakistani suicide bombing plot on Western targets and discovered a spy infiltration of an allied government. It is now being used by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Yet Palantir — which takes its name from the “seeing stones” in the “Lord of the Rings” series — remains an outlier among government security contractors. It rejected advice to hire retired generals to curry favor with the agencies and hired young government analysts frustrated by working with slow-footed technology. The company’s founders knew little about intelligence gathering when they started out. Instead, they went on a fact-finding mission, working with analysts to build the product from scratch.

“We were very naive. We just thought this was a cool idea,” says Palantir’s 41-year-old chief executive Alexander Karp, whose usual dress is a track-suit jacket, blue jeans, and red leather sneakers. “I underestimated how difficult it would be.”

Technology like Palantir’s is increasingly important to spies confronting an information explosion, where terrorists can hide communications in vast data streams on the Internet. Intelligence agencies are struggling to identify and monitor such information — and quickly send relevant data to the analysts who need it. U.S. officials say the software is also crucial as the country steps up its offensive in difficult theaters like Afghanistan. There, Palantir’s software is now being used to analyze constantly shifting tribal dynamics and distinguish potential allies from enemies, according to current and former counterterrorism officials familiar with the work.

“It’s a new way of war fighting,” says former Assistant Secretary of Defense Mary Beth Long. While there are many good systems, Ms. Long says, with Palantir’s software “you can actually point to examples where it was pretty clear that lives were saved.”

Just thought I’d share. It’s nice to know that the Geek Squad is on the ball and pitching in where they’re needed.

The article is definitely a good read.

by @ 5:43 pm. Filed under Security, Technology

High Noon For The High Holidays

While I’m not Jewish like Seth, our gracious host, I totally love this one!

It’s high noon for the high holidays.

Fearing jihadists will attack synagogues during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a group of badass rabbis has developed a program to turn your average shul-goer into a lean, mean fighting machine.

You go, rabbis!

The group, which calls itself the International Security Coalition of Clergy, was founded by Rabbi Gary Moscowitz, who boasts a black belt in karate, teaches martial arts and was an NYPD cop for nine years.

He’s teaching others basic and advanced fighting moves — how to take down a terrorist by the neck, how to use a table as cover from gunfire and how to execute a nifty running somersault while drawing a gun — that he says can be used by Jews if they’re attacked by terrorists during prayer.

Bring ‘em on!

“Jews are not like Christians,” Moscowitz said. “If I turn my cheek, I’m coming around to make a kick.”

If I were Jewish, I guarantee I’d be a member of Moscowitz’ congregation.

Moscowitz said few people took him seriously until May, when the FBI busted homegrown Muslim terrorists for allegedly plotting to blow up synagogues in The Bronx.

Since then, he said, his phone has been ringing off the hook and he created a 100-hour course for synagogue self-defense.

Moscowitz said NYPD officers aren’t qualified to guard synagogues because they don’t know members of the congregation.

“A terrorist could put a yarmulke on, say, ‘Happy holidays,’ and blow the place up,” he said.

Not on Rabbi Moscowitz’ watch!

by @ 2:23 pm. Filed under Security

January 27, 2008

But, But I’ll Bet…

…nobody managed to “slip” through on purpose with a lethal souvenir letter opener or a deadly disposable cigarette lighter

The TSA spokesman said testing shows that the agency has a “very high success rate” in detecting firearms.

by @ 11:09 am. Filed under Homeland Security, Security, TSA Concerns

November 13, 2007

This Looks To Be Another Of Those…

…”catching up” posts.

First, there’s an excellent column by Caroline Glick on the ongoing western policy of appeasement in the face of what I personally prefer to term aggressive Islam.

MUSLIM MINORITIES throughout the world are being financed and ideologically trained in Saudi and UAE funded mosques and Islamic centers. These minorities act in strikingly similar manners in the countries where they are situated throughout the world. On the one hand, their local political leaders demand extraordinary communal rights, rights accorded neither to the national majority nor to other minority populations. On the other hand, Muslim neighborhoods, particularly in Europe, but also in Israel, the Philippines and Australia, are rendered increasingly ungovernable as arms of the state like the police and tax authorities come under attack when they attempt to assert state power in these Muslim communities.

Logic would have it that targeted states would respond to the threat to their authority through a dual strategy. On the one hand, they would firmly assert their authority by enforcing their laws against both individual lawbreakers and against subversive, foreign financed institutions that incite the overthrow of their governments and their replacement with Islamic governments. On the other hand, they would seek out and empower local Muslims who accept the authority and legitimacy of their states and their rule of law.

Unfortunately, with the notable exception of the Howard government in Australia, in country after country, governments respond to this challenge by attempting to appease Muslim irredentists and their state sponsors. The British responded to the July 7, 2005 bombings by giving representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood an official role in crafting and carrying out counter-terror policies.

In 2003, then French president Jacques Chirac sent then interior minister Nicholas Sarkozy to Egypt to seek the permission of Sheikh Mohammed Tantawi of the Islamist al-Azhar mosque for the French parliament’s plan to outlaw hijabs in French schools.

In the US, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the FBI asked the terror-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations to conduct sensitivity training for FBI agents.

In Holland last year, the Dutch government effectively expelled anti-Islamist politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the interest of currying favor with Holland’s restive Muslim minority.

At the minimum, I would say that sanity does not seem to prevail here; They are in the minority in all these countries, yet their demands are complied with post-haste, even to the point of exceeding accommodations accorded the majority in a respective host population.

This acquiescence is not restricted to laws of a social nature, on the contrary it has found its way into global politics.

THE FOREIGN policy aspect of the rush to appease is twofold. First, targeted states refuse to support one another when individual governments attempt to use the tools of law enforcement to handle their domestic jihad threat. For instance, European states have harshly criticized the US Patriot Act while the US criticized the French decision to prohibit the hijab in public schools.

More acutely, targeted states lead the charge in calling for the establishment of Muslim-only states. Today the US and the EU are leading the charge towards the establishment of a Palestinian state and the creation of an independent state of Kosovo.

In two weeks, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will host the Annapolis conference where together with her European and Arab counterparts, she will exert enormous pressure on the Olmert government to agree to the establishment of a jihadist Palestinian state in Israel’s heartland with its capital in Jerusalem and its sovereignty extending over Judaism’s most sacred site, the Temple Mount.

The establishment of the sought-for Palestinian state presupposes the ethnic cleansing of at a minimum 80,000 Israelis from their homes and communities simply because they are Jews. Jews of course will be prohibited from living in Palestine.

To continue,

FOR ITS part, the Palestinian leadership to which Israel will be expected to communicate its acceptance of the establishment of Palestine, is one part criminal, and two parts jihadist. As Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues have made clear, while they are willing to accept Israel’s concessions, they are not willing to accept Israel. This is why they refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

A rare consensus exists today in Israel. From the far-left to the far-right, from IDF Military Intelligence to the Mossad, all agree that the Annapolis conference will fail to bring a peace accord. Since Rice’s approach to reaching just such an accord has been to apply unrelenting pressure on Israel, it is fairly clear that she will blame Israel for the conference’s preordained failure and cause a further deterioration in US-Israeli relations.

While Israel is supposed to accept a Jew-free Palestine, it goes without saying that its own 20 percent Arab minority will continue to enjoy the full rights of Israeli citizenship. Yet one of the direct consequences of the establishment of a Jew-free, pro-jihadist State of Palestine will be the further radicalization of Israeli Arabs. They will intensify their current rejection of Israel’s national identity.

With Palestinian and outside support, they will intensify their irredentist activities and so exert an even more devastating attack on Israel’s sovereignty and right to national self-determination.

Ma zeh?” {Hebrew for “what’s this?”} you may ask. Well, one answer is that it’s lackluster diplomacy — you know, just like what an employer might expect from a lazy employee of the “sweep under a rug” persuasion. The politicians and diplomats on the western side of the equation want only to put the Israeli-”Palestinian” affair to bed once and for all, the consequences of any expediency be damned, and as a bonus, giving Israel the fid will also fulfill the requisites of The New Dhimmitude©.

SHORTLY AFTER the Annapolis conference fails, and no doubt in a bid to buck up its standing with the Arab world, the US may well stand by its stated intention to recognize the independence of Kosovo.

Yeah, well,

As Julia Gorin

(Julia is profoundly well informed on affairs in the Balkans, and the bulk of her columns specialize therein)

documented in a recent article here, in Jewish World Review, Kosovo’s connections with Albanian criminal syndicates and global jihadists are legion. Moreover, Kosovar independence would likely spur irredentist movements among the Muslim minorities in all Balkan states. In Macedonia for instance, a quarter of the population is Muslim. These irredentist movements in turn would increase Muslim irredentism throughout Europe just as Palestinian statehood will foment an intensification of the Islamization of Israel’s Arab minority.

The Kosovo government announced last month that given the diplomatic impasse, it plans to declare its independence next month. Currently, the Bush administration is signaling its willingness to recognize an independent Kosovo even though doing so will threaten US-Russian relations.

In a bid both to prevent the Bush administration from turning on Israel in the aftermath of the failure of the Annapolis conference and to make clear Israel’s own rejection of the notion that a “solution” to the Palestinian conflict with Israel can be imposed by foreign powers, the Olmert government should immediately and loudly restate its opposition to the imposition of Kosovar independence on Serbia.

In the interest of defending the nation-state system, on which American sovereignty and foreign policy is based, the US should reassess the logic of its support for the establishment of Muslim-only states. It should similarly revisit its refusal to openly support the right of non-Islamic states like Israel, Serbia and even France, to assert their rights to defend their sovereignty, national security and national character from outside-sponsored domestic Islamic subversion.

There’s a lot more happening in Ms. Glick’s column, which can be read in its entirety here.

In my mind’s ear (if there can be a mind’s eye, there must surely also exist a mind’s ear) I keep hearing the phrase, “The creep of Islam”.

“Moving right along”…

This is really funny. Put down your coffee cup before you listen.

A car accident happened in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area.

This is a recorded phone call from a man who witnessed the accident involving four elderly women. It was so popular when they played it on the local radio station the station decided to put it on their website.

Next up, and while the following articles are several days old they are by no means historical,

Nearly two dozen illegal immigrants were arrested Wednesday, accused of using fake security badges to work in critical areas of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, including the tarmac, authorities said.

The 23 illegal workers were employed by Ideal Staffing Solutions Inc., whose corporate secretary and office manager also were arrested after an eight-month investigation that involved federal, state and Chicago authorities.

The company contracted work for carriers including UAL Corp.’s (UAUA) United Airlines, KLM and Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN.AU), said Elissa A. Brown, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

“The investigation identifies a vulnerability that could compromise national security, while bringing criminal charges against individuals who built an illegal work force into their business practice,” Brown said.

Read the entire article here.

As if that weren’t enough,

The Transportation Security Administration touts its programs to ensure security by using undercover operatives to test its airport screeners. In one instance, however, the agency thwarted such a test by alerting screeners across the country that it was under way, even providing descriptions of the undercover agents.

The government routinely runs covert tests at airports to ensure that security measures in place are sufficient to stop a terrorist from bringing something dangerous onto an airplane.
Alerting screeners when the undercover officer is coming through and what the person looks like would defeat the purpose.

But that’s exactly what happened April 28, 2006, according to an e-mail from a top TSA official who oversees security operations.

This one’s a real winner, read on…

On the one hand, we have airports hiring HR contractors who make a practice of endangering the lives of scores, hundreds or thousands of people and on the other, the government agency responsible for U.S. airport security is rigging security inspections to make it appear that they are doing their job.

No matter how much effort I put into it, I can’t find even the slightest hint of justification for the above two situations. Does this make me a bad person?

Some people definitely need to be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows, some people need to be replaced and some people need to be majorly retrained….

October 21, 2007

If I Needed Any Concrete Evidence…

…that I have somewhere along the line become a stone Internet (© Algore) addict, the last half week supplied all the proof I need.

I lit up Mr. Inspiron at Zero Dark Hundred Hours on Thursday to find a blue screen informing me that I couldn’t come in, because there was something-or-other afoot that would damage my computer if I did.

“Bummer,” I thought.

I called Dell Tech Support, went through the usual Pomp & Circumstance you go through before you find yourself in touch with a human being in the proper department, and was dumbfounded when I discovered that the homosapien in question was, while obviously elsewhere in the world (it’s hard to say whether she was a Latina or a Bangalorian, and I’ve always been really good with accents, but I think that was because her English, diction and vocabulary both, was nothing short of excellent), was eminently understandable, profoundly knowledgeable and had a real ease about her, the kind that comes, part and parcel, with experience. Our entire exchange was more a conversation, including some mutually enjoyed humorous asides, than it was a report/response exchange.

Her diagnosis was that I needed to reinstall Windows XP Professional, using the back-up CD they should have sent me with my notebook. She also told me that when I’d purchased the computer, Dell hadn’t been including the XP disc among the others in the box, so she had to overnight it to me. She made the soonest appointment available (for she or someone from her unit to call me and walk me through the reinstall, once I had the CD), which was for Saturday Afternoon.

Aaargh!!!! I was contemplating up to 2 1/2 days without being able to get online from a PJ-friendly environment! I repeat, Aaargh!

I must confess to a certain degree of withdrawal symptoms, probably like a heroin addict “Jonesing”, only without the physical stress. To pontificate and employ more scientific language, well, let’s just say it sucked.

So yesterday, a Dell Dude, also uncharacteristically knowledgeable and with undeterminate accent, called and we did the thing with the CD, which entailed him calling me back a few times while the disc took its time doing its job.

After that, it took 2 restarts and I was back in business.

Being of the half full and silver lining persuation by nature, I will say that my computer’s performance has improved quite a bit since the CD and the Dell folks did what they did, it turns out that a lot of a slowness of loading, despite the fastest DSL available from AT&T/Yahoo!, was as much the fault of some sort of deterioration in my operating platform as it was from the drag (as opposed to thrust) of IE-7.

Boy, don’t I sound high-tech…

Back on-line, I was confronted by a highly daunting quantity of emails to reply to, emailed news/opinion subscription venues to work my way through and 2 1/2 days’ worth of spam that goes around the filters thanks to what is hopefully only negligence on the part of Blogspot (don’t blame “Desenex”, I’m a Munuvian and I use Word Press: They allow megaspammers to use their servers — the only spam that penetrates into my comment sections have Blogspot URLs, and they come both simultaneously and in large quantities). Blogspot is apparently hosting a movie sequel: I, Spambot.

Plus, I have two days’ worth of catching up to do as regards visiting the sites of many, many fellow bloggers, which for me is a priority pursuit after eating and sleeping.


Now that we’ve gotten the above “adventure” out of the way, the first thing I want to do is express my intense satisfaction at the election of Bobby Jindal as governor of Louisiana.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal easily defeated 11 opponents and became the state’s first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction, decades after his parents moved to the state from India to pursue the American dream.

Jindal, a 36-year-old Republican, will be the nation’s youngest governor. He had 53 percent with 625,036 votes with about 92 percent of the vote tallied. It was more than enough to win Saturday’s election outright and avoid a Nov. 17 runoff.

This guy is phenomenal, he’s one of those rare politicians who embrace the concept of what I tend to think of as “practice over theory”. He does stuff rather than expound upon it, and at the relatively young age of 36 he has won the respect and confidence of the vast majority (just look at the figures, and these published by Yahoo!, a highly liberal, PC client of the Associated Press) of Louisiana voters.

I lived in Nawlins for many years in earlier periods of my adult life, from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, from days when the Superdome and the Hibernia Tower were pretty much the city’s skyline to an era in which there is a full skyline of modern hotels and other high rises.

Truth to tell, I preferred things the old way — I so miss pre-high tech architecture (from back in the days when men were men and sheep were scared — sorry, my own sense of humor, as bizarre as it sometimes happens to be, rendered it impossible for me not to interject that particular semi-appropriate cliche), when an architect was someone who designed buildings via creativity rather than computer model and a mason was permitted to add artistic detail to the project.

But as usual, I digress…

Remember my admission re “half full” and “silver lining”s? Well, keeping in mind Hurricane Katrina’s introduction of profound tragedy to the Crescent City and much of the rest of southern Louisiana, with its resultant out-of-state relocation of so many residents (here, at risk of sounding like the racist I’m not — this is for any readers who tow the PC line rather than the realism one) from the low-income neighborhoods that produce gang bangers and related homicides and draw the bulk of public largesse, and the fact that residents of parishes like Orleans and Jefferson hold the same kind of sway at the polls that NYC voters do in New York State politics, my own interpretation of the Jindal victory is that:

Louisiana voters see their present circumstances as an opportunity to fix the presently (and historically) corrupt, southern Democrat “old boy network” run political system, and they’ve voted in Jindal, exactly “the man for the job”.

Bravo to the Louisiana electorate!

The next item I would have posted on had I not encountered my computer problem would have been linking this must read column by Diana West.

In my opinion, the most powerful segment reads:

The point of my talk — based on my new book, “The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization” (linked below) — was to explain why perpetual adolescence is not just a cultural drag, but also dangerous to our way of life. I argued that the leveling of adult authority over the past half century or so was accompanied by a leveling of cultural authority.

This brought on the age of multiculturalism, a time when Western Civ (like the adult) no longer occupies its old pinnacle atop the hierarchy of cultures. The multiculti conception of equally valuable cultures (except for the West, which is deemed the pits) depends on a strenuous non-judgmentalism. This non-judgmentalism expresses itself in a self-censoring adherence to political correctness.

Such non-judgmentalism, such PC self-censorship, is infantilizing because it requires us to suppress our faculties of analysis and judgment.

Finally, we come to one of those topics that’s near and dear, as they say, to my heart: Security.

Security screeners at two of the nation’s busiest airports failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers in more than 60% of tests last year, according to a classified report obtained by USA TODAY.

Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75% of simulated explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, the TSA report shows.

At Chicago O’Hare International Airport, screeners missed about 60% of hidden bomb materials that were packed in everyday carry-ons — including toiletry kits, briefcases and CD players. San Francisco International Airport screeners, who work for a private firm instead of the TSA, missed about 20% of the bombs, the report shows. The TSA ran about 70 tests at Los Angeles, 75 at Chicago and 145 at San Francisco.

How comforting is that?

Anyone who has visited here over the last couple of years knows that as a protection professional I’ve kinda-sorta expressed my doubts where the TSA, at ground level, is concerned.

From my own considerable domestic airport experience (speaking strictly as a traveller), my personal top rating for professionalism in post-9/11 passenger screening goes to Logan International — those folks have no intention of allowing a second 9/11 from taking off out of Boston.

Look, my air travel is haphazard, I usually fly on short notice and, if the trip is multi-city, I take things one-way by one-way. The security programming in post 9/11 airline reservations systems often forwards requests that TSA search the luggage of/wand the bearers of one way or “day or two before reservations” fares and/or give them “special attention”. I have no problem with that. All “out of the norm” situations should be investigated.

As a human being, I tend to look at issues with the inclusion of “pros” & “cons”.

That is pretty much why I thought I should bring up this product.

Privacy experts are concerned that a full body x-ray scanner the Transportation Security Administration is testing will produce such revealing images that they could violate Americans’ civil liberties. And some experts, who see no civil liberty problems, think the machines are too expensive, too bulky, and not needed given current security procedures at airports.

“We are not convinced that it is the right thing for America,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Technology and Liberty Program. “We are skeptical of the privacy safeguards that the TSA is touting.”

TSA, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, will be testing the Active Millimeter Wave body scanners at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, with plans to test machines at New York’s JFK and LAX in Los Angeles over the next few months.

TSA will also purchase eight millimeter wave units at a cost of $1.7 million to be used in other cities.

WTF is a “privacy expert”? Is this a bona fide job title or professional designation?

According to TSA, the process — a voluntary alternative to a pat-down during secondary screening — works as follows: A passenger steps into the machine and remains still for a matter of seconds, in two different positions, while the technology creates a three-dimensional image of the passenger from two antennas that simultaneously rotate around the body. Once complete the passenger steps through the opposite side of the millimeter wave portal.

The scanner’s manufacturers, L3 Communications, said the machine “penetrates clothing and packaging to reveal and pinpoint hidden weapons, explosives, drugs, and other contraband,” calling it “more reliable and less intrusive than pat-down searches.”

Yet “this technology produces strikingly graphic images of passengers’ bodies,” said Steinhardt. “Those images reveal not only our private body parts, but also intimate medical details like colostomy bags.”

“That degree of examination amounts to a significant - and for some people, humiliating - assault on the essential dignity of passengers that citizens in a free nation should not have to tolerate,” he said.

Before I comment on the immediate above, read this:

“They say that they are obscuring faces, but that is just a software fix that can be undone as easily as it is applied,” warned Steinhardt. “And obscuring faces does not hide the fact that the rest of the body will be vividly displayed.”

“Over time, the personnel operating this system will get mischievous, and it will be misused in ways that are very offensive,” added Jim Harper, director of Information Policy Studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.


“Yo, Ralph! This guy’s wearing a colostomy bag!”

Haw, Haw!!!!

What a bunch of Bee Ess!

Who gives a xxxx?

This is a typical liberal pitch, based upon “what if?” — “This could happen, so we need to flee, capitulate or downright surrender, to do otherwise would be politically incorrect!”

The above paragraph defines those on the far left to the letter.

Thank G-d that we right thinkers don’t follow the same directives that are adhered to by the left.

Okay, that should more than adequately convey my own attitude on the subject.

My other concern here is that –

TSA chief Kip Hawley, responding to previous reports about screeners missing hidden weapons, told a House hearing Tuesday that high failure rates stem from increasingly difficult covert tests that require screeners to find bomb parts the size of a pen cap. “We moved from testing of completely assembled bombs … to the small component parts,” he said.

This is total bullshit (© El Toro). It is “in name only” security. Either you secure a venue or you don’t, period. If you own a dress factory, it’s okay to hire seamstresses who skylark as they work, but if you run a security department, contractor or agency you’d damn well better employ people who can stay focused and for whom you’ve spent whatever sums it takes to see that they are trained and prepared for every eventuality, in their area of responsibility, that might come to pass.

Ex: A friend of mine was the security director for a major tenant brokerage firm in the World Trade Center at the time of the first bombing, which occured on the front end of a weekend. When the markets opened on Monday, he had relocated all the brokers, etc to a location on Hudson Street and they were doing business as though nothing had happened.

Ex 2: When I was employed in casino security in Nevada years ago, I was fortunate enough to work for a security director who believed in training the #&*%^$#& out of his floor officers, investigators and supervisors (After coming in at entry level, I was all of the these as time progressed). We attended classes, courses, workshops, lectures, etc in every area that even remotely affected us and our responsibilities, and it all paid off majorly for the casino in a number of ways that would require either a book or an extremely long post to even scratch…

To continue, however,

Terrorists bringing a homemade bomb on an airplane, or bringing on bomb parts and assembling them in the cabin, is the top threat against aviation. “Their focus is on using items easily available off grocery and hardware store shelves,” Hawley said.

In My Personal and Professional Opinion (s), security concerns are paramount in both the Public and Private sectors, and costs should never enter into the equation. If you’re a guest in My House and tragedy ensues, I’ll put my life on the line to ensure that you emerge unharmed.


October 8, 2007

Comment On The Blackwater Kerfuffle

Being a career (attemptedly semi-retired) security professional, I have been watching the Blackwater saga unfold with great interest. You really need to follow that link to their website and take a good gander at what they do, the services and training they provide and what they’re about, keeping in mind that while they’re big guys in their particular segment of the Protection Industry, they’re not without competitors — they simply happened to fall into the media spotlight due to an “incident” or two.

These beleaguered folks, by now, must know how Microsoft feels on any given day where litigious persecution is concerned.

Looking at the video embedded in the article regarding the Iraq shooting incident, I can’t help but observe that the aftermath views looked a lot more to me like those of a firefight than the results of a security detail running amok. Firms like Blackwater tend to do serious background checks on prospective employees and subcontractors and inject psychological data into the equation. The very idea that the Blackwater security team would have gone off on a collective berserk episode sounds suspiciously like the allegations (and slander) against U.S. Marines that now has traitor John (spit!!!!) Murtha in the legal hot seat, where I sincerely hope he fries to a fine golden brown.

I’m hoping that the “joint Iraqi and U.S.” investigation into the incident is conducted with strong U.S. participation, so we stand the best chance of getting the facts straight. I am infinitely more trusting of the investigative abilities of the likes of the Bureau and other U.S. agencies than I am of people whose religion endorses takkiya and who have lived their lives, or the bulk of same, under the thumb of a regime that determined innocence or guilt based on expediency rather than evidence.

It should be interesting to see how the arms-to-terrorists bit comes out — here, I draw no conclusions. Given the kind of revenues Blackwater enjoys, I doubt that they would take the risk of losing everything to generate the relatively paultry income of selling arms to the bad guys. On the other hand, there are always the possibilities that either some of their onsite personnel could be “in business for themselves” or, to paraphrase any liberal’s dampest and stickiest dreams, that the firm is arming the terrorists in order to perpetuate their own Iraq security operations.

None of the above is anywhere near even speculatory status with me, I’m simply tossing out some possibilities. I fervently hope the last idea is not the case.

All that aside, what actually comes into scrutiny is the mainstream media (MSM)’s reporting of the event.

Employees of Blackwater USA have engaged in nearly 200 shootings in Iraq since 2005, in a vast majority of cases firing their weapons from moving vehicles without stopping to count the dead or assist the wounded, according to a new report from Congress.

In at least two cases, Blackwater paid victims’ family members who complained, and sought to cover up other episodes, the Congressional report said. It said State Department officials approved the payments in the hope of keeping the shootings quiet. In one case last year, the department helped Blackwater spirit an employee out of Iraq less than 36 hours after the employee, while drunk, killed a bodyguard for one of Iraq’s two vice presidents on Christmas Eve.

The report by the Democratic majority staff of a House committee adds weight to complaints from Iraqi officials, American military officers and Blackwater’s competitors that company guards have taken an aggressive, trigger-happy approach to their work and have repeatedly acted with reckless disregard for Iraqi life.

But the report is also harshly critical of the State Department for exercising virtually no restraint or supervision of the private security company’s 861 employees in Iraq. “There is no evidence in the documents that the committee has reviewed that the State Department sought to restrain Blackwater’s actions, raised concerns about the number of shooting episodes involving Blackwater or the company’s high rate of shooting first, or detained Blackwater contractors for investigation,” the report states.

Before I even consider going any further, I must first address the part about Blackwater contractors firing from their vehicles and not stopping afterwards to check for wounded and dead, etc — anyone who is even remotely conversant with executive protection knows that when your detail comes under attack, your only job is to get the principal out of harm’s way — you don’t hang around for humanitarian purposes or whatever, you beat feet, protectee in tow. An assassination or abduction attempt could include a back-up detail, right there on the scene.

When a (protection) client’s life is in your hands, proprieties be damned. Your only purpose is to keep him/her alive, whatever happens to other people is their business.


The rest of the account is not only also pure MSM, it’s also very nearly the soulmate of a template that could have been used in the left’s failed attempt to embroil Blackwater in the same politics-based, politically motivated millieu as the selfsame “news” media attempted to place on the Marines a couple of years ago, as referenced above, during whose endeavor disgrace to the Marines and general purpose traitor Representative Jack Murtha, without awaiting even the preliminary results of any investigation, accused U.S. Marines of being cold blooded murderers.

This kind of stuff, given the fact that over three decades ago I had strongly considered a career as a journalist, really makes me despair of those on the port side of that particular equation — they are so dedicated to forcing their political point of view on the unsuspecting public that the truth, impartiality and accuracy of delivering unbiased, factual news to their faithful American audience has become a secondary consideration to these “reporters”.

Shame on them!

As far as the Democratic majority in Congress are concerned, well, they have been true to form on this issue — their actions on same, showing their usual lack of sincerity on any subject vs their politically opportunistic nature, have managed to tack a domestic agenda of theirs onto this situation:

The Senate on Monday gave final approval, 92 to 3, to a defense policy bill that included the establishment of an independent commission to investigate private contractors operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill, which must be reconciled with a House version, faces a veto threat because it includes an expansion of federal hate-crimes laws


Emphasis mine.

In summary, our diplomats are using security firms like Blackwater for protection in terrorist/war zone environments they must negotiate in order to do their jobs without being murdered in the process. This is not a job for rent-a-cops from Wackenhut or Securitas, it is a job for seasoned combat veterans armed with military smallarms and prepared to return fire without compunction.

Blackwater’s chairman, Erik Prince, made no bones when it came to defending his firm on the Hill.

The State Department made their position clear here and here.

Condi Rice has responded thus.

It seems to me that the bottom line is that, having had their collective ass kicked public opinionwise, over the Petraeus Report, the left is now using Blackwater as a new avenue for attacking our endeavors in Iraq.

If only they expressed the same degree of concerns on our economy, our national security and even the most basic of moral considerations…

by @ 4:16 am. Filed under Security

August 28, 2007

Here’s Another Development I Consider An Enabler Of…

…the North American Union agenda.

Remember, the “consultants” privileged to attend the closed door SPP (Security & Prosperity Partnership of North America) meetings represent corporate interests by virtue of being the corporate interests (the North American Competitiveness Council, or NACC).

Of late, in my own industry, there has been much activity in certain places: Basically, government law enforcement has been responding to budgetary and manpower considerations by assigning exceedingly more investigative and enforcement responsibility to corporate security departments. In North Carolina, they’re providing police training to private security officers and issuing them full police arrest authority.

In my own “era” of hands-on security work and, later, security supervision, the best we could do was a citizen’s arrest. We would fill out all the police paperwork and when they arrived, we would hand them the entire package, right down to witness statements, polaroids or videotape. They would call in for a case number, swap handcuffs and transport the prisoner. As a casino security shift supervisor, I had open door access to the city attorney and other prosecutors (we had as many professional dealings with the local criminal community as the PD, and the same insights), and often during short conferences I briefed a city, state or federal prosecutor on the details not coverable in a report that is a legal document — conclusions, recommendations, gut feelings, etc. Sometimes, we would discuss the penalties the prosecution would ask for, and my opinion counted.

But we were not cops, we were private sector employees charged with protecting the assets and interests of the company we worked for.

Before and since going into the consulting biz, I’ve attended armloads of classes, courses, seminars and workshops across the security spectrum and read scores of books and reports as they came out, keeping abreast of my industry. Networking has brought me into friendships and exchanges of information with dozens of fellow security professionals.

A British colleague, one of a few colleagues who spent the past Christmas and New Year’s as my house guests, told me back then about the trend in Britain of granting police responsibilities to private security departments and firms, and more recently, in Protection Industry reports, I’ve read about the same trend beginning to take hold here, in parts of the U.S.A.

There are even private contractors building and running prisons!


Almost. If you have lots of time to read a highly informative report re just how big outsourced military and security assets have become on the world stage, read this report.

What will happen over the next few, short years is that both proprietary and contract security forces will evolve into better trained concerns that possess police authority, and we will see commensurate downsizing in public law enforcement agencies.

Basically, the government will largely be saying to businesses and gated community type venues, “police yourselves”, and gradually, law enforcement will become the purview of corporate security people, as will incarceration become a province of the private sector.

When I worked in the casino, we had an instant communications network established between the surveillance departments of all the casinos in town, and all security supervisors shared a radio frequency connected to the network. It was a natural progression as ever-advancing technology afforded us those options, and it was profoundly useful.

Who’s to think that the same sort of arrangement won’t be implemented among the security departments of the various corporations involved? Or the larger contract firms? This would place a hell of a lot of power in the hands of those business concerns.

While I’m a strong advocate of limited government, I think we ought to leave things like law enforcement and incarceration right where they belong — under taxpayer supervision. Putting them in the hands of “corporate interests” just ain’t gonna cut it.

But mark my words, it will happen soon. We will outsource our protective venues.

We will suffer for it, but it will become part & parcel of our existence should we permit the NAU agenda to reach fruition.

Credit where credit is due:

I actually had a bit of trouble composing this post, and it spent considerable time in “save” mode, but then I read a post over at Shoprat’s place that provided insight I needed to better define my point of view.

by @ 6:27 am. Filed under Just Editorializing, North American Union (NAU), Security