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Former DHS Official Blames Privacy Advocates For TSA's Aggressive Procedures 325

Posted by timothy
from the it's-that-pesky-interest-in-freedom dept.
colinneagle writes with an interesting excerpt from Senate testimony offered yesterday, on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, from Stewart Baker. Baker formerly served as DHS Assistant Secretary and NSA General Counsel, and gave his opinion on the source of the real problems within the TSA, opining: "Unlike border officials, though, TSA ended up taking more time to inspect everyone, treating all travelers as potential terrorists, and subjecting many to whole-body imaging and enhanced pat-downs. We can't blame TSA for this wrong turn, though. Privacy lobbies persuaded Congress that TSA couldn't be trusted with data about the travelers it was screening. With no information about travelers, TSA had no choice but to treat them all alike, sending us down a long blind alley that has inconvenienced billions."
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Former DHS Official Blames Privacy Advocates For TSA's Aggressive Procedures

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  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:44PM (#44833635)

    Sounds like the lesser of two evils to me. If you really think they would not have done both keeping data and the enhanced pat downs I have a bridge to sell you in New York. Slightly used.

    • by mellon (7048) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:01PM (#44833847) Homepage

      Furthermore, what the hell are they talking about anyway? Are they not aware of the TSA Secure Flight program? The no fly lists? Etc? You can't get anywhere near a commercial flight without the TSA knowing everything including your shoe size.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:23PM (#44834141)

        If the TSA gets direct access to the NSA's data, your average TSA grunt will read his girlfriend's email and find out that yes, she has been cheating on him. He will then get out of his dead-end relationship, pick himself up and get out more, meet new people, and have more sex. Once his sexual frustration is gone, he won't have to take his frustration out on travellers by harassing them and thrashing their luggage.
        The question we should be asking is, why does the EFF hate our luggage?

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:02PM (#44833869)
      The TSA checkpoints, pat downs, nude scanners, and so forth are a complete waste. No competent terrorist would be deterred by such things -- and "competent" here means "able to do more damage in an airplane than out." It is easy enough to make a makeshift weapon past the checkpoints, and the 9/11 hijackers all used makeshift weapons. I am not even plotting an attack and I can think of a half dozen ways to arm myself on the other side of a TSA checkpoint.

      Basically the TSA is cover-your-ass security theater. If there is any kind of attack, nobody wants to be the politicians who voted to remove the TSA from our airports, regardless of whether or not the checkpoints make a difference.
      • It is easy enough to make a makeshift weapon past the checkpoints, and the 9/11 hijackers all used makeshift weapons. I am not even plotting an attack and I can think of a half dozen ways to arm myself on the other side of a TSA checkpoint.

        Exactly - all the security theater in the world won't do you a lick of good so long as one can still convince an underpaid, disgruntled porter to stash weapons in the terminal for a couple hundred bucks.

      • by Entropius (188861) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:46PM (#44834421)

        Never mind that. Imagine someone wheeling a wheelie-suitcase consisting of explosives, nails, and warfarin powder into the TSA checkpoint -- you know, the ones consisting of a thousand people milling around waiting in line to take off their shoes and get groped -- and blowing it up.

        You'd have a giant bloody mess, gobs of dead Americans, and a lot of very expensive theatrical equipment damaged, plus temporary paralysis of air travel, plus even more rules that impede travel.

        The fact that nobody has done this yet points to al-Qaeda not trying very hard -- if they really did want to kill a bunch of Americans and terrorize us, they could do a lot better than the motley assortment of underpants bombers, shoe bombers, butt bombers (wasn't there one of those in Saudi Arabia?), and the like that have shown up lately.

        • by mellon (7048) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @05:24PM (#44834809) Homepage

          Depends on their goal. The underwear bomber made a shitload of money for the pornoscanner companies. The shoe bomber slowed down security checkpoints. The liquid explosive fraud created a huge hassle and is now making a lot of money for concessions at airports. The amount of economic damage these attacks have caused is absolutely massive! A suitcase bomb at the TSA screening area doesn't have an easy and economically damaging countermeasure, so there's not much point. That attack was tried once [wikipedia.org]. Aside from a temporary dip in the stock market in Russia, it was ineffective—no massively expensive security measures have been instituted in response.

          • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:03PM (#44835553)

            no massively expensive security measures have been instituted in response

            That's because the massively expensive security measures that the government ordered implemented were overturned by the Russian courts as depriving people of rights.

            In America, you violate the rights of citizens in the name of security; In (former) Soviet Russia, the independent judiciary acts as a check and balance on the totalitarian executive branch.

            For some reason, it's less funny then most of Yakov's jokes.

        • butt bombers (wasn't there one of those in Saudi Arabia?)

          Abdullah Hassan Al Aseery [wikipedia.org] and it failed because his body basically shielded the intended target from the blast. Kind of like a twisted version of throwing yourself on the grenade.

          • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:07PM (#44836107)

            Abdullah Hassan Al Aseery [wikipedia.org] and it failed because his body basically shielded the intended target from the blast. Kind of like a twisted version of throwing yourself on the grenade.

            When the police were investigating the scene, the prudish officer asked a witness where the bomber hid the device...

            He hid the Damn thing up his Ass, Officer!"

            "Rectum, please, his rectum" The officer retorted

            "Rectum Hell, it killed him!" the witness declared.

        • by icebike (68054) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @06:39PM (#44835399)

          Never mind that. Imagine someone wheeling a wheelie-suitcase consisting of explosives, nails, and warfarin powder into the TSA checkpoint -- you know, the ones consisting of a thousand people milling around waiting in line to take off their shoes and get groped -- and blowing it up.

          There are a lot of easier places to hit than airports, as the Boston Marathon bombers proved. Yes, they maybe could have hurt more people by crashing a plane, but they could have done far more damage at any random sports stadium in the country with far simpler tools. Should any putative terrorists get their hands on simple mortars they could do this from half a mile away.

          I agree, the evidence is that al-Qaeda, and their wanna-bees are not trying very hard.

          And its not due to the surveillance culture the federal government has dropped over the entire nation. Virtually every fool the feds have caught was lured into a trap that they probably didn't have the brains or the means to develop by themselves. Meanwhile the determined, but not terribly bright Boston Bombers walk right through the dragnet even after being fingered by the Russians.

          In the meantime Air travel in this country is virtually unbearable, no-fly-lists are unconstitutional, and every federal agent knows ahead of time you are planning a trip anyway.

          The whole privacy argument is nonsense. You could make a case for the anti-racial profiling causing mass fondlement, but not privacy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fustakrakich (1673220)

        ...nude scanners, and so forth are a complete waste.

        Obviously, you don't sell or distribute nude scanners, or you wouldn't be saying that.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:09PM (#44833963) Journal

      The TSA had two choices. Treat them all alike and respect their Constitutional rights, or treat them all alike and ignore their Constitutional rights. The TSA chose the latter, and everyone involved with it deserves prosecution for deprivation of rights under color of law [justice.gov].

  • by dissy (172727) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:45PM (#44833643)

    Yes, I was punching, kicking, and otherwise beating the crap out of this random person.
    It was the fact they put their arms up to shield their face that resulted in such a horrible beating. I bare no fault what so ever for his actions which, despite being performed after I started the beating, are still somehow the reason for the beating.

    • Re:bizaro universe (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:13PM (#44834013)

      It was the fact they put their arms up to shield their face that resulted in such a horrible beating

      You say this as a funny comment, but I've been told this seriously. Back in the second grade, my son was in lining up for an assembly (about bullying, ironically) when one kid (a known trouble-maker) started jumping forward in line. My son is sensitive about his personal space so when the kid jumped in front of him, my son put his arms up to protect his face. The kid hit my son hard in the stomach. Hard enough to send him to the nurse with bruises.

      I had a meeting with the principal and teachers about it. After first denying anyone saw what happened, they then told me that my son started it by raising his hands. When they moved from that to "your son's not the TYPE to be bullied" (their exact wording), I ended the meeting and my wife came to bring my son home. We pulled him out of school and went to the superintendent to change schools since we didn't feel he was safe there.

      Blaming the victim, sadly, is something that many people engage in instead of taking responsibility for their actions.

      • Re:bizaro universe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:40PM (#44834349) Homepage Journal

        A buddy of mine was just telling me last week that his 3rd grade daughter was suspended for defending herself against a known bully; the school's rationale? She had a conversation with the bully once before, which in their eyes counts as a willing confrontation.

        I wonder, sometimes, how much more fucked up these policies can get before the pendulum swings in the other direction.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I wonder, sometimes, how much more fucked up these policies can get before the pendulum swings in the other direction.

          There's no pendulum. That was the unofficial policy when I was a kid. You let the bullies bully you. If you stood up to them, you created the problem for the teacher, bus driver, etc. You will be punished for standing up to a bully, because without that there wouldn't be a visible problem. Reporting bullying was even worse. I've never heard of this being any different, so I don't think the pendulum is swinging.

          • by gagol (583737)
            Not my policy, I (the whole school) had a bully gang when I was in 7th and 8th grade. It stoped when I beat the hell out of a one of them, like we did not see hom for the rest of the year. It worked, the school was sane after that. He did not suspect a geek would practice martial arts. The trick is to be so violent, no one would rat you out.
        • Re:bizaro universe (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @05:34PM (#44834915)

          Daughter, First Grade. Hit a biter after he drew blood on her and told him "BITING HURTS TOO BUT YOU KEEP DOING IT" while showing her leg when he ran to the teacher.

          She was suspended for three days [of snacks and videogames I assure you] and I had to explain to her that sometimes very bad people are in charge, so doing a good thing makes them want to punish you.

          Vice-principal wasn't too happy about the explanation being done in front of the teacher and the little bastard's parents, but we'll see about changing schools next year.

        • Re:bizaro universe (Score:4, Interesting)

          by XcepticZP (1331217) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @06:51PM (#44835465)
          Call me weird, but your story reminds me a whole lot of this talk of gun registration and the subsequent disarming of the public that so many call for. Bullies play by their rules, and you're stuck with gimped rules to defend yourself with against them. Leaving you only one recourse, to cry for help. But what happens when no one comes which is so often the case?
  • Brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:47PM (#44833679)

    What a strategy. Want to curtail both privacy and freedom? Set up a a blackmail scheme where you pit one against the other.

    • I'm sure glad I'm not falling for the false dilemma. But I'm also not pleased that my fellow countrymen almost definitely will. But in decreasing numbers.

  • by jd2112 (1535857) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:50PM (#44833727)
    It's not my fault I beat you up. If you had just given me your lunch money you wouldn't have a black eye.
  • a no win situation. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:51PM (#44833735)

    dhs was created and given the impossible job of keeping everyone safe all the time.

    if someone gets killed then dhs will be the scapegoat in endless congressional hearings.

    what did we expect DHS and the TSA would do? i personally expect them to freak-the-fuck-out and go crazy with the aggressive techniques.

    the public bitches no matter what.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      The blame belongs first and foremost at the feet of "our" congress critters for making perfection in security a mission in the first place.

      The TSA is complicit however and shares the blame, due to the very same principle that allows the feds themselves to bust co-conspirators for aiding and abetting.

    • dhs was created and given the impossible job of keeping everyone safe all the time.

      Ah, well, there's the root of the problem - there is no Constitutionally guaranteed right to safety, or even the illusion of safety.

      Dink.

      • I don't think you know how government works.

        Constitutional rights themselves do not directly prescribe a specific method of governance. A constitution establishes a government and provides a framework for the government to operate in. The people (or their elected representatives) then decide what specific things the government should do within that framework. Public safety as a generality clearly falls within the bounds of that framework. The specific manner in which it is implemented is certainly up fo

    • by hedwards (940851)

      No, the DHS was given the job of deciding what threats are out there and protecting us against them.

      Of course they're going to see threats everywhere, that's how they justify getting more and more funding. And it will remain a problem as long as they're responsible for both.

  • by magarity (164372) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:52PM (#44833741)

    I blame the mentality that profiling is some horrible crime, therefore everyone must be overly searched.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I blame the mentality that profiling is some horrible crime, therefore everyone must be overly searched.

      I see over-searching as a punishment for resisting profiling. That might be the same thing as you said.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      If you do that any bad actors will simply use those who do not fit your profile. See how silly you are being?

    • The 9/11 attackers didn't fit any profile.

      Unless you can come up with Tricorder that somehow finds a terrorist molecule in the body, the idea of profiling is useless.

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        Really? I ask, having lived at the time about 4 miles from the motel where the Boston crew spent the night before, and having seen their photos.

        I paid attention to that part of it.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        The 9/11 attackers were a combination of people of interest and those that could be linked together using public records and 12 year old data mining techniques.

        That's why the no-fly list is such a joke.

        That kind of nonsense didn't stop 9/11 to begin with.

    • Blame stupidity (Score:4, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:08PM (#44833955)
      The checkpoints are a waste of time and money that have not stopped a single realistic terrorist plot. Profiling is irrelevant, already performed, and does not improve the effectiveness of the TSA checkpoints. This is a distraction from the real issue: billions of wasted dollars, millions of travelers intimidated into giving up their civil rights, and nothing to show for any of it.
    • by shentino (1139071)

      Racial profiling works well because believe it or not, terrorists are often from countries that have either a government, a population, or both that have a beef with the United States.

      This has an obvious correlation with race and nation of origin, and the benefits of racial or ethnic profiling are likewise obvious even if indirectly so.

      Unlike with strip searching everyone from Kolechia though, we can do better than Arstotzka. We can be safe without being jerks. I bet you that the TSA would get a LOT more

      • Racial profiling works

        ...to accomplish what? The TSA checkpoints are not going to stop competent terrorists. The 9/11 hijackers would have had just as easy a time using some glass shards (from, say, a bottle purchased at a duty free shop) as boxcutters. A laptop has plenty of long, sharp metal pieces in it, perfect for creating a makeshift knife.

        That is why this is dumb. If a terrorist wants to blow up a plane, he can kill just as many people (if not more) by blowing up an airport -- maybe while standing on line for secu

        • by rickb928 (945187)

          "Of course, profiling is a great way to appease people who have a problem with brown-skinned people, Arabic-speaking people, or whatever group we decide we hate next."

          It seems to me that the problem is the brown-skinned people, Arabic-speaking people, or whatever group that hates us. We hate them because they acted on their hate. They hate that too.

          And they moved here a long time ago. I played soccer one summer with students from Egypt, Iran, Norway, Nigeria, Columbia, and England. We got along fabulous

          • It seems to me that the problem is the brown-skinned people, Arabic-speaking people, or whatever group that hates us. We hate them because they acted on their hate. They hate that too.

            Brown-skinned people do not universally hate America. Arab people do not universally hate America. If that is not clear to you, take a look at the enormous number of brown-skinned and Arab people who have immigrated to this country. Many of those people came here to escape the kind of people who attacked us. Many came here to escape persecution and corruption by their government. What do you think happens when they give up their old lives to come here, then face constant suspicion and harassment by t

      • Racial profiling works well because believe it or not, terrorists are often from countries...

        You have confused "race" with "national origin".

    • Please explain how profiling is not a horrible crime.

      "You deserve this for being of the same ethnicity that's statistically most likely to cause us trouble! Spread those legs, hands over your head!"

    • by Hatta (162192)

      You only say that because you are not the subject of profiling. If you were regularly harassed for no reason other than the color of your skin, or your country of origin, you'd understand why profiling is a horrible crime. It's directly contrary to the presumption of innocense on which any actual justice system must be founded.

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      So the answer is to profile everybody. And to do it badly, I submit.

      Yep. Gummint.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      Obviously, equality has to go then! However, I suspect you misunderstand which side of the "less than" symbol you will end up on, when it does.
    • I blame the mentality that profiling is some horrible crime, therefore everyone must be overly searched.

      Spoken like someone who has never been subjected to it. "Profiling" is just a fancier term for discrimination based on stereotypes.

      I am lucky to be a member of several privileged groups in society, but even I've been on the short end of that stick as a grumpy, trenchcoat-wearing teen right when the Columbine massacre occurred. (Thank goodness I was out of high school by then.)

      It sucks to be preemptively treated as a criminal. It gets you angry and it makes you feel like less of a person. I only had to w

  • by 1_brown_mouse (160511) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:54PM (#44833759)

    It was all my fault for standing in line. Being there.

    Won't happen again.

  • Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LeifOfLiberty (2812101) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:58PM (#44833805)
    No, the problem with the TSA is that they exist in the first place. Airlines should be responsible for ensuring their flights are safe. When airlines handle safety they can be held accountable if they do it poorly or they mistreat their customers. The TSA can clearly never be held accountable for anything.
    • by mellon (7048) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:03PM (#44833887) Homepage

      The incentives in that case would be in the wrong place, which is why that practice was discontinued. Unfortunately, now the incentives are in a different wrong place. The TSA is not rewarded for being pleasant and minimally intrusive, so they aren't.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:30PM (#44834221)
        How are the incentives in the wrong place? The airlines need security theater; people are already fearful of flying, and fear of being killed by terrorists while flying only makes that worse.

        The key is to remember that checkpoints do not keep you safe on an airplane. You can walk through a checkpoint with all kinds of sharp objects -- like all those sharp metal bits in your laptop -- all kinds of explosive chemicals -- like batteries -- and then you can buy more things that are easily turned into weapons on the other side of the checkpoint. We have checkpoints because the government wants to remind people that something is being done, and it works -- people were terrified to hear that the TSA would relax the knife rule to something approaching sensible, and nobody cared about the number of other dangerously sharp things people are allowed to carry through.

        If airlines were responsible for security, this would all be simplified. No corrupt contracts for nude scanners, because the airlines cannot afford to dump money on that garbage. No nude scanners means no pointless groping -- the groping was always a punishment reserved for anyone who refused a scan (gotta make sure the machines are used, right?). Too annoying and the airline's profits suffer, as they should (and as long as there is a TSA, nobody should fly unless they have to cross a distance that is beyond driving / train range).
    • I like this idea a LOT. Security would go WAY down, lines would speed up, the searches would be polite. If a plane blew up, the airline would get sued for about a figure that an actuary could neatly estimate. They'd only inconvenience their customers up to a point where the chance that they'd lose repeat business was cost-effective. Perfect.

      But the TSA grabs everyone at the start of the terminal. The terminals are used by multiple airlines. How do you see that getting broken up by airline? Pooling? That spo

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        As soon as you make this an insurance problem (calculating and recovering loss) you change the pricing formulas for air travel. It becomes either unprofitable or unaffordable.

        How do you deal with foreign flights? Who pays then?

        Actuaries can neatly estimate the loss of life? You haven't actually done that, have you? How would you start estimating the value of an 8-year-old's life? If he was the star pitcher on his Little League team? Or had a prodigal aptitude in robotics? Or was the local playground b

      • I like this idea a LOT. Security would go WAY down, lines would speed up, the searches would be polite. If a plane blew up, the airline would get sued for about a figure that an actuary could neatly estimate. They'd only inconvenience their customers up to a point where the chance that they'd lose repeat business was cost-effective. Perfect.

        Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

        Woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?

        Narrator: You wouldn't bel

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:59PM (#44833819) Homepage

    I read this as "We can't profile, so we are less efficient." Police say the same thing and it's probably true. This is one of those trade-offs for liberty where it is good that we recognize the cost of the decision.

    Just remember: it doesn't mean this was the wrong decision. It doesn't mean that phony whole-body scanners that don't work are a good idea. It's not an excuse for detaining people who recite the constitution. It doesn't justify searching laptops without a warrant.

    Last question: What information does the TSA want that they don't have? We know they get the names of passengers, and they have a list of "detain these people." Do they want to know our religious beliefs? Ethnicity? Country of origin? Shopping habits? It is interesting that the article points out that the people doing the border searches get a lot more information than the TSA.

    • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:18PM (#44834071)

      Exactly. Just like the police would probably catch a whole lot more "bad guys" if they could just bust into whomever's house they wanted to on a whim, go through their stuff looking for evidence, and not have to worry about warrants or anything. However, there are very good reasons that we prevent them from doing this. First and foremost because this power would be abused to intimidate. ("You said something we don't like so we're going to 'search' your house twice a week until we find something to lock you up on. Or until you shut up. Or until you resist the slightest bit so we're justified in shooting you.")

  • Liar!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MatthiasF (1853064) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:00PM (#44833835)
    They have had the data since 2008.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Flight [wikipedia.org]

    Every person's name that has flown, what airline, what flight, gender, etc.

    ALL OF IT FOR ALMOST FIVE YEARS.

    And have they caught anyone using it? Not that I've seen.
  • The thing about international terrorism is that they are patient. If you go by profiles and you stop searching 70 year old grannies, eventually they will find a way to radicalize 70 year old grannies. We aren't talking football hooligans here. The 9/11 attackers didn't fit the profile for "professional terrorist" either, they looked like I.T. people in Kakkis.

    • 70 year old grannies from where?

    • Re:stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @05:02PM (#44834573) Homepage Journal

      The thing about international terrorism is that they are patient. If you go by profiles and you stop searching 70 year old grannies, eventually they will find a way to radicalize 70 year old grannies. We aren't talking football hooligans here. The 9/11 attackers didn't fit the profile for "professional terrorist" either, they looked like I.T. people in Kakkis.

      So... maybe we should, I dunno, stop doing shit that gives people incentive to attack us? Like, say, invading sovereign nations on made-up evidence, or bombing the holy living hell out of civilian populations because we think there might have been a 'terrorist' somewhere in their village?

      Oh, right, how could I forget - they don't attack us because we attack them, they do it because Dur, they hates our freedom! That explains why Canada is basically one big crater...

  • The Horror! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:02PM (#44833863) Homepage

    With no information about travelers, TSA had no choice but to treat them all alike,

    What a horrifying reality, in which the government is forced to treat all citizens as equal. If the government were only allowed to pick and choose the dissidents to subject to harsh treatment and intimidation, all the properly submissive subjects would be free to do anything that doesn't irritate the lordship. You see, it is not the ruling elite who are imposing these restrictions that are harming you, it is your filthy fellow peasants. If you could all simply learn to kneel and submit to the natural authority of the nobility, you would all be happier.

  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:02PM (#44833867) Journal
    Pedestrian's unwillingness to voluntarily surrender the contents of their pockets is the primary reason for so many of today's muggings.
  • by spectrokid (660550) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:03PM (#44833881) Homepage
    I'm a foreigner. I had the honor to be subjected to both your border guard and TSA. I wouldn't trust them with a fucking fruitcake.
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:04PM (#44833903) Homepage Journal

    Dear Mr/Mrs Member of Congress,

    Anyone that impedes process of Authority by invoking their Constitutional Rights is an un-American terrorist sympathizer who should be locked up in one of our Secret Prisons under Secret laws to be tried at some future date in a Secret court.

    The Constitution is the most Un-American thing about America and should be abolished. The TSA and DHS need swift, unquestioned Authority to protect us from those who would harm America and to speed up those long lines at Airport Security Checkpoints and the long lines we shall soon be seeing at Security Checkpoints at Shopping Centers, Train and Bus Terminals and many other major facilities across the Nation

    Love,

    Stewart Baker

  • by stox (131684) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:06PM (#44833919) Homepage

    gets in the way of all of our law enforcement efforts.

  • by Stumbles (602007) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:06PM (#44833929)
    I have little to no trust with the people working within my government at this time and none in the people from bottom to the top levels in the TSA . They (TSA) needs flushing down the gape of the porcelain maw.
  • by aepervius (535155) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @04:09PM (#44833957)
    CAPS and CAPS 2 , forced the airline to deliver so many data on traveler going *into* the USA it ain't funny. If it was the case that more data would lead to less ivnasive search, I would not have to go thru one , as do my fellow traveller, travelling *into* the USA.
  • but then I read a hundred other posts saying the exact same things. Out of anybody but a government, this reasoning in use is, in a nutshell, a fast-track to getting convicted as a felon. She wouldn't have sex with me, so I had to rape her. He protected his face, that's why I had to beat him senseless. She wouldn't give me her lunch money voluntarily, that's why I had to punch her in the stomach until she gave it to me. He wouldn't give me his bank account information, that's why I had to go through hi

  • Well, which is it? Let's say they had exhaustive information and fingerprints on everybody in the world. Yeah, it has to be the world, because what if somebody from Monaco flies to Mexico, drives into the US, and then wants to fly out. But you can't guarantee any given person is "OK" just because you know a lot of stuff about him. Anyone could get radicalized or lose his mind at any time, or just have a secret life and secret thoughts.

    Think, people. The nazis knew who Stauffenburg was. He was a Colonel in t

  • So which, pray tell, personal data would they take as sufficient to allow water to be carried again?

    Of course as we know all those potential explosives (that are too dangerous to allowed on a plane) are disposed of.. on site.. in a trash can.... at the screening station.......

  • In the US, Political Correctness trumps Common Sense and Privacy every time.

  • The article pointed to a recent USA Today [usatoday.com] article that says:

    We're unimpressed with the weekly tallies posted on the TSA blog of weapons confiscated by screeners; we just want to know when they've stopped a terrorist from blowing up a plane

    Is that what the TSA exists for? The 9/11 terrorists did not blow-up a plane. Instead, they crashed a plane into a building. So is the TSA there to stop another 9/11, or to stop terrorists from blowing-up a plane? In reality, they aren't necessary to stop either of these goals.

    As for the 9/11 goal: That happened because the cockpit doors were unlocked, and because nobody really thought about the possibility of crashing the plane into a nationa

  • ... Border officers are officers of the USCIS. They can be (or I should say, they are) trusted with passenger data because they are considerably better trained (and I daresay better paid) than the occasionally-background-checked high school dropout failed mall cop candidates employed by the TSA.
  • what they really should be debating how quickly the tsa can be disbanded as they are not providing any actual security.
  • Here's what I'm hearing:

    Yeah, so, we could either do Option B, which is inconvenient, or Option C, which we weren't allowed to do since it's illegal, so we went with B.

    No mention of the obvious omission of Option A: don't invade people's privacy. Ya know, like how it worked for the first several decades of commercial aviation in the US.

  • If we would simply provide the TSA information of who are the terrorists, then they would only need to body scan the terrorists instead of everybody. And if we scan only terrorists, logically, everyone the TSA doesn't scan is not a terrorist, and therefore safe to let on the plane. I don;t see any problems with this at all.
  • The threat is over! Haven't you heard? Al Qaeda is our ally now and we support them in Syria. DHS and TSA were set up because of terrorist threat and the war on terror. We won. Al Qaeda is our friend now. Can we have our freedom back?
    (yes... sarcasm and disgust being expressed here and little else and nothing particularly contributory.)

  • by Patent Lover (779809) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @08:43PM (#44836187)
    Or they could just treat everybody equally and assume they're NOT terrorists. Which side are the odds on?

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