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Government Security

Congress Capitulates To TSA; Refuses To Let Bruce Schneier Testify 435

McGruber writes "Following up on an earlier Slashdot story, earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing titled 'TSA Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?' ... In a blog update, Bruce Schneier says that 'at the request of the TSA' he was removed from the witness list. Bruce also said 'it's pretty clear that the TSA is afraid of public testimony on the topic, and especially of being challenged in front of Congress. They want to control the story, and it's easier for them to do that if I'm not sitting next to them pointing out all the holes in their position. Unfortunately, the committee went along with them.'"
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Congress Capitulates To TSA; Refuses To Let Bruce Schneier Testify

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  • by sgt_doom ( 655561 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @07:44PM (#39479901)
    ...who also made himself available for testimoney before congress -- and was never called to testify -- after he blew the whistle on the NSA's installation of those Narus boxes at AT&T switches (throughout America, most probably and at IXPs or EPs, as well).
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:02PM (#39480051)

    The border exclusion has been a long-standing tradition: the understanding is that in order to control your borders, you need to be able to stop and search people indiscriminately, and without a search warrant. Or at least, the search warrant is implied in the fact that someone wants to cross the border.

  • by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:26PM (#39480265) Homepage
    No, but it *does* grant the right to travel. I live in Alaska. Granted, I live in Anchorage which is connected to the lower-48 by highways. However, my job provides services to a village called Bethel (and a couple dozen surrounding villages) which are only accessible by air (or dog team, *if* it's winter and you've got two weeks to get where you're going). Therefore, in effect, by denying access to the airlines without a search, you have essentially denied the right of travel without forfeiting your right to be free from searches to at least a quarter of the residents of the state.
  • by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:31PM (#39480311) Homepage

    The last time I served jury duty, my job alone was enough to get me thrown off.

    The case being considered was an automobile accident (with injuries), where the driver of the car was claiming that part of the steering/suspension had suddenly failed, causing his car to swerve out of control and hit the other car. There was planned to be a lot of expert testimony involving forensic engineers, metallurgists, etc. hired by the defense to back up the claim.

    3 of us were thrown out by the prosecuting attorney during jury selection for having engineering or mechanical backgrounds. One machinist, one auto mechanic, and myself (electronics design). Apparently, if you know enough to possibly UNDERSTAND what the hired experts are trying to say, you have no place on the jury....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:34PM (#39480331)
    Anonymous for obvious reasons... Those magic spying boxes are deployed just about everywhere around the world, right at the communication hubs entering/exiting the country. I know, because I put some there
  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:44PM (#39480389)

    Then how about they give all that gas money they are collecting to the states. Oh wait, that's what the bills for, to hand over to the states the money collected in the federal gas tax.

    Though there is the slight problem that because they haven't raised the gas tax in 20 years that there isn't enough revenue in the highway trust fund (gas tax revenue) anymore to pay what's needed to keep the freeway system from falling apart but what do we care, with the baby boomers running things we don't have to care about infrastructure anymore! What's ironic is they could double the federal gas tax ($0.17) and no one would even notice at the pump and all that additional money flowing into construction would get the economy going again in pretty quick order.

    It's been almost 4 years since the last highway funding bill expired (they've been doing 6 month extensions which doesn't give the states enough certainty in funding to do anything other than small maintenance jobs and now it's going to expire completely putting the rest of the construction workers and engineers who weren't on welfare and food stamps onto them. Every dollar spent on highways and roads puts $4 back into the economy. It's the single biggest economic stimulant the government has and it's been completely ignored for the last 4 years while we gave 700 billion to the banking industry to bail out their malfeasance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:56PM (#39480459)
    When is the time right for us to arm ourselves and kick every one of these fucking criminals out of the elected offices they hold? I think the OWS thing should have been done in D.C. and they should have marched right into the capitol building and the white house. There's no way they could contain that size of group short of opening fire with live rounds.

    Maybe when we see piles of dead US citizens that were once our brothers and sisters would we then WAKE THE FUCK UP. This country needs another revolution worse than Madonna needs to retire.

    Who will lead us into the new revolution? Who would have real good ideas for fixing our broken democracy? I elect Neil deGrasse Tyson [], and maybe Ron Paul could help as well.
  • Re:Naturally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @09:34PM (#39480629)

    Or the lady who was forced to milk herself in a public restroom, or else have her equipment seized by the TSA as "contraband".

    Have her breasts seized? Sure, I can understand that; probably more than 3oz of liquid in those things. If she wants to get them through security, she needs to wrap them in plastic and write "Saline Solution" on them. See Bruce Schneier: The Things He Carried []

    Schneier took from his bag a 12-ounce container labeled "saline solution."

    "It's allowed," he said. Medical supplies, such as saline solution for contact-lens cleaning, don't fall under the TSA's three-ounce rule.

    "What's allowed?" I asked. "Saline solution, or bottles labeled saline solution?"

    "Bottles labeled saline solution. They won't check what's in it, trust me."

    They did not check. As we gathered our belongings, Schneier held up the bottle and said to the nearest security officer, "This is okay, right?" "Yep," the officer said. "Just have to put it in the tray."

    "Maybe if you lit it on fire, he'd pay attention," I said, risking arrest for making a joke at airport security. (Later, Schneier would carry two bottles labeled saline solution—24 ounces in total—through security. An officer asked him why he needed two bottles. "Two eyes," he said. He was allowed to keep the bottles.)

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:07PM (#39480813) Homepage Journal

    Just remember that the constitution does not grant you the right to fly either.

    Actually the American founders though of that problem, and solved it via the Ninth Amendment The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. This passage is really genius and its a great pity that the kind of intellectual governance that drafted it no longer exists in the US today.

    That passage was James Madison's forlorn hope. He argued strongly that a Bill of Rights was a bad idea, because it could never enumerate everything that mattered and anything that was left out would have second-class status at best, or even be called a non-right because obviously if it were a right it would have been included. Only when it became clear that the absence of a Bill of Rights was threatening the Constitution, because the anti-Federalists were arguing that a "strong" federal government (remember that "strong" in those days meant something that was still only the barest shadow of today's juggernaut) would trample the rights of the people, did Madison relent and begin working on what we now know as the Bill of Rights.

    The 9th and 10th were his attempt to stave off the disaster he'd predicted. History has shown that he was not wrong in his prediction of government running roughshod over non-enumerated rights. However, there's also not much proof that he was right in his prediction that not enumerating any rights would have worked better. He and the other Federalists really placed their trust in the states and the ability of the people to keep their own state governments from trampling their rights, but that hope proved just as vain, which is why the 14th amendment was eventually required.

  • Re:Figures (Score:5, Interesting)

    by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:23PM (#39480895) Homepage
    Then don't vote for either of the two parties. Vote for a whacko third party -- Libertarian, Green, Communist even. Just send the message that "business as usual" doesn't cut it anymore. Even the worst third party can't screw things up any worse than the R/D's have.
  • Re:Naturally (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @11:58PM (#39481297)
    Now if only they could be prosecuted under RICO...
  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @12:01AM (#39481321)

    Here we see that saying "I support the liberal side of this recent political issue" is +5 insightful, while saying "I support the conservative side of this recent political issue" is -1 Troll. Slashdot: some things never change.

    Are you joking? Slashdot is largely libertarian, not "liberal" (in the 20th / 21st century sense of liberal, not in the classical sense). However, Slashdot is not socially conservative, but then neither or most "live and let live" libertarians.

  • 911 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @12:02AM (#39481323)

    Unfortunately, as a country after 911 we said we don't care about our rights, just protect us from the terrorists. It's our own fault. Once you lose your liberty, it's hard to get it back. We might as well dismantle the Statue of Liberty, she doesn't stand for anything anymore.

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @12:21AM (#39481395)

    I think the idea is that they dont want you making assumptions about the evidence or facts of the case based on your evidence. For instance, your experience might tell you that it is very rare for such an automobile to have a suspension failure. But your expertise in that area hasnt been vetted by the court, and you might attempt to influence the other jurors with your informed guess in a way that would subvert the process.

    Thats my thought, anyway.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.