tagged w/ Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) executed a seizure warrant to shut down the world’s largest bitcoin exchange for operating an unlicensed money transmitting service, according to documents filed in a Maryland court on Tuesday.
The DHS seized bank accounts belonging to Mt. Gox, a company that converts government-backed currencies into the untraceable, digital currency called bitcoins. The agency said the company violated U.S. laws that require money exchanges to register with the federal government and prohibit commerce that is derived from or could be used to support unlawful activity.
While bitcoins are frequently used to buy drugs on the Internet, the warrant only references violations pertaining to the unlicensed nature of Mt. Gox’s business. DHS spokesperson Nicole Navas said the agency couldn’t comment on the specifics of the ongoing investigation.
“In order not to compromise this ongoing investigation being conducted by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore, we cannot comment beyond the information in the warrant, which was filed in the District of Maryland yesterday,” Navas told The Hill in an email.
According to the court documents, Mt. Gox owner Mark Karpeles, whose company is based in Tokyo, opened a Wells Fargo account to run the bitcoin exchange in the U.S. According to the account documents Karpeles signed when opening the Wells Fargo account, he said the account would not be used to engage in money services or as an exchange.
Exchanges are required to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a division of the Treasury Department. FinCEN said last month it had the right to regulate virtual currency markets under the Bank Secrecy Act.
Mt. Gox would charge customers a fee for bitcoin transfers and maintained a registry of bitcoin ownership by assigning numbered accounts. Customers would set up accounts at Mt. Gox and with Iowa-based payments processor Dwolla to complete the exchange and use the bitcoins for payments.
The DHS used a confidential informant in Maryland while building its case. The informant conducted a round-trip transaction, converting U.S. dollars to bitcoins and back into U.S. dollars.
Bitcoins have caught on in the last year as investors, consumers and technology buffs sought independent and decentralized alternatives to government-backed currencies. The price of a bitcoin skyrocketed last month from $40 to more than $250, in what many believed to be a short-lived speculative bubble.
However, the price stabilized at around $110 a bitcoin before the government crackdown. There are presently more than $1 billion worth of bitcoins in circulation, and the volume of transactions has grown as some online retailers have begun accepting them.
OKCupid, an online dating site, is one of the retailers that accepts bitcoins as a method of electronic payment. OKCupid founder Chris Coyne on Tuesday said over Twitter that he received an email from Dwolla saying the company could no longer process his company’s bitcoin payments.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/299921-feds-crack-down-on-bitcoin-exchange#ixzz2TNzy2xvM
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on FacebookThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) executed a seizure warrant to shut down the... more
In a troubling case with serious ramifications for society, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro of New Hampshire ruled that the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement division can legally keep secret the names of six illegal immigrants arrested for crimes.In a troubling case with serious ramifications for society, U.S. District Court Judge... more
“Congress has a responsibility to ask Secretary Napolitano as to exactly why these purchases have occurred”
New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance (R) has demanded an explanation from Secretary Janet Napolitano as to why the Department of Homeland Security is buying huge amounts of bullets.
Asked about the federal agency’s purchase of over 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the past year – enough to wage a 20 year plus war – as well as thousands of armored vehicles – Lance called on Congress to get involved.
“I think Congress should ask the Department about both of those issues and I would like a full explanation as to why that has been done and I have every confidence that the oversight committee ….should ask those questions,” said Lance, adding that he shared a belief, “that Congress has a responsibility to ask Secretary Napolitano as to exactly why these purchases have occurred.”
The Congressman said he was “concerned” and that his goal was ensuring Americans “continued to live in a country based on freedom and individual rights,” adding that he hoped Congress could get answers on the reasons behind the huge ammunition purchases by the DHS.
Lance, who is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 7th congressional district, was speaking at a Morristown Tea Party Organization meeting on Friday.
Last week, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), a lobbying organization which represents governors affiliated with the Democratic Party, started an ad campaign calling on Americans to sign a petition demanding Sarah Palin be denounced for “extremist” rhetoric after the former Governor of Alaska expressed concern about the bullet purchases in a Facebook post.
Earlier this month, Forbes Magazine called for a “national conversation” on the matter despite claims by mainstream media and leftist websites that the issue had been “debunked”. As we documented, the sole source for claiming the story was “debunked” came from a single quote by a DHS official carried in a February 14 Associated Press report.
The AP report regurgitated claims by the federal agency that the bullets were bought in bulk to save money and were for training purposes only.
However, as former Marine Richard Mason told reporters with WHPTV News in Pennsylvania last week, hollow point bullets (which make up the majority of the DHS purchases) are not used for training because they are more expensive than standard firing range rounds.
“We never trained with hollow points, we didn’t even see hollow points my entire four and a half years in the Marine Corps,” Mason said.https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ctxTU3Ygs6w#t=5s... more
Recently uncovered government documents reveal that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) unmanned Predator B drone fleet has been custom designed to identify civilians carrying guns and track cell phone signals.
"I am very concerned that this technology will be used against law-abiding American firearms owners," said founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan Gottlieb. “This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) obtained a partially redacted copy of Homeland Security’s drone requirements through a Freedom of Information Act request; CNET uncovered an unredacted copy.
Homeland Security design requirements specify that its Predator B drones “shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not” and must be equipped with “interception” systems capable of reading cell phone signals.
The first known domestic use of a drone to arrest a U.S. citizen occurred last year in the small town of Lakota, North Dakota when rancher Rodney Brossart was arrested for refusing to return six of his neighbor’s cows that had wandered on to his property. Critics say the fact that domestic drones are being used in such minor matters raises serious concerns about civil liberties and government overreach.
"That drone is not just picking up information on what's happening at that specific scene, it's picking up everything else that's going on," says drone expert and Brookings Institution senior fellow Peter Singer. "Basically it's recording footage from a lot of different people that it didn't have their approval to record footage.”
Full Story: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/03/05/Homeland-Security-Drones-Designed-To-Identify-Civilians-Carrying-GunsRecently uncovered government documents reveal that the U.S. Department of Homeland... more
When DHS purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition to be used domestically, inside the USA, and I said this looks like a government agency preparing for war with the American people, I was told, “That’s crazy. The government would never do that.”When DHS purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition to be used domestically, inside... more
The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.
Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.
The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (NavistarDefense.com), a division within the Navistar organization. Under the Navistar umbrella are several other companies including International Trucks, IC Bus (they make school buses), Monaco RV (recreational vehicles), WorkHorse (they make chassis), MaxxForce (diesel engines), and Navistar Financial (the money arm of the company).The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently... more
Checkpoints (some would say illegal checkpoints) have been popping up quite frequently in the USA. As you see in this video, you DO NOT have to comply with their question's or demands. Don't forget, you have rights.
http://youtu.be/u4Ku17CqdZgCheckpoints (some would say illegal checkpoints) have been popping up quite frequently... more
A company which received $2 million dollars from the DHS has apologized and taken offline “no more hesitation” shooting targets which depicted pregnant women, children, and elderly gun owners in residential settings as “non-traditional threats,” following an online uproar.
“Offensive” cut-outs depicting pregnant women, gun owners in residential settings removed from website.
As we first reported on Tuesday, Law Enforcement Targets Inc. (LET), a Minneapolis based company that has received almost $2 million dollars in contracts from the Department of Homeland Security over the last three years, recently began selling cardboard cut-out targets designed to desensitize police to “non-traditional threats,” including pregnant women, mothers in school playgrounds, and little boys, as well as elderly gun owners in their homes.
The company’s relationship with the DHS, along with thousands of law enforcement agencies, led to fears that the targets could be connected with Homeland Security’s purchase of roughly 2 billion rounds of ammunition over the last year, which many fear is linked to preparations for mass social unrest. As we documented, the LET’s contracts with the DHS were for “training aids” and “paperboard”.
In its apology, posted on the company’s website as well as Facebook, LET acknowledged that the targets were requested by law enforcement agencies.
We apologize for the offensive nature of our “No More Hesitation” products. These products have been taken offline due to the opinions expressed by so many, including members of the law enforcement community.
This product line was originally requested and designed by the law enforcement community to train police officers for unusually complex situations where split-second decisions could lead to unnecessary loss of life.
Consistent with our company mission as a training supplier (not a training methods company), we will continue to seek input from law enforcement professionals to better serve their training objectives and qualification needs. We sincerely appreciate law enforcement professionals for the risks they take in providing safety and defending freedom.
The company’s excuse that the targets were designed to help police prevent “unnecessary loss of life” is highly dubious given that the images were all of armed individuals termed “non-traditional threats,” designed to ensure “no more hesitation” from police officers encountering them.
As one respondent to the company explained, “Look, each of the supposed “threats” appeared to be in their own home settings. They were also all holding a weapon….it is obvious these paper targets were never intended to be decoy (don’t shoot targets). It is apparent this was designed to assist in desensitizing the trainee.”
In addition, the company had previously struck a different tone when it told Reason’s Mike Riggs that the targets were designed to combat, “hesitation on the part of cops when deadly force is required on subjects with atypical age, frailty or condition.”
Although the targets have been taken off the company’s website, it’s unclear whether or not they have been removed from sale entirely.
Mike Lilly, a retired 32-year police officer, demanded that the targets be discontinued completely.
“Whomever convinced you this was a good idea needs psychological counseling. Proper training and readiness is NOT dependent on shooting pictures of pregnant women and children. Anyone who says otherwise is seriously mistaken or has another agenda It is noted that you say they were taken OFFLINE. Have they been DISCONTINUED AND RECALLED?” he stated.
Lilly’s concern was echoed by retired City of Houston police officer T.F. Stern, who asked why police officers were being trained “to feel nothing’s wrong in shooting a pregnant lady or an old man with a shotgun inside his own home.”
View the targets that caused the uproar below.
http://www.infowars.com/dhs-contractor-apologizes-for-selling-shooting-targets-of-children/A company which received $2 million dollars from the DHS has apologized and taken... more
Company produces cardboard cut-outs of “non-traditional threats”: Pregnant women, elderly & children.
Company Behind Shooting Targets of Children Received $2 Million From DHS.
Law Enforcement “Requested” Shooting Targets of Pregnant Women.
A provider of “realistic” shooting targets to the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies has created a line of “non-traditional threat” targets that include pregnant women, mothers in playgrounds and elderly American gun owners.
Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. is a 21-year designer and full service provider of training targets for the DHS, the Justice Department and thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
The company’s website offers a line of “No More Hesitation” targets ”designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training.” The targets are, “meant to help the transition for officers who are faced with these highly unusual targets for the first time.”
The targets include “pregnant woman threat,” “older man with shotgun,” “older man in home with shotgun,” “older woman with gun,” “young school aged girl,” “young mother on playground,” and “little boy with real gun.”
Why are top training target suppliers for the government supplying the likes of the DHS with “non-traditional threat” targets of children, pregnant women, mothers in playgrounds, and elderly American gun owners unless there is a demand for such items?
This is particularly alarming given the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has purchased roughly 2 billion rounds of ammunition over the course of the last year, enough to wage a near 30 year war.
In comparison, during the height of active battle operations in Iraq, US soldiers used 5.5 million rounds of ammunition a month.
The DHS also purchased no less than 7,000 fully automatic assault rifles last September, labeling them “Personal Defense Weapons.”
The fact that targets of armed pregnant women, children, mothers in playgrounds, and American gun owners in general are being represented as “non traditional threats” “for the first time” is deeply concerning given the admitted preparations for civil unrest undertaken by Homeland Security as well as other federal agencies.
A leaked US Army Military Police training manual for “Civil Disturbance Operations” also outlines how military assets are to be used domestically to quell riots, confiscate firearms and even kill Americans on U.S. soil during mass civil unrest.
This also dovetails with the continuing characterization of Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists by DHS-funded studies.
The US military trained last year to take on another “unusual target” – zombies – which some fear is just a ruse to get troops used to engaging crowds of people with deadly force. As Alex Jones documented in his film Police State 2000, numerous “urban warfare” training drills stretching back well over a decade have revolved around incarcerating and battling the American people on domestic soil.
See the other “non-traditional threats” that are being provided in the form of shooting targets to the DHS and thousands of law enforcement agencies below.
http://www.infowars.com/dhs-supplier-provides-shooting-targets-of-american-gun-owners/Company produces cardboard cut-outs of “non-traditional threats”: Pregnant... more
DHS Buys 200,000 More Rounds of Ammunition
Paul Joseph Watson: While the Obama administration sets out to eviscerate the gun rights of American citizens in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, earlier this week it was announced that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded a company a contract worth over $45,000 dollars to provide the DHS with 200,000 more rounds of bullets.
This new purchase adds to the staggering figure of 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition already secured by the DHS over the last 9 months alone.
A solicitation originally posted on the FedBizOpps.gov website on December 17 on behalf of the DHS Federal Law Enforcement Training Center advertised the need for 200 cases of 13–40 Cal, 180 Grain, Jacketed Hollow Point bullets, with each case containing 1000 rounds, to be delivered almost immediately as soon as the contract is awarded.
The bullets are to be delivered to a training site in North Charleston, South Carolina, which “specializes in Maritime Law Enforcement and Port Security Training. Basic and advanced training programs are conducted in concert with the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy, the U.S. Courts Probation and Pretrial Services Training Academy, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Training Academy, the Customs and Border Protection Field Operations Academy, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.”
The winner of the contract to provide the DHS with the ammunition, announced on January 2, was Evian Group Inc., an organization that was formed just five days before the announcement of the solicitation.
As James Smith documents, Evian Group seems to be little more than a front organization and doesn’t appear to have any real business assets, a genuine physical address, a website, or even a phone number.
Read more at http://marketdailynews.com/2013/01/04/dhs-buys-200000-more-rounds-of-ammunition/#RpL0u2gKWs0U0QBo.99
Read more at http://marketdailynews.com/2013/01/04/dhs-buys-200000-more-rounds-of-ammunition/#RpL0u2gKWs0U0QBo.99DHS Buys 200,000 More Rounds of Ammunition
Paul Joseph Watson: While the Obama... more
Sunday, November 25, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which pulled together nearly two dozen federal agencies and departments under the control of new, single entity. Its responsibilities include running the US Border Patrol, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and FEMA.
DHS is the third biggest cabinet agency, but are we better off because of its existence?
Here are three reasons to get rid of DHS.
1. It’s unnecessary. In the months immediately following September 11 attacks in 2001, President George W. Bush initially resisted calls to create a new high-level bureaucracy that would be laid on top of current activities. He was right to recognize that coordinating existing agencies would have been smarter and better. Unfortunately, he caved in to pressure to create a massive new department.
2. It’s ineffective. To read the titles of Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyses of Homeland Security is to be reminded constantly that DHS is never quite on top of its game. Recent reports include “DHS Requires More Disciplined Investment Management to Help Meet Mission Needs,” “DHS Needs Better Project Information and Coordination Among Four Overlapping Grant Programs,” and “Agriculture Inspection Program Has Made Some Improvements, But Management Challenges Persist.”
3. It’s expensive. Last year, Homeland Security spent a whopping $60 billion, a figure that will doubtlessly increase in coming years. The construction of its new headquarters – the single-largest projectever undertaken by The General Services Administration – will cost at least $4 billion and is already years behind on schedule since breaking ground in 2009.
Since it’s the holiday season, here’s a bonus reason to get rid of the Department of Homeland Security: It also runs the Transportation Security Administration, whose nasty reputation for manhandling innocent travelers is only slightly more annoying than its massive and undeserved growth in personnel and cost over the past decade.
http://reason.com/reasontv/2012/11/23/3-reasons-to-kill-the-dept-of-homeland-sSunday, November 25, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Department... more
Take a break from presidential politics for one of the most important stories you'll read this week...
TrapWire is a surveillance system designed by former high-ranking government officials now working for an entity called Abraxas, which utilizes footage from CCTV cameras located all over the country. The video footage is then downloaded to a secure server and analyzed as a means to predict crimes or criminal behavior before they happen. It’s all very Minority Report, and as that film reminded us, altogether dangerous.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=41447Take a break from presidential politics for one of the most important stories... more
DHS partners with Girl Scouts,name a single Supreme Court justice; can you?
L.A. police accused of targeting, beating black skateboarder
Will Colombia’s protesting workers be heard?DHS partners with Girl Scouts,name a single Supreme Court justice; can you?
Police in Florida are asking for the public's help in the unusual case of Roy Antigua, a 52-year-old man who was found in possession of a cache of fake IDs—including CIA, Coast Guard and hospital badges—medical paraphernalia and a NASA flight suit and space helmet.
"In 20 years, I've never seen anything this elaborate," New Port Richey police Detective Michael Anderson said at a news conference on Monday.
On July 31, police stopped Antigua's black Cadillac Escalade, which had tinted windows, a Department of Homeland Security registration sticker and Coast Guard decals. He was cited for driving with a suspended license. During questioning, Antigua showed police a military ID that turned out to be fake.
A subsequent search of two homes uncovered about 200 suspicious items, New Port Richey Police Chief James Steffens told CNN, including "diplomatic license plates and dozens of fake identification cards from the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Defense, CIA and NASA," as well as "access badges to hospitals around Florida, doctor and nurse scrubs, a respiratory technician badge, police blue lights and access stickers to Coast Guard bases." Antigua also had at least six Boy Scout uniforms.
"The question remains," WTSP-TV said. "Is Roy Antigua a true threat, a possible danger with the approaching Republican National Convention? Did he have devious plans with all the paraphernalia he possessed? Or was he just living a fantasy?"
"He's definitely strange," Steffens said. "But we need to know if he's truly dangerous."
Steffens said that Antigua, dressed in a Coast Guard uniform, approached him in May during a Memorial Day event. "He blended in and even introduced himself," the Steffens said. "We never knew."
He added: "The best case scenario is he just liked to dress up and wear outfits."
According to Fox's Tampa Bay affiliate, local police are working with the Secret Service to determine where Antigua's CIA badge came from.
Antigua—a native of Cuba—is being held in Pasco County Jail for an unrelated probation violation, giving police time to solve the mystery.
"We just want to know what this individual has been involved in," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at the news conference. "Has he been committing crimes? What kind of individual would want to dress up like this? That is why we need the public's help."Uhh...WTF?!?
Police in Florida are asking for the public's help in the... more
It's a load of bs!
US security officials are on the lookout for upgraded underwear bombs containing a new type of explosive, it has been disclosed.
John Pistole, the US transportation security administrator, told an audience at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado that the device smuggled out by a double agent earlier this year was an upgrade from the underwear bomb carried by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on to a Detroit-bound airliner at Christmas 2009.
"We found in the underwear plot, part 2 … that a different type of explosive had been used than the previous one," Pistole said.It's a load of bs!
US security officials are on the lookout for... more
Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you.
And without you knowing it.
The technology is so incredibly effective that, in November 2011, its inventors were subcontracted by In-Q-Tel to work with the US Department of Homeland Security. In-Q-Tel is a company founded "in February 1999 by a group of private citizens at the request of the Director of the CIA and with the support of the U.S. Congress." According to In-Q-Tel, they are the bridge between the Agency and new technology companies.
Full Story: http://gizmodo.com/5923980/the-secret-government-laser-that-instantly-knows-everything-about-youWithin the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly... more
Jewish groups will be awarded 97% of DHS funds for no reason in particular, up more than 20% since 2010. So much for Seperation of Church and State.
Here's how US tax dollars are funneled into Jewish communities:
The Jewish Federation of North America organizes various Jewish groups in the US and gets them to apply for DHS grant funds through a Jewish front corporation called the Secure Community Network (SCN), operated by "the national leadership of the American Jewish community" (see SCN about page http://www.scnus.org/page.aspx?id=99537) From here the funds are filtered down to synagoges, hasbara organizations like Hillel and god knows what other Zionist organizations. This is all done under the pretext of the fake US dometic war on terrorism.
http://www.ujf.org/display_image.aspx?ID=343069&Resize=true&Width=650&Height=491Jewish groups will be awarded 97% of DHS funds for no reason in particular, up more... more
So much for seperation of church and state. Let me guess, the other 3% goes to atheist and abortion groups?
Interesting how the article uses the 2009 Holocaust museum attack as an excuse for DHS to funnel money into Jewish front groups when the only person who was killed was a Black security guard.
While the budget has shrunk in recent years, the threat to Jewish institutions has not changed; as a result, Jewish non-profits will receive a record percentage of the funds.
Jewish non-profit organizations in the United States will receive 97% of the funds granted by the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year 2013, money which is aimed at dealing with security threats those institutions face.
In 2013, Jewish institutions in the U.S. will receive $9.7 million, or 97% of the funds intended for dealing with security threats, as part of the Vital Nonprofit Security Grants distributed by the Department of Homeland Security.
In 2009, when the white supremacist James W. von Brunn opened fire at the Washington Holocaust Museum, killing a guard, Jewish NGOs received over $9 million out of $15 million allocated to 227 non-profit organizations, aimed to "bolster the security of nonprofit institutions deemed by the Department of Homeland Security to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks."
In 2010, Jewish institutions received $15 million of the total sum of $19 million distributed by Homeland Security.
However, in recent years the budget has been shrinking, while the threat level has not changed, resulting in Jewish non-profits - community centers, schools, hospitals, synagogues and charities – primed to receive a record percentage of next year's non-profit funding.
"I'd gladly trade out threat level not to qualify for these grants," William Daroff, vice president for Public Policy of The Jewish Federations of North America told Haaretz.So much for seperation of church and state. Let me guess, the other 3% goes to atheist... more
The U.S. Department of Homeland security is working on a project called FAST, the Future Attribute Screening Technology. FAST will remotely monitor physiological and behavioural signals like elevated heart rate, eye movement, body temperature, facial patterns, and body language, and analyse these signals algorithmically for statistical aberrance in an attempt to identify people with criminal or terroristic intentions.
It’s useful to briefly talk about a few of the practical problems that such a system would face.
Firstly, the level of accuracy in remote monitoring. Is it possible to engineer a system that can remotely tell you the heart-rate of a hundred passengers passing through a TSA checkpoint? Yes. Is it possible to do so accurately? That is much, much harder. The obvious conclusion is that such a system, were it to be deployed in the wilds of airports (and presumably, other locations where our ever-benevolent technocratic overlords determine “terrorists” or “criminals” may be operating) would — given a large enough number of scans — produce a lot of false positives stemming from erroneous data.
But let’s assume that such a system can be calibrated to produce a relatively accurate data set. Now we are faced with the problem of defining “suspicious” behaviour. Surely a passenger with the flu or a cold — who might have an elevated body temperature and a faster heart rate — would set alarm bells ringing. So too would someone suffering from pre-flight anxiety, people taking certain medications, the elderly and so on. Given that TSA screening protocols have prevented precisely zero terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11 (even in spite of the fact that 630 million passengers fly each year ) this merely suggests that vulnerable people will end up getting hassled by the TSA to an even greater extent than they already would be today. This is no laughing matter — a nervous but otherwise perfectly innocent passenger might end up getting tasered and die — something which of course has happened multiple times already. Or — under the NDAA (2011) — false-positives might end up being indefinitely detained on totally erroneous grounds.
Of course, the next problem is distinguishing the guilty from the innocent. Simply, this system would seem to produce nothing other than circumstantial evidence. Given that no crime would have yet been committed, how would it be possible to prove nefarious intent? Perhaps one day a terrorist or drug smuggler (got to keep fighting the war on drugs…) will be foolish enough to try to carry a gun or a knife through a TSA checkpoint and onto an aeroplane, but given that a metal detector could have detected that anyway, what is the point of this new technology? Surely it is to pinpoint potential terrorists who would otherwise not be picked out by the body scanners? In that case, would the end result just be that people — with no real evidence against them other than a fast heart rate and some perspiration — end up being thrown off their flight? Would people who are subject to a false positive and as a result miss a flight try to sue the TSA for wasting their time and money?
Next, just as a committed and composed liar can fool a polygraph, surely terrorists and drug smugglers out in the wild would adapt their behaviour to avoid detection. There are of course prescription drugs that can be taken to reduce the physiological symptoms of anxiety, and thus fool the detector.
Then there are the problems in testing. Subjects in the laboratory trials (taxpayer-funded, of course) have been told to go through the system with the intent to cause a disruptive act. The system has been fine-tuned to detect subjects in a controlled laboratory environment. Simply, there is no data on the effectiveness of this system against terrorists in the wild. The wild is a totally different environment, and the mindset and physiological cues of a real terrorist may well be entirely different to those of a laboratory subject who is pretending (we just don’t know until we try it on a large enough sample of real terrorists). The notion that it can catch terrorists seems wholly pseudo-scientific, and based on the false premise that terrorism has an identifiable set of physiological cues. The entire operation is based on the (possibly flawed) premise that a terrorist will be nervous, and that therefore we should cast an extremely wide dragnet to further interrogate and intimidate nervous people. That is guesswork, not science.
As Alexander Furnas writing in the Atlantic states:
We should ask, in a world where we are already pass through full-body scanners, take off our shoes, belts, coats and only carry 3.5 oz containers of liquid, is more stringent screening really what we need and will it make us any safer? Or will it merely brand hundreds of innocent people as potential terrorists and provide the justification of pseudo-scientific algorithmic behavioral screening to greater invasions of their privacy?
It is ridiculous — and totally contrary to the Fourth Amendment — that the courts have franked the notion that air travellers can be subject to invasive pat-downs and body scans without probably cause. But they did. In U.S. vs Davis, 482 F.2d 893, 908 the judge ruled that ”airport screenings are considered to be administrative searches because they are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme, where the essential administrative purpose is to prevent the carrying of weapons or explosives aboard aircraft” and that “an administrative search is allowed if no more intrusive or intensive than necessary, in light of current technology, to detect weapons or explosives, confined in good faith to that purpose, and passengers may avoid the search by electing not to fly.”
But to effectively conduct a medical scan on passengers? Surely this goes well beyond being “no more intrusive or intensive than necessary“? How many successful terrorist attacks occurred after 9/11, even before the more invasive pat-downs and body scans were brought in? None. So why would deepening the security regime be necessary?
And now that the TSA has expanded its regime beyond airports and out onto the roads of America we must ask ourselves what the endgame of all of this is? Could it be to deploy these technologies on a widespread basis throughout American cities, malls, sports stadiums and using it to scout out potential troublemakers? Would that be deemed an “administrative search” too (and thus not subject to the Fourth Amendment)?
This logic — of giving incontrovertible and unchallengeable power to our benevolent administrative overlords and then hoping for the best — takes us to a dark and nasty place. It requires us to assume they have our best interests at heart, and it requires us to assume that they will not abuse their power. The power to monitor these kinds of cues is a power that could easily be abused. A corrupt TSA agent might call a person they find attractive — even a child — out of the queue for a secondary search so that he or she can molest them with an enhanced pat-down. These new tools just enhance that power, providing a cloak of pseudo-scientific justification to the reality of citizens bowing down at the feet of their government and kissing the ring of power. Unquestioning obedience to power is a recipe for social catastrophe....
http://azizonomics.com/2012/04/18/precrime-in-america/The U.S. Department of Homeland security is working on a project called FAST, the... more
1 year ago
Mistah Shit gets the latest update on the drug war.