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One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List 446

Posted by Soulskill
from the brb-gotta-make-a-phone-call-or-two dept.
Frosty P writes "As a result of the US Government's complete failure to investigate credible warnings about 'Underwear Bomber' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from none other than Abdulmutallab's father, senior American counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip can lead to a name being placed on the watch list. Civil liberties groups warn that it is now even more likely that individuals who pose no threat will be swept up in America's security apparatus, leading to potential violations of their privacy and making it difficult for them to travel. 'They are secret lists with no way for people to petition to get off or even to know if they're on,' said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union."
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One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List

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  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noidentity (188756) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:07AM (#34721212)
    It's not ego-centrism to be wary of reducing the barrier between having your rights respected and having them violated, without any ability of recourse. That you read this as being ego-centric suggests that you're an ego-centric person who imagines that others are as well.
  • Excelent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MartinSchou (1360093) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:10AM (#34721234)

    Seriously - this is an excellent thing.

    The ridiculousness of the watch list will never be fixed, as long as it's only a small fraction of people who are inconvenienced.

    I'm waiting for the day someone gets a hold of every airline's list of frequent fliers with more than 300 miles/month and gets them added to the list. When that happens, the airlines are going to go apeshit, the entire industry collapse and the economy take a massive hit. And then we'll know if it's there as actual security or just a show to make people feel safer.

  • Liberty and safety (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:19AM (#34721288)

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:21AM (#34721302) Journal

    I really doubt our civil liberties are at stake.

    Really? One tip-off (potentially anonymous or vindictive or malevolent) gets you on a watch list, and you're unconcerned. The management of the no-fly list does not inspire much confidence in how this watch list will be maintained.

    Just have a name which is sort-of similar to a suspected baddie, and you can be stuck on the no-fly list. The late Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman John Lewis were stuck on it for years: the bureaucracy could not remove even them in a timely way. News reporters have been placed on the list suspiciously soon after publicizing shortcomings at TSA. []

  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:24AM (#34721330)
    >I have absolutely NOTHING to hide, so I don't mind one bit. Useful idiot.
  • The Republic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hackus (159037) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:30AM (#34721354) Homepage

    Is doomed.

    The USA is now a police state. In the next 10 years history is going to repeat itself and it will ultimately lead to WWIII.

    Life is going to get increasingly harsher here, it is already _very_ harsh for many children more than a quarter of which do not have enough food to eat on a daily basis.

    The TSA is now the "Brown Shirts" equivalent legally of the NAZI police. They have ultimate authority over the law of the land and can and do on a daily basis exercise that authority in our Airports.

    From there it will eventually lead to a knock on your door and a pleasant man entering your residence asking why you are on his "list"....

    at 3AM in the morning.

    Meanwhile nobody here is doing jack squat about anything.

    We already see that the Bank of America and other banks are simply extended branches of the US government along with other large businesses such as Amazon, which should not have any involvement _AT ALL_ as commercial institutions with Wikileaks. (i.e. shutting down accounts).

    This cooperation on such a large scale in the US right now between government and large mega businesses compose a fascist state which is being constructed by a few power brokers at the Federal Reserve for complete control of government.

    With the TSA, they now have an enforcement arm to build off of that is above the law.

    Compare that with the "brown shirts" use by Hitler during the early 1930's to enlist primarily unemployed people who couldn't find a job to do his "dirty work" in eliminating the communist threat or any dissident obstacles to his power.

    The horrific implications here though, is to use the TSA to create a list of anyone who points out that the TSA is clearly a criminal run operation and is not constitutional .

    Right now names just go on lists...

    Eventually that list _will_ lead to your front door in the middle of the night and I hope to god you are either out of the country by then like a lot of the intelligent Jewish people who could see the whole thing coming in the early thirties when Hitler was organizing his power structures...

    and left Germany before it was too late.

    I fully expect this will continue, with no resistance just like it did in Germany.

    God help us all.


  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:35AM (#34721386) Journal

    It does effect me if my name pops-up on a watch list, and I have to undergo an hour long interrogation or penis-fondling by the airport SSA.... ooops I mean TSA.

    >>>you will in no way shape or form be effected by this

    Riiiiight. Here's what a German pastor said after he was released from a Nazi jail cell: "It was the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? ..... Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. - I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: 'Perhaps it's right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others.' ..... The persecution of the Jews, the way we treated the occupied countries, or the things in Greece, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia or in Holland, that were written about in the newspapers.

    "I ask myself again and again, what would have happened if, in the year 1933 or 1934 - all Protestant communities in Germany had defended the truth until their deaths? If we had said back then, it is not right when Hermann Göring simply puts 100,000 Communists in the concentration camps, in order to let them die. I can imagine that perhaps Protestant Christians would have had their heads cut off, but I can also imagine that we would have rescued 10 million people, because that is what it is costing us now."

    Or if you prefer Star Trek:
    "With the first speech censured, the first freedom denied, the first link in the chain is Forged that will bind us all irrevocably."

  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toe, The (545098) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:36AM (#34721390)

    In IT security, there is always a trade-off between usability and security. The key is the efficiency of the security. Really inefficient security will greatly decrease usability without enhancing security much (ala Microsoft's idea of perpetual dialog boxes in Vista). Really efficient security will have relatively much less impact on security (e.g., having the primary user of a computer not be its admin).

    There is no reason we shouldn't take the same attitude with airport (etc.) security trading off with liberty. Turning all citizens into suspects is simply bad efficiency (and a serious betrayal of the "innocent until proven guilty" principle that is crucial to American democracy).

    If you want 100% computer security, you unplug and wipe the computer (or better, disintegrate it). If we want 100% security from terrorists, we should incarcerate everyone in the world including ourselves (or better, disintegrate the planet).

  • Re:The Republic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the linux geek (799780) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:39AM (#34721404)
    Get a grip. I think that the post-9/11 security measures are bad and unconstitutional, and having had to travel a few days ago the irritation is fresh in my head, but comparing the TSA to the Sturmabteilung in an apparently serious post is just ridiculous.
  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:40AM (#34721416) Homepage Journal

    So I assume you've sent your contribution to the ACLU, right?


  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:41AM (#34721422) Journal

    Perhaps. (Score:-1, Troll)
    by puterg33k (1920022)

    Ahhh com'on guys. Even though I completely disagree with his post, that doesn't make him a "troll" or "ass". He's just sharing his opinion. He didn't deserve the negative karma hit nor the insult. Can't we all just..... get along?

  • Re:TSA Agents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:45AM (#34721438) Journal

    Just waiting to batch upload all the names of TSA agents. What will the Feds do then?

    Hire another batch of police academy dropouts?

  • Re:TSA Agents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dhasenan (758719) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:45AM (#34721440)

    More efficiently, upload the names of as many congressional lobbyists as you can find. I suspect US senators and representatives are immune (or at least have a Secret Service escort who can wave them through), but if a thousand lobbyists found themselves unable to fly, the change will happen in a matter of months.

    It might work better to flag close relatives of congresspeople. Outside the immediate family so they won't reasonably have access to that Secret Service escort, but close enough to be in close contact.

  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:35AM (#34721812) Journal

    >>>You have an option, take a car or a boat.

    Although that sounds reasonable the Supreme Law of the land disagrees with you. The 9th reserves to me the right to travel by car and boat AND airplane, while the 10th forbids the Union government from curtailing that right (unless it's across an international border), because the power is reserved to the Member States. It was never given to the central government.

    And of course there's the 4th which forbids the Union government from searching people on domestic car drives, boat outings, or plane flights. Or even just walking down the street. Doesn't that suck? That damn LAW makes it impossible for the US Congress to act like tyrants or caesars.

    Hmmmm. I guess that's why the Founders created it: "The purpose of a constitution is to render contrary laws passed by the leaders as Nullities. These lesser laws shall not be enforced." - Thom. Jefferson, 1780s.

  • by joebagodonuts (561066) <> on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:43AM (#34721902) Homepage Journal

    ... would they come to their senses and realize what an asinine system they have in place?

    Doubtful. They already know, but don't care. There is enough insulation from accountability such that no one will be penalized.

    Behavior doesn't change unless there is consequence. If someone were to lose their position because the current system is so flawed, then it could change. However, the layers of bureaucracy and the formality of the institution pretty much guarantees that no one will pay for this fiasco, except for the citizenry.

    Before the next poster comes in shouting "This is your fault. You voted for the people that put it in place! Vote different if you want a change!"

    1. No I didn't. I did not vote for the bureaucrat who crafted this solution. I wasn't even given the opportunity. The legislators who I was able to vote for and against are long-gone. Yet I'm still stuck, and they are treated as heroes mostly. They are also well insulated from those who would vilify them, and attempt to have them be accountable for their decisions.

    2. Any legislative change requires political will from a majority of the American people. Unfortunately, this impacts a small enough number of people that generating the political will to affect a change in the current "security theater" method will be difficult. There is significant inertia to overcome

    From the political/bureaucratic viewpoint, there is much greater risk in moving away from the airport security lines. They open themselves up to greater threats by doing that then they do by maintaining the status quo.

  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DavidTC (10147) < ... > <>> on Friday December 31, 2010 @12:15PM (#34722234) Homepage

    Except, as has been pointed out repeatedly, concentrating on specific people by definition leaves other areas less inspected.

    So all you really need is a guy who has stolen someone else's identity to carry all the damn knives, and you can have 5 'obvious' (In your universe) Jihadists and that guy take a plane.

    Hell, if you're really clever, take a tour group of innocent Muslims, from one of these countries. Have thirty obviously suspicious Muslims board the plane, get searched as thoroughly as possible...and then have a black guy from the US who converted to Islam fly under some other guy's name and carry the knives to give to five of those guys. (The other twenty five being innocent Muslims who got a discount on a trip to the US.)

    Are you 'pro-profiling' people really so stupid that you can't grasp 'If we search group X more than group Y, terrorists will make sure to be in group Y, or hell, just make sure one member of their group can fake being in group Y and have them carry the stuff.'?

    This is, of course, pretending that that 'hijacking a plane' is even vaguely possible, or that the security stuff is even slightly a good idea...but no matter how dumb the security theatre is now, your suggestion makes it worse.

  • Re:The Republic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <> on Friday December 31, 2010 @12:34PM (#34722394)

    No, comparing the TSA to the Sturmabteilung is not ridiculous at all.

    While I don't think it's very likely that we would as easily enter a "TSA = proto-Nazis" situation, people who say things like "It's just a little bother, it could never get that bad" were around prior to every major bad thing that ever happened.

    "It's just a metal detector, it's really quite sensible... only holds us up for a few minutes."

    "Searching through my luggage is no big deal. Someone could have a bomb/gun/etc.! It's only a few minutes here and there."

    "Well sure, the body scanners and pat downs are a pain in the ass at airports, but they have to protect rail stations just as much as they do airports!"

    "Well, sports stadiums are just as vulnerable if not more than transportation stations... hell, can you imagine a bomb going off in Giants Stadium?"

    "Sure, it's annoying to have to submit to a full car search every time I try to get onto the highway, but can you imagine what would happen if a terrorist blew up a bomb on a bridge? It could collapse the entire region's ability for people to move around!"

    Death by a thousand cuts.

    They're not going to massively crack down with riot troops in the streets. They're going to chip away at rights, little by little. It will take years - if not generations. When our kids grow up, they wouldn't at all be bothered by the things that are unfathomable to us - say, mandatory national ID cards, or retinal scanners, or troops with automatic weapons posted in the street because they will have grown up with this being the status quo.

    I don't know about you, but when I see things like a Newark Police officer armed with a M4, tactical combat vest, and a kevlar helmet [] standing in front of a building in the downtown of my own goddamned city you can bet your ass that I am more than a little perturbed.

    This isn't a matter of Republicans or Democrats being bad. It's a matter of 99% of politicians wanting more power, being greedy, being corrupt. As much as one party might hate another, that hatred can evaporate pretty quickly if an opportunity for them to collude and increase both of their power is made available to them.

    We look at those guys who post the "Power, Greed, Etc. are enemies of the county" copy/pastes on things like Slashdot as nothing more than a nuisance - a bunch of nutters - but they're probably some of the sanest people of all. Okay, I'd admit that the possibility of a Zionist Reptilian Invasion conspiracy is a bit off the wall, but a government that is growing more and more corrupt and trying to amass more power is certainly not remotely as insane as so many people easily dismiss it to be.

    If you want to truly keep our liberties intact, please, as a fellow American I ask that you do not let these things pass by as lightly. Don't say it's just an "irritation" or "inconvenience". All of these little irritations and inconveniences will add up over the next 20-50 years to something that will really be quite horrible. You have to be loud and over the top. A whisper won't be heard by the people who are distracted by the day-to-day comforts of their life like Dancing With The Stars and Farmville. You need to be loud and angry. Sometimes violent, sometimes not.

    There have been far too many times in the history of the world where terrible things have been done because the populace was too ignorant or indifferent to what was going on in their own goddamned countries. By being silent - or even just relatively quiet - you are giving your consent. For the love of the freedoms this country was based on and your brothers and sisters in this country and around the entire world, do not let these things pass quietlly .

    So yes, I think

  • Re:TSA Agents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Friday December 31, 2010 @02:10PM (#34723092)

    How are they supposed to take their target Congress-critter to Tahiti if they can't fly?

  • Re:TSA Agents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Friday December 31, 2010 @02:41PM (#34723308) Homepage

    If they are human, we should treat them like any other human who goes round sexually molesting people for pleasure.

  • Re:Perhaps. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:33PM (#34723784)

    On the face of it this seems perfectly logical. Terrorists note that swarthy arabic types are getting more attention, terrorists start to recruit Swedish blondes with pneumatic breasts.

    So where are all the Swedish suicide blondes?

  • Re:TSA Agents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. (939033) on Friday December 31, 2010 @03:50PM (#34723962) Homepage
    If you think Mr. Freeman's question was "retarded", then I humbly suggest you study some history.

    It was clearly a rhetorical question, but his point is entirely valid: when you put people in a position of unchecked power, they WILL abuse it. Always. However, the system we currently have at airports where "We the People" have no recourse but to submit to whatever the TSA wants or face arrest, prosecution and potentially a $10,000 fine is a real problem, and putting "only human"'s in such a position of power is unbelievably stupid. Seriously, any reasonably bright high school freshman civics student could explain what that's a Really Bad Idea.

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