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One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List 446

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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  • TSA Agents (Score:5, Funny)

    by onefiddle ( 997080 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @09:59AM (#34721164) Homepage
    Just waiting to batch upload all the names of TSA agents. What will the Feds do then?
    • 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?

      • As seen on the local news [kob.com]: "TSA officer kills himself during police shoot out" (after kidnapping his estranged wife and son... he was an anomalous behavior detection specialist.)

        Now, I don't think it's fair to rag on TSA officers, particularly. But it is good to remember that, like everybody, they're only human.

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

          by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @01:20PM (#34722774)
          "But it is good to remember that, like everybody, they're only human."

          Then why are they given powers that are not given to average humans? This is the same thing that goes on with police officers. When they're doing their job well they're touted as "Brave heroes better than most of the population" but when they're making mistakes they're "only human".

          The solution is more oversight of people with more power.
        • 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: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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        Or even better, no change will happen and lobbyists can't fly anymore. Making them unable to do their jobs, thereby making the government "of the people, by the people, for the people" again.

      • I LOVE this idea. Now how do I get ahold of a list for Microsoft, Amazon, and RIAA's lobbyists? Hmmm.

        The only problem is that these companies have so many resources that if their lobbyists get blacklisted by the TSA, they'll just hire new ones from their pool of ~1 million employees.

        • by ron_ivi ( 607351 )

          > I LOVE this idea. Now how do I get ahold of a list for Microsoft, Amazon, and RIAA's lobbyists? Hmmm.

          Well, a while back, Bill Gates's dad's company (Preston Gates & Ellis -- the guys infamous for employing Jack Abramoff) was a lobbying firm Microsoft used.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_Gates_%26_Ellis [wikipedia.org]
          "The firm's Washington, DC office is known as Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP. When it was opened in 1973, partners included Emanuel Rouvelas, former counsel to the Senate Commerce C

        • What would happen if every known pilot were on the no-fly list?
      • Re:TSA Agents (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:10AM (#34721610)

        I hate to burst your bubble, but I seem to remember that sen. Edward Kennedy, wasn't able to board an airplane for some months when his name turned up on the no-fly list for alleged IRA connections. As it turned out, that was another Edward Kennedy. So being in congress or having the best know face in American politics will not get you on the plane. The list is always right, reality is often mistaken.

        • According to Ron Paul, he undergoes a Freedom Fondle every time he flies due to a replacement knee.

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        Or Senator and Congressmen's Chiefs of Staff (or spouses, or even children), that will hit "home" very quickly.

        As someone else noted, Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Lewis had a very hard time getting off the list...

      • by windcask ( 1795642 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:40AM (#34721862) Homepage Journal

        Somebody come up with an algorithm to generate an explanation paragraph for the batch upload. For example:

        I think my {son|daughter|neighbor|friend|coworker|ex} is a secret member of {al Qaeda|al Shebab|Taliban in Yemen|Hamas|Hezbollah|Tea Party}. {She|He}'s been saying {scary|frightening|threatening|subversive} things about you guys and I saw {him|her} {make a bomb|pray towards the east} once. Please arrest {him|her} as soon as possible.

        {John|James|Michael} Smith

      • TSA actually tried once to stop Ted Kennedy from flying because his name was one the list:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/20/us/senator-terrorist-a-watch-list-stops-kennedy-at-airport.html [nytimes.com]

    • by mangu ( 126918 )

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

      They will put your name on the top of the list.

    • I'm waiting for one of the TSA agents to batch upload all the naked images stored on those new scanners to the web. Although it will suck for anyone whose photo is released, perhaps that is what needs to happen to force some of the latest ridiculous security circus practices that have been put into play, which only hinder people's traveling. If any regular douche can become a TSA agent, I put no faith in their ability to screen out would be perverts and sexual deviants.
  • 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.

    • by suv4x4 ( 956391 )

      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.

      And what exactly would bring upon such a perfect scenario? Reductio ad absurdum is a quite costly approach to making a point when actual human lives are involved.

      It's quite likely you are underestimating how absurd things may become before people finally decide enough is enough.

      Who knows, maybe even someone jokingly said to Hitler "hey what if we invade half of Europe, lol" just to prove him wrong, and he took it seriously.

  • Glenn Beck (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:18AM (#34721272)

    I've heard rumours that he was involved in funding for Al Quaeda back in the 90's. Not saying that he did of course, but it's interesting that he hasn't denied it so far.

    • by JustOK ( 667959 )

      I heard it was for fondling baby terrorists

      • >>>I heard it was for fondling baby terrorists

        I heard Glenn was fondling Rachel Maddow, trying to convince her to become his Second Mormon wife. Now THERE'S a crime against humanity. (And neither of them have denied it to be true.) Okay this is becoming ridiculous.

  • 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)

    • by JustOK ( 667959 )

      those that give up essential liberty to obtain a little ball rubbing activity deserve neither.

    • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:57AM (#34721526) Journal

      I had a facebook "friend" and former classmate tell me I am overreacting and the TSA breat/penis-fondling is no big deal. So I copied that Ben Franklin quote *from the friends page* as my response.

      His reply: "Flying is not an essential liberty." Then he unfriended me. (sigh) The 9th and 10th amendments, plus more court cases than I can list here, assert that these ARE essential liberties. How can people be so dumb that they think the right to travel (including by plane) should not be protected? Or that getting felt-up by police at the port is okay?

      I could understand such things if you are crossing an international border, but not if you're flying from St. Louis to New York or some other local flight. About a year ago a Ron Paul employee was stopped by the TSA and interrogated for an hour. His crime: He had 3000 dollars in cash in a lockbox. They were donations from Paul's supporters, but the TSA wanted to drag him off to the Drug Enforcement Agency to be charged for suspected smuggling.

      It's complete and utter bullshit.

    • "Ben Franklin's a fat old douchebag."

      Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

  • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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.
      • Is it? "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded as the military." - our current president (Dem or Rep/it makes no difference).

        As for the tone of the post, it does seem Alex Jones like. There's a kernal of truth wrapped with overzealousness.

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

        by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> 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 [asset-cache.net] 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

        • by Renraku ( 518261 )

          An excellent speech. Rest assured that you're now on a watch list somewhere and will be the first to be investigated when the shit goes down. Your sacrifice does not fall on deaf ears.

    • You know, you're right. I flew the week before Christmas, and was thinking, "Having to go through this security is exactly like Jews getting exterminated in concentration camps. Exactly. Gee, if you just put shiny boots on these TSA monsters, it would be precisely similar to the Warsaw Ghetto." Yes, that's what I thought. Also, I thought, "Sitting next to this fat lady in these cramped seats and having to eat these dry Oreo Bits is just like having medical experiments performed on me by Dr Mengele at Au

    • Re:The Republic (Score:4, Interesting)

      by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:24AM (#34721712)

      Things are grim in terms of economy and human rights in USA, I'd agree thus far, but I wouldn't worry about WWIII. USA even had to stop dead in its plans to attack Iran due to waning economy and internal political issues.

      The word is out: getting rid of the US dollar as the backup currency has become a priority for every bigger nation/union in the world.

      The process has started, with the Middle East working on moving towards the Euro, and China/Russia recently opening a new exchange market in their own currencies (to replace the USD they use now) and the rest are to follow soon.

      Without this backup, the dollar will quickly devalue, USA will not have the ability anymore to loan resources for its empire ambitions, even if Hitler himself was revived and elected for the next president.

  • Well, this just makes it possible to DDOS the entire thing. What, there are over 300 million people in USA, right? So how hard is it to build a script to just iterate over all those people and submit tips on all of them?

    Do it in a distributed way and once everybody is on the list only the people who are not on it will look suspicious.

  • Enemies of the State (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:33AM (#34721370) Homepage Journal

    So now all citizens are enemies of the state? And with a "tip list" that is so easily game-able, why don't we all just submit the names of everyone who works for FOX NEWS?

    I'd love to hear about Glenn Beck not being able to fly, or Sarah Palin strip-searched and groped at the airport. Now that might make FOX reverse some of their propaganda. If anything, when it comes to security theater, that's actually one of the very few things Glenn Beck and I agree on.

    But since FOX yells louder than any other "news" agency (nobody watches msnbc, CNN is useless), they are a great target for this. I say make FOX an enemy of the state, and let them see how their "post 9-11 world" that they yap about so much has become an insane police-state.

    They after all, are the only group to create their own grass-root support, as FOX essentially created the "Tea Party", so, only they can create enough backlash to have any effect in American politics.

    • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:12AM (#34721628)

      I'd love to hear about Glenn Beck not being able to fly, or Sarah Palin strip-searched and groped at the airport. Now that might make FOX reverse some of their propaganda. If anything, when it comes to security theater, that's actually one of the very few things Glenn Beck and I agree on.

      Don't get your hopes up.

      The X-ray scans and groping procedures are applicable for the "small people" only.

      I wish I was kidding, but if you are a government official or rich enough to have your own security people travel with you, you get an officially sanctioned bypass. It's literally in the rules.

      At most what would happen if you try to troll the TSA by adding popular people on the lists is to get unwanted attention to your own persona.

      The reason you can't play the system against itself is that, after all, the people on top work hard every day on changing the system to play you. They have the capability, head start and experience to make sure you follow the rules and don't yap or object too much, like all small people should.

    • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:19AM (#34721678) Journal

      >>>I'd love to hear about Glenn Beck not being able to fly, or Sarah Palin strip-searched and groped at the airport. Now that might make FOX reverse some of their propaganda.

      You don't watch FOX at all, do you?
      Almost all the hosts are against TSA gropings.

      >>>as FOX essentially created the "Tea Party"

      And more misinformation. The Ron Paul for President campaign created the tea party in late 2007. They had multiple rallies and then it just keep growing, even after Ron Paul stepped back from it. I had joined Ron's tea party loooong before FOX ever talked about it.

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      You assume either Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin fly commercial... I doubt that happens much, if at all.

      Instead of going after folks who's opinions you don't like, why not go after the politicians who implemented this BS - there is a more direct connection between politicians and this stupidity than bloviators and this stupidity.

      Neither Beck nor Palin can change policy, Senators & Congressmem can (they can defund actions they don't like) - would you rather have a giggle while watching The Daily Show when a T

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      I thought Rick Santelli worked for CNBC [youtube.com] - He is widely attributed with "sparking" the creation of various "tea parties"

  • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @10:41AM (#34721420)

    Let's make government incompetent --- then it will inevitably shrink down and we'll be free of it. Oh wait, hmm, doesn't work.

    Not necessarily a comment on what happened in this story, just a warning to anyone who believes in the above proposition. If you hate big government, then you're definitely not going to like incompetent, underpaid, under-resourced big government. The solution is to make government work better, never the opposite.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      >>>The solution is to make government work better

      No the solution is to have massive layoffs. I worked for the FAA and 75% of the staff just sat surfing the net all day. Plus closures of departments that don't really need to exist like the Dept of Education - not only is this an unconstitutional creation (Congress was never granted power to educate) but it is also better handled locally by the State Governments, since they are closer to the voice of the people. (My state rep lives right in my nei

  • 'as long as it is deemed credible'
    "Are you sure?"
    "Okay, then. We'll put " . $name . " on the list."

    In the Inquisition, one can be arrested and brought to trial on a single accusation. History is now repeating itself.
    • No, what made the witch trials unique was one could be CONVICTED on a single accusation. We aren't quite there yet...you can however be detained indefinitely on a single accusation...
  • Changing Places, the movie in real life. It's amazing, the things we used to gasp or laugh about in USSR and third world sh-- holes, are expected to be taken for granted by our new Oberfuhrers. Even in the worst countries, with actual Maoist or Marxist wars going, no stooge ever made a grab for my privates.

    Today, many of the former "third world" cities are choked with new, expensive Toyotas bigger than a Suburban, while the US has a bunch of econo boxes. The US is going to hell under a fascist-commie go
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:18AM (#34721672)

    I did the anonymous coward as it's probably better for this post than others, but needless to say my family is of Pakistani origin, and about two years ago my brother was accused of being a terrorist.

    Of course, the guy that pointed the finger at him was about to go to jail himself because he beat his girlfriend over the head with a baseball bat, so he said he knew the whereabouts of a terrorist. My brother was Muslim, he knew that, and that's all it took. The charges were bunk of course, and the guy was stupid enough to email my brother saying "Yea well I'll tell everybody you're a terrorist!", which he showed to the FBI agents that showed up at our house. They were satisfied with that, thanked us for our time, and said that we don't have to worry about it again.

    Fast forward to the next year when my brother goes overseas (not the Middle East) to get some research done for his thesis -- he comes back and I went to pick him up from the airport, and was waiting there for FOUR HOURS. The TSA and whomever else inside were questioning him for hours. He's on their watch list because some douchebag that beat up his girlfriend thought he'd get a lesser sentence by ratting out some Muslim guy.

    Either way, it's a sad state of affairs nowadays, even a trip over the border he is detained for hours at a time. He has gotten used to it since he can't do anything about it, and showing resistance basically implies you're guilty of something. So he takes it. But the unfortunate thing is that he's far from the only one, and I imagine that lots of people are affected by this, and it's sad. What more, even if you share a name with a would-be terrorist (do you know how many Omars there are out there?) then you get screwed too. Our intelligence services are atrocious, our airport security worse, and our lack of civil liberties eroding quickly. And while right now it's only Muslims that are getting screwed, it's not too far to think it won't be gun owners, or political opponents, or anything else. It's just sick to me, and upsetting since I was born and raised in the US, just like my brother.

  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:22AM (#34721694) Homepage Journal

    I propose that people nominate their elected officials for inclusion on the terrorist watch list. Once a few politicians have to deal with this list they will see their way clear to impose more reasonable standards for inclusion...

    I can think of 535 members of congress I'd like to add to the list, but what might be even more meaningful would be if their chiefs of staff were put on the list (they might be under the TSA radar and actually get added to the list, whereas a Senator or Congressman's name might be identified and flagged before making the list).

    I tend to not support such acts, but in this case I'll make an exception... The issue here is the near-impossibility of ever getting off the list once on it.

  • What are the consequences of being placed on a 'watch list'? A little extra scrutiny? A lot? Denial of traveling privileges? Isn't this why we want watch lists as opposed to ethnic/religious stereotyping?

    Some evidence has been found that would suggest an individual might be a risk. So we watch that person (as opposed to randomly fondling everyone). I don't really have a problem with this. I would like to see some procedure for backtracking the list entries to the sources for the purpose of evaluating sourc

  • by Anonymous Coward

    On a recent family holiday to Florida (from the UK), my son was singled out for specific attention and searches on both sides of the Atlantic. The airport manager later told me that he had been matched on a watch-list. Although he's got a completely western name, which isn't that common, I guess he did have a few reasons he triggered this attention.

    1/ His electronic visa application was made about 36hrs before flying
    2/ His passport had just been renewed
    3/ He was travelling on a one-way ticket

    Mind you as h

  • by Fuzzums ( 250400 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @11:02PM (#34727176) Homepage

    Read some Dutch newspapers. 12 people from Somalia were arrested last week under suspicion of terrorism.
    Guess what. After a fer days of interrogation (no water boarding) there is totally no proof they're indeed terrorists.

    Who knows the truth, but they claim they were being extorted and this was the "punishment" (result of an anonymous tip) for not cooperating...

    Just to let you know what's coming...

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan