Is Government Protecting Or Fleecing Us?
Amidst the political wrangling over renewing the Patriot Act (aka 1984 act) no one in the media has seen through the silliness enough to understand why people over 60 are frightened but those under 30 think it is a waste of time.
And the answer, of course, is simple. No one under 30 uses the phone for anything when they can use email instead. So tracking every phone call origin and destination in the world is a meaningless security measure, much like the TSA.
Terrorists all seem to be relatively young, at least the ones who are willing to die, as opposed to those elders who hide out and encourage the kids to kill themselves and others.
So to defeat NSA surveillance all they need are two GMAIL or even AOL email accounts created with fake information. They don’t even need to go to the extreme measure of using Proton Email, the most secure email service in the world – the secure messaging system I use when I am protecting a news source in, for example, Russia. Or Maryland.
What Did TSA Protect Citizens From?
On top of that, there have been terrorist attacks in the U.S. since the Patriot Act was passed (e.g. Boston Bombers) and the government is unable to point to EVEN ONE instance of a terrorist being identified or an attack prevented using the phone data or countless roaming wiretaps.
So the government says collecting phone data has never had any significant role in defeating terrorists therefore it is a loudly debated political point where people who, like Rand Paul, want to end the Patriot Act on the basis that it violates several of the Articles of the Bill of Rights, are called traitors and blamed for making us all far less secure.
Another politically powerful (in the U.S.) and therefore totally meaningless security measure is the wonderful Transportation Security Agency. You know, the people who made my 80 year-old D-Day veteran cousin take off his shoes and causes every flyer waste yet another hour getting on an airplane.
This week we learned (through leaks, of course) that the Inspector General of the U.S. Homeland Security Department recently completed a test of the TSA to see just how effective their security measures are.
What The TSA 96% Rating Means
The TSA got a 96% rating, which would very reassuring to the public and a wonderful reason to support the agency except for the fact that it was a 96% FAILURE rate, not a 96% success rate. That is, out of 70 attempts to smuggle weapons or explosives onto aircraft, the TSA caught 3 – they failed to catch 67 of the fake terrorist attacks even to the extent of flagging the person or luggage for a closer check.
Apparently taking the lesson to heart the TSA press site today still had zero mention of the test or the Agency’s near total failure, the top brass of the organization may feel that ignoring the report goes along with a policy of ignoring the abysmal performance by their airport screeners. http://www.tsa.gov/press/index.shtm
This wasn’t the first bad report card for the TSA and $540 million was spent on additional training and equipment after a devastating 2007 report on TSA failures with the mildly surprising result that the new evaluation of their performance showed they were even worse now than before the extra training and updated equipment.
You can find DHS IG reports at www.oig.dhs.gov, although this TSA evaluation is not on that site there are a number of other reports about TSA mismanagement.
The Real TSA Lesson
But the real lesson to learn here, just as with the telephone data collection should NOT be that the government needs to spend more money to protect us, but that a near total failure of TSA screeners to catch explosives and weapons over the past decade has NOT resulted in any airplane hijackings!
In other words, the TSA is a total and complete waste of time and money, just exactly what politicians love to get excited about.