Quote of the Day–Brian Hauss(6/6/2013)

To be sure, rummaging around through people’s personal papers may well turn up the occasional bad guy, but that is not the only consideration. No doubt law enforcement agents would also find it useful to walk into people’s homes at will, but we don’t allow them to do so because that would intrude on our reasonable expectation of privacy in our homes. And just as we reasonably expect privacy in our homes, so, too, do we expect that border agents will not base their decisions to search through our electronic information on a whim or a hunch. Put another way, requiring law enforcement agents to possess objective reasons for a search is a feature of our constitutional framework, not a bug.

(Emphasis mine.)

Brian HaussDHS Releases Disappointing Civil Liberties Report on Border Searches of Laptops and Other Electronics

June 5th, 2013


[For those who haven’t heard yet.  The DHS is claiming the following line of BS regarding searches at the border.

[A]dding a heightened [suspicion-based] threshold requirement could be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefit. First, commonplace decisions to search electronic devices might be opened to litigation challenging the reasons for the search. In addition to interfering with a carefully constructed border security system, the litigation could directly undermine national security by requiring the government to produce sensitive investigative and national security information to justify some of the most critical searches. Even a policy change entirely unenforceable by courts might be problematic; we have been presented with some noteworthy CBP and ICE success stories based on hard-to-articulate intuitions or hunches based on officer experience and judgment. Under a reasonable suspicion requirement, officers might hesitate to search an individual’s device without the presence of articulable factors capable of being formally defended, despite having an intuition or hunch based on experience that justified a search.

Translation:  “We don’t need to specify a reason why we are seizing and searching your property.”

Now many may have forgotten so I will provide you an extra reminder of the area the DHS would like to claim as free from that pesky 4th Amendment.

For more on that go back and read my article on it (dated 2008).  So think about what the department of homeland security is claiming as within their legal abilities, and then think long and hard about that map where they can put up “border inspection points” at will.  Think your safe just because you don’t regularly travel out of the country?  Get real.

Listen folks, you either have these rights or you don’t.  They’re not predicated on some theory that you surrender them because you want to do X.  NO!  If the government wants to search my personal effects, they must present a case including evidence that I have committed a crime, or that I intend to harm another.  *Note I said harm, the war on drugs needs to go to!*  The only way you end up with this current view of the law is through twisted perversion and a lackadaisical attitude that say “I don’t care, what’s it matter?”

Just because I want to fly to visit my friends in Nashville, doesn’t mean I surrender my 4th amendment rights and agree to have someone fondle me and my wife.  It’s horse crap and frankly if we don’t stop it, it will just get worse.  There’s two options for stopping it, we get the courts to do their damn job, or well, use your imagination for the second option.

News flash folks, in a free land bad people some times end up doing bad things.  Its comes with territory.  Honestly though even in your perfect police state, the crazy guy can still do damage, even more so due to the delayed response.  Grow a pair, embrace the responsibility and with it experience freedom.  It’s freaking AWESOME. –B]

Am I Crazy Now?

So I got to work this morning and saw this on Drudge Report:

DrudgeCBnBA

The immediate image and thought that went through my head was exactly this:

36497314

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate law enforcement.  I don’t think there is any conspiracy regarding the ammo crisis either.  That said, LEOs should go ask DHS for ammo, they have a nice stockpile, put in an order for more, and are refusing to answer questions about it.

Personally I think the police should have to live under the same stress both economically and politically as the rest of us.  IE, if your state bans normal capacity magazines, that extends to law enforcement, that exemption for law-enforcement is merely hypocritical double speak.

Does this make me crazy?

SSCC #477 – TSA

It’s been awhile since we’ve come back around to the origination that gave me the idea for this list.  For a quick history of this type of behavior:

Remember, these are the agents that were caught, there’s going to be a large group that are not caught. The TSA isn’t held responsible for lost and stolen items, they receive a free pass. There is no incentive for them to solve the problem other than bad PR.  But we have a new bad agent to add to the list:

TSA baggage screener Sean Henry, 32, was arrested on Tuesday after a sting operation conducted jointly by the TSA and the Port Authority Police Department caught Henry leaving the airport with two iPads that had been planted as part of the sting, as well as numerous other electronics devices he had allegedly stolen from passengers.

I applaud the officers who did the right thing, but the fact is the government has created a situation that foments this type of behavior.

State Sponsored Criminal: Sean Henry

Because why shouldn’t a TSA be able to make some extra off the top from the people they’re already abusing.

SSCC #470–US Marshals Office

U.S. Deputy Marshal Lucio Osbaldo Moya is accused of showing a photocopy of the unidentified agent’s driver’s license to colleagues last fall and, upon learning it belonged to an undercover investigator, sending a warning text to his father, who has served prison time for various drug charges.

You would think that when the Marshals service did an investigation at hiring they would have noted the following the history of the father.  While not everyone is very close with their immediate family, it would have probably been prudent to conceal information that might be associate with is father in one form or another.

State Sponsored Criminal #470: Lucio Osbaldo Moya

Because the government doesn’t need to investigate who they hire, just everyone else.

SSCC #458–I.C.E.

Anthony V. Mangione, who headed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s South Florida office for four years, possessed up to 150 images of child pornography, some depicting the "extreme abuse of children," according to federal prosecutors.

He was busted while still working for ICE.  This one’s bad and I’m not going to comment on it.  This one makes the count because:

As the Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s South Florida office, Mangione supervised more than 400 employees in nine counties. He was regularly at the forefront of arrests of child pornography suspects, vowing to see them punished.

State Sponsored Criminal #458: Anthony V. Mangione

Because there are monsters in this world.

SSCC #446 – DHS

A 43-year-old Department of Homeland Security worker allegedly used Facebook to solicit more than 70 area children for sexual acts, according to authorities.

We’re not talking high school students either…

Robert B. Rennie Jr., a Loudoun County resident, was charged Oct. 24 with five counts of using a computer to solicit a child under the age of 15, after a school resource officer was tipped off to suspicious activity on a Mercer Middle School student’s Facebook page.

Sounds like a fine upstanding government employee doesn’t it?  I wish I could come up with something better, but this just makes me sick.

State Sponsored Criminal #446: Robert B. Rennie

Because working for the government means you’re some how special.  

No, I Think You Missed The Point…

“If you think a control-system attack that takes down a utility even for a few hours is not serious, just look at what is happening now that Mother Nature has taken out those utilities,” Napolitano said at a Washington Post cybersecurity event, noting the effects in some cases can be “life threatening.”

While yes, cybersecurity should be taken seriously, Sandy is not an example of how dangerous a cyber attack could be.

What do I mean I hear you cry?  Sandy is a prime example of what someone could do to physically interrupt the power system.  While you could find a way to get a breaker to open or close unintentionally, the easier method of disrupting utilities is to find critical points and physically knock them out.

First, let me do a quick explanation of what’s going on in the NYC area.  Most power distribution in the NYC area is below ground.  This makes it below sea level.  This is one of the reasons they shut down many areas early, in an effort to protect equipment so that it can return to service more quickly.  Still, that equipment has to be cleaned, transformers for example have to be washed, insulation checked, and refilled with cooling oil.  This takes time, though much less time than having to fly in a replacement transformer, removing the old one, and installing and commissioning the new one.

So what we have is a bunch of distribution points that were/are full of water, need to be drained, the equipment cleaned, checked, maintained, and replaced possibly in some instances.  All of this must be done before re-energizing that circuit.

So why did I take the time to explain all that?  Well because it illustrates that if done properly, a physical attack, can easily do more damage than any cyber attack, and even more than that you have decreased the potential recovery time.  But that’s not all.  Say you execute an attack on physical infrastructure and take out 2 transmission level transformers on a main artery.

You have now done triple digit damage in the millions if not more.  Plus it will take 2-3 years, at a minimum, to replace the transformers.  Any stock they have for those transformers is in very limited supply.  This means if you hit a couple of places at once, you could very well permanently cripple the ability for a region to get the power necessary to operate.

Seriously, think about this, cyber-security to protect assets worth millions of dollars and provide hundreds of millions in revenue are going to be left unguarded by their owners and operators?  Get real.  The bigger and harder problem is physical security.  How do you stop someone from running a truck into a transmission tower?

Why do I bring all this up?  Because our overlords often start screaming about “necessity” in an effort to create new regulations and requirements which honestly are unnecessary.  They’re unnecessary because do you think a utility company doesn’t want to protect its equipment?  For every minute a transmission line is down they’re loosing millions of dollars in lost revenue.

We’ve seen these cries before and yet again it is to drum up “FUD” among people who don’t really understand how the system works.  FUD is how you make a bunch of people clamor to do something when nothing really needs to be done.  That’s what Janet’s doing with her latest ramblings.

SSCC #427 – DEA, BATFEieio

The nation’s top drug and gun enforcement agencies do not track how often they give their informants permission to break the law on the government’s behalf.

U.S. Justice Department rules put strict limits on when and how agents at the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can authorize their informants — often drawn from the ranks of the criminals they are investigating — to commit a crime. But both the ATFand DEA acknowledged, in response to open-records requests and in written statements, that they do not track how often such permission is given.

(Emphasis mine.) When you see it written like that, it reads as the definition of a State Sponsored Criminal now doesn’t it?

State Sponsored Criminal #427: The Feds

Because if you want to get a crime, just ask the government for permission first.  If you have to sweeten the deal by squealing on your compatriots.  No honor among thieves you know.