Search Results for: security theater

SSCC 128 – TSA

Here’s yet another unpossible, inconceivable addition from our infallible overlords at the TSA.

A Transportation Security Administration security officer is out on bail after he was arrested and charged with child pornography.

Remember, this is by no means the first time and it most certainly won’t be the last. The claims that they thoroughly screen their agents are yet again proved false.

State Sponsored Criminal Count: 128 – Michael Scott Wilson

Because the real reason for the TSA is to acclimate our children and provide compliant victims under color of law for sexual predators.  It’s a security theater, it has nothing to do with security.

Orwell Was Right on the Money…

So flying back last week I had to fly back commercial.  I flew out of Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) Terminal B, while waiting for boarding my coworkers and I grabbed lunch.  While eating one of them said, “TMM, look up to your right.”  I looked up and I sat there in astonishment and damn near devolved into a full verbal rant on the spot.  For you see, what did my wondering eyes see?  This pile of propaganda.


(fine print: In Madrid, smarter surveillance helped cut response times by 25%.)

And there was more than just that, around the entire terminal were these ads all relating to the same big brother type mentality.  What I find most ironic though was the company who the ads were for:


That’s right folks, the company responsible for that propaganda campaign was none other than IBM.  Why did I find it ironic that it was from IBM, well from their historical role with Germany during World War II.

That first picture though and it’s blatant propaganda is almost down right unbelievable.  Then I remembered that I was standing in an airport with A Security Theater at the front and everyone believes that they are actually accomplishing something.  Never mind that anyone with half a brain who can actually red team the issue knows that A Security Theater ultimately doesn’t really do anything to stop terrorism in the end.  It just makes us all live as slaves.

Nothing says free like being left to cower in front of someone who wants you dead and hoping that someone will show up and save you. I have a better idea, sling lead at over 800 fps and give the criminal a reason to choose a different profession.

Thug Recruiting on Craigslist

Airport “Security” is now feeling the need to hit up Craigslist for new recruits to A Security Theater


Customs and Border Protection

Immigration and Customs

You are need in our Airport! You are a vital person to help keep we the public safe, from terrorist attacks,keeping weapon off the planes.

Your our law enforcer! You work with personnel, people, and US Secret Service, If you have experience in working to protect the law and keeping the public safe.

We also need help in Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs.

We need your help Prevent terrorist attacks, reduce vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.

We have great pay, sign on bonuses and we have training for the right personal. If this sound like you a job that you

can do… then Hands Down and apply!

Honestly, Pullman Airport was the last hold out that my hubby thought maybe he could use to fly.  Not any more, since I have seen TSA agents in our small town and now the Craigslist ad.

DHS, Brown Shirts is thy Name

A couple weeks ago this came across my desk however it finally made it far enough for some ice cream to flow.

Fans attending this year’s March Madness games will be greeted by a video of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and NCAA President Mark Emmert encouraging them to “say something” if they see suspicious activities.

Everyone’s gauge for suspicious is different.  Many will call in when they should actually be minding their own business.  There are people who call in about an AK-47 when it’s obviously not.  This is nothing more than further pushes to desensitize people and make them more willing to report on their neighbor.

While something bad could happen how is reporting every “suspicious” activity going to help.  How do you separate the large volume of unnecessary noise from the actual incidents?  This is a basic problem of security in general, large amounts of false data result in you decreasing your sensitivity.

Overall this whole scheme is doing two things:

  • Make the sheep feel more comfortable by the use of a security theater.
  • Make people more comfortable and amiable to the idea of calling in their neighbor.

My response is this: Go to hell.

His Mistake, Didn’t Apply for a Job First

This one isn’t a state sponsored criminal but it’s another example how A Security Theater aids criminals and theifs, even if they’re not employed by the state.

Florida police arrested a man Friday for allegedly stealing a Rolex watch from a TSA bin at an airport security checkpoint.

I do love how they refer to the thief as “brazen”.  The thing is this falls under my “King Shit” rule.  If you act like a king shit, like that is your property or are allowed to be there, no one is going to question it.  There is nothing tying TSA bin A to passenger A.  If the bin gets ahead of the passenger, more specifically if the TSA stalls the passenger, it makes his belongings available for picking.

It’s this falsehood of security that allows thieves like this as well as the TSA to get away with these types of crimes.

For more on the “king shit” rule*, watch this.

*I first coined the term in 1999 while following my dad into the ER to check on the status of a friend who fell and broke her hip.  We didn’t walk in through the main door and no one stopped us even though I was only 15 at the time.  My dad just said to follow him and don’t look lost.

Guns on Campus, A Response

So the WSU Daily Evergreen ran a horrible opinion piece today regarding carrying concealed weapons on campus.  The piece was so full of inaccuracies, it just couldn’t be ignored, especially since many will take it as fact.

She starts by listing off Texas and Arizona which are currently looking at legalizing concealed carry on campus as Utah has done.  She then follows this up with this baffling quote of contradiction. 

I believe people should exercise their right to bear arms. Though I believe the right to bear arms should not be negated under any circumstance and strongly agree with the National Rifle Association slogan which states, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” I have to question the expected benefits that come from passing these laws. Texas and Arizona are known for their gun friendly customs, but most students and faculty do not want this legislation passed. If the state’s efforts are to create a safer environment for the campus, they should pay more attention to the desires of the student body.

There is a common theme throughout that entire comment, feelings.  There are no facts presented, she attempts to justify the position by how most students and faculty feel.  Her arguments then continue on to what is called projection.  She uses many of the classic examples that we often hear the VPC or Brady Campaign use.

  • The problem is actually quite rare and carrying is unnecessary.

Most people have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen, not because there is a high likelihood of fire, but because it’s a tool that can stop the problem before it becomes severe.  People have disaster preparedness kits in their garages for rare and statistically unlikely events.  Many have training in CPR and First Aid, I also am a Certified Rescue Diver, not because I expect to use any of them, but they are tools and training to help in an emergency.

Firearms are tools, they are carried not in the hope that something will occur, but to be used in the event of the unexpected.  Hope is not a plan, and wait is not a verb.  People who can defend themselves as well as others are disarmed and forced to be victims by the ban of weapons on campus.

People carry all the time, more than you probably even realize.  How is there a magical line that makes the campus any more safe than any other place?  Also, firearms are not used only in the incident of a mass shooting, but are used in other forms of self-defense against violent crime.

  • Police won’t be able to differentiate between the good guys and bad guys.

This is a classic argument used by gun grabbers.  It has been proven false numerous times, including at Appalachian School of LawNew Life Church Shootings, and even in Tucson a carrier not only wasn’t shot, but didn’t shoot the person who disarmed the shooter.  Searching through Google, I was not able to find any news article, or standard post indicating this has ever actually happened.  All I was able to find was stuff from the VPC and Brady Campaign spreading their lies.

  • Someone else may obtain the weapon and use it.

Not everyone attending the university lives in the dorms or in Greek housing.  Why should they be punished and prevented from defending themselves because others do?  That aside, there are methods that can easily be employed to secure a weapon, even in dorms or Greek houses. 

  • Carriers could go and get drunk while carrying.

This shows a complete ignorance of the law.  It is illegal to be drunk and carry.  Not only is it illegal, but it can result in your permit being suspended, weapon confiscated, and a mess of legal bills.  This whole assumption centers around projection.  The author sees herself doing it and assumes that everyone else would.  The bigger problem with that though is permit holders are some of the most law abiding people in the country.

These points also ignore the fact that 26 different colleges in three states have legalized carry on their campuses for permit holders and none of these points has been a problem. 

At the end, she closes that the school should fund alternative methods of security.  This action is nothing more than a security theater.  The fact is you are responsible for your own safety and security.  No matter how much money you throw at the problem, you will not be able to solve it by alternative methods.  Preventing people from effectively defending themselves serves no other purpose than to ensure that they are nothing more than defenseless victims should the unlikely actually happen.  This whole argument is about being prepared for the unexpected.  Just because it is unexpected doesn’t mean it can’t happen here.

Something is Afoot…

OG-AA794_GRIDAT_NS_20140204171308Back in April of 2013 there was an attack on a power station in Southern California. The attack was calculated, detailed, planned, and execute well. There were many details that perked my interest including the oil tanks being targeted instead of the windings themselves. This would limit catastrophic damage to the transformer. Additionally numerous fiber-optic lines in the area were cut, including those run by Level 3 Communications.

I have read a few writeup discussing the attack and I did come across one theory that was interesting.

Gabriel: Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Well he wasn’t like today’s magicians who are only interested in television ratings. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.
Stanley: What the f*** are you talking about?
Gabriel: Misdirection. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.
Swordfish movie (2001)

[See the PowerPoint here]

On the morning of the 16th of April 2013 the following events unfolded at, and around, the PG&E Metcalf Transmission Substation in San Jose, Calif.:

  • 12:58 a.m. AT&T fiber-optic telecommunications cables were cut not far from U.S. Highway 101 just outside south San Jose.
  • 1:07 a.m. Some customers of Level 3 Communications, an Internet service provider, lost service. Cables in its vault near the Metcalf substation were also cut.
  • 1:31 a.m. A surveillance camera pointed along a chain-link fence around the substation recorded a streak of light that investigators from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office think was a signal from a waved flashlight. It was followed by the muzzle flash of rifles and sparks from bullets hitting the fence.
  • 1:37 a.m. PG&E confirms received an alarm from motion sensors at the substation, possibly from bullets grazing the fence.
  • 1:41 a.m. San Jose Sheriff’s department received a 911 call about gunfire, sent by an engineer at a nearby power plant that still had phone service.
  • 1:45 a.m. The first bank of transformers, riddled with bullet holes and having leaked 52,000 gallons of oil, overheated – at which time PG&E’s control center about 90 miles north received an equipment-failure alarm.
  • 1:50 a.m. Another apparent flashlight signal, caught on film, marked the end of the attack. More than 100 shell casings of the sort ejected by AK-47s were later found at the site.
  • 1:51 a.m. Law-enforcement officers arrived, but found everything quiet. Unable to get past the locked fence and seeing nothing suspicious, they left.
  • 3:15 a.m. A PG&E worker arrives to survey the damage.

The damage to the substation took 27 days to repair and cost $15.4 Million. In the substation’s 500kV yard, ten transformers were damaged; In the 230kV yard, seven transformers were damaged; In the 115kV yard, 6 circuit breakers were damaged. It was also claimed that a total of 52,000 gallons of mineral oil (used for cooling) leaked as a result of the bullet strikes.

The damage to the fiber-optic telecommunications infrastructure was repaired within 24 hours. AT&T had six cables cut and needed to install new cables to work around the affected area. LEVEL 3 Communications had one cable cut, which was repaired within 10 hours.

The attack on the substation was so over-the-top, especially given that no long-term damage was inflicted, that it more appropriately should have been an entry in Bruce Schneier’s Movie Plot Threat Contest. The trope “orgy of evidence” comes to mind because the attack was so inconsequential for the level of effort expended. Sure it lightened PG&E’s wallet and provided an opportunity for endless sound bites by consultants and lobbyists touting their employers agendas, but nobody’s lights went out as a result of this attack.

So this brings us back to Houdini’s misdirection. Two events occur, one is over-the-top and will obviously lead in the morning media, the other deals with some cut cables in holes next to railroad tracks – decidedly non-spectacular and non-photogenic.

The thing is is that the Metcalf Transmission Substation is next to railroad tracks. And it happens that the railroads’ right of way is used to run fiber-optic cables. I’m sure you’ve heard of SPRINT, which use to be SP Communications, which was founded by Southern Pacific Railroad way back when. Fiber is why all the big name companies in Silicon Valley want to be as close to the railroad tracks as possible!

If we assume that the real target was the telecommunications infrastructure, how would someone tap some of the most monitored lines in the world?

By causing the fiber cables to be so extensively damaged that new sections have to be pulled to work around the damage. This level of disruption would require that any quality/security scans performed – using optical time domain reflectometers (OTDRs) – be re-calibrated after the repairs. The new cable sections could have been pre-engineered to have clip-on couplers (passive taps) built in that exert “micro bending” (i.e., spatial wavelength displacement). If they are detectable by the OTDR they would probably show up as noise near the repaired areas and be ignored. And the voila! Job done.

The next challenge for the strike team would be getting the output from the couplers to somewhere it could be analyzed. Once it was confirmed that the couplers had not been detected, then another team could move in and install appropriate transmitters or couple them into dark fiber for back-haul to data extraction.

We may never know the who/why of this attack. The over-the-top nature of it suggests that it was corporate sponsored as opposed to sovereign. The Metcalf Substation does have some interesting corporate neighbors, but given the nature of the communications traffic flowing in that right of way just about anyone using or traversing that corridor could have been the target.

TL;DR: The substation was actually a diversion.

But there wasn’t much to give credence to the situation until I saw my inbox this morning. Let me repeat something before we start with the new data:

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three or more times is enemy action. And I don’t believe in coincidence.

Lets start with the first article that hit my inbox, USA today.

The FBI is investigating at least 11 physical attacks on high-capacity Internet cables in California’s San Francisco Bay Area dating back a year, including one early Tuesday morning.

Agents confirm the latest attack disrupted Internet service for businesses and residential customers in and around Sacramento, the state’s capital.

FBI agents declined to specify how significantly the attack affected customers, citing the ongoing investigation. In Tuesday’s attack, someone broke into an underground vault and cut three fiber-optic cables belonging to Colorado-based service providers Level 3 and Zayo.

The attacks date back to at least July 6, 2014, said FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich.

(Emphasis mine.) Well that’s interesting, but it doesn’t sound all that interesting. The article does note that the incidents have occurred in remote areas but attempts to play it as merely petty vandalism to delay people from getting their cat videos. (No I’m not making it up, see this line…)

Backup systems help cushion consumers from the worst of the attacks, meaning people may notice slower email or videos not playing, but may not have service completely disrupted, he said.

But repairs are costly and penalties are not stiff enough to deter would-be vandals, Doherty said.

“It’s a terrible social crime that affects thousands and millions of people,” he said.

First you have to catch the vandals to fine them, and if this has nothing to do with vandalizing infrastructure but instead tapping it this is a very serious thing. But certainly those lines will help calm those who don’t know details, have the attention span of a squirrel, and don’t have the memory to correlate other external events that are most likely related.

Now lets flip over to the Wall Street Journal.

The latest attack hit several cables in Livermore, Calif., shortly before 4:30 a.m. Pacific time and hadn’t been repaired as of early Tuesday evening, according to several Internet service providers affected by the outage. Some operators complained that law enforcement activity made it harder for crews to fix the problem.

“It’s very inconvenient in terms of getting up at 4 in the morning,” said Peter Kranz, chief executive of local Internet provider Unwired Ltd.

FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said the agency understood operators’ frustration but needed its investigators to look for evidence before anyone patches up the cuts.

“When some of the first cuts were taking place, the cuts and cables were fixed, and there was no evidence, no anything to look at,” he said. “We just need to have a little bit more time to have our people go in.”

I love the complaints about law enforcement making it difficult to repair the communication lines because they want to inspect and collect evidence. This is a classic case of “repair the problem, investigate no further on root cause.” Please stop digging you could induce panic.

Again the paper plays this off not nearly as serious almost as if it’s just some kids out pranking the world. Then we get to the local paper…

The severed fiber optic cables that disrupted Sacramento-area communications is just one in a series of 11 Bay Area incidents in the past year being investigated by the FBI.

Phone, television and Internet services were disrupted in Auburn and the surrounding areas following three severed cables in Alameda County Tuesday morning, according to the federal agency.

Since July 6, 2014, there have been 11 incidents of vandalism to fiber optic cable networks in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said at this point it is unclear why the cables are being damaged, but said state and federal law enforcement are coordinating on the investigation.

According to communications provider Wave Broadband, three major fiber optic cables were severed at around 4:20 a.m., causing service outages in Sacramento, Rocklin and Auburn areas.

Wait, it wasn’t just one cable shared by multiple service providers, but three different cables? Additionally as these were related to the backbone and given one of the providers involved you just tapped a decent chunk of the internet. Just what the hell is going on down there. I start searching for more information, including something on the Metcalf substation incident to try to cross reference and discover this:

The Silicon Valley power substation that was attacked by a sniper in April 2013 was hit by thieves early Wednesday morning, according to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, despite increased security.

The substation, near San Jose, Calif., is the source of energy for thousands of customers, and the idea that it was the target of a well-organized attack, and that it might have been disabled for an extended period, raised anxieties about the possible broader vulnerability of the grid. The attack this week did not involve gunfire, and it did not seem intended to disable the facility.

The date on that “theft” is August 27, 2014. The recent string of attacks on the fibre lines started July 2014. Tell me, if you wanted to inspect the response and repair actions of an attack couldn’t you just easily disguise it as a simple theft? You could get up close and personal and inspect exactly how the substation was repaired and what additional actions were taken to harden the substation.

Look, I’m a big fan of Halon’s razor and I hate conspiracy theories because honestly 99% of them are bullshit. But we have multiple, repeat incidents. There were clues and suspicion of possible nation-state involvement which were dismissed. We have an administration who actively works to diminish the significance of attacks and events that surround us and affect us in deep and profound ways. Additionally we see that there are outside nation states who have taken a keen interest in the United States. Just look at the Office of Personnel Management hack, seriously that is a threat beyond what most realize. Then while all this is going on we have people calling to critically weaken our cyber security infrastructure, in the name of stopping terrorism.

There is someone gathering intelligence, placing equipment in the correct locations, and improving their leverage against us. We’re in a technological cold war and we’re seeing the spill over from the physical side of things. Things are not looking good, safe, or secure, especially with over 18 trillion in national debt. Stay safe and keep your powder dry.

The TSA Screws Up Again

Yet again the A Security Theater failed to prevent someone from carrying a weapon onboard an airplane.  It wasn’t just any  weapon though, it was the same principal weapon used in the September 11th hijackings. 

A passenger managed to waltz past JFK’s ramped-up security gantlet with three boxcutters in his carry-on luggage — easily boarding an international flight while carrying the weapon of choice of the 9/11 hijackers, sources told The Post yesterday.

This is by no means a surprise to those of us who actually have bothered to pay attention to the TSA scorecard.  Here’s the other recent failures that come to mind.

The TSA during red team tests has an abysmal failure rate.  Not only is it abysmal, Joe actually spent some time testing an X-Ray machine and found it is extremely easy to conceal a weapon.  Continuing on in the same article we see the following from the TSA:

"There have been a number of additional security layers that have been implemented on aircraft that would prevent someone from causing harm with boxcutters," she insisted.

"They include the possible presence of armed federal air marshals, hardened cockpit doors, flight crews trained in self-defense and a more vigilant traveling public who have demonstrated a willingness to intervene."

Which seriously begs the question, why do we need the TSA?  They do nothing but demean and humiliate the public.