Conversation with Kip Hawley, TSA Administrator (Part 1)
Part one of five, Bruce Schneier
chats it up with Kip, TSA Administrator. The TSA and airport security have long been hot topics on Metafilter; here is a chance to read some hard questions put to the man himself and his answers.
Last week, a woman at DC's Reagan Airport was detained
because of water in her son's sippy cup
. In an unusual step, the TSA has posted their own Mythbusters site
where they show the security footage and the official incident report. Here is BoingBoing's take on the video.
And a security/security technology blogger posts about the larger lesson that people readily side against the TSA "because there's no accountability or transparency in the DHS."
This simple hack
actually only crashes the in-flight entertainment
system (perhaps this one
?), but that's already enough to cause concern
with the kind of people who comment anonymously
on a blog
for "security executives
I'm certain that this vulnerability (like this vulnerability
) will be taken seriously.
Bare naked travel?
(Previously on MeFi: here
, except now they're actually doing it, and here
). The TSA wants to see you naked. Just don't paint "Kip Hawley Is An Idiot"
on your torso in Pepto-Bismol before you go to the airport.
Meet the TSA's newest, cuddliest employees!
Sure, the TSA could spend its time and money developing a training course that won't result in a stunning 91% rate of failure in detecting weapons in carry-on luggage
, but how do you make cute pictures out of that?
"Kip Hawley is an Idiot".
Careful what you say about the Director of the TSA
when you're waiting to pass airport security.
Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota
"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," says one federal Air Marshal. Why? Because a memo from management requires marshals to file one Surveillance Detection Report (SDR) per month, and failure to do so will negatively impact upon their annual raises, bonuses, awards and special assignments.
Marshals deny fabricating stories wholesale, but claim to have resorted to creatively stretching the truth to turn benign acts into potential threats and the harm this may cause to people who have done nothing wrong
seems irrelevant to the marshals and the TSA officials who created the rules.
Tired of standing in line at the airport? Worried that you might share a name with a known terrorist or subversive on the TSA's mysterious no-fly lists? Relax. Get fingerprinted and/or iris scanned. And pay $79.95 a year to become a Registered Traveler
, and fly Clear
in the fast lane. (And note how quickly conceptual art projects
become indistinguishable from reality
.) Meanwhile, the Feds settle an ACLU lawsuit
over the no-fly lists... while revealing no information about them. [Lists recently discussed here
Is your name James Moore? If so, you may be a terrorist. Or at least the NSA thinks so
, having added that name -- which also happens to be the name of the author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential
-- to its mysteriously targeted
and infamously mismanaged
"No-Fly" list [previously discussed here.
Security, the TSA, and the No-Fly List
You would think that our National Security apparatus would be like the TV series "24", with the most ingenious and sophisticated technology available. You would be wrong. Disclaimer: TSA is not an
intelligent intelligence agency.
Here's a blurb from the resume of the designer
(Kenneth Mack) of the application the airline industry
uses for *PDF* managing their employee data and the cross-checking them with the no-fly list
- Sr. Developer: Developed a program [for Goddard Technologies] that uses the "No-Fly List" Excel spreadsheet, provided by the FAA and the database of badged employees to permute the name combinations. It takes into consideration multiple first and middle names, with Soundex and the various "initial" combinations. This program reduced the time for comparison from 3 days to 10 minutes.
The scary yet interesting part of all of this is that the No-Fly List is nothing more than a password-protected spreadsheet (see this PDF
). One would guess our Government's geeks would know that it's a bad idea to send email attachments containing social security numbers and dates of birth, unencrypted, over the internets
, even if they might
Who caught Zacarias Moussaoui? Clancy Prevost smiles at the absurdity of his story. We are just a few miles down the road from the Eagan flight school where, one month before the September 11th attacks, he tried to teach Zacarias Moussaoui how to fly a Boeing 747.
Selkie Goes to the Airport
"This morning, I arrived at the airport with an hour to make my flight. I kissed my fiancee, wiped off the tears, and queued up for the TSA checkpoint with my laptop out, my shoes off and my identification in my hand. There were three people in front of me; I had plenty of time." It goes down hill from there.
Cat Stevens on NatSec watchlist.
"A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam
- formerly known as singer Cat Stevens
- was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, federal officials said... Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. 'He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,' Murphy said, and would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday."
I *heart* Bea Arthur:
Bea Arthur sparked a security scare at Logan Airport in Boston this week when she tried to board a Cape Air flight with a pocketknife in her handbag.
The "Golden Girls" star, now 81, was flagged by a Transportation Security Administration agent, who discovered the knife - a strict no-no following 9/11.
"She started yelling that it wasn't hers and said 'The terrorists put it there,' " a fellow passenger said. "She kept yelling about the 'terrorists, the terrorists, the terrorists.' "
After the blade was confiscated, Arthur took a keyring from her bag and told the agent it belonged to the "terrorists," before throwing it at them.
As she boarded the plane, she told the TSA employees, "We're all doomed."
Kuro5hin offers a novel proposition
: Bea for President!
"If you don't do as I tell you, I'll personally take you out in the woods and shoot you."
A top federal security official at the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport angrily threatened to "shoot" baggage screeners and financially ruin their families if they did not do their jobs to his satisfaction, airport employees have told the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.
All jokes about bombs, guns and killing will be taken seriously?
TSA chief for Dulles Airport, was stopped at 1a by Airport Police near Dulles airport and charged with DWI. Brady was scheduled for Orange Alert Duty on New Year's Eve until 2a, and contends that he was stopped at 2:30a (30mins after his shift ended).
I feel safer already!
20-year old college student calls the TSA and tells them security is below-par. Then he proves it.
Taking the hacker's ethic of "exposing weakness for the greater good, law be damned" this guy did just that by planting knives and other objects with little notes admonishing the TSA. Feeling safe yet? The TSA thinks we should be.
All US Air Passengers to be Profiled, and 1% Will be Banned from Boarding.
In the most aggressive -- and, some say, invasive -- step yet, the federal government and the airlines will phase in a computer system next year to measure the risk posed by every passenger on every flight in the United States. Up to 8 percent of passengers who board flights will be coded "yellow" and pulled for additional screening. An estimated 1 to 2 percent will be labeled "red" and will be prohibited from boarding. These passengers also will face police questioning and may be arrested. [More Inside....]
What should I pack?
According to the official list
Toy Transformer Robots are OK (presumably real ones are not), but I'll have to put my throwing stars in my checked luggage.
Coffee, tea or should we feel your pregnant wife's breasts?
Well, like most of you I've read many personal accounts of the change in air travel since 9/11. But this one packs a major wallop, well written, infuriating and containing one of the best concluding sentences . . . ever. ( via Blogdex
Student arrested with boxcutter & scissors.
But the thing that really boggled my mind was this:
"Since February, we've taken more than 25,000 boxcutters from carry-ons and off of passengers. We've taken more than 500 firearms and 215,000 knives," Johnson said."
For one thing, I guess I had never realized how much box cutting went on in the US - but the bizarre piece is the guns. A half dozen I can see, but five freakin' hundred
? How can that many people - in the post 9/11 world - still be trying to get serious weapony onto airplanes?
Activists' names on no-fly blacklist -
A federal "No Fly" list, intended to keep terrorists from boarding planes, is snaring peace activists. Several federal agencies -- including the CIA, FBI, INS and State Department -- contribute names to the list. But no one at those agencies could say who is responsible for managing the list or who can remove names of people who have been cleared by authorities.
Is this so called heighted security?
Why are we permitting people to bring on carry on luggage at all? If the airlines are unwilling to put a skymarshal on every flight then they need to arm the pilots. We really need to take much stronger steps in this area than the feeble attempts taken thus far.
2" GI Joe Rifle Confiscated in Airport Security Crackdown Airport security staff confiscated a TWO-INCH plastic gun from a toy soldier. "They examined the toy as if it was going to shoot them . . . Then they asked me if there were toy grenades as well. I thought they were joking, but they weren’t smiling — they were deadly serious."
Have the terrorists already won?
"You can't professionalize unless you federalize",
we were told. So, this is a professional case of giardia
, I guess. Still, the kid COULD have mentioned that the muck was a project, and not his favorite tonic.
No high school diploma or GED required for new aiport security screeners.
The author of the bill, Senator Kay Bailey-Hutchison of Texas, "said Sunday she would prefer airport security screeners have at least a high school education, but it is a "judgment call." The DOT requirements page
requires a h.s. diploma, ged, or "one year of any type of work experience that demonstrates the applicant's ability to perform the work of the position." In a rush to overhaul the system, are we setting our standards too low?
Your tax dollars at work?
Apparently the FAA
is paying $50 a click to make sure that Americans are well informed passengers. What ever happened to Public Service Announcements? Anyone want to buy a $200 screwdriver?
New travel package
minimizes the amount of time it takes for you to get from the airport to the beach. Now you can get off the plane, and start swimming and sunbathing in no time! Isn't this amazing?
Terrorism is always disgusting, but this is just plain gross. Wired
wonders if terrorists will start carrying explosives inside their bodies
. They don't explain whether they'll, uh, "remove" them before detonation. Will Argenbright
start issuing rubber gloves? And on a more serious note, does this underscore the fact that planes can never be fully secure, meaning I can get my plastic lunch knife back? (I think so.)
This information is somewhat discomforting.
I always imagined that there would be instances of people bringing something that could be considered on an airplane but I did not think that there would be this many.
How, exactly, did this happen?
I'll tell you how. I happened to be at O' Hare yesterday, and the security drones there were about as dumb as a bag of wet mice (more in comments).
Who needs boxcutters, when you can just pack a gun
In the midst of so-called heightend security, a man accidentally brings a loaded gun onto a plane undetected. I know Southwest doesn't have meals, but do they not have metal detectors either?
from Amy Langfield's always entertaining blog.
Feinstein want national guard to be home defense outfit
Let's see. The air lines hired cheap and unskilled workers for security. They lost planes and lots of business. But the GOP doesn't want air carriers to become federalized nor have feds take care of security (too much like Big Govt or socialism.) So instead, we will use tax payer's money and have the National guard do the security work for private concerns and a few public ones. What will the underpaid and/or illegals do for a living?
Don't most folks in the Guard have regular jobs and do their thing on weekends? If so, should they give up their jobs for this? or double dip or flip a coin?
The Guard was called up in my state. But I was told (I can not verify) that they are not allowed to carry rifles or sidearms while guarding local airports. That makes me feel safer.
Airport BodySearch may reveal more than passengers know
Does anyone really care if the lonely airport security guards have a look under your clothes?