SAN FRANCISCO–Homeland Security and the National Security Agency may be taking a closer look at Internet communications in the future.
The Department of Homeland Security’s top cybersecurity official told CNET on Wednesday that the department may eventually extend its Einstein technology, which is designed to detect and prevent electronic attacks, to networks operated by the private sector. The technology was created for federal networks.
Greg Schaffer, assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, said in an interview that the department is evaluating whether Einstein “makes sense for expansion to critical infrastructure spaces” over time.
Not much is known about how Einstein works, and the House Intelligence Committee once charged that descriptions were overly “vague” because of “excessive classification.” The White House did confirm this week that the latest version, called Einstein 3, involves attempting to thwart in-progress cyberattacks by sharing information with the National Security Agency.
Though production lines at the fear factory are still in overdrive, the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) are scrapping plans for a new generation of “high-tech detectors for screening vehicles and cargo, saying they cost too much and do not work as effectively as security officials once maintained,” The Washington Post reported.
Nearly two years ago, Antifascist Calling revealed that when DNDO awarded contracts totaling some $1.2 billion over five years to defense and security giants Raytheon, Canberra Industries (a subsidiary of the French nuclear manufacturing titan, the Areva Group) and Thermo Scientific for Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) radiation monitors in 2006, it should have been “reality-check time.”
The Washington Times is a newspaper that looks with favor upon the Bush/Cheney/Obama/neocon wars of aggression in the Middle East and favors making terrorists pay for 9/11. Therefore, I was surprised to learn on February 24 that the most popular story on the paper’s website for the past three days was the “Inside the Beltway” report, “Explosive News,” about the 31 press conferences in cities in the US and abroad on February 19 held by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, an organization of professionals which now has 1,000 members.
I was even more surprised that the news report treated the press conference seriously.
How did three World Trade Center skyscrapers suddenly disintegrate into fine dust? How did massive steel beams in three skyscrapers suddenly fail as a result of short-lived, isolated, and low temperature fires? “A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7,” reports the Washington Times.
The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security does not come from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe.
The bizarre story surrounding Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, often defies belief. Siddiqui, who could spend 50 years in prison on seven charges when she is sentenced in May, was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children—two of whom remain missing—and spirited to a secret U.S. prison where she was allegedly tortured and mistreated for five years. The American government has no comment, either about the alleged clandestine detention or the missing children.
Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to “mass-casualty attacks.” But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida—the reason for her original appearance on the FBI’s most-wanted list six years ago. Her supporters suggest that the papers she allegedly had in her possession when she was found in Afghanistan, rather than detail coherent plans for terrorist attacks, expose her severe mental deterioration, perhaps the result of years of imprisonment and abuse. This argument was bolstered by some of the pages of the documents shown briefly to the court, including a crude sketch of a gun that was described as a “match gun” that operates by lighting a match.
What a week we have all just endured! While the Democrats were re-writing the federal takeover of health care behind closed doors, the public face of the federal government was fixated on denying and then explaining all the gaps in its intelligence gathering. The Obama administration has been finger-pointing over who in the government let a murderous thug on a plane in Amsterdam that he tried to explode over Detroit. First, the government said that the system worked. Then the President said it didn’t. Then he announced that the intelligence communities and security people would start to talk to each other so the bad guys could be kept out. Weren’t they supposed to be doing this all along?
At Newark Liberty Airport last Sunday, a TSA agent left his post, and a young man walked past it to kiss his girlfriend good-bye. Then the young man turned and left the secured area and left the airport. So far no harm, no foul. But because the government’s surveillance cameras in the airport didn’t work, the feds panicked and ordered over 10,000 passengers to leave the terminal, go out into the 15-degree Newark, NJ cold at night, and then re-enter the airport. Flights were delayed and missed, kids did not get to school on Monday morning, and soldiers were listed as AWOL. All because the government overreacted to a kiss. This humiliated the feds: New Jersey’s 86-year-old senior Senator Frank Lautenberg demanded that the guy who kissed his gal be hunted down and prosecuted because of the chaos he caused. He caused? Let’s see; the government has cameras that watch us every time we scratch our noses, and when those cameras don’t work, the government blames the person whose picture it was taking? Come on.
All this, of course, brings out the false argument of liberty versus security. And we hear that the government must take our freedoms in order to keep us safe. That’s hogwash.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair told Congress yesterday that instability in countries around the world caused by the current global economic crisis, rather than terrorism, is the primary near-term security threat to the United States.
“Roughly a quarter of the countries in the world have already experienced low-level instability such as government changes because of the current slowdown,” Blair told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, delivering the first annual threat assessment in six years in which terrorism was not presented as the primary danger to this country.