Posts Tagged spy tech
Sunday, July 01, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] The Transportation Security Administration is already known for being one of the most, if not the most, inept, incompetent and criminal of all the federal agencies. Now we can add cruel and heartless to the growing list of TSA outrages.
John Gross of Indianapolis suffered unbelievable humiliation at the hands of a female TSA agent at the airport in Orlando, Fla., after she insisted on opening a jar containing his grandfather’s remains. When doing her “inspection,” she promptly spilled them on the floor.
Before the “accident,” Gross pleaded with the agent to “be careful.”
“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,” he told a local ABC News affiliate.
“She picked up the jar. She opened it up,” Gross said. Then she dropped them.
The remains of Gross’ grandfather, who was 91 when he passed, had been divided up among family members after he died a decade ago. Gross had been given his portion by his uncle during his trip.
Here’s the rub – the agency wasn’t even supposed to open the jar
The jar was clearly marked “Human Remains” and was in a tightly sealed jar.
Gross said one-third to one-half of his grandfather’s ashes spilled; worse, he said, the agent laughed as he worked to recover what he could.
“She didn’t apologize. She started laughing,” Gross told the station. “I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.”
Talk about adding insult to injury.
What’s even worse is that – as usual – checking those remains was against the TSA’s rules.
According to the TSA’s own Web site, “Passengers are allowed to carry a crematory container as part of their carry-on luggage, but the container must pass through the X-ray machine.”
Continuing, the site says: “Out of respect to the deceased and their family and friends, under no circumstances will an officer open the container even if the passenger requests this be done. Documentation from the funeral home is not sufficient to carry a crematory container through security and onto a plane without screening.”
What the agency was supposed to do was put the remains through an X-ray machine.
So why did that female TSA agent open the remains? Does she not know the rules? Does she care?
Gross wants to see some contrition, and he’s absolutely right to demand it.
“I want an apology,” he said. “I want an apology from TSA. I want an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me. I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”
As of this writing, Gross has yet to receive an apology.
TSA needs to be out of the security business
The TSA has such an awful history, it’s pathetic. Why this agency still exists is – well, Congress’ fault.
“TSA needs to immediately remove themselves from the human resource business. This report details highly disturbing cases where pedophiles and child pornographers wearing federal law enforcement uniforms are not only patting down unsuspecting travelers, but in many cases stealing valuables from their bags,” U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said recently in a highly critical report about the agency.
“Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to step in and demand accountability from Administrator (John) Pistole,” she said.
She wants the TSA out of the “security” business altogether, if not out of American airports.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky wants the TSA gone as well.
“The American people shouldn’t be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane,” Paul said in May.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] What does it say when an agency is so afraid of what its own employees might say, that it is willing to invest in technology to spy on them to prevent (or, at a minimum, identify) whistleblowers? In this day and age, the Leviathan seems unwilling to stop at anything to protect its growing police state.
According to NextGov, the Transportation Security Administration - that bastion of civil rights and professionalism – top agency officials, stung by recent revelations that the TSA’s billion-dollar scanners aren’t able to detect small metal objects and other reputation-damaging incidents – are shopping around for a computer program capable of snooping on employees’ online activities.
Procurement documents posted online at FedBizOpps.gov, the federal Web site where agencies solicit bids from private firms on a range of items, software and services, say the TSA is concerned about an “insider threat,” and as such is “in need of a tool” to “monitor and detect insider threats…at the user host level.”
When all else fails, trample the rights of your own employees too
“The scope of this procurement is an enterprise insider threat software package. In order to detect an insider threat, technology is required to monitor and obtain visibility into users’ actions. TSA Focused Operations requires a tool that can monitor user activities at the user host level,” says the solicitation.
Specifically, the TSA software must be capable of monitoring activities through, among other capabilities:
– Keystroke monitoring/logging
– Chart monitoring/logging
– Email monitoring
– Network activity monitoring
– File transfer monitoring
– Document tracking/monitoring
– Screenshot capture
“All activities that are being monitored/logged must call back to a central enterprise command infrastructure and transfer its collected data,” the solicitation says.
Nice, huh? Now the agency doesn’t even trust its own employees – so little that, according to the solicitation, the program the agency eventually adopts must be secret to the employee. “The end user must not have the ability to detect this technology,” it says.
Naturally, and right on cue, the TSA defended its action.
“As the agency whose serious responsibility it is to deal with national security, TSA must remain vigilant to safeguard sensitive information in order to secure the nation’s transportation systems,” said spokesman David A. Castelveter, in a recent statement. “This software is intended to assist in carrying out that mission. This initiative will be used in accordance with all federal laws and will be reserved for specific instances that meet TSA’s qualifications for an insider threat.”
Legitimate or not – and we’re betting not - TSA officials could be setting the agency up for a repeat of a lawsuit filed by employees against the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year for – you guessed it – spying on them. In their suit, employees claimed that the FDA read employee emails and screenshots were gathered from their computers following a complaint some of them lodged with the Office of Special Counsel over agency approval of unsafe medical devices.
History of rank incompetence and cover-up
Still, a raft of bad PR obviously has the TSA on the defensive. Last November, the agency became embroiled in another of its many scandals after a whistleblower accused the agency of hiding her sexual assault, which occurred at the hands of a TSA investigator, by forcing her to sign a document disavowing the incident.
Nilda C. Marugame, a TSA worker at Lihue airport, consequently tried to notify the Assistant Federal Security Director, but she was suspended for three days and then forced to sign a statement saying the sexual advances were consensual.
“She says she is ‘at least the third woman to report unwelcome sexual advances’ from the same man, and that all of his victims were retaliated against with suspension or threats of termination,” says a report about her complaint by Courthouse News Service.
Sexual deviancy – along with rank incompetence, violations of the law and a sound trampling of the Constitution – are all characteristics of this rogue agency, which now appears willing to do anything to hide ineptitude, including spying on its own.