View Full Version : How We Are Fighting the War on Terrorism

Pink Spider
02-05-2004, 09:35 AM
How We Are Fighting the War on Terrorism
IDs and the illusion of security


In recent years there has been an increased use of identification checks as a security measure. Airlines always demand photo IDs, and hotels increasingly do so. They're often required for admittance into government buildings, and sometimes even hospitals. Everywhere, it seems, someone is checking IDs. The ostensible reason is that ID checks make us all safer, but that's just not so. In most cases, identification has very little to do with security.

Let's debunk the myths:

First, verifying that someone has a photo ID is a completely useless security measure. All the Sept. 11 terrorists had photo IDs. Some of the IDs were real. Some were fake. Some were real IDs in fake names, bought from a crooked DMV employee in Virginia for $1,000 each. Fake driver's licenses for all 50 states, good enough to fool anyone who isn't paying close attention, are available on the Internet. Or if you don't want to buy IDs online, just ask any teenager where to get a fake ID.

Harder-to-forge IDs only help marginally, because the problem is not making sure the ID is valid. This is the second myth of ID checks: that identification combined with profiling can be an indicator of intention.

Our goal is to somehow identify the few bad guys scattered in the sea of good guys. In an ideal world, what we would want is some kind of ID that denotes intention. We'd want all terrorists to carry a card that says "evildoer" and everyone else to carry a card that said "honest person who won't try to hijack or blow up anything." Then, security would be easy. We would just look at people's IDs and, if they were evildoers, we wouldn't let them on the airplane or into the building.

This is, of course, ridiculous, so we rely on identity as a substitute. In theory, if we know who you are, and if we have enough information about you, we can somehow predict whether you're likely to be an evildoer. This is the basis behind CAPPS-2, the government's new airline passenger profiling system. People are divided into two categories based on various criteria: the traveler's address, credit history and police and tax records; flight origin and destination; whether the ticket was purchased by cash, check or credit card; whether the ticket is one way or round trip; whether the traveler is alone or with a larger party; how frequently the traveler flies; and how long before departure the ticket was purchased.

Profiling has two very dangerous failure modes. The first one is obvious. Profiling's intent is to divide people into two categories: people who may be evildoers and need to be screened more carefully, and people who are less likely to be evildoers and can be screened less carefully.

But any such system will create a third, and very dangerous, category: evildoers who don't fit the profile. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Washington-area sniper John Allen Muhammed and many of the Sept. 11 terrorists had no previous links to terrorism. The Unabomber taught mathematics at UC Berkeley. The Palestinians have demonstrated that they can recruit suicide bombers with no previous record of anti-Israeli activities. Even the Sept. 11 hijackers went out of their way to establish a normal-looking profile; frequent-flier numbers, a history of first-class travel and so on. Evildoers can also engage in identity theft, and steal the identity -- and profile -- of an honest person. Profiling can result in less security by giving certain people an easy way to skirt security.

There's another, even more dangerous, failure mode for these systems: honest people who fit the evildoer profile. Because evildoers are so rare, almost everyone who fits the profile will turn out to be a false alarm. This not only wastes investigative resources that might be better spent elsewhere, but it causes grave harm to those innocents who fit the profile. Whether it's something as simple as "driving while black" or "flying while Arab," or something more complicated such as taking scuba lessons or protesting the Bush administration, profiling harms society because it causes us all to live in fear...not from the evildoers, but from the police.

Security is a trade-off; we have to weigh the security we get against the price we pay for it. Better trade-offs are to spend money on intelligence and analysis, investigation and making ourselves less of a pariah on the world stage. And to spend money on the other, nonterrorist security issues that affect far more Americans every year.

Identification and profiling don't provide very good security, and they do so at an enormous cost. Dropping ID checks completely, and engaging in random screening where appropriate, is a far better security trade-off. People who know they're being watched, and that their innocent actions can result in police scrutiny, are people who become scared to step out of line. They know that they can be put on a "bad list" at any time. People living in this kind of society are not free, despite any illusionary security they receive. It's contrary to all the ideals that went into founding the United States.

Bruce Schneier, CTO of Counterpane Internet Security in Cupertino, is the author of "Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World" (Copernicus Books, 2003).

02-05-2004, 09:45 AM
I dunno, i think Security is an elusive dream for the human race.
The human race is the most violent species on the planet and have been waging wars against each other since Cain slew Abel and it will only get worse until the end comes.

To blame one man for this is just rediculous, and to think that it is all because of current policies and political agendas is kind of ignorant.
It's all part of the Grand Plan and we are just the pawns in the game.
We can try to change it but it will all be for not. Security, in our time, is just a comforting word that has become a political tool to obtain power through fear.

Osama Bin Laden
02-06-2004, 06:53 PM
Oh, for Allah's sake you infidels are silly! :D

02-07-2004, 02:59 PM
Originally posted by Osama Bin Laden
Oh, for Allah's sake you infidels are silly! :D

Yeah, silly is my dick spit all up in that 22 year, im scared to use a razor cluster fuck growth on your bruised chin, just got back from your hood, left a few of your brutha's layin around for you to hook up up with the virgins you promised them, lol. i'll be back to see you in a few....

02-07-2004, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by Pink Spider
How We Are Fighting the War on Terrorism
IDs and the illusion of security


It is to laugh...

Hardy har har har


02-07-2004, 03:50 PM
Have we been hit since 9/11, do you peeps walk around all sketched out when you hear a loud noise, backfire etc, didnt think so, have any of you watch a neighbor or friend choke on his own blood with shrapmel stuck in his chest ? if your really concerned go enlist...or quit whining, those of you who whine, whine about everything and most likely live alone or with your stepparents anywho...

02-07-2004, 04:50 PM
No they don't.. but no way in hell would they ever credit that level of security to ther Bush administration...

John Ashcroft
02-07-2004, 07:13 PM
I'm scared of the thought of Democrats running national security mostly...

02-07-2004, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by John Ashcroft
I'm scared of the thought of Democrats running national security mostly...

I heard that, but for those of you who are not in the service i suggest you go out and start buying guns.
I have no confidence that in the event of scattered attacks on our soil, the government will be able to protect me.
Let's be realistic about it.
If we are getting hit left and right, do you think for one second that the Police or Government aganencies will be concerned about civilians?

I can see it now, major cities are getting attacked and what will Joe Schmoe Civilian do?
He'll be calling 911 for help and not get any.
My point is, if you want your family protected then you had better be prepared to take on that task yourself.
I just picked up another shotgun today and a box of shells to add to my stash.
I am not buying them because i am afraid, i am buying them because i like to collect them, but it is also a duel purpose scenario.
I prefer handguns but a shotgun is cheaper to stockpile the ammo for.

Security starts at home folks, be prepared...

John Ashcroft
02-07-2004, 10:47 PM
A Second Ammendment proponent! Outstanding!

However, Cat... We spend billions to give our military men the absolute most kick-ass, state of the art weaponry ever imagined by anyone. Not to dominate the globe mind you, but to simply protect our children's future. To protect that in which we have built. I have faith in our collective investment.

Now, it's clear our military isn't the whole answer. Our intelligence gathering capability has proven equally important to securing our future. Overt and covert defense is equally important, and both should be given priority to anything else our wonderful government ever decides to fund (after all, defense is one of the services mandated by our Constitution... Prescription drugs are not.)

And lastly, should the above two fail, an armed populous is the last resort to maintaining American freedom from tyranny. That's why it's covered under the FUCKING 2ND AMMENDMENT TO OUR CONSTITUTION!!! The good thing is, it's not in our nature to be ruled. And I "pity the fool" who thinks America will roll over to some piss ant dictatorship. Which of course is why our government is taking "baby steps" to instituting tyranny. A far bigger problem if you ask me. Kind of like the constant, minute pressure exerted by a tree root on a sidewalk. On any given moment the root poses absolutely no threat. Hell, even after a couple of years it poses no threat to the integrity of the sidewalk. But sure enough, after years of constant pressure, the sidewalk gives to the continuous pressure and cracks...

Anyone still wondering about the foresight and merit of the Second Ammendment???

02-08-2004, 12:31 AM
Bravo my friend!

I am in 100% agreement with you.
All i'm saying is if all else fails, this guy will be ready to oppose any tyranny that tries to come through my door.
If i have to take to the streets with my neighbors to fend off the U.N. Forces, so be it. it will be a magnificent battle to the end...

20 years ago this kind of shit realy worried me, but as a father today it just pisses me off.

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."

02-08-2004, 01:13 AM
In 1997, an attack like the Moscow train bombing was already planned and coordinated and came within hours of being executed. A group of Middle Eastern men, believed to be tied to Hamas, got an apartment in Park Slope, built five suicide bombs (no timers) and planned on setting them off at the Atlantic Ave/Flatbush Ave station, likely on a Q train because they knew the Q carried lots of Jews from Borough Park.

The only reason the attack wasn't carried out was that one of their associates got spooked for whatever reason, ran to the Flatbush Ave LIRR terminal and began screaming at some MTA cops about it... in Arabic. All they understood was "BOOM". When they finally found a translator, they learned about the plot and raided the apartment. The NYPD and FBI were obviously pretty apprehensive about raiding an apartment that the believed contained live bombs, but they did what had to be done. They were forced to shoot one of the terrorists when he lunged for one of the bombs, and came very close to setting it off.

Train bombings would be easy to do and i've been waiting for the day after 9/11 where I hear of one of them happening in a major city. But for the fact that it hasn't makes me confident that measures are being taken. I'm 100% sure shit happens behind the scenes in stopping, capturing, and questions terrorist that helps us and prevents attacks.