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Fraudulent Anti-Terrorist Software Led US To Ground Planes

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the our-man-not-in-havana dept.

The Military 147

The Register, citing this Playboy article, reports that a Nevada man named Dennis Montgomery was able in 2003 to connive his way into a position of respectability at the CIA on the basis of his company's claimed ability, using software, to "detect and decrypt 'barcodes' in broadcasts by Al Jazeera, the Qatari news station." Montgomery was CTO of Reno-based eTreppid Technologies, which produced bucketloads of data purported to represent "geographic coordinates and flight numbers" hidden in these broadcasts. All of which, it seems, was hokum, finally debunked in cooperation with a branch of the French intelligence service — but not, says the article, before the fabricated information, chalked up to "credible sources," was used as justification to ground some international flights, and even evacuate New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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This just shows how broken it all is (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550510)

If one guy can pull this kind of stuff off, imagine what would happen if he "tipped" some of his worst enemies to them. And to the terrorist prison camps they go.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (2, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550522)

The spirit of McCarthyism lives on.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (3, Informative)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550586)

Not quite. This was just a scam although it could have been a lot worse. The basic problem is that a lot of people don't really understand technology. If there's going to be any Mccarthy style overreaction it should be to throw this guy in jail for a long, long time.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (2, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550642)

I was referring to sopssa's post, which alluded to turning in innocent people [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550988)

The basic problem is that we pay these folks to think like a paranoid (albeit with a little dose of common sense, and some thoroughness when needed). We basically got what we paid for. It sounds like some background checks where in order.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551238)

The scary thing is that they did to background checks. And security checks. If you believe TFA, they did "due diligence" multiple times. The perps managed to scam that in two ways - first, they scammed the government into handing over millions for "R&D" and they pulled that scam off several times with different groups throughout the government. Second, they somehow managed to come in contact with a number of influential people, both within government and the just plain rich and dumb and they scammed them for all it's worth.

Sociopathy and social engineering. A win every time. For a while, at least.

sense is lacking (4, Informative)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551764)

Everyone is under a lot of pressure to perform. I worked for a defense contractor for 2 projects. The 1st project was a success, and the 2nd was a complete disaster. On that 2nd project, the customers were asking for a great deal, and many of them didn't understand that. They wanted in 1 year what had previously taken 15 years to do, and instead of being helpful, kept on throwing up idiotic roadblocks, for political reasons. As in, no non-American software allowed, because terrorists might have programmed in back doors and booby traps. That wasn't the real reason-- what they were really trying to do was force the use of what they were comfortable with, which was Windows. Security was the ultimate excuse, and was roundly abused to justify anything they wished.

Unfortunately, our management opted for dishonesty, in so far as they could agree on anything at all. Kissed up mightily, promising to do the job in 6 months knowing full well that they could not, and then tried to baffle with bull. Played along with the politicking. Leaned on their own people to rubberstamp things, or dress stuff up, and fought with each other over what we should do. Paralyzed by impossible and contradictory demands, and rank incompetence, we ended up accomplishing absolutely nothing. Gave the customers manure for a year, and that was not entirely unwelcome to some of the customers as they used us to hire a few favorites, and order equipment they'd get to keep after we crashed and burned. When enough of the customers at last got wise, the management blamed everything on us underlings and fired us all, to gain themselves more time. That didn't work for long, and finally, the contract was cancelled. Was the most miserable job experience I ever had.

This sort of scam is entirely believable. The defense people are suckers for security theater. Not the brightest at seeing through it, nor are they particularly good at telling the honest and competent from the dishonest and incompetent, even when it should be obvious. They don't help themselves when they engage in their own brand of lying, and collude. Honest contractors have a rough time being heard above the noise made by the legions of incompetent liars who are willing to promise anything to get that contract.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551538)

Not quite. This was just a scam although it could have been a lot worse. The basic problem is that a lot of people don't really understand technology. If there's going to be any Mccarthy style overreaction it should be to throw this guy in jail for a long, long time.

Yeah, but WHICH one is the scam?

The guy selling the software, or the "proof" that it doesn't work?

If you assume for the sake of argument that the original software is legit, then there would be a whole lot of people looking to discredit it. Including entire intelligence agencies of large countries, even those nominally allied with the US.

Just think how many US persons would love to discredit whatever software sits behind "illegal warrantless wiretapping".

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550656)

Yes, the anti-racist movement is unfortunately still not smashed. I feel sorry for the victims.

Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550742)

I never understood why Bush planed to bomb AlJazerea until now.
In case you missed it: Bush planed to bomb the TV station in an allied country until GB Premier Blair stopped him.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550862)

[Citation Needed]

I hate boosh as much as the average buttmunch, but this is just far enough out there you probably need to present some evidence or a link or something.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (5, Informative)

bytesex (112972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550884)

There you go.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2005/11/22/exclusive-bush-plot-to-bomb-his-arab-ally-115875-16397937/ [mirror.co.uk]

Second hit on Google. Now that wasn't so hard, was it ?

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (5, Informative)

ecbpro (919207) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551042)

If I remember right, he did bomb Al Jazeera in Iraq.

the nation [thenation.com]

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (2, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551646)

Informative? Ahahaha. Right. That's one _hell_ of a source you have there. Don't get me wrong, Dubya was a retard and a horrible President but seriously, that's not what you'd call a credible source.

On an entirely different subject...Oh my God, I just found out Bat Boy trapped Santa! Holy crap! I even have a source [weeklyworldnews.com]

.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (5, Insightful)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550804)

That's pretty much exactly what happened to a few of the people who ended up at Guantanmo Bay -- rewards were offered for tips that led to the capture of terrorists or terrorist sympathizers in Afghanistan in ~2001-2002. It worked great, as they began receiving a ton of tips from the formerly unhelpful local populace. It seems fairly obvious now that a not insignificant amount of the tips were completely fabricated, indicating that people who were completely unrelated to any real sympathy for al'Qaeda, or perhaps people who were the target of grudges, were doing things that they were not doing, or wanted to do things that they did not want to do.

Nobody seemed to care very much, since it didn't involve US citizens, and since people had let fear control their lives and did not want to take any chances, no matter how remote they are. Hey Sarge, Habib from Jalalabnotgonnaworkhereanymore says this derka farmer in a village 10 miles away hates America! What are the chances Habib would lie to us?

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (0, Offtopic)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550900)

[Citation Needed] I hate boosh as much as the average buttmunch, but this is just far enough out there you probably need to present some evidence or a link or something.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551426)

That's a story that gets brought up occasionally. Many Afghans were picked up, but unless there was more to go on than what an informant said they were released. Foreigners were treated differently, and of course there are always two sides to every story. For example Hukumra Khan has claimed all along that we was just a simple laborer who refused to pay an Afghan soldier a bribe:

"They send me only because I didn’t give the money. I’m a labor worker, I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not Taliban and I’m not al-Qaeda".

Yet when they searched his home they found 3 AK-47s and a satellite phone that he owned had been used to make calls to known Taliban. Who do you believe?

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551500)

That's a story that gets brought up occasionally. Many Afghans were picked up, but unless there was more to go on than what an informant said they were released.

or tortured to death despite being completely innocent. [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551730)

or tortured to death despite being completely innocent. [wikipedia.org].

And the people who killed him were charged with murder. I can't find the outcome of their trials, but the investigation and charges don't seem to support the "Nobody seemed to care very much" comment of the OP.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (4, Informative)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551760)

No. They weren't. That's why you can't find the outcome.

In August 2005, lead interrogator Specialist Glendale Wells of the US army pleaded guilty at a military court to pushing Dilawar against a wall and doing nothing to prevent other soldiers from abusing him. Wells was subsequently sentenced to two months in a military prison. Two other soldiers convicted in connection with the case escaped custodial sentences. The sentences were criticized by Human Rights Watch.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551970)

or tortured to death despite being completely innocent. [wikipedia.org].

And the people who killed him were charged with murder.

No. The low-level guys got minor slaps on the wrist and the officers got awards.

For example, the officer in command of the unit that tortured people to death at Bagram (Carolyn Wood [wikipedia.org] ) was awarded awarded a bronze star and then transferred to Abu Ghraib where the prisoner famous abuses then took place and then she was awarded another bronze star.

So,just from that, it's pretty clear that the Bush administration (and their supporters) really just didn't care. But more fundamentally, it's been common knowledge in civilized countries for hundreds of years that if you set up a "justice" system without proper checks and balances (right to counsel, habeas corpus, etc) that your "justice" system is going to do bad things (torture) to innocent people.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550858)

And you are sure this did not happen? And you are sure that he was the only person giving information to the CIA?
People ratted out others in Afghanistan and Iraq for money. The fact that those people were innocent did not stop them from getting the money and the people being deported.
Don't forget, everybody is guilty by association.

It is "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon". That is one random person. That means you will be 6 degrees away from a terrorist. The difference is that all people in the 5th degree will become a terrorist as well. Now you are only 5 degrees away. Obviously people in the 4th degree are all terrorists, as they have contact with terrorists.
So now you are only [some steps snipped] You are the enemy.

No matter ho many degrees you are away from a terrorist, you will be someone to be watched as you have links with terrorism.

Re:This just shows how broken it all is (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551608)

You people really have got a bunch of looney tunes in charge, don't you? Our leaders don't hold a candle to yours!

diff needed (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550518)

Frances Townsend, a homeland security adviser to Bush, said she did not regret having relied on Montgomery's mysterious intelligence. "It didn't seem beyond the realm of possibility. We were relying on technical people to tell us whether or not it was feasible," she said.

"It didn't seem beyond the realm of possibility. We were relying on shit like this to maintain the illusion that we are doing something to combat terrorism. When he asked to close the museum of modern art, we were overjoyed. Talk about high-profile!"

The reality is that there is one and only one way to combat terrorism against the US: stop training terrorists and betraying them.

Re:diff needed (0)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550570)

The reality is that there is one and only one way to combat terrorism against the US: stop training terrorists and betraying them.

Just stop training them! Stop training terrorists!!! How stupid can you be to trust someone that is by definition not to be trusted? Didn't one of your presidents say: "Fear nothing but fear itself"? But all we see is fear, well at least with Bush running the country.

Re:diff needed (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550708)

I still remember a French Interior minister a while back saying in a gravely voice: "we're gonna terrorize the terrorists".

Never went as far as US though, nor did that much collateral damage.

Re:diff needed (4, Interesting)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550844)

just an fyi:

That was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his inauguration speech in 1933 during the Great Depression. I was starting to wonder why I should bother posting this info until it prompted me to look for a bit more info on it and I found this cool site: http://www.bartleby.com/124/ [bartleby.com]

which contains the texts of the inauguration speeches for all of the Presidents of the US. Here's the actual quote, with a little more context:

I AM certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

quite a contrast to the 43rd President!

Re:diff needed (2, Insightful)

A1rmanCha1rman (885378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550964)

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter...

When "their" interests dovetail with "our" own short-term self-interest, we brand them rebels, or better yet, freedom fighters. When they're on the other side, they're always terrorists...

Conditions change, and the enemy of our enemy can no longer be our friend - betrayal ensues, and blood oaths are uttered - and suddenly the 180-degree transformation is complete. This is the folly of short-term, self-serving isolationist interest as a valid option for steering foreign policy.

Re:diff needed (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551120)

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter...

Bullshit relativism.
A freedom fighter doesn't target civilians.

Re:diff needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551248)

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter...

Bullshit relativism.
A freedom fighter doesn't target civilians.

There are no civilians. A nation's citizens are the financial arm of it's military. If I were at war with the US I would see anyone who pays federal taxes or has US citizenship as a valid target. Anyone who votes in an election has an implicit agreement to support the polices of victor even if they don't personally agree with them, otherwise democracy doesn't work.

Maybe the US military doesn't "officially" target civilians but civilians die nonetheless as the result of US government policy. What is the practical difference if the civilian was the target of the attack or if they were just collateral damage?

Re:diff needed (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551328)

Interesting digression.

Re:diff needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551670)

They are more than just the financial arm. They are also the muscle behind every leader, dictator, etc. The civilians are the enablers who really have no excuse. For instance, I don't blame Bush, Nixon, or any other politician, or corporation. I blame those who authorize them, and that would be your average citizen. They are the real fascists. Reich had it nailed in his book.

Re:diff needed (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551380)

Bullshit relativism redux. A freedom fighter doesn't kill people, by my definition. But even by your definition, who do you think it is that funds and approves the evils that your supposed "freedom fighter" is opposing? It's the civilians! Did we band together and put a stop to Bush's atrocities? No. Why not? Because a vast majority of us believe that killing can be done in the service of good.

If you want to know why the World Trade Center was destroyed, just ask Thomas Aquinas.

Re:diff needed (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551422)

I did not make any comment about the USA. Why did you?

Re:diff needed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551632)

I did not make any comment about the USA. Why did you?

Because modern leftists define themselves by nothing but their opposition to the USA.

Reactionary, simplistic, and stupid.

Don't think so? Remember when Bill Clinton was President, the "left" was all up in arms about how sanctions were killing hundreds of thousands of people a year in Iraq. To the point where the US Secretary of State said this on CBS's Sixty Minutes:

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

--60 Minutes (5/12/96)

Remember, this was in 1996. Sanctions against Iraq had been in place only about 4 1/2 years and had fully another 7 years to run. The number of casualties the "left" attributed to sanctions against Iraq about 40% into their full lifetime is already well in excess of the casualties attributed to the "unilateral" US invasion.

But after the US and, interestingly enough just about every country that didn't receive billions of dollars in Iraqi oil contracts, decided that 12 years of sanctions and 19 otherwise useless UN resolutions had done nothing but strengthen Saddam Hussein's hold on power and decided to remove Hussein, sanctions suddenly became the "best solution".

Despite 12 years of them being branded "murder".

To the "left", those "muderous" sanctions became the "best solution" the moment US policy moved beyond sanctions.

A perfect example of reactionary and simplistic "thinking" if ever there was one.

Yeah, the leftist echo chamber of Slashdot will try to mod this into oblivion. There's probably an Orwell quote or 400 about that reactionary process, too.

Re:diff needed (2, Insightful)

spiralpath (1114695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551156)

While the spirit of your post is true, I find it useful to distinguish acts of terrorism and terrorists themselves by the qualifier that they are indiscriminate in their targets: civilian, military, government, it doesn't matter (or they purposely target civilians). I learned this distinction from a fellow student of anthropology and it stuck with me.

Re:diff needed (4, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550592)

Must have missed the part where we betrayed the Mujaheddin to the Soviets as well as the part where any of those Afghani fighters were involved in the events of 9/11. Unless by 'betrayed' you mean the war ended, most of the foreign fighters left Afghanistan, we were no longer needed so stopped training, and the groups of foreign fighters began to self-radicalize as only the more radical members interested in fighting foreign powers rather than defending Islamic lands remained while the rest went home.

The 'your own fault for ever having helped them' adage is certainly drawing psychologically but doesn't really hold water. You might as well blame the Cold War on us helping the Soviets fight the Germans rather than any sort of clash of political and economic ideals. Or blame the German invasion of Russia solely on Russian's steel trade with Germany up until the morning of rather than even note Hitler is doing anything wrong in wanting to take over the world. And I suppose we fought the British solely because they trained us how to fight during the French and Indian war and like us should have had the decades of foresight to know they'd be better off not providing aid and letting their enemy take over those lands.

we won the war... (3, Interesting)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550612)

but fucked up the end-game, according to charlie wilson's war;-}

an i saw this story on network news last night...

Re:we won the war... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550772)

US won the war, but lost the peace.

There are still plenty of lessons to learn that one, and it ain't worth holding your breath they won't repeat the same mistakes with Iran.

freudian slip? (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551706)

> repeat the same mistakes with Iran.

i think u mean iraq;-) and yes, appeasing the peace@anyPrice-nix by pulling out would be repeating our mistakes:-(

i think it was colin powell who said we broke it, we bought it...we have no choice but to protect the world's energy supply...

Re:diff needed (3, Insightful)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550922)

The 'your own fault for ever having helped them' adage is certainly drawing psychologically but doesn't really hold water. You might as well blame the Cold War on us helping the Soviets fight the Germans rather than any sort of clash of political and economic ideals.

That's not entirely untrue. One of the reasons communist China existed as it did was because of pressure from the US for the USSR to declare war on Japan, most likely to help mitigate American casualties in any invasion of the Japanese mainlands. This pressure was also exerted to draw Soviet forces away from Europe, where there was a genuine fear about further war, after the Nazis fell, between the West and the Soviets. In hindsight this war was not very likely, but there was a genuine, well-founded fear and distrust of Stalin.

This also probably served as an impetus for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both as a deterrent to the Russians, and as a way to end the war quicker, with a Japanese surrender to the USA, rather than letting the USSR grab up more territory.

The implications of the victory of communist forces over the nationalist Chinese is a lot more obvious, with the China/Taiwan split, communism on the Korean peninsula, etc. Not to mention the authoritarian regime in China today is largely a spawn of the communist government.

You do have a good point -- it's not quite cause-and-effect, it is much more complicated. That does not mean it's completely false. There has been lots of meddling in foreign affairs by the USA post-WW2, or post-WW1, which had largely been confined to the Western hemisphere and parts of the Pacific prior to that. There was certainly a great deal more isolationist feeling where people felt that goings on across the globe weren't quite their business, to the point where the political leadership of the USA had a very isolationist bent starting in the decades after the Revolution, declaring neutrality in any potential upcoming European wars. Can you imagine what the world would be like if the USA had been formed as a 'European' power, getting involved in the wars of the 19th century, like the Napoleonic wars, or the Crimean war?

It seems we could benefit from a bit of that isolationist feeling, if it could be reciprocated.

Re:diff needed (1)

RattFink (93631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551306)

That's not entirely untrue. One of the reasons communist China existed as it did was because of pressure from the US for the USSR to declare war on Japan, most likely to help mitigate American casualties in any invasion of the Japanese mainlands. This pressure was also exerted to draw Soviet forces away from Europe, where there was a genuine fear about further war, after the Nazis fell, between the West and the Soviets. In hindsight this war was not very likely, but there was a genuine, well-founded fear and distrust of Stalin.

I would think the war declaration would have more to do with Japan invading under pretext and occupying Manchuria back in 1931. Heck it wasn't until 1941 when the US entered the war that China really got substantial help and by then China was largely controlled by the Japanese. I would say that China's ineffective defense of itself during that war definitely helped the communists.

Nice strawman. (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551270)

Comparing our voluntary invasion of sovereign nations to WWII and the Revolutionary War is completely ridiculous. Afghanistan's government requested Soviet military support to quell the fundamentalist Islamo-Fascists from overthrowing their secular Marxist government. We decided to punish the CCCP by "giving them their own Vietnam." We gathered every crazy Islamic fundamentalist we could lay our hands on, trained them, and showed that it was possible to defeat a world superpower. We poured billions of dollars of weapons into the country, and Russia poured billions in, and we had a proxy war that completely destroyed Afghanistan, and killed possibly millions of people. Then, as soon as the Russians left, refused to give a dime to build anything.

If it was just limited to Afghanistan, I could say it was an honest, one time mistake. However, we have invaded and overthrown so many democratic governments that it's almost a farce at this point to claim that we support freedom. It's obvious that we support whatever entity follows our orders. The only thing that will make the US care about your freedom is if you have some resource under your feet and a governent that is not playing ball.

And here's the amazing part about your post:

And I suppose we fought the British solely because they trained us how to fight during the French and Indian war and like us should have had the decades of foresight to know they'd be better off not providing aid and letting their enemy take over those lands.

Now, who decided that Britain's imperial claim to whatever they wanted was moral? Because if all you need to justify taking the lives of foreign nationals is the desire to have their stuff, then apparently you do not subscribe to any sort of value system, other than might makes right.

Re:Nice strawman. (3, Informative)

mqduck (232646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551876)

Comparing our voluntary invasion of sovereign nations to WWII and the Revolutionary War is completely ridiculous. Afghanistan's government requested Soviet military support to quell the fundamentalist Islamo-Fascists from overthrowing their secular Marxist government.

Not quite true. Afghanistan had a Marxist, Soviet-aligned government threatened by Islamist ("Islamo-Fascism" is a bullshit term that has nothing to do with history), US-backed insurgents, but they specifically told the Soviet Union NOT to send troops, knowing that it would severely harm the government's already fragile public support. The Soviet Union decided to be its usual arrogant self and figured that it knew socialism a hell of a lot better than the silly Afghans, and that its own interests were paramount (a US-backed regime on their border wasn't a happy prospect for them), and invaded anyway, toppled the Marxist government and installed a puppet regime.

Re:diff needed (1)

jaypifer (64463) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550738)

The reality is that there is one and only one way to combat terrorism against the US: stop training terrorists and betraying them.

Because that's what creates con men in Nevada!

Re:diff needed (4, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550838)

stop training terrorists and betraying them.

It's not just that. These people are also enraged at what they see as US imperialism in the Middle East. With all the invasions and troops deployed to the region, and all the coups, it is a wonder to me that the US isn't constantly being bombed by disaffected people of all stripes.

Re:diff needed (5, Insightful)

dlt074 (548126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550870)

i agree with your first point, this whole "do something" disease has to stop. doing something just for the sake of doing something is never the right solution.

as for your other point. while i don't agree that we trained all the terrorists in the world today, i know we train people we shouldn't train and they will come back to haunt us. however, i will not agree that we betrayed most of them and surely that is not why they want to blow themselves up. stop with this battered wife syndrome mentality of it's our fault, if we just didn't upset them they won't beat/kill us anymore. ridiculous!

take for instance Afghanistan. we "trained" them to fight the Soviets(biggest problem at the time). when the Soviets left, we used diplomacy and agreed with them to keep our hands off Afghanistan, there was no longer any Soviets in country for our new "allies" to fight. leaving them to form their own country is not a betrayal. do you really want to argue that we should of went in and set up our form of government? we did the right thing and it came back to bite us in the ass. damned if we do, damed if we don't. it's a little more complicated then, we upset some people 20 years ago and they are still trying to pay us back. if anything, diplomacy with our enemies(Soviets) led to this.

Re:diff needed (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551052)

The reality is that there is one and only one way to combat terrorism against the US: stop training terrorists and betraying them.

Bzzzzt!

The only way to effectively combat terrorism is to stop freaking the fuck out. By definition terrorists want to create terror. So stop over-reacting. Stop treating terrorism as some special evil that is a force unto itself worthy of endless news coverage and the constant ratcheting up of 'safety' rules. Live our lives as the free and the brave, not pathetic slaves to fear.

Flights (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550526)

“What were we going to do and how would we screen people? If we weren’t comfortable we wouldn’t let a flight take off.”

Why are they still following flights and such so closely, while leaving all the other ways open? It wouldn't have the same effect this time, because terrorists just go for emotions of people to get their message out.

Seems like hysterical thinking for me.

Re:Flights (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550760)

Why are they still following flights and such so closely, while leaving all the other ways open?

Good question. I imagine the answer is because the terrorist groups that most concern the CIA seem obsessed with passenger airplanes along with some combination of bureaucratic momentum and "fighting the last war" going on.

Re:Flights (5, Informative)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550848)

Because the US is now self-terrorizing, no bombers needed. We needlessly disrupt and frighten on our own to keep people on edge. And because once grown, government never shrinks, the massive increase in HSA and other such frightmongering will be a part of our culture (and budget) for the rest of United States history.

Re:Flights (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550962)

“What were we going to do and how would we screen people? If we weren’t comfortable we wouldn’t let a flight take off.”

Why are they still following flights and such so closely, while leaving all the other ways open? It wouldn't have the same effect this time, because terrorists just go for emotions of people to get their message out.

Seems like hysterical thinking for me.

Totally agree. I took Amtrak recently and I was *shocked* that there was absolutely no baggage screening or even a metal detector I had to go through to board the train--you just show up with your bags and walk in without any security, ID checks, or bag checks whatsoever. They don't even check for your ticket until about a half hour into the train ride. Sure, airport security sucks, but the last couple of major terrorist attacks in Europe were on trains and we still don't care about trains? This convinced me that the security circus crowd is correct...

Re:Flights (3, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551080)

we still don't care about trains?

You can't hijack a train, and take it somewhere else, later ramming it into a huge building full of people in some other city.

And... try going the combination of things you need to do in order to, say, steer a train pulling large payloads of dangerous chemicals someplace it's not supposed to go. You have to take over the locomotive and get control of the railyard switching systems and be able to magically control other trains to make sure they're not in your way.

Simply blowing up some passengers in the trains, a la Madrid, isn't as sexy in the US, since the attackers need to rise to the same level as their last large domestic attack, or appear to be (as they are) not as capable as they once were.

Trains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551174)

we still don't care about trains?

You can't hijack a train, and take it somewhere else, later ramming it into a huge building full of people in some other city.

That hasn't stopped the NYPD from routinely doing baggage screening of passengers before letting them on to NYCT trains.

Amtrak's policies say they will conduct baggage screening before letting you on their trains, but they just don't have the budget to actually screen more than a handful of bags per-station/per-day because they can't pay their screeners' salaries out of the gigantic NYPD budget or the bottomless Homeland Security budget.

If security screeners at the airports similarly had to be paid out of the airlines' operating budget you can bet there would be a whole lot less of it.

Wait, what? (4, Funny)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550542)

Playboy article? I guess the real news here is that someone actually reads playboy for the articles. Who knew?

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550574)

Who has been buying it for the pictures since the advent of the internet, anyway?

Re:Wait, what? (4, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550580)

Playboy article? I guess the real news here is that someone actually reads playboy for the articles. Who knew?

Naked girls, software, terrorists, fraud - enough to make a nerd reach new emotional heights.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550618)

Playboy - and, hell, even Penthouse - have produced some great articles. It's a joke, yeah, but it's true.

I guess when you're flush with cash from gash, you can spend a few dollars to hire investigative journalists.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551716)

Playboy? Articles? Hell, 80% of the people here doesn't read Slashdot for the articles. The other 20% is lying.

Deluisional idiot or con man? (4, Interesting)

walmass (67905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550588)

The author was on NPR a few days ago [transcript and audio] [npr.org] , in case you won't visit PlayBoy or get distracted once you get there :-)

Here came someone with a magic box who provided an easy solution, and the eggheads and their political masters bought it hook, line and sinker. What I find extraordinary is that the NSA was not involved or asked to vet this guy's findings. Billions of dollars and some of the finest brains working there, and no one thought to call them? Looks like even in 2003 inter-agency cooperation wasn't going very well.He was CIAs asset, and they were not going to share.

My conclusion: con man, and he will probably get away with this, because the government can not publicly prosecute him without looking like an Idiot.

Re:Deluisional idiot or con man? (4, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550626)

the eggheads and their political masters bought it hook, line and sinker.

Or the eggheads took one look and facepalmed, but the political masters used it anyway, fully aware it was bullshit. Fear is useful to them.

Re:Deluisional idiot or con man? (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551320)

According to TFA, that's exactly what happened. Intel professionals called bullshit several times, but were essentially overruled because a) it might, just might, maybe in a parallel universe or with the right pixie dust, might work and b) more importantly advanced a specific political agenda with the higher ups.

Social engineering at it's finest.

Re:Deluisional idiot or con man? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550628)

The government already looks bad on this, so no worse to prosecute. Shouldn't some fraud charge be appropriate? At this point we don't know what other agencies were involved. For all we know they could have been using him as a decoy of sorts, or tracking his contacts. We probably won't know for a long time.

Re:Deluisional idiot or con man? (2, Interesting)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550658)

He told Bauder to listen to the phone. "'When you hear the tone, I want you to hit the space bar on the keyboard.'" Bauder, in other words, would be secretly communicating with Montgomery while the military guys watched the supposed software demo on another computer.

...and at the time, he seriously didn't find it the least bit suspicious? This stretches credibility, either they're all huge idiots, or they were playing along while the going was good.

Re:Deluisional idiot or con man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550706)

The explanation is right there in the poster on Mulder's wall. People believe charlatans because they want to believe.

Re:Deluisional idiot or con man? (3, Informative)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551184)

The author was on NPR a few days ago [transcript and audio], in case you won't visit PlayBoy or get distracted once you get there :-)

Here is also video of a Rachel Maddow interview with the author: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/maddow_with_roston_on_the_incredible_magic_al_jaze.php [talkingpointsmemo.com]

Re:Deluisional idiot or con man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551630)

...he will probably get away with this, because the government can not publicly prosecute him without looking like an Idiot.

If the government forestalled action to avoid looking like an idiot, they'd never do anything.

Pro-Terrorism software (4, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550600)

That software, coupled with the (ok, Hanlon should be right) stupidity of the ones believing in this software was right and acting according should be punished. They were doing the work of terrorists, spreading panic between people.

In the other hand, should be a lesson to government between the difference of open and closed source. Snake oil is harder to sell if you can peek at the formula.

Related hoaxes (1)

vlokje (1703102) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550602)

How about detection of satanic messages in music. They are everywhere as this http://blogs.igalia.com/berto/2008/01/22/satanic-messages-in-the-computer-era/ [igalia.com] person nows. And imagine the target audience. Concerned parents are so much easier than bureaucrats to convince. Hope this idea is still unpatented.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550606)

"Military intelligence"

Suprise surprise... (5, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550608)

So, who do you think will be prosecuted for this? The guy who told them this nonsense, or the CIA guy who payed him to produce the "intel" they wanted to hear?

Along with the recently-revealed origin of the "45 minutes" claim here in the UK, this starts to paint a picture of the way the War on Terror is justified: agencies don't make stuff up: they pay some idiot to make stuff up, so that when questions are asked, blame can go to the idiot instead of the highly-trained people that somehow end up listening to idiots.

This also shows how easy it is to fool most people by treating computers like magic. You can't say stuff came to you in a vision anymore, but claim that magic software told you and most people are too scared of technical stuff to think to hard about it.

Re:Suprise surprise... (4, Insightful)

joe_garage (1664999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550648)

computers ARE magic to 99% of the population (if they own one or not) --- i fear that also goes for 'those in charge' (of us?)

Re:Suprise surprise... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550860)

Yes, And this is why information theory needs to be taught in kinder garden, the problems being that A. Most Teachers Don't Understand Information Theory and B. Nobody has come up with a way to conceptualize Information Theory in a way that can be thought to very young kids and then built on through out there education. B is probably quite doable but A is really going to be the big stumbling block. But since Information Theory can be applied to most anything it would very beneficial to our society to groove it in on the same level as a shape like a triangles.

Re:Suprise surprise... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551250)

I'd rather not. I make too much money installing operating systems and clearing out spyware for people.

Re:Suprise surprise... (3, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550832)

The person who knowingly sells parts or software or equipment to the government is attempting sabotage. We need to return to the quite legal custom of executing saboteurs.

Re:Suprise surprise... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551024)

The person who knowingly sells parts or software or equipment to the government is attempting sabotage.

I assume you left out the word "defective" there (or something like it)? Otherwise you're trying to criminalize people for just honestly selling ordinary stuff to the government. Even for a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian, that's a little extreme.

Re:Suprise surprise... (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551644)

He did say "knowingly".

Possibly nobody (4, Insightful)

doug141 (863552) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551124)

So, who do you think will be prosecuted for this?

I know from someone who worked in the DOD these cons can come across a single desk more than once a week, with, interestingly, professional presentations totally at odds with the quality of the science. If it were your job to sort through these, and if you had to sort through HUNDREDS in your career, then the one con who got lucky guesses (law of averages and all) during your testing of him would end your career. Remember a 99% accurate test is wrong 1% of the time. Also consider it can be just as bad (or worse) if you turn someone away who did have something novel, especially if it costs lives.

Sorry state of mainstream media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550650)

The next Woodward and Bernstein... to be brought to you by playboy?

The easiest way to stop terrorism: (0)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550668)

Renounce Empire.

Re:The easiest way to stop terrorism: (4, Insightful)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550720)

Renounce Empire.

<rant>

The Lord's Army in Uganda is a terrorist organization, so was the Shinning Path in Peru. What empire does Uganda or Peru need to renounce? When a Sunny terrorist blows up a Shiite mosque in Pakistan, what empire does the Shiite minority needs to renounce?

I could bring a large number of examples where terrorism has more to do with ideology, racism and religious fanaticism than with any notions of empire and its side effects. Just because the most notorious forms of terrorism (Islamic terrorism affecting the Western World) can be explained as a reaction of empire building, that does not mean the phenomenon of terrorism can be explained in those terms, much less solved from those premises.

The easiest way to answer a moral question without actually answering it is by pitching empty slogans. It sure feels great to say them (oh man, do you feel me? I do stand for something, so cliche... I mean avant garde!)...

... but they are a dime a dozen and don't amount to much anyway. A moral point based on a fallacious premise is an empty one, a fallacy and a slogan. Try harder. Try better.

</rant>

On another note, if the story is true, I do hope Montgomery and whoever up the intelligence food chain that was too stupid to paid him for his snake oil go burn in hell.

Re:The easiest way to stop terrorism: (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550740)

Better question - when an anti-abortionist blows up a an abortion clinic, what empire needs to be renounced? What empire lead to the Oklahoma bombing? When neo-nazis plan terrorist attacks in Europe, what empire needs to be renounced?

Re:The easiest way to stop terrorism: (2, Interesting)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551596)

The empire that blew up the building in Oklahoma was your precious US gov. A number of federal employees were killed in the explosion, but no BATF employees. There were, as everyone knows, BATF offices in the Murrah Federal Building. But very shortly after the bombing, we learned that no BATF personnel were even injured – because none were in the building. Why were all BATF personnel away from their desks on a regular weekday morning?
One of the first rescue workers on the scene, an Oklahoma City police officer named Terrence Yeakey, had expressed deep concern about some of the things he saw to family members. One day not long after he turned up dead. His death was ruled a suicide. Shades of Vince Foster: a very unusual "suicide" it was. The man apparently cut his wrists, made another cut on his elbow and then cut both sides of his neck around the jugular vein. Having already lost a great deal of blood, he was able to walk out into a fenced-off area at the outskirts of the city where he shot himself. His service revolver was not the weapon used. No autopsy was done, despite it being standard procedure to do an autopsy when a police officer dies under unusual circumstances. The obvious question: was Officer Yeakey about to reveal information about the Oklahoma City bombing? Members of his family think so, but of course no one can prove it. Officer Yeakey’s briefcase had disappeared. It turned up later, but had been in the hands of the police who did not want to release it to his family. There was plenty of time and opportunity for someone so inclined to have removed incriminating documents or photographs.
U.S. Judge Wayne Alley, whose office was located in the Federal Building, reported the next day of having been warned in a Justice Department memo about an unspecified "terrorist act" to be directed against the Federal building? Who issued this memo, and what happened to it? Judge Alley’s statement was published in the Portland Oregonian. Since then he has refused to repeat the allegation and refused all requests for interviews. Why? Along very similar lines, the Oklahoma City Fire Department was allegedly warned by the FBI the weekend before the bombing to be on alert for something that would take place over the next few days.

Re:The easiest way to stop terrorism: (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551822)

I don't buy your conspiracy theory, but assume I do. That's one answer. How about the other examples?

Re:The easiest way to stop terrorism: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550734)

Oh yeah? How about I drill a hole in your dick? I guess you'd like that huh bitch?

Re:The easiest way to stop terrorism: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551768)

I'm gonna drill tiny holes through all your teeth.

Re:The easiest way to stop terrorism: (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550994)

That'll be good to know for when we start taking colonies again. Until then it is tangental at best to the situation.

Things probably would have gone a lot smoother had the invasions been part of a plan to take those countries as colonies since you don't even have to pretend to play nice with the locals and their political schemes.

We proved him a fraud years back, no one listened (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30550914)

I worked for a Very Large Company looking to buy image compression software from this dude many years back. A co-worker did some extremely clever testing of the compression software that proved conclusively that the compression algorithms were cheating, and that it was intentional fraud. Upper management still wanted to believe the cheater and not our own internal debunking. Amazing how non-objective people can be, even (or especially) managers of scientists and engineers.

Re:We proved him a fraud years back, no one listen (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551536)

A co-worker did some extremely clever testing of the compression software that proved conclusively that the compression algorithms were cheating, and that it was intentional fraud.

Cheating how? Either it decompresses or it doesn't...

Santa just left after spending night with my GF) (1)

fregare (923563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550958)

Yes Santa was discussing toy plans with my GF. Yes I believe my GF. Why should she lie? Of course the guy was telling the truth. Why would he lie? Ask my girlfriend.

you aint seen nothing yet (2, Funny)

daveb1 (1678608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30550986)

you aint seen nothing yet. There is this site called 4chan and the users are posting hidden messages in pictures. Some are harmless others ..... well i won't speculate here in a public place :P

Re:you aint seen nothing yet (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551418)

Oh. I see you've seen "it" please remain where you are, SEAL's are now being dispatched to your location to liquidate you.

Sheeps and fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551028)

Fear-ridden sheep will believe anything you tell them if it make them sleep at night.
- Nietzsche

articles? (3, Funny)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551064)

Playboy has articles?

Playboy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551288)

And of course everyone buys that magazine because of articles like this. Hmm ... and of course *everyone* reads the articles.

So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551312)

So how many of those terrorist scenarios that they avoided have been for "real"? Does it mean that teh

dumb ass... (1)

martiniturbide (1203660) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551496)

"Montgomery looked up at Bauder and told him it was okay. They would communicate via an open cell phone line. He told Bauder to listen to the phone. “‘When you hear the tone, I want you to hit the space bar on the keyboard.’” Bauder, in other words, would be secretly communicating with Montgomery" Dumb ass... Montgomery should make program to automaticaly press the space key when he hitted his cell phone number. With that he would have a witnessa against him.

"All of which, it seems, was hokum" (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551576)

Yes, that's the "War On Terror" alright.

Says Montgomery now? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30551954)

"Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time...." ... as he sits in a dark jail cell somewhere waiting to be convicted of treason. We hope.

Just goes to demonstrate ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30551988)

that the U.S. C.I.A. is the United States Central Idiot Agency.

They should have the actor who's puppet channelled Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" in Speilberg's movie "1941" as their Director.

Yuk Yuk Yuk.

How about "Gen. Buck Turgidson" from Dr. Strangelov who was played by George C. Scott, as the C.I.A.'s Chief Scientist. In this way, "Climate Change" becomes Emergency Attack Plan R, and Obama channels the character Gen. Jack Ripper, also from Dr. Strangelove, and turns Hawaii in the Burpelson Air Force Base, where he dutifully awaits retalliation from the French/Brits/Ruskies/IPCC while preserving our vital body fluids.

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