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Congress Capitulates To TSA; Refuses To Let Bruce Schneier Testify

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the security-threatre-drama-troupe dept.

Government 435

McGruber writes "Following up on an earlier Slashdot story, earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing titled 'TSA Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?' ... In a blog update, Bruce Schneier says that 'at the request of the TSA' he was removed from the witness list. Bruce also said 'it's pretty clear that the TSA is afraid of public testimony on the topic, and especially of being challenged in front of Congress. They want to control the story, and it's easier for them to do that if I'm not sitting next to them pointing out all the holes in their position. Unfortunately, the committee went along with them.'"

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435 comments

Yea. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479815)

yea.

What kind of congress is that? (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479847)

I thought the congress of the United States is a congress of ALL

Or am I wrong in this?

Excluding Mr. Schneier from testifying has violated the charter (if there is one written) of the congress of the United States of America

Or am I wrong in that also?

Re:What kind of congress is that? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479865)

Same congress that prevented any women from testifying on women's health issues recently.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479905)

Same congress that prevented any women from testifying on women's health issues recently.

I believe you mean "one woman from testifying on religious freedom issues". The issue before congress was whether the mandate was a potential violation of the rights of religious institutions. It was not an evil panel of old men trying to put a baby in every woman's uterus.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480017)

It was not an evil panel of old men trying to put a baby in every woman's uterus.

What does Islam have to do with it?

Re:What kind of congress is that? (0, Troll)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480495)

Here we see that saying "I support the liberal side of this recent political issue" is +5 insightful, while saying "I support the conservative side of this recent political issue" is -1 Troll. Slashdot: some things never change.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (4, Insightful)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480515)

And if the facts are on the "liberal" side?

Re:What kind of congress is that? (5, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479891)

Congress has been violating the "charter" AKA The Constitution for years. If you are just noticing this then you need to wake up, get a cup of coffee, read the constitution and find out what has really been going on.

However, there is no guarantee that you or anyone will get to testify before congress. There is a guarantee that you will be secure in your persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

4th amendment
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Can some one point to the airport exclusion? Or where congress amended the constitution to allow this?

Re:What kind of congress is that? (2)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479939)

Can some one point to ... where congress amended the constitution to allow this?

Now don't go giving them ideas!

Re:What kind of congress is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480009)

>> Congress has been violating the "charter" AKA The Constitution for years. If you are just noticing this then you need to wake up, get a cup of coffee, read the constitution and find out what has really been going on.

I was talking with my congressman and he told me that most of the stuff you see on CSPAN and in the news is all "Political Theater" and not a true representation of what actually goes on. Those were his words, not mine!

This is perfectly consistent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480013)

The purpose of this hearing is not to allow congress to learn hidden facts. It is to convince the public that congress is doing its job, and that its decision to continue funding the TSA and to continue allowing the TSA to perform warrantless invasive searches is the result of a well-scrutinized and carefully considered process.

Allowing Bruce to testify will not win hearts and minds.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480027)

4th amendment "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Can some one point to the airport exclusion? Or where congress amended the constitution to allow this?

They simply changed the interpretation of "unreasonable". After all you may be a terrorist, citizen.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480203)

They simply changed the interpretation of "unreasonable". After all you may be a citizen, terrorist.

FTFY.

Or so it it seems to me lately...

Re:What kind of congress is that? (2, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480045)

Can some one point to the airport exclusion? Or where congress amended the constitution to allow this?

They didn't need to. The prohibition is against "unreasonable" searches. That means reasonable ones are allowed. Guess who gets to define "unreasonable"? Well, "reasonable" has been defined to include "voluntary", and "voluntary" has been defined to mean "going past this point" when there is a sign that says "by going past this point you are subject to search."

The same kind of argument against TSA searches would apply to searches conducted at the entrance to military bases.

Bruce's appearance had already been cancelled last week, at least by Friday, when the slashdot story about how it was mandatory to use facebook was posted. The FA didn't say why, just that it had been.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (3, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480051)

The border exclusion has been a long-standing tradition: the understanding is that in order to control your borders, you need to be able to stop and search people indiscriminately, and without a search warrant. Or at least, the search warrant is implied in the fact that someone wants to cross the border.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480167)

Which means we shouldn't be searched for airflights (or trains or cars) that travel internal to the U.S. and cross no borders. And yet they do it all the time.

I was caught in several of these while following I-8 from California to Texas. Most just waved me past, but one stop demanded to search my trunk. I refused. ("No warrant; no search." - ACLU of DC.) As punishment they made me stand in the hot sun for an hour & get a nasty burn. Bastards. The SA and Homeland cops think they can look anyplace they want.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (5, Informative)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480513)

Hey, you're the one who entered the Constitution-free zone [aclu.org] , what did you expect. The majority of Americans live in that zone, by some amazing coincidence.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480235)

I can see 'securing the borders', sort of, in a declared emergency during a declared war. None of which has happened.

Seriously, body cavity searches for a flight going from Las Vegas to Cleveland? Admittedly, Cleveland is another planet at times, but still...

Re:What kind of congress is that? (2)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480297)

Or at least, the search warrant is implied in the fact that someone wants to cross the border.

Well, except that it applies to domestic flights.

And while we might want to catch people sneaking into or out of the country with contraband we can safely restrict it to people we actually suspect... searching every man woman child, baby, citizen, foreigner, exchange student, disabled person, and war veteran... "just in case" is beyond ridiculous.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

murder_face (2574275) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480057)

Really the constitution has nothing to do with anything any more. Where does it say that I can bear arms only if I haven't been convicted of a felony? Where does it say we have a right to privacy unless someone is willing to pay? Where does it say we have a right to free speech unless no one wants to hear it? I could go on and on and on...

Re:What kind of congress is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480089)

What a dysfunctional government! We obviously need corporations that are able to bribe officials into following the constitution and other basic American historical documents.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480163)

Just remember that the constitution does not grant you the right to fly either.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (2)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480213)

Yes it does. I believe it's the 10th amendment.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (2)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480393)

Actually the Executive Branch controls flying in the USA since 1958. The FAA can regulate, in the name of safety, air travel. They started in the security aspect in 60s and 70s due to highjackings. The security aspect transferred over to DHS and TSA after 9/11.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (5, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480225)

Doesn't give you the right to breathe, either.

It's almost like some rights are, what's the word? Oh yeah. Inalienable.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (4, Interesting)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480265)

No, but it *does* grant the right to travel. I live in Alaska. Granted, I live in Anchorage which is connected to the lower-48 by highways. However, my job provides services to a village called Bethel (and a couple dozen surrounding villages) which are only accessible by air (or dog team, *if* it's winter and you've got two weeks to get where you're going). Therefore, in effect, by denying access to the airlines without a search, you have essentially denied the right of travel without forfeiting your right to be free from searches to at least a quarter of the residents of the state.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480409)

That air travel... does that fall under the Essential Air Service program?

Re:What kind of congress is that? (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480491)

Just remember that the constitution does not grant you the right to fly either.

Actually the American founders though of that problem, and solved it via the Ninth Amendment

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This passage is really genius and its a great pity that the kind of intellectual governance that drafted it no longer exists in the US today.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480175)

Nobody is forcing you to walk through those check points. Just turn around and walk back out if you don't want to be searched.

If you volunteer to be searched by going through the check point a warrant is not needed.

Or at least that's how they justify it.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480301)

4th amendment
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Can some one point to the airport exclusion? Or where congress amended the constitution to allow this?

If you don't explain how it is unreasonable, how are we supposed to follow your logic? You obviously cannot define unreasonable to be _ANY_, so what is your definition? Bearing in mind that airplanes really, truly, absolutely, in fact, are popular targets for terrorists, and a successful attack paralyses mass air transit, which already needs to be propped up financially in most cases.

Also, we have this thing called a Judicial Branch in the U.S. Government, that does um.. word definitions among other things... you should look it up.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479969)

This gov. ceased by the congress of all and is now the congress of foreign gov. such as China, Illegals, Big businesses, Unions, and esp. the very wealthy. It will remain that way until we prevent politicians from taking outside money.

Basically, we need rootstrikers.org

Re:What kind of congress is that? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480015)

They're under no obligation to give anybody time before the committee. Imagine if every traveller wanted to testify!

But it dies raise the question why they don't want to hear HIM.

Re:What kind of congress is that? (4, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480503)

Here's the committee, see any of yours on there? Send 'em an angrygram.
http://oversight.house.gov/committee-members/ [house.gov]

specifically, ask them who they'll be inviting instead to provide counterpoint, if not Mr. Schneier.
Ask them how they can assume the TSA, which must provide a biased story to (1) avoid contradicting previous statements, (2) to protect their future budget and (3) to successfully defend the lawsuit for which Mr. Schneier was removed, can be considered an unbiased source of information. (Oh wait, they're federal employees, altruism must be taken for granted)

Re:What kind of congress is that? (0, Flamebait)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480129)

You're assuming that the motivations assigned to congress in the summary are correct. There is no right for any and all citizens to testify before congress, there's just not enough hours in the day for that. So there are countless reasons to deny someone from testifying other than congress being under the thumb of TSA.

Bruce is a Superhero (4, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480179)

http://www.schneierfacts.com [schneierfacts.com]

Re:Bruce is a Superhero (1)

zerro (1820876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480485)

you _do_ know this is why they wont let him testify, don't you? Hint: it's a matter of utmost national security! http://www.schneierfacts.com/fact/151 [schneierfacts.com]

Naturally (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479825)

We would not want to threaten the profits of all those backscatter machine companies by pointing out how little TSA's airport security really accomplishes, now would we? What, you think that because Schneier is a prominent security researcher, he is supposed to be talking about the failures of security programs?

Re:Naturally (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480033)

No it's because Schneier has a conflict-of-interest since he's a hostile party in an ongoing lawsuit against the TSA. It makes sense that he would be excluded.

Maybe they should get the breast-feeding woman who was locked in a glass jail for an hour (and missed her plane) to testify before Congress. Her crime? She wanted to carry milk home to her new baby.

Or Miss America who was brought to tears by the TSA groping.

Or the lady who was forced to milk herself in a public restroom, or else have her equipment seized by the TSA as "contraband". Or the "don't touch my junk" guy. Or the 3 elderly ladies who were strip-searched. Or the young woman who overheard TSA guards commenting she had a "fine body" and asking her to step through the scanner 3 times. Or..... (Just read infowars.com or RTamerica.com; it summarizes all this stuff.)

Re:Naturally (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480139)

Oh, so they called in another expert who has done the same analysis as Schneier, right? Or will it just be the TSA's choice of experts?

Re:Naturally (5, Insightful)

qeveren (318805) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480293)

If he's in a conflict of interest due to the lawsuit against the TSA, doesn't that mean the TSA shouldn't be allowed to testify either, being involved in a lawsuit involving the TSA? :)

Re:Naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480327)

So only people who have no conflict with the TSA can testify against the TSA? I assume on that basis we're also excluding everyone that works for, sells things to, or is otherwise supported by the TSA from testifying on behalf of the TSA, right?

Not a Hearing (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479837)

Cherry picking speakers to support the status quo is just theater, nicely complementing the security theater of the TSA.

Re:Not a Hearing (0)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479887)

There's no true scotsman left, either.

Re:Not a Hearing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479935)

That's not true. I was just watching clips of Ewan McGregor with Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show the other day. (What? My refutation makes as much sense as your attempt to categorize the GP as a "no true Scotsman" argument. There is no counterexample that the GP's responding to.)

Re:Not a Hearing (3, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480243)

There is no counterexample that the GP's responding to.

I think where Clint was going is:

Me: A hearing does not involve cherry picking speakers.
Counterexample: The House cherry picked speakers for what they called a hearing.
Me: No TRUE hearing involves cherry picking speakers.

What I'm getting at is the definition of a hearing is an investigation or examination of facts, and by excluding witnesses and facts what the House was doing was putting on a show.

Re:Not a Hearing (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479993)

That is because, in the end, a kilt is, in fact, a skirt.

Re:Not a Hearing (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480289)

And skirts are really just stylized and shortened robes.

Re:Not a Hearing (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479937)

what makes you think that lawmakers have our interests at heart or care about fairness?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Un-American_Activities_Committee [wikipedia.org]

that was the first one that popped into my head; I'm sure I could find lots of other 'railroaded' committees that didn't care about justice and only wanted to make it seems like there was a process.

more and more, as you see how 'justice' works, you realize its all a show.

how sad, huh? to learn how reality works; it really rocks your world view, doesn't it?

Schneier might be a terrorist (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479859)

if he doesn't keep quiet.

Figures (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479861)

The committee is controlled by neo-cons. They do not want to hear what is happening. They just want the APPEARANCE of such, esp. with the election around the corner.

Re:Figures (0)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480315)

Easy solution for that, then. This November, everybody vote for someone *other* than the guy/gal currently in office. I couldn't care less if you elect a Republican to replace the Democrat or a Democrat to replace the Republican (although I think it would really drive the message home to see a few fringe parties score a seat or two in Congress). That's what I intend to do, anyway.

Watch Out, Bruce (1, Troll)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479869)

Right now they're silencing you officially and nicely, but they might step over the line at some point.

Darrell Issa, the chair of the committee (5, Informative)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479883)

is on Twitter @DarrellIssa Anyone so inclined could tweet the link to Schneier's blog.

Re:Darrell Issa, the chair of the committee (4, Informative)

McGruber (1417641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480055)

is on Twitter @DarrellIssa Anyone so inclined could tweet the link to Schneier's blog.

And we could post the link here:

http://twitter.com/#!/darrellissa [twitter.com]

The terror threat is low (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479885)

If there truly were a population of evil doers who both wished harm on the US and were really willing to work toward that goal, we would have bus stop bombings, etc. in this country. There are tons of unsecured stuff that could be attacked here very easily.

The fact that such does not occur is proof that such a population is largely non-existent and certainly nowhere near being worth all the BS with the Terrorism Industrial Complex.

Re:The terror threat is low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479959)

I'm sure they are considering the idea of checkpoints at every possible place of transportation, just imagine how much money they could spend setting up scanners and xrays at every train and busstation, those who make scanners would wet themself

Re:The terror threat is low (4, Informative)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480373)

Yes, they are. Here are the citations for those so inclined:

NYPD wanting to run scanners on the streets of New York [techeye.net]
TSA searching cars pulling up to the loading/unloading ramp at an airport [patch.com]
VIPR search in a train station [blogspot.com]
Another VIPR search at a train station [wptv.com]
Stopping commercial vehicles on a highway in Arizona [trivalleycentral.com]
Searches at a bus station [kcci.com]

I'm sure there are more, but that should be enough to prove that no, the powers-that-be aren't limiting violations of the 4th Amendment to the airports.

Re:The terror threat is low (5, Insightful)

malilo (799198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480341)

You are exactly correct. I was on a boating trip with several couples whom I didn't know and people started complaining about TSA. One poor woman ventured her opinion "but I think it's all ok because it keeps us safe"... I pointed out that I could kill plenty of people by wedging a bit of metal into a commuter track. She gave me a horrified look along with "Why would you even think of that?", but I think I made my point.

The problem is, they've already got a huge chunk of the country, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, convinced that we are under constant threat of attack. (It's the lizard brain, I guess). So once they put in place checkpoints EVERYWHERE (which yes, is their plan, the fascisty fucks), it will actually be a bit harder to find the evidence you and I have both noted (once everything is surveilled, it will be hard to argue there's been no attacks because no one is trying). Also, I suspect violence would actually go up, as more people joined resistance/anti-fascist/terrorist groups in response to a crackdown. But I'm just speculating.

Re:The terror threat is low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480481)

Right, which is why people need to focus on today's complete lack of crap blowing up. Nobody's bombing trains, or buses, or performing car bombings and it's clearly not because of the TSA or any part of the Terrorism Industrial Complex. It's because nobody's trying. That crap happened once and it was as much luck as skill and unfortunately a couple thousand people died. Far more people die each year in car accidents, yet nobody's proposing banning cars.

Also: The only reason that the 9/11 plot worked as well as it did was because people were still in the mindset of the 1970's/80's whereby hijackees sit down and shut up and a few months later you get released and have a photo-op with the president. (notable exception for the fourth plane, where the passangers got a spoiler-alert via their cell phones and decided to take matters into their own hands b/c they knew they had nothing to lose).

Well of course and shades of Mark Klein.... (5, Interesting)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479901)

...who also made himself available for testimoney before congress -- and was never called to testify -- after he blew the whistle on the NSA's installation of those Narus boxes at AT&T switches (throughout America, most probably and at IXPs or EPs, as well).

Re:Well of course and shades of Mark Klein.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480331)

Anonymous for obvious reasons... Those magic spying boxes are deployed just about everywhere around the world, right at the communication hubs entering/exiting the country. I know, because I put some there

Facts vs Fiction (5, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479929)

Dictatorial government actions often start by "limiting voices", regardless of the country.

This is not a good omen for getting the best solutions for a critical issue.

The list of government witnesses in prior hearings were "officials" of various departments, meaning they are managers of employees.

Eliminating Bruce Schneier from the witness list means they really do NOT want any experts in front of the committee as that could bring up troubling "FACTS".

TSA and DHS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479947)

How George Bush continues to crap on future generations for decades after he's gone.

Re:TSA and DHS (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479961)

Right, because it's not like the sitting president appoints the head of DHS or could disband TSA or DHS by Executive Order or anything....

Re:TSA and DHS (3, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480407)

The president cannot dissolve any agency created by the Laws passed by Congress. He cannot dissolve the FAA or HUD or DHS. It's his job to execute those laws. He COULD tell Janet Napolitano to stop acting like Big Brother though, since he is her boss.

Re:TSA and DHS (5, Insightful)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480403)

Sigh... THIS IS NOT A LEFT VS. RIGHT THING! THIS IS A GOVERNMENT VS. THE PEOPLE THING!

As long as the populace wants to blame a Republican or a Democrat, we won't see any change. Both Democrats AND Republicans are to blame for the mockery the U.S. has become since 9/11. They are two sides of the same coin. No matter which side is face up when the coin hits the table, you and I lose. It's time to vote EVERYBODY out of office and start over!

Establishing a pattern here (5, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479955)

This is the same committee that wouldn't let any women testify in a hearing on contraception last month.

Apparently, if you know something about the topic at hand, they don't want your input.

Re:Establishing a pattern here (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480021)

Apparently, if you know something about the topic at hand, they don't want your input.

ever go for jury selection?

they don't want people who can think and decide on their own. they want robots. if you let on you know about 'jury nullification', for example, they will refuse to take you. they lie to you and say that the judge is the one who interprets the law. its not true! you get to, also, if you are on the jury. but they don't want you to know that and if you DO, you are ousted.

they filter for idiots. they want idiots who do as they're told.

no surprise if you have ever been thru a jury selection. have a brain? you may leave.

Re:Establishing a pattern here (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480159)

This isn't like jury selection. It's more like ... no it actually IS expert testimony.

I was on a jury recently, and it was everything you'd hope a jury to be. Serious debate. Called for evidence during deliberation to scrutinize. Sent intelligent questions to the judge about the law. Had long, but reasonable discussions. One was a domestic assault case, and there were several people in the medical profession and a prison guard on the jury. They used their experience in their decision but it wasn't taken as testimony. Agonized, agonized, agonized until finding the defendant not guilty.

Seriously, it was the best group deliberative process I'd ever taken part in, after almost thirty years in business.

Re:Establishing a pattern here (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480335)

Point being - GP has never actually gone in for jury selection!

Jury Nullification? No need to go that far... (5, Interesting)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480311)

The last time I served jury duty, my job alone was enough to get me thrown off.

The case being considered was an automobile accident (with injuries), where the driver of the car was claiming that part of the steering/suspension had suddenly failed, causing his car to swerve out of control and hit the other car. There was planned to be a lot of expert testimony involving forensic engineers, metallurgists, etc. hired by the defense to back up the claim.

3 of us were thrown out by the prosecuting attorney during jury selection for having engineering or mechanical backgrounds. One machinist, one auto mechanic, and myself (electronics design). Apparently, if you know enough to possibly UNDERSTAND what the hired experts are trying to say, you have no place on the jury....

Re:Establishing a pattern here (1)

LordArgon (1683588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480375)

You're exactly right about jury selection. I was totally disheartened and disillusioned after my first jury selection process a while back. They explicitly told us the judge would give us the relevant portions of law AND instruct us in the interpretation of that law. Apparently, even investigating the relevant law (you know, to understand what it was trying to accomplish...) constitutes jury misconduct. The only area in which they left for any room for personal judgment was lie detection; that's pretty much all they wanted us for.

So when I told them I think some laws are unjust and would not be able to render a verdict I found sufficiently unjust, they basically asked how I would determine that, I told them via my conscience (is there any other way?), and they eventually dismissed me.

I left feeling more-than-ever that our judicial process was more concerned about technicalities and pedantry than actual justice. If we want justice, we need to understand intention and apply reason to a situation, not mechanically apply a list of technicalities.

If there are any lawyers or judges here who would like to offer another perspective on this, I'd love to hear it.

Utter Bullshit (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479977)

I said in a previous story that I think his claims that security theater has no value is incorrect.

But he should absolutely be allowed to talk and to present holes in the facade they are presenting.

The TSA needs to be totally disbanded and security taken over by the airports.

Re:Utter Bullshit (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480059)

Security provided by the airports was ineffective enough to allow 9/11 to happen.

Re:Utter Bullshit (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480215)

And after TSA took over, security at the airports was ineffective enough to let the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber through. Passengers stopped both. Bad government advice to air passengers allowed 9/11 to happen until on the last plane, passengers decided to ignore it and avert further disaster.

So it seems that the big difference is that airport supplied security was cheaper, less degrading and offensive and didn't molest children.

Re:Utter Bullshit (2)

Imrik (148191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480273)

The security provided now isn't any better. The only real improvements in security have been the cockpit doors and the passengers who won't allow a hijacking anymore, neither of which is because of the TSA.

Re:Utter Bullshit (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480321)

And this won't happen again because of two things:

1) Pre-911, a hijacking meant you sit down and stay quiet. The hijackers take over, fly the plane to Cuba (or some other location), make a big statement about some political cause and (after some political negotiations), everyone is set free. Inconvenient? Sure, but in general not life threatening if you sit down and be quiet. However, now if someone hijacks an airplane, everyone will assume they intend to kill everyone on-board. Thus, there is nothing to lose trying to violently overthrow the hijackers. Worst case scenario: Everyone still dies, but might derail the terrorists' plans. Best case scenario: The terrorists are foiled and some/all passengers survive.

2) The cockpit doors are sealed and reinforced so a terrorist can't get to the cockpit. So even if a terrorist takes over the passenger section *AND* if the passengers don't fight back, the pilots can land the plane to minimize the damage the terrorists can do.

Even without a single post-911 TSA "advancement", no terrorist will be able to replicate 9-11. (This isn't to say they can't kill more people, just that they can't repeat their previous performance.)

Absolutely wrong (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480363)

Security provided by the airports was ineffective enough to allow 9/11 to happen.

That is TOTALLY WRONG.

Security provided BY THE PASSENGERS was ineffective enough to allow 9/11.

Now, that is not the case. In fact even at the time one flight was brought down short of target as soon as passengers figured it out.

No-one wants themselves to die, but even fewer want to die while taking a bunch of innocent people with them. A plane will not be used as a weapon again.

Pre-9/11 security seemed to be good enough to prevent regular bombings, plenty good for me.

Re:Utter Bullshit (4, Insightful)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480471)

I get so tired of hearing this tripe.

9/11 didn't happen because TSA wasn't on duty yet. 9/11 happened because up until that point, the game went like this:
"Terrorist" hijacks an airplane
Everyone sits tight and does what they are told.
Airplane goes to Cuba (or wherever).
Everyone goes home a little shaken up, but unharmed after a nice vacation on a tropical island that very few Americans get to see any more.

That changed on 9/11, and we had already adjusted to the new playing field before the day was done. [wikipedia.org] The new paradigm, and securing the cabin doors, were all that was necessary to ensure that there will NEVER be another 9/11. IMHO, if you really want to prevent another hijacking on an airliner, you'll scrap the TSA and just issue every passenger a Louisville Slugger when they board the airplane. The passengers have the greatest vested interest in the security; stop trying to disarm your greatest allies in the quest for secure airliners!

And even the argument I pose above begs the ultimate question in the so-called "War on Terror:" WTF were the 9/11 hijackers doing in the country in the first place?!?! If you *start* your security procedure in the airport, you've already screwed the pooch. IIRC, we had reason to believe at least some of the hijackers were bad actors long before they boarded the airplanes in 2001. They never should have been allowed to get to the airport to begin with.

Re:Utter Bullshit (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480099)

I'd rather take the 1 in 1 billion risk of being blown-up in a plane, then the 1 in 100(?) odds of being Xray nude scanned or sexually groped by the government employee.

Re:Utter Bullshit (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480189)

The TSA needs to be totally disbanded and security taken over by the airports.

If security is handed back to the airports (where it used to be), you can be sure that they'll receive the same authority to conduct the same operations that TSA is doing today, with exemptions from lawsuits for doing it. If an airport were to relax the standards from fear of lawsuits from passengers offended by being searched, they'd be sued by families of anyone who died or was injured in an aircraft that was blown up by someone who smuggled the explosives through that airport's security.

When something bad happens, everyone involved gets sued. Right now, the airports have no responsibility for and no activities involved in screening passengers. Put them in the liability chain and see if they don't do everything they can to protect themselves, including lobbying for legislation and keeping the searches going.

Re:Utter Bullshit (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480379)

Put them in the liability chain and see if they don't do everything they can to protect themselves

And you assume that includes continuing ineffective and invasive searches why again?

Put searches back in airports where they can apply some common sense, something that is not found in DC where the TSA edicts emanate from.

at what point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479979)

At what point do we, the citizens of the country, finally say, "OK, this government - both of these parties - have lost all legitimacy, and must be thrown out"?

The founding fathers of this country were wise: their advice was that sometimes you have to do that - throw the entire system out, and start anew. I think we've reached a point that would horrify them. It would also horrify them to see our general complacency in the face of every new corruption, every new assault on our rights.

It's time throw it all out. Start with a new, small set of laws, limit the governmental power as was originally intended. Keep the government in the businesses it belongs it, and keep it the hell out of everything else.

Re:at what point? (1, Flamebait)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480355)

Great idea, and 250 years ago, you could pull it offToday? It'll get you a one-way ticket to Gitmo. Maybe they'll be able to do it out in the self-sufficient asteroid habitats. Oh, wait...

"Perv scanners?" (5, Funny)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479989)

That seems a little over-the-top. Sure it strips your clothes off your body, to display a naked gray image of your breasts and penis. Sure the guards have been caught asking particular gorgeous women to step through the machine multiple times. Sure some TSA agents have posted personal notes like "Get your freak on" in lady's luggage. Sure some of those images have been leaked by those same guards to the internet......

Never mind. I guess the description was apart afterall.

 

Re:"Perv scanners?" (5, Funny)

nfras (313241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480357)

That seems a little over-the-top. Sure it strips your clothes off your body, to display a naked gray image of your breasts and penis.

I was going to correct you and say you can't have breasts and a penis. And then I remembered where I was. Carry on.

Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (4, Insightful)

McGruber (1417641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479999)

Since it is popular to post "Thanks to TSA, I now drive instead of flying", I will point out that the House and Senate are currently in a showdown that likely will result in a cutoff of federal highway funding.

Here is a CNN article about the situation: http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-21/politics/politics_congress-transportation-bill_1_committee-chairman-john-mica-highway-bill-senate-democrats [cnn.com]

And a FoxNews article: http:/// [http] www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/24/obama-urging-congress-to-end-transportation-standoff/

And a Politico article: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74498.html [politico.com]

Re:Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480221)

Nah. The Member States of the Union will just have to pay the highway maintenance bill themselves..... ya know, like they do over in Europe. Not a big deal.

Re:Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (4, Interesting)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480389)

Then how about they give all that gas money they are collecting to the states. Oh wait, that's what the bills for, to hand over to the states the money collected in the federal gas tax.

Though there is the slight problem that because they haven't raised the gas tax in 20 years that there isn't enough revenue in the highway trust fund (gas tax revenue) anymore to pay what's needed to keep the freeway system from falling apart but what do we care, with the baby boomers running things we don't have to care about infrastructure anymore! What's ironic is they could double the federal gas tax ($0.17) and no one would even notice at the pump and all that additional money flowing into construction would get the economy going again in pretty quick order.

It's been almost 4 years since the last highway funding bill expired (they've been doing 6 month extensions which doesn't give the states enough certainty in funding to do anything other than small maintenance jobs and now it's going to expire completely putting the rest of the construction workers and engineers who weren't on welfare and food stamps onto them. Every dollar spent on highways and roads puts $4 back into the economy. It's the single biggest economic stimulant the government has and it's been completely ignored for the last 4 years while we gave 700 billion to the banking industry to bail out their malfeasance.

Re:Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480305)

It gets worse!

The majority of state police in the US will pull over vehicles with non-resident state license plates. No reason or infraction, they'll pull you over just because you are from another state!

Oh, and for those who live up north, avoid I-10 at all costs if you're crossing the country in the south! They have borders stops along the way, even though you never cross the border! A little loop hole in the law allows a fairly large buffer zone close to the ACTUAL souther US border which makes this all very legal like.

Re:Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480345)

Those border stops have been there for decades now. I remember passing through them quite frequently in the early 90's.

Re:Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480395)

Note that the state of Hawaii only has "federal" highways on the island of Oahu. Other islands are unaffected, save for paying federal gas tax that doesn't directly benefit them.

Haha: captcha is INTENT.

Re:Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480399)

That planned highway to Hawaii will be the first thing to be cut.

Re:Driving instead of flying: Good Luck with That! (3, Informative)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480499)

Not to mention this:
How do you drive anywhere from here? [google.com]

If you've got a solution for travel for the 5,000 or so residents of this little town (or the more or less equivalent number of people in the surrounding communities -- and no, this is not unusual up here in Alaska), I'd love to hear about it. "Not driving" isn't a much better option for me either [google.com] , although it is at least possible...it would just take my entire two weeks of leave getting anywhere I might want to go and back, with no time to actually do anything once I arrive. That makes at least a half million of us for whom "Just drive instead!" isn't a viable option.

Kill 'em all and let Allah sort them out (-1, Troll)

murder_face (2574275) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480083)

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch, whine, whine, whine. Shut the fuck up or do something about it you whiny fucks!!

sue (1)

bl968 (190792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480353)

I think that he should sue and argue that by denying him the right to testify by removing him as a witness that Congress is violating his Constitutional Rights specifically the right to petition for a redress of grievances.

Was he going to say something new? (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480369)

Seriously, I think we all know what Schneier's testimony would have been, so other than getting them in the Congressional Record and perhaps a soundbite for the news (fat chance!) was there really a need for him to testify?

When is the time right? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39480459)

When is the time right for us to arm ourselves and kick every one of these fucking criminals out of the elected offices they hold? I think the OWS thing should have been done in D.C. and they should have marched right into the capitol building and the white house. There's no way they could contain that size of group short of opening fire with live rounds.

Maybe when we see piles of dead US citizens that were once our brothers and sisters would we then WAKE THE FUCK UP. This country needs another revolution worse than Madonna needs to retire.

Who will lead us into the new revolution? Who would have real good ideas for fixing our broken democracy? I elect Neil deGrasse Tyson [wikipedia.org] , and maybe Ron Paul could help as well.
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