Bruce Schneier Removed from Invitee List for Congressional Hearing on the TSA

If this doesn’t reek of corruption and demonstrate how false democracy really is nothing will. Congress is holding a hearing on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) naked body scanners. At first they invited security expert, and major critic of the TSA, Bruce Schneier but later told him not to come:

On Friday, at the request of the TSA, I was removed from the witness list. The excuse was that I am involved in a lawsuit against the TSA, trying to get them to suspend their full-body scanner program. But 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. (They tried to pull the same thing last year and it failedvideo at the 10:50 mark.)

The claim that he was removed for his involvment in an ongoing lawsuit is nothing more than a convenient excuse. In all likelihood he was removed because Congress doesn’t want to hear any criticisms on the body scanners as they’re very useful for our trip down the road to fascism. There is too much money involved in the body scanners for them to ever go away, in fact they only thing we’re likely to see is an expansion of their use at locations beyond airports. Let’s also not forget the fact that the body scanners are worthless.

You Might be a Terrorist

The New Jersey Department of Motherland Homeland Security has released a document that explains the signs of terrorism [PDF]. After reading this document I’ve come to realize that we all may be terrorists without even realizing it. Why? Because some of the signs of being a terrorist are:

Be alert to the indicators regarding actions, individual behaviors, personal interactions and social dynamics, vehicle characteristics and movements. Use your judgment in determining whether or not they are unusual or suspicious in your community or work environment. Be wary of people who depart quickly when seen or attempt to conceal something. Look for signs of nervousness in the people you come in contact with. Signs will become particularly evident in a person’s eyes, face, neck, and body movements. The following is a list of things to look for:


  • Glances: directions, duration, timing
  • Wide open “flashbulb eyes”
  • Cold penetrating stare
  • Trance-like gaze

Face and Neck

  • Exaggerated yawning when engaged in conversation
  • Protruding or beating neck arteries
  • Repetitive touching of face, tugging on or covering ears
  • Increased breathing rate, panting
  • Excessive fidgeting, clock watching, head turning


  • Pacing or jumpy
  • Trembling
  • Unusual perspiration
  • Goose bumps
  • Rigid posture with minimal body movements and arms close to sides

Basically everybody who has ever shown signs of nervousness is a potential terrorist. Another way to detect a terrorist is to look for common equipment used by their kind:

Individuals may be observed:

  • Drawing or taking pictures in areas not normally of interest
  • Taking notes or annotating maps
  • Sitting in a parked vehicle

Some of the tools terrorists might use during surveillance include:

  • Cameras- video, still, or panoramic
  • Laptop computers or PDA’s (Personal Data Assistants)
  • Diagrams or maps
  • Binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) devices

Not only is every person who has ever been nervous a potential terrorist but so is every tourist. Russia Today has a list of potential terrorists that you should be on the lookout for.

Just in case this document gets thrown down the memory hole I’ve uploaded a copy here.

United States Government Expands Record Keeping Powers

Being a little jealous of how quickly France is moving towards fascism the United States government has made a move to further expand its own police state:

The U.S. intelligence community will be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.

Until now, the National Counterterrorism Center had to destroy immediately information about Americans that already was stored in other government databases when there were no clear ties to terrorism.

Giving the NCTC expanded record-retention authority had been urged by members of Congress, who said the intelligence community did not connect strands of intelligence held by multiple agencies leading up to a failed bombing attempt on a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.

The part that really galls me is that Congress is using a failed bombing attempt as justification for this regulatory change. If the bombing attempt failed then everything worked as planned. As Bruce Schneier pointed out the attempted bombing was an example of where airport security actually did its job:

With all the talk about the failure of airport security to detect the PETN that the Christmas bomber sewed into his underwear — and to think I’ve been using the phrase “underwear bomber” as a joke all these years — people forget that airport security played an important role in foiling the plot.

In order to get through airport security, Abdulmutallab — or, more precisely, whoever built the bomb — had to construct a far less reliable bomb than he would have otherwise; he had to resort to a much more ineffective detonation mechanism. And, as we’ve learned, detonating PETN is actually very hard.

Now, almost a year and a half later, Congress is using the failed bombing attempt to justify an expansion of state power and nobody is even raising an eyebrow. You would think somebody would say, “Hey Congress, the attempted bombing on Christmas of 2009 failed. Shouldn’t you use a bombing attempt that succeeded to justify your power grab?”