Eric Rudolph and The Lone Wolf

I have often suggested that Eric Rudolph, who for five years successfully evaded the largest federal manhunt in U.S. history--until he surrendered himself to a rookie sheriff's deputy in the alley behind a local supermarket, exemplifies the modern fugitive. The fugitive summons forth the great machinery of government: scores of armed agents, ballistic tests and… Continue reading Eric Rudolph and The Lone Wolf

Fly the Fiendly Skies

This is the scariest freaking business I've read in a long time: Christopher Soghoian, a computer science student who had created an online generator for fake boarding passes--solely to point out how ludicrously ineffective airport security is--has been visited several times by the FBI, most recently, with a 2am warrant that allowed the Bureau to… Continue reading Fly the Fiendly Skies

Fast Food, Homeland Security Style

Here's a placard (larger image) on a parking shuttle bus at Dulles International Airport, outside of Washington, D.C. I'm very appreciative that they let me know, well before I enter the terminal, what I can eat, and whether it's "pre-security" or "post-security" dining. So I can plan in advance such critical traveling strategery as, do… Continue reading Fast Food, Homeland Security Style

Immigration and National Security

Two implications of Bush's proposal to beef up border security with National Guard troops: The first is practical: it's another instance of the militarization of civil society, which I had criticized in an earlier post. The second is symbolic: by policing the border with troops trained for combat, Bush masterfully conflates two entirely distinct issues:… Continue reading Immigration and National Security

Total Information Awareness, Reprise

A few more thoughts on the massive NSA database of every domestic phone call, ever, in the United States... The database actualizes what was once only theory: DARPA's defunct Total Information Awareness project, which sought to "counter asymmetric threats [i.e. terrorism] by achieving total information awareness." Awareness of everything, godlike omniscience. Is this the only… Continue reading Total Information Awareness, Reprise

Can You Hear Me Now: The NSA, Me, and Papa John’s

The big surprise in today's USA Today story about the NSA building a staggering database of every single domestic phone call in the United States is not that such a database exists, but that the NSA waited until after 9/11 to begin building it. I think we had always assumed that the government was already… Continue reading Can You Hear Me Now: The NSA, Me, and Papa John’s

The sky is falling, but my phones are tapped, so I’m okay and you are too

I caught snippets of the Diane Rehm Show today, and there was a panel of experts discussing the domestic war on terror. There's the predictable apologist for the Bush administration, spouting the standard refrain that because there's been no terror attack on the U.S. since 9/11, all that illegal wiretapping and surveillance and profiling and… Continue reading The sky is falling, but my phones are tapped, so I’m okay and you are too