Attack of the Snerds

One may recall the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Requires to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act” of 2001, short title: USA Patriot Act.  George W. Bush signed the bill into law on 26 October 2001; Barack Obama extended it for another four years effective on 26 May 2011.  I suppose it is only fair to presume that the motivation of these men was a genuine concern for the health, welfare, and safety of the American people.

Bush Patriot Act 001The only problem is, there is nothing patriotic about the USA Patriot Act.  It set into motion unparalleled domestic monitoring, heralded as security America, and it expanded surveillance procedures so that now every American’s electronic mail or cell-phone conversations are being recorded and stored by the National Security Agency.  Perhaps even worse than this, our country has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars in an effort to ensure that Ahab the Camel Broker does not fly a plane into the White House.  So rather than protecting Americans, the USA Patriot Act may instead be protecting the first family —and what do they care about our constitutional rights?

According to an article I recently read at CNS [1], the Transportation Safety Administration squandered $900 million training detection officers—individuals intending to detect high-risk passengers through their unusual or unseemly behavior.  The Government Accounting Office (GAO) informs us that so far, detection officers have detected exactly no terrorists.  That is to say, zero, nada, none, and zip.  From this, we have to assume that either the program is working like gangbusters (e.g., the detection officers have scared the bejeebers from of Ahab, Incorporated … or it was an utter waste of taxpayer money.  I am thinking the latter rather than the former.

The TSA began assessing passengers as part of their Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique [2] (SPOT) Program.  This is where highly trained law enforcement officers sit around looking like cutouts of Mortimer Snerd.  With a wink and a nod, they signal to officers with guns that this or that passenger needs a dose of pat-down love —such as a 89-year-old retired Nun or a six year old female child who has yet to experience anyone touching her private parts.  After the wink and nod, the detection officers place bets with one another about how the Nun or custodial adult will react to all this.

TSA Protection 001According to the GAO, there were over 61,000 “Spot Reports” at 49 airports between 2011 and 2012.  That is to say, 61,000 passengers became hyperactive when being leered at by a Mortimer Snerd cutout.  Of those 61,000 nervous passengers, 8.7% earned referrals because they were leering at the Snerds (e.g., telepathically communicating threats of violence, such as “If you lay a hand on my little girl, I will beat your ass into a batch of peanut butter.”) and of those, there were 365 arrests.  None of the arrests had anything at all to do with terror.  The GAO report identified six reasons for arrest: (1) Making phony passports at home, (2) Illegal Alien status[3], (3) Outstanding Warrants, (4) Suspicion of drugs, (5) Undeclared currency, and (6) Something else.

Asked to comment on these rather lackluster statistics in the face of massive expenditures, the individual supervising analysis of the DHS and TSA at GAO (Steve Lord) sought to clarify this for CNS News: “TSA cannot demonstrate the effectiveness of its behavior detection activities, and available evidence does not support whether behavioral indicators can be used to identify threats to aviation security.”

Oh.

Anyway, the GAO report concluded by recommending that TSA limit future funding for the Snerds, by DHS said, “No way.  We know a good thing when we see it.”

____________________________

[1] CNS News 25 Nov 2013

[2] You can’t make this stuff up

[3] Not even the Border Patrol can arrest an illegal alien.  Besides, they are all undocumented persons and there is no crime in that.

15 comments

  1. John M. Berger · ·

    In my working years I flew extensively. From today’s message and other things that I hear about, I’m glad that’s in the past!

    1. Just another opportunity for the government to step in and save us … “from them.” Michael Crichton was right all along and we Americans … We the people … are such saps.

  2. Interesting article. I always thought that the Patriot Act gave law enforcement the same powers against terrorists as they had against drug dealers. For example, there is the $10K threshold on cash transactions at banks, and the power of the IRS to freeze a person’s assets without a trial or due process.

    As far as the NSA and call records go, I believe that is a gray area that should be better defined in the Constitution. For example, the telephone company owns your call records because they are records of transactions for which they can bill you, just like VISA owns your credit card record for the VISA transactions you have made.

    I admit that my knowledge is severely lacking in this regard, but having worked for telephone companies I understand that part of the process,

    1. I am almost certain that you are right, Bob. The records seized are not our records; they belong to the phone company. I am equally sure that no citizen today, if given a complete and proper understanding of the ramifications, that is to say—if you accept cell phone service, you have no right to privacy under the Bill of Rights, our geniuses today would be more than happy to trade in their right to privacy for a smart phone. After all, you can play games on a smart phone. But of course, a government able to seize phone records can then seize our heating bills and fine us for exceeding the recommended government standard of 76.272 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, perhaps we are using too much water, and this too fits in nicely with Agenda 21. If we are speeding, a device soon to be placed in our cars will inform the local police, and they will send us a bill in the mail; if we choose not to pay, the government will “switch off” our automobiles.

      I suppose what this all means is that America is gone now.

    2. Robert: That’s a pretty scary scenario you paint. Unfortunately, you are probably correct in your speculation. We are there, now. With smart electric power meters, smart natural gas meters, and the potential for a black box in every car, these things only need legislation or executive order for your scenario to become reality. Damn! That’s scary.

  3. flying has become a nightmare..Mustang..u will appreciate my latest post..come see please!!!

    1. EVERY ONE should read Angel’s post. It is a truly excellent story. Here’s the link.

  4. ‘Confiscation’ of our alienable rights-slowly – but surely- the Patriot Act (TSA) being one- the EPA being another and so on and so on–
    Used to love to fly- do not enjoy flying any more–because of TSA-

    BTW- EPA vs. lead – hmmmm- no lead no bullets…
    Carol-CS

    1. And no bullets after the government buys up all the supplies in order to fully arm the Social Security Administration. Man … what an amazing land this has turned into.

    2. Just posted on the Issue of Lead-EPA ban on production-thus- no bullets can be made– so- batteries anyone!!
      govt. control — govt. control >>> everywhere!!

    3. I tweeted it out, Carol.

  5. I used to fly [via airplane] extensively. I gave it up when the procedure to fly became, not too much unlike, that of having a prostrate examination. If I can’t drive it, I don’t need to be there. Besides, I don’t like being unarmed [I’ve put my safety in the hands of others and… NEVER AGAIN!]

    HOWEVER, at the present time, I have no problem with Ahab the Camel Broker trying to land his 747 in the middle of the White House. You go, dude!

    1. At this point in time, I would give serious consideration to standing out front of the White House with a couple of flares, just to make sure Ahab lines up the shot, uh landing, correctly.

  6. I finally figured out why the federal government is spending so much of our hard-earned, but undeserved money. They seem to have a bevy of folks sitting around to come up with the acronyms to all these programs and legislative bills. If there’s a need, or not, for a bill, these people can come up with a dozy of a name for it.

    1. I have a theory about that, LD … a bunch of people who hate the Constitution sit around a very expensive conference table and agree that in order to provide them with even more power, they should come up with ways to take that power away from the people—the underlings. But in order to make that happen, they have to have a catchy phrase—something that the underlings can remember, something that will resonate with idiots, and something that will look good on a resume. So bureaucrat No. 1 says, “Okay, I’ve got it. Let’s call it the USA Patriot Act. That way, if anyone complains, we can look down our noses and sneer and say, ‘Well then you must not be a patriot’.”

      Bureaucrat No. 2 says, “Fantastic idea … but what does it mean?”

      No. 1: How in the hell should I know. Let’s put a commission together to come up with a suitable title that fits the acronym.

      No. 2: Will they be able to track it back to us?

      No. 1: Oh hell no … we can shift blame to the committee if anyone complains about the title, and shift blame to Congress for the un-Constitutional laws. We’re good.

      And they all lived happily ever after.

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