back to article US feds squeeze bloggers for posting TSA orders

At least two bloggers who posted the latest Transportation Security Administration security guidelines have received visits from the feds. One had his laptop confiscated and was served a subpoena. The other just received the subpoena. In case you've been recovering from a massive holiday bender and haven't viewed the news …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Security directive

    I assume this is just to muff up Ryan Air from being charge a quid to take a leak!

    But being incontinent, my quid will be staying in my pocket. In the past that was enough to get the airport stuff to get the latex gloves out (after being able to feel the incontinence pad and thinking I've got drugs stuffed in my pants) or the customs dog just doing a "routine random check" for the staff to embarassed or confused.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Good lord!

    What next, anesthetics for all of the passengers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Anesthetics for passengers...

      Shhhhh... don't give them any ideas. Put the passengers to sleep during the trip... just like in movie "5th Element".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      ...er actually

      they already do this ... it's well known that the cabin crew will ask the pilot to up the temperature and drop the O2 content in the cabin air to "relax" (i.e send to sleep) a proportion of the passengers, so they can get some rest.

      Any you thought it was the noise of the engines that sent you to sleep .....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Why can't the fuckwits just fix their intelligence gathering?

    Why can't the fuckwits just fix their intelligence gathering and handling?

    9/11 was the greatest single failure of the US Intelligence services since Pearl Harbor. As a direct consequence the whole lot were stuffed into the Dept. of Homeland Security and this was supposed to make things better. As we can see, fuck all has changed.

    Please God when will the US stop being so xenophobic and start taking seriously intelligence supplied by non-yanks?

    In the meantime, stop persecuting travellers and sort yourselves out. FACT: the incompetence of the DHS is a bigger threat to America than any terrorist organisation.

  4. Neal 5

    What can anyone say?

    America, land of the free.

    Long live democracy, (American style,by popular consensus(of American redneck Inbreeds) of course), what other way is there for the survival of the Western Free World.

    Common sense COULD prevail, but that might offend the Great Nazi Leaders, Obama and Brown.

    Even Putin is pissing himself with laughter at this effort of state control.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      And who set up this paragon of common sense, the DHS?

      You get three guesses; that is, if you can count that far.

  5. Andus McCoatover

    No flight information on the displays?

    So, they try to make sure you can't determine where you are flying over?

    I guess they're gonna confiscate all wristwatches, then. (Ever read Dava Sobel's book "Longitude"?). Oh, and nicely announce "We're landing in one hour, so you can't use the Lav", which to a terrorist, is a signal to "Synchronise watches".

    Numpties.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agreed

      If I'm going to detonate a bomb, the "please fasten your seatbelts and remove any bombs from your lap" announcement is going to be a handy signal...

      Also, as someone who is about to fly for the first time, I'd rather know what's going on.

      When the plane starts to descend, I might just panic if they haven't told me they're about to land.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      Detonation time

      If someone tries to blow up an airplane in flight, would it really matter where and when? I suppose not. If you want to cause collateral damage, wait until you're descending over whatever city you're flying into, and trigger the bomb at a couple 100m altitude; anyone who's flown more than once can eyeball that. Else, if you're not particularly interested in causing additional ground casualties, then any time at maximum altitude would be fine.

      So yes, keeping navigational info from passengers is a singularly effective way to thwart those naughty terrorists.

    3. Annihilator Silver badge

      Completely agree

      Presumably they will remove all windows from planes. On internal UK flights, I have a fairly good idea of where we are from time to time by looking out the window.

      Not to mention, unless they randomise the route and speed, you could rely on the schedule, assuming you left on time.

      Still, if it makes them feel better. Time to go and re-watch the South Park episode "The Entity".

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Agree wholehartedly!

        Headlines:

        "New airline opens up. Merger made in heaven! RyanFedUp. - Windowless travel. Even for pilots." Safe as houses! No chance of hitting the WTC with that. Or, indeed, an airport runway!

        After all, cargo planes don't have windows, and cattle-class are often an excuse to get lucrative cargo routes (Ryanair, for exmple?). Only thing cattle-class are short of are the cardboard boxes to sit in. However, when you've been sniffed in the groin by an airport 'circus*' dog, and told you'll get your kit back on landing, I'm sure they'll be provided. Samsung TV cardboard box is my fave, it's got bubble-wrap on the inside.

        *Circus dogs? They have an amazing ability to balance your balls on the end of their noses.

  6. Andus McCoatover
    Coat

    Crotchbomber??!!

    Goodness Gracious, great balls a'fire! </Jerry_Lee_Lewis>

    OK, someone had to...

  7. Mr Pedantic
    Headmaster

    "Your" a buffoon, sir!

    "...seen out of the window on the side of the plane your not seated on".

    I applaud the feds in this directive as I've always found it frustating when the pilot mentions sights to be seen out of the window on the side of the plane "MY" not seated on.

    I wonder if any other readers feel the same frustration when the pilot mentions sights to be seen out of the window on the side of the plane "their" not seated on? :)

  8. Graham Marsden
    FAIL

    The sound you hear...

    ... is the slamming of stable doors...

  9. Mr Pedantic

    Ryanair

    @AC 21:45 - I'll gladly charge Ryanair a quid every time I pee. In fact they can be charge(d) a tenner a pop. I'll just make sure I go a few times during the flight so it pays for itself.

    @Andus - haha, well said!

  10. Herby

    Security Theatre

    That's about all it is. No more, no less. Give everyone a gun before they board, and let it play out as it goes. It ought to take care of itself.

  11. Simon 41

    I wish

    Christ I wish Bill Hicks was still around

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    1 hour in seats...

    Now we will see people pissing their pants on flights without any scary movies or near crashes.

    Will the flight companies start to provide diapers for pregnant women or will they have to provide their own?

    New shop in airports, speed pants wash.

    I think ill be starting a boat company for intercontinental travel...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Correction

      Incontinental travel?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        On the proud ship...

        ...Incontinent and its sister ship the Flatulent.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    futurama reference

    after Fry fails to shoot down the last space invader: foolish earthling! you were aiming at where I was when you should have been aiming for where I was going to be!

    moral: after Reid, asking people to remove their shoes was never going to catch a terrorist. From now on, patting them around the waist/leg is not going to catch one either.

    ++ to comments about "security theatre" and horse/stable door.

    1. Stratman
      Grenade

      Indeed

      Many is the pointless hour I've waited in a shoeless, and beltless queue in obeisance to America's War On Freedom. Like they're going to try it that way again.

      Having failed with the Reeboks and Calvins, what next? I predict gel implant bras. The type with the (possibly not so) little pouch in each half that contains a bag of gel 'enhancement'.

      Have fun detecting lads.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Grenade

        *Under* the skin

        How much PETN would one be able to stash in a Bulgarian Funbag?

      2. Andus McCoatover

        Nah.

        Bulgarian lass has already tried this.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    heh

    The Media, Security forces and governments are cumming in their pants over this, it's like terror-porn, they've jizzed so hard and everyone is getting covered in it. "We told you, terrorists are everywhwere and to be safe you must trade in all your freedoms and liberties so that we can protect you! *Jizz, jizz, jizz, splash, groan* and most monkeys that make up society are loving it too, there's little more then a good hard buggering and a bit of hysteria to get the mob turned on.

    We only have CNN for international news atm (in Japan for a few weeks) and man it's the largest cess pit of rampent idiocy I've seen in a long time, I thought the beeb was rabid stupidity but hot damn.

  15. Andy Hards
    Paris Hilton

    I'm assuming that this is for US flights only

    I'm cabin crew for a well known Orange airline and we have been told nothing about any changes to our flights.

    Paris cos I'd strap her down, check her seatbelt, search her for any contraband etc etc etc

    1. Oz
      Joke

      Paris....

      With a surname like "Hards", I'd imagine you would!

  16. ChessGeek

    So...?

    Did the furious feds ever think to check the internet? With as many places as that announcement was sent, it's probably a safe bet someone posted it.

    And no, I didn't do a search. Me totally ignorant about whole thing, Uncle Sam - no subpoenas, please.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Those final words of assurance ring hollow...

    For those of us whith a bit of computing nous to reamin above all this is a joke; it is trivial to make blocking certain tracking technologies and offense in itself (think DRM circumvention laws).

    A parallel problem to ubiquitous intrusiveness is the proliferation of 'lifestyle' laws, whether about home copying, 'extreme' porn, taking photos in undeclared 'security' zones or any other domestic/conventional behaviour; I would be willing to bet that there is almost no home in the UK in which a determined police force could not find evidence of a 'crime' that carries either a custodial sentence, a crippling and disproportionate fine, ora socially / career damaging stigma, under the recent slew of media and business induced laws. With that battery of ill-defined laws behind tham, a genuine police state ruled by coercion is already possible; it is just a matter of will.

    P.S. See today's story about TSA bloggers for those who think this isn't also true for the US

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    When will it stop?

    The lunacy that is coming out in forms of Directives is astonishing.

    As one poster already said, just drug all the passengers first. It certainly would help with the obnoxious could not give a toss air stewards /esses, crap seating, crap in seat screens, and crap food.

    Or alternatively, fuck it.

    Just don't go to America.

    Job done.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    In-flight map

    The last few times I flew, the only thing worth watching on the seatback screen was the in-flight map. Remove that and they may as well release chloroform into the airconditioning.

    While I have to fly regularly to the US for business there's still no way I'd take my family there on holiday thanks to the security theatre. Shame really, it's otherwise a decent place and most USAians I know are good folks.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the No Fly List is junk

    "According to the HP, armed TSA agents came to Frischling's home to question him about his source. Unless he cooperated, they threatened to get him fired from his job as a blogger for KLM airlines; to confiscate his phone, computers, and iPods; and to get him declared an official security risk, which would land him on the shadowy "No-Fly List" - a career-ending eventuality for a travel writer."

    So the TSA agent confirmed that the no fly list is a non judicial punishment not to prevent terrorism (which it hasn't). It's pretty clear the TSA can't do its job, and needs to be rethought.

    Right after, Iraq, Afganistan, energy, the economy, health, IP rights,... all the other stuff the NeoCons screwed up, add the TSA.

  21. Mike Shepherd

    Cheaper and stronger

    Planes without windows are cheaper and stronger.

    "Suggestion to another passenger or passengers that observed vibration was caused by deployment of landing gear will be subject to unlimited fine and/or up to five years' imprisonment"

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stable doors...

    Thank heaven for alert passengers and cabin crew. They should all receive medals. No doubt the US authorities will be thinking of some suitably self-righteous way of turning this all into a show trial, to cover their embarrassment - they're probably waterboarding the culprit as we speak.

    That all said, the very real result is that this madman has - in many ways - effectively won.

    Half the world running around in panic-stricken circles. Air travellers everywhere upset and inconvenienced - not by terrorism, but by the same security-theatre clowns who have already proved they can't catch common cold. And now the same jobsworth spooks making a nuisance of themselves with ordinary citizens to cover the fact they wouldn't know a terrorist if he stood up and bit them.

    And all aimed at preventing an incident that's already happened, rather than imaginatively trying to predict the next one.

    Not a bad result from some lunatic the authorities were amply warned about. Wannabee terrorists everywhere must be laughing fit to bust.

  23. Alan Johnson

    Another step of the ratchet

    The majority of 'new' security measures are intended to create the impression of security through the imposition of very visible and inconvenient measures rather than the reaility of security. The inconvenience makes the measures extremely noticeable and people feel they are participating in security by tolerating the inconevenienece. The fact the measures are unplatable makes them more effective as a means of reassurance and demonstrates that all possible measures are being taken.

    The issue is that they do not make any sense and do not increase security in any meaningful way. What is special about the last hour of flight? The restrictions are risible.

    The realility is that all activities have a risk associated with them. The risk can be reduced by taking measures which have other costs in terms of cost, efficency, inconvenience etc.The sensible approach is to balance the risk against the costs associated with reducing the risk.

    In place of a realistic debate about the risks of terrorims versus the costs of control measures we have fatuous statemnets about taking all possible measures. The same is true of all public discussions of risk for example car accidents or child abuse. The absoilute nature of ' all possible measures' andthe generally wide acceptance of such an absolute statement means it can be used to justify anything at all.

    The terrorist threat we face now is far less than when I was a boy facing the terrorist campaigns of the IRA, yet we take far more draconian steps now than we did then. There an is no discussion of the origins of the threat in foreign policy. That does not mean we should change policy but if we discussed the risks and costs of policies then we would at least make conscious decisions rather than drifting into totalatarianism.

    1. Stratman
      Grenade

      terrorist campaigns of the IRA

      Would that be the same IRA that was armed by America, funded by America and whose members were given asylum by America?

      Not so glamourous when it's a little closer to home, is it?

      1. SirTainleyBarking
        Flame

        Amen to that

        I'd also mention that that would be the same IRA (Ahem sorry Sinn Fein) that are now considered to be a legit political party thanks to Phoney Toney and the Good Friday agreement

        1. The BigYin
          FAIL

          The price of peace

          If the price of peace, the halting of terrorist acts and the saving of many innocent lives is letting a few terrorist scum walk free; then that is a price I pay willingly.

          The alternative is martyrdom and continued killing.

          Which do you prefer?

  24. Anonymous John
    FAIL

    Why the secrecy?

    Anyone flying will have to be made aware of the new restrictions.

  25. Kevin Reader
    Big Brother

    Hmm - Blogger = NoFly, Radicalised Bomber = Watch List

    As title. A suspicious man might think they let the numpty bomber get caught in the act so they could do more things like this. Its deeply suspicious that a blogger of a nearly public document can be threatened with no-fly but they ignored the advice of the bomber's father.

    In Poul Anderson's "Polesotechnic League" IIRC the back story was that the Americans and Soviets had become indistinguishable - though for opposite publically stated reasons. We now have a situation where the West is enacting this fictional process even though the great enemy is somewhat diminished. They've invented most of the enemy to give them just cause.

    As said in other posts unless flight times become secret and highly variable (as with BR) there is little true benefit in all this stable window dressing. It might also be pretty obvious when say the "first hour" of a flight is as a simpler strategy.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    conspiracy

    This is all a giant plot to make our time waiting for security in airports SO... long that we will think we need another runway at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton (the 4 london airports). Silly us, that is what the govrnt told us all along.

  27. Sitaram Chamarty
    FAIL

    why do we need a leak?

    can't we just figure out the new rules from the details of the incident prompting them? I mean, surely no one still believes the TSA actually *thinks* before making rules do they?

    I'm just waiting for the first guy to put both components of the bomb in his underwear, or two guys with one part each, and they combine them on board. TSA will have to ask everyone to take off their underwear.

    Bruce Schneier, as usual, puts it very well. http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/12/me_and_the_chri.html says: I've started to call the bizarre new TSA rules "magical thinking": if we somehow protect against the specific tactic of the previous terrorist, we make ourselves safe from the next terrorist.

    Listen up folks: the only reason more terrorism isn't happening is that the **bleeding terrorists are even MORE stupid than the TSA**!

    1. Richard 126

      No terrorists

      The reason more terrorism isn't happening is because there are no terrorists apart from the US, UK and Israeli govenments and they commit just enough terrorism to keep the public suficiently scared to accept further restrictions to their rights and freedoms.

  28. Reinhard Schu

    Flying Nude

    Why don't they simply require all passengers to strip naked prior to boarding a flight.

    I think this might actually boost the ailing airline industry. Just think of the new possibilities for loyalty schemes. The more frequent flyer points you have the hotter the babe you will be seated next to.

    1. Stratman
      Paris Hilton

      the hotter the babe you will be seated next to

      What's in it for her?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        what's in it for her?

        She gets your frequent flyer points...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Flying Nude

      Follow this to its logical conclusion... Some incompetent twonk with flaming-underwear results in new security theatre where passengers must be patted down and/or subject to see-through-clothes scanners.

      Just think what passengers will have to endure once the terrists start concealing the tools of their trade internally...

      Thumbs up because, well, you know.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Easy solution..

        "Just think what passengers will have to endure once the terrorists start concealing the tools of their trade internally..."

        Nothing that a good laxative in the food won't cure. Also helps against coughing (you wouldn't dare) :-).

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't get up for the last hour of a flight

    Because, you know, a terrorist could never detonate a bomb at the beginning of a flight, or from his seat at any time he likes.

    retards.

  30. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Grenade

    Apparently they didn't even get the REAL guy

    Passenger talks of the presence of a John Doe 2 (later in handcuffs), the existence of which is being denied by FBI:

    http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2009/12/flight_253_passenger_kurt_hask.html

  31. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    FAIL

    Ha Ha Ha

    This is a very worrying trend, instead of catching terrorists, they go after the bloggers who release what are really stupid security procedures that make them look like idiots, so I'm not allowed access my carry on baggage 1 hour before landing, OK, I'll access it 1 hour and 5 minutes before landing then.....

    Jeeezz, this is the whole problem, its not security, its the illusion of security.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang 'em high!

    IMO, the only good blogger that discloses confidential security info. is one hanging by their thumbs for a month.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Flame

      And non-confidential info?

      How about hanging the twats who think info is still confidential after sending it to 10k+ recipients?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Congratulations US TSA

    You've just managed to decimate the last shreds of tourist income to your country.

    Let's see how much Arnie has to beg us to fly to California now! Still they're not as funny as those pathetic ones of Bush incoherently rambling about visiting the US of A.

    We were going to California in the spring but we'll just go east instead of west this year (and for the forseeable)

  34. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Security through obscurity?

    Never a good plan....

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Joke

      Wrong side of the fence

      That's now re-defined as a terrorist hiding things up his/her rear end..

  35. John H Woods Silver badge

    More nudity thoughts:

    2 extra plus points: 1) it would cut down on CO2 emissions because most people would only fly when they had to; 2) religious nutters tend to have a problem with nudity anyway.

    Also, how about comedy punishment to prevent martyrdom having any glamour? For instance, having to spend the rest of your life running on a treadmill to power an atheist website. Or wearing very very hot underpants for several hours a day.

  36. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Did anyone notice ..

    .. that the new "stay in your chair" directive will prevent some uppity guy from stopping the next bombing attempt? Duh..

  37. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Expectation of privacy???

    Let's see if I have this straight. The TSA sends a document - presumably by email- to 10,000 people and expects its contents to be secret.

    But if you or I send an email to one person we know and trust we have no expectation of privacy ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/04/4th-amendment_email_privacy/ )

    The land of the free slips ever faster down the slippery slope. The terrorists must be laughing.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone actually read the thing?

    It has an expiry date of Dec 30 and was issued on Dec 25th, so my reading is that it's an immediate response to a specific incident, attempting to ensure there are no identical attempts in the pipeline.

    Calm down.

  39. Iggle Piggle

    The terrorists have won

    Well, they have certainly stopped me from having any great desire to visit the USA. I was already fairly cheesed off with the surly attitude of US customs officials, then they started taking our finger prints and photographs. Shortly afterwards they wanted our credit card details before boarding a flight. And now to add final insult to injury they want to stare at us naked or rub us in intimate areas.

    Of course all of these things are perfectly reasonable if you are trying to prevent a terrorist attack but they make the whole travelling experience something rather unpleasant. For me it really is too much so I'll be doing my bit to help the US customs officials by keeping down the number of those travelling to the USA.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Security in the air is just impossible anyway

    All they are trying to hide is how powerless they are, they cannot search each and every passenger, nor can they make sure nobody carries firearms onto the aircraft. Yes, I am thinking of those carbon weapons the French army uses, apparently without any metals, very light, somewhat bulky, though ... go through metal detectors without a problem ... ;-)

    Their ridiculous safety rules with regards to Nivea cream, toothpaste and water ... LOL ... they do not even make an exception for holy water! Should I mention fingernail cutters, have you ever tried to attack someone with a fingernail-cutter, LOL? Or toy weapons,my 4 year old daughter's plastic knife, very gross replica of an ancient dagger, was not allowed on board (I had not packed her backpack). Which brings me to the silly questions like: Have you packed your luggage? WTF??? No, my wife has, maybe she wants to get rid of me and packed a bomb into me bag ... should I answer no, if I do, I will not be allowed to fly ... cretins!!!!

    Bryan air aircraft have this nice yellow and blue plastic, tear a piece off of that, you have a lethal weapon! It can be done, I have nicked a piece in the past. Now, I am certainly in ze shitte, becoz I have given idiots the means to bring down an aircraft - should I patent the idea, so the terrorists cannot use it? Too much prior art, I'm afraid!

    PS: I am fed up of the fed! Up yours, losers!

    PPS: Lets chant a psalm for the brave, who saved this young idiot's underpants.

    PPPS: I trust el'reg more than I should ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Phew....

      ...thanks for the hint...

      There was me to hope using my super high strength Jamacian Rum / Russian Vodka bought legaly at duty free then, combined with a bit of cloth, say from my t-shirt ,and a thing called a match, I have a very good firebomb, but I'll stick to death by toothpick (yes had to dispose of a bloody toothpick once)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Alien

      Security in the air ... summary.

      " ... ... ;-) Nivea ... LOL ... holy water! fingernail cutters, LOL? WTF??? ... !!!!

      "PS: losers!

      "PPS: underpants

      "PPPS: ;-)"

  41. RW

    Give it a few weeks

    And all the planes will stink of urine. Doesn't the TSA realize that some people suffer from incontinence? When ya gotta go, ya gotta go. To say nothing of someone suddenly afflicted with the trots (diarrhea).

    I decided years ago that I wasn't going to fly anywhere for any reason. No way I'm going to subject myself to the petty napoleons the TSA hires.

    Why is there not an icon denoting "adult diaper"?

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