The agency overseeing security at the nation’s airports failed for years to track security passes and uniforms of former employees, creating widespread vulnerability to terrorists, says a government watchdog report obtained by USA TODAY.
The Transportation Security Administration lacked centralized controls over the secure passes issued to some of its employees, according to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner. The passes grant people access to the most sensitive areas of an airport, such as where baggage is screened or planes are parked.
Investigators found numerous cases in which former employees retained their passes long after they had left the agency.
The investigation also found that TSA uniforms were frequently not collected when employees left or were transferred.
People using improper badges, IDs or uniforms — particularly in combination — “could significantly increase an airport’s vulnerability to unauthorized access and, potentially, a wide variety of terrorist and criminal acts,” the report said.
Feel safer yet?
Why is it that all these neat improvements always appear to start at Apple? Surely other notebook builders have been working on this as well?
In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
I wonder how that worked out – anybody heard anything about this recently?
One of the most interesting operations was the laundry mat [sic]. Having lost many troops and civilians to bombings, the Brits decided they needed to determine who was making the bombs and where they were being manufactured. One bright fellow recommended they operate a laundry and when asked “what the hell he was talking about,” he explained the plan and it was incorporated — to much success.
The plan was simple: Build a laundry and staff it with locals and a few of their own. The laundry would then send out “color coded” special discount tickets, to the effect of “get two loads for the price of one,” etc. The color coding was matched to specific streets and thus when someone brought in their laundry, it was easy to determine the general location from which a city map was coded.
While the laundry was indeed being washed, pressed and dry cleaned, it had one additional cycle — every garment, sheet, glove, pair of pants, was first sent through an analyzer, located in the basement, that checked for bomb-making residue. The analyzer was disguised as just another piece of the laundry equipment; good OPSEC [operational security]. Within a few weeks, multiple positives had shown up, indicating the ingredients of bomb residue, and intelligence had determined which areas of the city were involved. To narrow their target list, [the laundry] simply sent out more specific coupons [numbered] to all houses in the area, and before long they had good addresses. After confirming addresses, authorities with the SAS teams swooped down on the multiple homes and arrested multiple personnel and confiscated numerous assembled bombs, weapons and ingredients. During the entire operation, no one was injured or killed.
Yet another example of how inexpensive, reliable home washers and dryers help terrorists. When will we learn???
De naam Fortis zal in de toekomst in Nederland verdwijnen. Dat heeft Jan van Rutte, de bestuursvoorzitter van Fortis Nederland, dinsdag gezegd op BNR Nieuwsradio.
“We zullen de naam Fortis moeten loslaten”, zei Van Rutte. Hij merkte op dat de naam Fortis een negatieve bijklank heeft gekregen door de crisis bij de bankverzekeraar. “Dat heeft zijn weerslag op Fortisbank Nederland.”
Was er niet een andere bank die jullie recent gekocht hadden? Wellicht heeft die naam nog enige waarde…
In an email of talking points circulated by Microsoft spokespeople, the company addresses the various rumors about today’s new MacBooks, preemptively claiming that they will be overpriced, underspec’d and locked down. They offer charts comparing the feature lists of similarly priced Windows and Mac notebooks and make numerous accusations of an “Apple Tax.” The email is interesting: nothing they say is incorrect, but none of it is new. Most importantly, all of it misses the point completely.
Most Apple buyers are fully aware that they could purchase a cheaper computers from another manufacturer — after all, Apple’s hardware specifications aren’t exactly closely guarded secrets. Telling them this again and again won’t win any converts, but it will, in a way, “rally the base” of fervent Apple critics online and elsewhere.
Den islandske hovedindeksen OMXI15 faller over 76 prosent tirsdag, etter å ha vært stengt i tre dager.
Islandsbørsen tok tidlig helg onsdag forrige uke, etter at indeksen falt 30 prosent på ni dager.
The Icelandic OMXI15 main index dropped over 76 percent Tuesday, after being closed for three days.
Iceland Stock Exchange took the weekend early Wednesday last week, after the index fell 30 percent in nine days.
Doe ‘s een gokje aan de hand van deze grafiek van de AEX index – hoe laat werd de handel in aandelen Fortis hervat?
West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), whose predecessor resigned in the wake of a sex scandal, agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him, according to current and former members of his staff who have been briefed on the settlement, which involved Mahoney and his campaign committee.
Mahoney, who is married, also promised the woman, Patricia Allen, a $50,000 a year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising, the staffers said.
Dear Florida district 16, do you have any politicians without sex scandals attached to them?
Prove it, Senator McCain. Show us the tape of Obama supporters calling you a “terrorist” or a “traitor” or shouting “Kill him!” Show us the tape of Obama supporters bringing racist symbols to taunt you. Show us the evidence or stop lying. If you can.
Not since Chevy Chase made many viewers perceive Gerald Ford as a clumsy stooge has a television impersonation been credited with altering the political narrative to such a degree, said John Pitney Jr., a professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.
“The parodies may have done a bit of damage. People remember Gerald Ford through the prism of Chevy Chase,” he said. “Ford was among our most athletic presidents, and he had a wide-ranging knowledge of public-policy issues. But because of ‘SNL,’ many came to think of him as a buffoon.”
A recent Washington Times poll found that independent voters are crediting the “Tina Fey effect” with turning them off to the McCain ticket.
At a press conference on Monday, members of the Vietnam Veterans Alliance blasted Democratic nominee Barack Obama for his failure to serve in the Southeast Asian war that ended 33 years ago, alleging that during the conflict the candidate frequently engaged in games of T-ball. “While our boys were dying in Vietnam, Barack Obama was running around a little league field, laughing and having fun without a care in the world,” VVA spokesman James Lowry said. “John McCain left his wife and three children behind and fought bravely, but I guess Sen. Obama decided that practicing cursive and learning how to ride a bike was just more important than defending his country in her hour of need. I bet he wasn’t even able to point out Vietnam on a map.”
First you mess up the world’s financial system. Then you blow the rescue of it. Now let’s show you how to do it properly.
That, in a nutshell, is the less-than-flattering message European governments are sending to the U.S. as they mount their own gigantic bank bailout. The plans, announced Monday after two weeks of dithering, involve Britain, Germany, France and some others recapitalizing national banks that require help, and providing state guarantees and other measures to kick-start the stalled credit market. The details are strikingly different from the U.S. approach adopted by U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the Federal Reserve Board. And there’s a big reason for that: The Europeans think Paulson got it badly wrong, and have watched aghast as he failed to restore confidence in the world’s financial system.
The second lesson from the U.S. handling of the crisis concerns the way government money is best used. Here the Europeans have a valuable precedent: Sweden’s banking crisis in the early 1990s, which was resolved by the state forcing a consolidation and clean-up of the system even as it kept the banks afloat. Starting in Sept. 1992, the government in Stockholm announced a general guarantee for the whole of the banking system, encouraged the central bank to organize massive injections of liquidity, and created a state agency that essentially forced banks to give up any remnants of make-belief accounting and quickly write down the value of their assets to much more realistic levels. The strategy worked, and Urban Bäckström, the former Swedish central bank president who played a central role in the rescue, has said that “prompt and transparent handling” of the problems were a key to the success.
By contrast, the initial Paulson plan involved the U.S. government buying up the problem securities of banks in a procedure that risked being anything other than prompt and transparent. “It looks as complex as the credit derivatives that caused the problem in the first place,” one top European finance official told me, on condition I didn’t quote him by name.
The Treasury Department, in its boldest move yet, is expected to announce a plan on Tuesday to invest up to $250 billion in banks, according to officials. The United States is also expected to guarantee new debt issued by banks for three years — a measure meant to encourage the banks to resume lending to one another and to customers, officials said.
And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will offer an unlimited guarantee on bank deposits in accounts that do not bear interest — typically those of businesses — bringing the United States in line with several European countries, which have adopted such blanket guarantees.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 936 points, or 11 percent, the largest single-day gain in the American stock market since the 1930s.
The latest in a long lineup of bad press for the agency involves TSA screener Pythias Brown. This 48 year old resident of Maplewood, NJ was supposed to keep bad stuff off the plane, but instead, he was helping himself to valuable items from the bags of people entrusting him with their belongings.
Pythias started small, stealing cameras, laptop computers, gaming consoles and eventually moved on to the good stuff including a video camera belonging to CNN, and a $47,900 camera stored inside the bag of an HBO employee.
The items were sold on Ebay, and as you can see from his feedback listing, these were not cheap items.
His greed eventually came back to haunt him, when CNN found one of their cameras listed on Ebay. With a little help from the local police department and the USPS, Brown was apprehended.
When agents entered his house, they found 66 cameras, 31 laptop computers, jewelry, lenses, GPS devices and more.
The total value of the stolen items is well over $200,000, and if you have ever lost an expensive item when flying from Newark Liberty Airport, you’ll be thrilled to hear that the TSA is taking the matter “seriously”.
Feel safer yet?
DarkMarket.ws, an online watering hole for thousands of identify thieves, hackers and credit card swindlers, has been secretly run by an FBI cybercrime agent for the last two years, until its voluntary shutdown earlier this month, according to documents unearthed by a German radio network.
Reports from the German national police obtained by the Südwestrundfunk, Southwest Germany public radio, blow the lid off the long running sting by revealing its role in nabbing a German credit card forger active on DarkMarket. The FBI agent is identified in the documents as J. Keith Mularski, a senior cybercrime agent based at the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance in Pittsburgh, who ran the site under the hacker handle Master Splynter.
The NCFTA is a non-profit information sharing alliance funded by financial firms, internet companies and the federal government. It’s also home to a seven-agent FBI headquarters unit called the Cyber Initiative and Resource Fusion Unit, which evidently ran the DarkMarket sting.
The FBI didn’t return a phone call Monday.