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Monthly Archives: December 2006
Secure Flight, the U.S. government’s stalled program to screen domestic air passengers against terrorism watch lists, violated federal law during a crucial test phase, according to a report to be issued today by the Homeland Security Department’s privacy office.
The agency found that by gathering passenger data from commercial brokers in 2004 without notifying the passengers, the program violated a 1974 Privacy Act requirement that the public be made aware of any changes in a federal program that affects the privacy of U.S. citizens. “As ultimately implemented, the commercial data test conducted in connection with the Secure Flight program testing did not match [the Transportation Security Administration's] public announcements,” the report states.
It took two reporters — Ellen Nakashima and Del Quentin Wilber — to fail to answer all the interesting questions. First, is anyone going to be held accountable? Second, are these potential criminal violations or not? It doesn’t sound like it:
TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said the agency has “already implemented or is in the process of implementing” the recommendations contained in the privacy office report. She said the report’s conclusions were not surprising, adding that they were “very similar” to those reached last year by the General Accounting Office, the government’s auditing arm.
So, what was the purpose of this report, given that the GAO ventilated many of the facts a year ago? Does the rest of the TSA care about what its privacy office says? The story doesn’t tell us. It took two reporters to do this?
And, the Post makes no mention of what appear to be the follow-on illegalities.
On this stuff, you’re much better off reading blogs than the Post. Is Brad DeLong right? Is the paper (as opposed to online) Post toast?
Micah Sifry writes about Elizabeth Edwards, Online and For Real at Personal Democracy Forum. In it she discusses her blogging and her commenting on other people’s online postings.
Like everything else I’ve ever read about her, it makes Elizabeth Edwards look good.
And no, this is not going to turn into the Edwards-for-President blog, at least not yet. He’s certainly one of my top two or three candidates at present, but the season is young, and the candidates have not yet staked out positions on some key issues I’d need to hear about before being able to commit. Especially Iraq.
Think Progress, Congresswoman Caught In Lie Over Castro Assassination Claim details how my Congressperson has, it seems, been caught in a bare-faced lie.
She says a video tape was doctored to make it look like she was calling for Castro’s assassination when in fact she wasn’t. The filmmakers have released the raw video which supports their story not hers and asked her to retract the slur on their integrity. We’re still waiting on that one.
Anyone who’s followed Ros-Lehtinen’s career will know that the anti-Castro remarks seem in character (and are probably shared by a substantial fraction of her electors).
I wish I thought this flap will affect her re-election chances in ’08, but I doubt it.
It’s sort of interesting how “I’ve been Bloggered” is the ’00s version of the early 90s “I’ve been Continentaled”. It can’t be good when your brand is commonly associated with screw-ups.
Update: It’s fixed.
One thing I’m seeing a lot more of these days is ‘Creeping Spenglerism’ — a sense that the US is on the edge of some sort decline, even death spiral.
Now even professional humorists are doing it,
The Portland Freelancer: When young people ask me for career advice – and that’s a little frightening right there – I always advise them to learn a skill they can perform to amuse the people around a campfire. Then if everyone laughs ask to share any food. I am only half kidding. America has been arrogant for too long, and it could be about to catch up with us.
This sort of talk makes me want to vote for John Edwards — as far as I know, he’s the only guy out there running a campaign of optimism.