Re: Threat Recognition Testing

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 01:32:31 MDT

Phil Osborn wrote:

> I personally suspect that such drugs are occasionally used by our intelligence community today, and are certainly in the arsenal. As for terrorism now, and the difficulty of picking out the "sleepers," I have suggested in several forums that one way to get around problems relating to civil liberties might be to offer people a "clean card." To get one, you agree to allow any level of non-damaging surveillance or interrogation to be used as deemed necessary to determine your threat level.

Ouch. This makes urine tests and spot searches almost benign.
Personally I would look at these things as a major invasion of
privacy and an assumption of guilt until proven innocent. I
would not one to live that way given any choice at all (short of
the obvious and obviously unattractive one).

> Having such a card would get you through check points or airport security much faster, might even get you discounts on various services that otherwise required stringent security, etc. Plus, it would be sold as a patriotic measure. If you're not a terrorist, why not get one?

Patriotic? Patriotism in this country does not include granting
the government open season on one's property, body and even
> Very few people would ever be subject to the maximum interrogation or surveillance, of course. The mere fact of applying for and getting a "Clean Card" would be prima facia evidence against one being a likely terrorist. What it would accomplish, however, would be to further isolate those who could not pass an interrogation.

And those who simply will not put up with such things on
principle are seen as welcoming more attention from government
goons heh?

> For people with "suspicious" backgrounds, having a "Clean Card" might make life a lot easier. Some people would of course object on principle and refuse to get one. Fine. If enough people get one, it cuts the security load and allows our security systems to focus on more likely threats.
> This may seem like overkill, but in reality, as any professional in the security community can tell you, we have been incredibly lucky so far. The earlier attempt to topple the World Trade Center Towers with a truck bomb would have likely resulted in 200,000 deaths, if it had worked. Or, if the terrorists had flown one of the jetliners into a nuclear power plant, similar casualties immediately and possibly millions more downstream could have resulted. And I haven't even touched upon bio-weapons...

Nope. The nuclear plant threat is overblown. Frankly I would
rather take a non-zero chance on being wiped out by a terrorist
than give away much privacy and freedom in the name of
"safety". After all, 50000 of us die in the US every year on
the highways. That is pretty nasty odds. Yet we don't stop
driving or make really stringent demands on our cars,
transportation systems or each other as drivers. Perhaps we
should. But the point is that perfect safety is a chimera that
isn't worth sacrificing too much freedom and simply being left
alone to.

> The use of weapons of mass destruction has gotten progressively, exponentially cheaper. An experienced biologist can do recombinent DNA at home with $10,000 in equipment. You don't need a cruize missile for delivery. Just slave the autopilot of a Cesna to GPS and parachute. That aspect - the exponentially declining cost of destruction - is not likely to get better, and there are few good answers. This might be one of them, however.

Sure. But spreading the beastie efficiently and not having it
be so efficient that it smothers itself is something else

- samantha

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:12 MDT