You are browsing the archive for 2013 April 26.

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Sen. Paul appears on Fox's Hannity Show to discuss drones and immigration- 4/25/2013

April 26, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Washington Times Op-Ed: Recurring tragedy from a broken immigration system

April 26, 2013 in Politics & Elections

As our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the victims affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, we should also note that this tragedy has yet again exposed long-standing weaknesses in our national security. Congress should now take the opportunity to finally address these problems.
This should be incorporated into the current debate over comprehensive immigration reform.
Any meaningful immigration reform must implement strong national security protections. After the Boston tragedy, there are basic questions: How did two individuals immigrate to the United States from a known hotbed of Islamic extremism, the Chechen Republic in Russia, to then allegedly commit acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented?
Does the immigration reform proposal before us address this?
Our immigration and visa system should give more scrutiny to individuals from high-risk areas of the world. We know that our flawed visa system was a significant part of the intelligence failure that led to Sept. 11. As National Review’s Kevin Williamson noted, ‘If our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, particularly the State Department, had been doing a minimally competent job vis-a-vis visa overstays and application screening, at least 15 of the 19 [hijackers on 9/11] would have been caught.’
After Sept. 11, there was comprehensive reform of our intelligence-gathering system, but our current system still did not adequately detect these latest extremists. We know they immigrated to the United States as children, but their background, combined with suspicious activities, did catch the attention of a foreign government two years ago. According to media reports, the FBI had interviewed the deceased Boston attack suspect at the request of that foreign government.
As far as we know, there was no follow-up to the interview. What were the details of this interview? Was there anything that might have given investigators cause for suspicion? Should there have been further inquiry? Did a foreign government detect something our own government failed to? And if so, why?
It has been reported that both suspects were legal permanent residents, that one was a naturalized citizen and the other was on the path to becoming a citizen. What deficiencies are there in our immigration and visa system that would have allowed this? We have already seen radicalized citizens, but is there a way to detect extremist behavior in those still on the path to citizenship? What kind of safeguards can we implement that might prevent granting them citizenship?
In 2002, Congress created the …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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The False Security of Surveillance Cameras

April 26, 2013 in Economics

By Julian Sanchez

Julian Sanchez

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, which saw the use of footage from cell phones and closed circuit TV cameras to help identify the suspected bombers, pundits and elected officials alike have been singing the praises of urban camera networks — and suggesting that ever more such government surveillance is the key to stopping future attacks.

But a closer look at the facts suggests just the opposite: Dispersed “Little Brother” monitoring by private cameras can provide many of the benefits of centralized “Big Brother” surveillance by governments — but without the public expense or risks to civil liberties.

Slate’s Farhad Majoo led the call for more surveillance in a column titled “We Need More Cameras, and We Need Them Now.”

Lamenting that Boston boasts fewer than 60 law-enforcement-controlled CCTV cameras (excluding those in the subway system), Manjoo suggested that more at the scene of the bombing might have given police “a chance to see something” before the explosions that killed three and wounded scores more.

It is tempting to believe a sufficiently omniscient government can keep us safe from all harm — but it is not realistic.”

Elected officials got in on the act as well. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg called the bombings “a terrible reminder” of the need for “investments” in technologies like the city’s $200 million “Ring of Steel,” comprising some 3,000 cameras just in lower Manhattan.

Rep. Mike King (R-NY) told MSNBC that we “need more cameras” in order to “stay ahead of the terrorists … who are constantly trying to kill us.”

Random acts of violence inevitably make us feel anxious and helpless, and it’s only natural to want to believe that if we only figure out the right policy, we can somehow prevent such events from ever recurring.

But this particular control fantasy seems especially implausible here.

Between the throngs of spectators and police on the scene and the television cameras broadcasting the event, the Boston Marathon must have been one of the most monitored spots in the country on that grim afternoon.

That we can identify suspects from video footage after the fact — knowing the time, location and method of the attack — does not make it realistic to suppose an observer at a monitor station could have identified the impending attack and intervened in time when those on the ground did not, however comforting that supposition might be.

Terror …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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CISPA Is Dead. Now Let’s Do a Cybersecurity Bill Right

April 26, 2013 in Economics

By Julian Sanchez

Julian Sanchez

The controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) now appears to be dead in the Senate, despite having passed the House by a wide margin earlier this month. Though tech, finance, and telecom firms with a combined $650 million in lobbying muscle supported the bill, opposition from privacy groups, internet activists, and ultimately the White House (which threatened to veto the law) seem to have proven fatal for now.

For all the heated rhetoric surrounding the CISPA legislation — predictions of an impending Digital Pearl Harbor matched by dire warnings of Big Brother surveillance — the controversy was almost entirely unnecessary.

Americans have grown so accustomed to hearing about the problem of “balancing privacy and security” that it sometimes feels as though the two are always and forever in conflict — that an initiative to improve security can’t possibly be very effective unless it’s invading privacy. Yet the conflict is often illusory: A cybersecurity law could easily be drafted that would accomplish all the goals of both tech companies and privacy groups without raising any serious civil liberties problems.

Few object to what technology companies and the government say they want to do in practice: pool data about the activity patterns of hacker-controlled “botnets,” or the digital signatures of new viruses and other malware. This information poses few risks to the privacy of ordinary users. Yet CISPA didn’t authorize only this kind of narrowly limited information sharing. Instead, it gave companies blanket immunity for feeding the government vaguely-defined “threat indicators” — anything from users’ online habits to the contents of private e-mails — creating a broad loophole in all federal and state privacy lawsand even in private contracts and user agreements.

We’ve grown so accustomed to hearing about the problem of ‘balancing privacy and security’ that it feels like the two are forever in conflict.”

Given that recent experience has shown companies shielded by secrecy often err on the side of oversharing with the government, that loophole was a key concern. So why the gap between what the law permits and its supporters’ aims?

It’s a principle wonks call tech neutrality. Nobody wants to write a bill that refers too specifically to the information needed to protect current networks (like “Internet Protocol addresses” or “Netflow logs”) since technological evolution would render such language obsolete over time.

Unfortunately, the alternative has been to extend a broad, vague immunity for sharing and attach a series of back-end …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Georgia's Dangerous Slide toward NATO

April 26, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Power shifted in Tbilisi, Georgia, when Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream party triumphed at the polls. Yet Prime Minister Ivanishvili, though hostile to Western-favorite President Mikheil Saakashvili, has continued the latter’s quest to win a NATO security guarantee against Russia. Washington should firmly spike what would be a Georgian Nightmare.

Georgia suffered through a tumultuous birth when it split from the Soviet Union two decades ago. Saakashvili ousted Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister, in the 2003 “Rose Revolution.” The Western-educated Saakashvili looked to the United States and Europe for support. But he found himself alone when he started and lost a war with Russia in 2008.

Even before that conflict, Tbilisi courted the United States and NATO. Shortly after achieving independence, Georgia contributed troops to the NATO mission in Kosovo, joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (later renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council), and joined the Partnership for Peace program. But that was just the start. Observed NATO: “Relations between NATO and Georgia have deepened significantly over the years since dialogue and cooperation was first launched in the early 1990s.”

NATO is supposed to make Americans safer. Yet expansion to Georgia would make war more likely.”

The Saakashvili government inaugurated an Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO and joined the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In 2006 Tbilisi gained an Intensified Dialogue on membership and at the April 2008 NATO Summit alliance leaders agreed that Georgia would eventually become a member.

Moreover, Saakashvili emphasized his personal ties to America, hired an adviser to Sen. John McCain as a lobbyist, and sent troops to fight in Iraq. President George W. Bush showered Tbilisi with praise and money and staged a state visit to Georgia. The Bush administration also strongly backed Tbilisi for membership in what nominally remained the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

However, leading European members of the alliance were less disposed to confront nuclear-armed Russia over a border dispute considered vital by the latter but irrelevant to Europe. The 2008 conflict vindicated their stance. Nevertheless, the Bush administration continued to press for Georgia’s admission. So has the Obama administration, though without obvious enthusiasm. Last year Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago should be the last such meeting that did not focus on enlargement.

Georgia is considered to be in the first tier of aspirants, along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro. Although NATO …read more

Source: OP-EDS